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Instead of three 40w light bulbs, can I use only two 43w halogen light bulbs in a ceiling light fixture with 3 lamp sockets rated at 40w maximum per socket?

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Each socket (and the wire associated with it) is rated for its maximum wattage. While the overall wattage in the fixture may be less than the maximum allowed, the wattage in two of the sockets will be over, although only by about 8%. Most equipment is fairly conservatively rated, but it will not be compliant. And halogens do run hot.

Have you considered using LED bulbs instead. 60 watt equivalents use about 10 watts each. The price is dropping to less than $8 a bulb and they are rated to last for decades. Savings in electricity will probably pay for them in a little more than a year.

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Thanks for your response. The fixture requires chandelier type bulbs and it's hard to find CFL's with the chandelier base that is equivalent to 60w (the strongest I have found is for 40w equivalent with a chandelier base). In any case, given your advice I won't use the halogens. I will probably just replace the whole fixture with a new one that allows for stronger bulbs. –  Irma Oct 13 '13 at 21:06
    
Ecosmart makes a CFL 60 watt equivalent candelabra base like the one shown here, as does Feit. I haven't seen an LED at that level yet –  bib Oct 14 '13 at 2:40
    
Your link takes me to the Home Depot (U.S.) website, I live in Canada and so far Home Depot (Canada) nor any other Canadian hardware store does not stock/sell this type of CFL. But thanks for the info, at least I now know this type of bulb does exist, it's just not available in my area. –  Irma Oct 14 '13 at 16:00
    
They are available through online retailers, like Amazon (and many others) who I think sell into Canada. –  bib Oct 14 '13 at 16:18
    
@bib - Amazon won't ship that bulb to Canada. But there are a couple options for similar bulbs on amazon.ca. I also see a 60W-equivilant LED bulb with a candelabra base there. –  Compro01 Oct 15 '13 at 14:34
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