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What Are the Dangers of Torchiere Lamps?

Sienna Condy

Before you buy a torchiere lamp for your home, it's important to know the dangers certain types of torchiere lamps present. Torchiere lamps are typically tall lamps with bowl-shaped shades on top.

Most modern torchiere lamps present little serious risk, but older halogen torchiere lamps have been linked to greater problems.

Beware of Fire

Although modern torchiere lamps with standard light bulbs are considered safe, older halogen torchiere floor lamps can present a fire hazard. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, halogen torchiere lamps caused more than 189 fires and 11 deaths before 2004. Modern halogen torchiere lamps, which feature the UL standard, have a guard around the halogen light bulb to keep flammable materials from getting close to the bulb and catching fire. If you have a halogen torchiere lamp in your home, never use a halogen bulb above 300 watts; the greater the wattage, the hotter the bulb will get.

Watch for Falling

Heavier-topped shades and bowls can make torchiere lamps of all kinds unstable depending on the placement and structure of the lamp. If possible, position your torchiere lamp outside of the main stream of foot traffic and away from places where children or pets play to limit potential accidents. Although a falling torchiere lamp typically causes little damage to an adult, a falling torchiere lamp can injure a small pet or child.

Don't Get Burned

If your halogen torchiere lamp falls to the floor, don't touch the bulb. Most halogen torchiere lamps use 300-watt halogen bulbs, which can burn your skin when touched. According to the Business Wire from September 29, 2000, halogen bulbs can reach temperatures of 700 to 1100 degrees F. At temperatures that high, you could fry an egg in a matter of minutes. To avoid any danger, remove any flammable materials near the halogen bulb and turn off the light before returning the halogen torchiere lamp to its standing position.