Can CFL Grow Lights Cause Fires and Electrical Problems?


safety with cfl lightingCAUTION:  ANY electrical device using a wall outlet or high voltage power source can cause electrical issues and fire risk.

However, properly configured/wired compact fluorescent fixtures carry as much risk for fire and electrical hazard as a regular household lamps used to read your favorite books; in other words, virtually no risk as long as precautions are followed.

One cause of concern is carefully monitoring the amount of total amperage drawn by your setup, and ensuring that it doesn’t exceed the limit of the breaker fuse; in which case power outages can occur sporadically and frequently.

 

Following are some precautions to take that will increase your safety when growing:

 

1.) Do NOT….

Position CFLs over your plants by suspending them from their electrical wiring, as this is a fire hazard. All it takes is one or two tears of rubber insulation around the wires, and a short circuit can easily cause a serious shock or even a fire.

 

2.) Do NOT…

Place CFLs in containers or enclosures that aren’t heat resistant or fire retardant. Such enclosures can cause serious injuries or damage due to excessive heat buildup or even electrical shortages. Cardboard boxes are a no-no and so is using plastic without also including insulation to protect the plastic from melting in high temperatures.

 

3.) Do NOT…

Leave wires exposed when wiring CFL lights to fixtures/hoods etc. Always use solder, wire nuts and electrical tape, or a combination of the three, to safely run your lighting.

 

4.) Do…

Pay CLOSE attention to voltage and amperage ratings, and ensure you don’t exceed them. For instance, indoor extension cords are typically rated to handle at least 660 watts safely. In that case, make sure you do NOT exceed a total of 660 watts, for every device/light attached to that cord.

Know the max amperage your fuse box can handle without tripping, and taking your power with it. A typical home has at LEAST one 15A circuit; know how many amps you are using in total.

 

5.) Do…

Keep items containing water at GROUND level, and electrical devices at “sky” level (up high), to prevent the risk of electrocution.

 

6.) Do…

Check to see if your dwelling has a “GFI” or Ground Fault Interruption device. It will appear to be a typical AC outlet, however, it protects from electrocution in the event of a terrible mistake, such as standing in a puddle of water while plugging something into an outlet.

 

7.) Do…

Be neat! Don’t leave wires running along the floor, or walls, or in any way kept untidy–this is a fire hazard and can also cause trip-and-fall injuries and more. See #5, and keep all electrical wires running ABOVE floor level, or if at ground level, under waterproof covering that is checked regularly for leaks.

 

Final Words…

CAN CFL grow lights cause fires and electrical problems? Follow the advice given here and use common sense, you’ll experience years of safe, trouble-free growing with your energy-saving bulbs!

 

By Robert Narley