In a recent question, I asked about different power ratings for LED and traditional incandescent light bulbs. In the accepted answer, the author explained that the different ratings are due to heat dissipation characteristics, and that it is not safe to run an LED bulb in a fixture that is not rated for that size LED bulb, even if it is rated for a much higher power incandescent bulb (ie. A 11W led / 60W incandescent fixture can't be used with a 20W led bulb.). While this works well enough for fixtures with labeling, the lighting that forms part of a building often does not have any labeling whatsoever. In the past, I have always replaced incandescent bulbs with a new incandescent bulb of the same rating, but that is not possible when replacing an LED with an incandescent bulb. What is the correct way to handle this?

The particular kind of fixture that makes up most of my house is this: enter image description here

The house came with bulbs like this: enter image description here

1 Answer 1


For interior recessed lighting, I don't think I've ever seen a can that wasn't rated for 60W or higher. You can remove the bulb and the trim and look at the inside of the can for a sticker that lists the bulb wattage. They normally do have labels.

That said, you have two options to update these. You can get LED bulbs that are shaped like a standard light bulb if you want to keep your existing black trim. You can also get LED bulbs that have an integrated trim (almost always a white trim). To use these, you remove the current bulb and trim and replace with the LED module. They have a light bulb screw connector (Edison base) that screws into the existing housing to power the module.

Both the bulbs and the LED trim modules are made to work inside recessed cans, so the "MAX WATTAGE" label issue shouldn't matter here.

LED trim replacement module

Random example light from SuperBrightLEDs

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