What Does Overlamping Mean?

overlampingOverlamping is one of those words you might find strange as a homeowner. But it’s really just a term for describing a common electrical occurrence. Overlamping means fitting a lower-wattage fixture with a light bulb that has a much higher-wattage.

An example of overlamping is placing a 100-watt light bulb on a 60-watt fixture. The implication of this is that the wires connected to the fixture can melt and lead to an electrical fire.

The danger of overlamping

When it comes to electricity there are several do’s and don’ts that help to secure your electrical safety. Overlamping is one of those things you shouldn’t do. When the wiring and socket insulation overheats and melts, it increases the probability of electrical arcs. Electrical arcs are sparks that jump in the air from one wire to another. The electrical arcs, in turn, cause electrical discharge which finally leads to house fires. If you stop the fire from happening or pull out the bulb, the damage will still be done, and the entire setup will need a replacement.

How to find the recommended wattage

The recommended wattage on every light fixture shows the amount of power the fixture is designed to take. Modern fixtures often disclose this wattage. Some use NMB or NM indicated on the jacket of the wire. The letter B, in NMB, tells you that the cable is rated to handle the maximum temperature of 194 degrees Fahrenheit. While NM shows that the maximum temperature the cable is rated for is 140 degrees Fahrenheit. In simpler terms, NMB rated fixtures can accommodate higher wattage bulbs.

Older fixtures hardly indicate the recommended wattage. In this situation, it’s better to stick with the average 60-watt bulbs or even lower.

How can you fix overlamping

When overlamping occurs and you stop the implications of a fire early enough, shut off the power to that fixture or area of the home and call an electrician. Our electrical technicians at The Electric Connection will arrive on time and provide a quality replacement service.