How to Find the Wattage of a Light Fixture

Researched & Written by Craig

Light fixture manufacturers seem to enjoy hiding wattage information in the strangest places. This article will show you where to look to find the wattage.

You should find the wattage of a light fixture in one of the following places:

  • Printed Inside or on the Socket of the Fixture
  • Printed Underneath the Cover of Ceiling Lights
  • Included in the Installation Instructions
  • Written on the Light Fixture’s Packaging

What if you’ve searched high and low but still cannot find the wattage written in any of these places? Then take a look at the more extensive wattage guide below.

The guide will explain the steps mentioned above in more detail. It will also help you to calculate the wattage of any light fixture.

How to Find the Wattage of a Light Fixture

Let’s get searching

Finding the wattage of a light fixture is really simple. You should be able to find the wattage for your light fixture in one of the following places:

Printed Inside or on the Socket of the Fixture

To check the wattage of your light fixture, first, safely remove the bulb. The ideal wattage should be marked on the inside of the socket. It could also be found on the baseplate of the globe

If not, the wattage should be marked around the socket itself. It could be written on a silver sticker or printed somewhere around the socket.

Printed Underneath the Cover of Ceiling Lights

Do you have a flush light fixture in your home? To find the wattage of a light fixture with a covered bulb, you will first need to remove its cover. The wattage should be printed on the insulation of the light fixture. 

Included in the Installation Instructions

You will also be able to find the wattage for your light fixture in the instruction manual. The manual will likely include information on which bulbs are best for your fixture.

Written on the Light Fixture’s Packaging

If you still have the original packaging the light fixture came in, then I take my hat off to you. You should be able to find its ideal wattage written on the packaging

What to Do If You Still Can’t Find the Wattage of a Light Fixture

If your home is anything like mine, then the wattage stickers on your appliances may not stay in place for very long. My kids like to pick at just about anything that looks even remotely interesting. That, of course, includes the shiny silver informational stickers on the bases of my electrical appliances. Is that the case in your home too? If so, then you may need to manually calculate the wattage of your light fixture. 

But, we can’t let the kids take all the blame. Sometimes it’s the manufacturers of these light fixtures that make life difficult. You may have searched all the places mentioned above but still can’t find the wattage. If that’s the case, then you will need to calculate your wattage yourself. 

How to Manually Calculate the Wattage of a Light Fixture

Now I know what you’re thinking. Just the mere idea of having to faff about with formulas and calculate wattage has you ready to throw in the towel. You’re moments away from shoving any old bulb in your light fixture, crossing your fingers and hoping nothing catches fire.

But don’t be discouraged. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to calculate wattage! So, let’s get started!

Here’s what you need to know to manually calculate the wattage of a light fixture:

  1. It’s voltage (V)
  2. It’s current draw or amps (A)

Look at the label on your fixture to check its voltage and current draw. 

The formula mentioned below will determine the watts in the power source. The example will use a current draw of 1.5 and a voltage of 120 as an example. 

Watts = Amps x Volts

W  = A x V

P = 1.5A x 120V

P = 1.5 x 120

P = 180 W

We have now determined that there are 180 watts in the power source. Simple!

How Does the Maximum Wattage Work for Fixtures With Multiple Bulbs?

Lighting Unknown if IC Rated

Are you looking to work out the wattage for a light fixture with more than one bulb? To begin, you will need to find your light fixture’s electrical wattage information. You can do so by consulting one of the following places:

  • The inside or around the socket of the fixture
  • Under the cover of ceiling lights 
  • The installation instructions
  • The light fixture’s packaging

You should be able to see the wattage for the entire fixture. You must make sure that the combined wattage of each bulb does not exceed the maximum wattage on the fixture.

Consider an example. A lamp with two bulbs has a maximum wattage of 60 watts. You will need to get two bulbs that have a combined wattage of less than 60 watts to use the fixture safely. That means you could use two LED bulbs that measure up to 30 watts each or less. 

What Happens If You Use Too Powerful a Bulb in a Fixture?

No one likes to be left in the dark. So you no doubt have a drawer in the house with a couple of spare light bulbs in that you can reach for when one blows. 

But what’s so dangerous about shoving any old bulb into any light fixture? Every light fixture has a varying wattage recommendation that needs to be adhered to. In fact, exceeding the recommended wattage could be very dangerous

Here’s what could happen if you use too powerful a bulb in a light fixture:

  1. Overheating
  2. Permanent damage to your light fixture

Too much power could cause your bulb to overheat.

Using a light bulb with a wattage that is too high for the feature could cause the bulb to overheat.

What could be so bad about a hot bulb? A hot bulb could begin to melt your light socket. It could also start to interfere with and melt the insulation of the wires. Once this happens, you will permanently damage your fixture. 

If an overly powerful bulb is left burning for too long it could also cause an arc fault. This is even more dangerous as it could start a fire on your property.

So I am sure you would agree, choosing the right bulb is essential for your light fixture!

How to Safely Change a Lightbulb

Electrician Changing Light Fixture

Changing a light bulb is child’s play. But even still, there are some pointers to take into consideration that will help you do so safely. Take a look at the following steps that will show you the best method to change a light bulb. 

Turn off the Power

If you are changing the bulb on a lamp, begin by plugging the lamp out of the mains. If you are changing the light bulb in a wall/ceiling light, turn the power off at the switch. 

If your bulb has blown, it can be tricky to know whether the power switch is in the on or off position. If you are unsure, turn the power off completely at the circuit breakers. 

Reach the Bulb Safely

It may be tempting to reach for a bulb with one foot poised on a rickety chair and the other balanced on a work surface. But don’t! Make sure you get the job done safely. Use a step ladder when reaching for bulbs that are high up.

You should also remember that some bulbs such as incandescent light bulbs heat up a lot when burning. You should allow time for the bulb to cool down before changing it.

Remove the Bulb

If your bulb has a screw fitting, unscrew it anticlockwise to remove it. 

If your bulb has a bayonet mount, push down lightly on the bulb and then turn it anti-clockwise. Then pull on the bulb and that will release it from the mechanism.

Replace the Bulb

If your bulb has a screw fitting, firmly but gently screw it in clockwise.

If your bulb has a bayonet mount, push the bulb firmly but gently into the socket. Then turn the bulb clockwise until you feel it lock into place.

Turn the Light On

Turn the light fixture on to test the bulb is working. 

Conclusion

Finding the wattage of your light fixture may take you on a bit of a scavenger hunt. Such a hunt could have you looking around the fixture itself, it’s packaging, or the user manual. You could even end up calculating the wattage yourself. 

Whatever the case, it’s important to know the wattage of your light fixtures. This is essential if you need to change a light bulb. I hope this guide has helped you to locate or calculate your light fixture’s wattage. 

If this article has benefited you, please consider supporting us by checking out some more of our free guides or signing up to our e-mail list.

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

Cheers,

Craig