Dear Burton,

We just moved into a new home and I’ve heard some conflicting advice… Does it really matter what wattage light bulbs we use in our new can lights and ceiling fans? Our inspector said it’s important, but my neighbor doesn’t seem to think so. Can you ‘enlighten’ us?

  • Bright-Eyed and Curious

Dear Bright-Eyed,

First off, thanks for shedding some light on this important topic. When it comes to installing new light bulbs, it is important to mind your wattage warnings! Or, at the very least, always stay below the recommended wattage.

There are several reasons why our Omaha electricians strongly recommend following those wattage guidelines.

Exceeding the recommended wattage can overload your electrical system

Using the right wattage light bulbs ensures your home’s electrical system doesn’t have to carry more electricity than it’s designed to. Overloading your system with higher wattage bulbs can, in some cases, lead to overheating or electrical malfunctions, and can even be a fire hazard!

Minding your wattage recommendations increases your home’s efficiency

The correct wattage light bulbs aren’t just safer—they’re savers! By using bulbs with the appropriate wattage level, or less, you can optimize the energy consumption of your already highly efficient new cans and fans. That lowers your daily energy waste and your utility bills. In our book, that’s a win-win!

Following the suggested wattage extends the life of your bulbs

Did you know using a light bulb that’s over the recommended wattage can actually burn the bulb out significantly faster? Premature burnout is one of the most common signs of mismatched wattage.

New LED light bulbs often last 3,000 hours or more. By using bulbs with the right wattage, you can enjoy the full lifespan of your new bulbs and minimize the hassle of changing those hard-to-reach lights.

Bonus Tip: Frequent bulb burnout can also be a sign of a home with higher voltage than its wiring can handle—in which case, we strongly recommend giving your Omaha electrician a call right away.

How do you know what light bulb wattage to buy?

New lighting fixtures typically print the recommended wattage straight on the fixture—either inside the socket area or on the base of the unit. But if you have older fixtures, or the printed warnings have worn off, consult your Omaha electrician for guidance.

You can also consider switching to new energy-efficient LED light bulbs. These new bulbs consume far less wattage while producing the same, or even brighter light, compared to your traditional incandescent glass bulb. Plus, LED lights have an incredible lifespan. Some bulbs last 50,000 hours, or more. That’s over five years of continuous light!

The bottom line is this: For a safer home, greater energy efficiency, and longer-lasting light, follow your wattage recommendations to a T. And when in doubt, Just Call Burton!

Looking for an Omaha electrician with a shockingly great reputation?

Maintaining your home’s circuits and wires is best left to the professionals. That’s why our skilled electricians are on call 24/7—and always ready to exceed your expectations. To request service or get a free quote on your next electrician project, call (402) 343-0011 or send us a message.