MIN 90?C SUPPLY CONDUCTORS warning on new lights installed in old homes

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Tinkerer

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Location
Virginia
Nearly all luminaries for sale nowadays have this warning, yet over 2/3 of existing homes in the US, were built before 1985, and have 60 degree wiring (or worse). I constantly have customers buy lights for me to install, and I have to deal with this. Solutions seem to be:

1) Replace the wiring (or at least the last foot or two). This can be a difficult sell if it involves extensive drywall work to replace otherwise flawless NM. This solution can also complicate an electrical system by introducing a lot of barely accessible boxes. Not a viable solution in my opinion, unless the existing wire shows signs of damage!

2) Put heat shrink tubing on the wires. This may be a solution for dealing with wires that are already heat damaged, but it won't protect good insulation underneath, nor the insulation outside the box. Remember, many modern fixtures produce a lot of light and a lot of heat. Not a solution IMHO

3) Just go ahead and install it. After all, if you don't install it, the customer will just get some high school kid to do it. I admit doing this on occasion, and I expect this is what most electricians do, but it is not a good solution either.

4) Let's say this is a grandfathered situation, we are replacing a old fixture that may be even hotter than the one we are putting in. There is no reason to have it inspected because it is just maintenance. Still, UL tested this new fixture, and determined that it can get hotter than 60 degrees. This is not a solution either.

5) Identify a source of 60 degree suitable fixtures with enough variety to satisfy the decorating needs of homeowners. Manufacturers will realize there is a pent-up demand for 60 degree fixtures, and in the true spirit of capitalism, will start producing more of them.

In my opinion, there are two real mysteries:
1) Why do manufacturers produce over 90% of their products so that they can only legally be installed in less than 33% of homes? (The situation is probably even worse, since owners of older homes are more likely to replace their lights.), and

2) Why don't they make this information available on their websites and catalogs? The only place this information is reliably available is on the fixture itself. Often it is not on the box. I will give $100 to the first electrician who can show me one major manufacturer's catalog or website that shows for all fixtures, what kind of wiring it is suitable for.

FYI, According to UL documents, a fixture that has no such warning, is suitable for use on 60 degree wiring, which is why it is so irritating to find a box without the warning that contains a fixture that has the warning. UL doesn't require the warning on the box.

Gentlemen: your comments please.
 
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Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
I look at it like this. Chances are that the new fixture is safer and has more insulation to prevent over heating than the older fixtures. This, imo, makes installing the newer fixture on the older wiring safer. I have never heard of anyone getting called on it however it is a violation. Not sure there is an answer to it. If the existing wiring isn't cracked then I will install it.
 
There is a fine line here, and I don't know what the correct answer is.

If you install the fixture, and something happens as a result of the wiring in the box you put the fixture on, you are screwed, but if you tell the customer that you can't do it, they will just find a different person to do it and you will loose your customer.

I don't do much resi anymore, but the last couple of months I was in resi I would tell customers that they should use compact fluorescent lamps because of heat and the old wiring.

The other thing I would take into account is if the fixture was enclosed or open.
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
I just refuse to install them. Sorry but if the HO wants to assume the liability and hang the fixture then let them. Most of these stickers are just a CYA clause for the manufacturer so they can say that a fire started in the outlet box was due to not following their directions. If there is an accessible attic above we remove the cable from the ceiling outlet, install a JB and then feed the outlet box with 90? C conductors.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
I would have to refuse to do this for a customer as well.


On the other hand I have at least a few here in my own home.
 

bob

Senior Member
Location
Alabama
My understanding of that part of the code is that the 90C conductors are for the junction box attached
to the light because of the heat build up in the box. As long as the conductor is 24" it can be connected to 60C conductors
in a junction box. Is that correct?
 

Tinkerer

Member
Location
Virginia
Bob, Yes, you can put a short piece of NM-B according to this NEMA bulletin 92 https://www.nema.org/stds/eng-bulletins/upload/Bull92.pdf I still believe this is the wrong approach though. Yesterday, I looked at every ceiling fixture at Lowes, and found more than 30 of them acceptable for 60 degree wire, so I know there are out there. I just think manufacturers think it is acceptable for the electrician to put another box, and another splice and another piece of wire.
Doug
 

Riograndeelectric

Senior Member
I ahve looked at all the fixtures at home depot and a couple of lighting suppliers could not find any fixtures rated at 60C. When I aksed about 60C rated fixtures the sales person said they has never heard of fixtures rated at 60C also the sales person told me the maunfactours do not list the specs in there catalog.

I have an old I working with the cloth coverd NM Romex.

Do you remeber what Brand you saw at Lowe's ? or where they Lowe's brand of lights?

where they incandescent, CFL or LED?

Thanks.
Cameron
 

Riograndeelectric

Senior Member
I have read the NEMA bullitien however this can not be done because the NM Romex is ungrounded cloth covered Romex. you can not make an extension of ungrouned conductors.
This leaves me with having to find 60C rated fixtures. house was built in 1959.

Thanks.
Cameron
 

bullheimer

Senior Member
Location
WA
thanks for the heads up op, i never noticed. what about when the existing wires have obviously been 'field tested' to well over 90C? as in baked. does that mean they are now okay? :D
 
I ahve looked at all the fixtures at home depot and a couple of lighting suppliers could not find any fixtures rated at 60C. When I aksed about 60C rated fixtures the sales person said they has never heard of fixtures rated at 60C also the sales person told me the maunfactours do not list the specs in there catalog.

I have an old I working with the cloth coverd NM Romex.

Do you remeber what Brand you saw at Lowe's ? or where they Lowe's brand of lights?

where they incandescent, CFL or LED?

Thanks.
Cameron
I doubt that you would find FIXTURES - luminaire according to current NEC vernacular - listed for 60C, especially for household use. Fixtures are normally rated to 40C, and it means the maximum ambient temperature of the installation place. Some industrial fixtures are rated for up to 55C.

The more curious question is are wirenuts rated for 90C? Most of the Ideal stuff says 'shell' rated for 105C, but the 90C rise and 40C max, ambient adds up to 130C final temperature, and even 23C(~74F) air-conditioned indoor environment exceeds the 105C.

The Ideal statement confusing to me also, because it does not say what the actual connector, the inner metal spring, temperature rating is.
 
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