Up until a few months ago, all of my bedroom ceiling fans used Compact Florescent bulbs (CFLs). Back in October I bought a Hampton Bay Ceiling fan for Dani’s room and when I installed the light fixture I noticed it had a different socket type. It used Intermediate base bulbs (also known as E17). These bulbs are rare and there is no CFL option. So I went back to Home Depot and sure enough all the manufacturers were starting to use these things. The Home Depot guy suspected it was a conspiracy between the ceiling fan companies and the bulb manufacturer. There is only a single brand of intermediate base bulbs at Home Depot so this made a little sense. They also cost as much as a CFL!
I had no desire to use these bulbs so I started looking into converting my base to use the standard medium base socket. I saw a medium base for a ceiling fan display model at Home Depot but they wouldn’t sell it to me and it was no longer going to be carried. The plot thickened. So I looked on the Lowes website and I found a medium base socket that I figured I could retrofit onto my base. While I was looking for the item at Lowes, I asked a representative of one of the lighting companies (who was restocking) about the intermediate bases and he said it was all part of the 2007 Energy Bill. Huh? How can using a base that doesn’t support CFLs be part of an energy bill? I googled around and it appears this was a loophole to get around the Bill. The bill required ceiling fan manufacturers to ship with CFLs, UNLESS they used candelabra or intermediate base bulbs.
Here is the conversion that I did tonight in about 15 minutes.
DISCLAIMER: Please do no do this unless you are experienced with electrical wiring. Follow these steps at your own risk. There may be typos so use common sense if you do this.
1) Unscrew the existing sockets and cut the wires. Keep track of the original wiring. Save the screws.
2) Remove the mount from the Lowes socket and attach it to the base with the screw from the intermediate base. Twist and bend to get it as close to center.
3) You’ll need to strip the existing wires that were not part of the intermediate bases.
4) Combine your whites and blacks and attach with a twist on electrical wire connector.
Since these sockets are bigger I needed to bend the socket a little before the light covers fit but overall the fixture looks great.
Pictures. yeah close ups are out of focus but hopefully helpful.
This is the bottom of the intermediate bulb base. poor focus. This is where you will find the screw to remove it.
Here is how the medium base (lleft) compares to the intermediate base (right).
The new base had 2 screws. I removed them and used the screw from the intermediate base since I knew it fit the fixture.
And now I have CFL joy.