Lamp Wiring Safety
LESLIE: Christy in Iowa, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
CHRISTY: I have a question about old lamps. I bought some antique lamps, probably – they’re over 50 years old. And I just want to know if – I’ve had the wiring – I’ve taken them to a hardware store and they’ve rewired them but I don’t know very much about electricity in old light fixtures and I just want to know if I replace the electrical cords, how would I know if they’re safe. I mean is that all I need to do to be sure that they’re safe?
TOM: Well, I mean if the hardware store is doing this for you, I think that you’re probably in good hands because what they would do is they would replace everything, including the socket, the bulk socket, and the switch and the cord. So essentially …
LESLIE: They just work off of the fixture and replace all the guts.
TOM: Yeah. I mean, essentially, all of the operable parts, from an electrical standpoint, are new; so I think you’ll be perfectly safe doing that.
CHRISTY: Yeah, because people are always throwing out these really cool, old lamps with all kinds of unique features …
CHRISTY: … and then I find some local hardware store where the guy knows how to fix it and they’re pretty awesome. So that’s really just my question. I have these lamps; they’re beautiful, they’re old and they’re unique but I don’t want them to be a fire hazard.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, absolutely not.
TOM: (overlapping voices) I think that you’ll be perfectly fine.
CHRISTY: OK. Do you have any suggestions for reference? Like just by chance, would you know any book or any website that I could find out about the age of old lamps or information on vintage lamps and lighting fixtures?
LESLIE: I don’t, actually. I was going to send you to a website called LampShop.com and they sell lamp parts. Because I, like you, like to either make my own lampshades or I find something cool like a vase or some sort of interesting, antique-y object, if you will, and I like to turn those things into lamps. And there’s a guy that works there who – I believe his name is Ryan – he’s completely awesome; he talks me through the whole process. I sort of describe the piece that I’ve found and what’s the best way to turn it into a lamp. So you may, in your next dumpster-dive adventure, find something cool that isn’t already a lamp that you might want to venture into doing yourself and as long as you use up-to-code electrical wiring, I mean it’s as simple as running an electrical cord up this piece and wiring it to a socket. It could not be easier. As long as you’re using current items, it’ll work fantastic and you’ll be able to create really unusual pieces.
CHRISTY: Thanks for your help. I appreciate it. I love your show.
TOM: You’re welcome, Christy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.