home Convert a Torchiere lamp to use a CF Bulb
A step by step guide to converting a Halogen bulb Torchiere floor lamp to use a Compact Fluorescent bulb
Given the concerns about the increasing costs of Energy - both economic and environmental, I decided to convert my Halogen Bulb Torchiere floor lamp to use a more energy efficient Compact Fluorescent Bulb. While the 300 Watt Halogen bulb is quite bright, most of the energy used is wasted as heat. The Halogen bulbs are very hot and are a fire hazard. By using a 30-60 Watt Fluorescent bulb instead, the lamp is made safer and more energy efficient. Here are the steps I took to perform this conversion. Your torchiere lamp could be slightly different so you might need to improvise and adjust these steps.
Tools Needed: You'll need screwdrivers (flat-blade and phillips), Needle-nose pliers, wire cutters, wire strippers, electrical tape, wire nuts, and optionally a drill (for drilling new holes if the existing ones are not ideally located).
Parts Needed: The parts you need should be available from your local hardware store. I found everything I needed at Home Depot. I bought a 9" circular Energy Efficient Compact Fluorescent bulb with the attached adapter, rated at 30-Watt and with a light output of 2000 lumens Cost: $12.98. A shallow conventional porcelain bulb socket Cost: $1.39 and a rotary on-off switch Cost: $3.29. Using the existing dimmer switch with a conventional CF bulb would result in the CF bulb failing prematurely. Total cost including CA sales tax: $19.11
- Important Unplug the Torchiere lamp from the wall socket.
- Remove the glass shield that protects the Halogen Bulb by unscrewing the two sheet metal screws which hold the glass shield over the lamp
- Remove the Halogen bulb using a piece of cloth or paper towel. The bulb is held in place by spring-loaded terminals. Just press against one of the terminal and lift the opposite side of the halogen bulb.
- Remove the Aluminum Heat Shield by removing the attaching screw(s)
- Remove the Halogen Bulb Holder assembly by removing the 2 screws and cut the attaching wires.
- Remove and Replace the Dimmer Switch with a rotary ON/OFF switch. This requires disassembling the stand. Stands are typically made up of a metal or plastic base and 2 or 3 metal tube sections which screw into one another. Screwing and Unscrewing the sections causes the wires going through them to twist, so it is better to do this when the wires are not attached at one end. Unscrew the two sections nearest the switch from each other. Remove the switch knob by pulling on it, then loosen the nut holding the switch using needle-nose pliers and remove the nut and flat washer. Using a flat blade screwdriver you can pry the switch out from the section and pull it free. Cut only the 2 wires attaching to the switch assembly and remove the old switch assembly. Make sure the wires have about 3/8" stripped of insulation and connect the new switch wires to the previously cut wires by twisting the bare wire pairs together and twisting a wire nut over the paired wires. Check the wire nuts are on tight by pulling on them and check that no bare wire is showing. Install the new rotary switch in the original hole. If the new switch shaft is too large to fit into the existing hole, you can enlarge the hole using a drill. Fasten the new switch to the stand section using the nut supplied with the new switch. Reassemble the stand sections together.
- Prepare the new porcelain socket for installation. This socket comes with an L-shaped bracket for attaching it to a fixture. However, for this project, the bracket needs to be a flat - horizontal piece. Remove the L-shaped bracket from the socket by unscrewing the screw inside the socket. Flatten the bracket carefully using pliers or a vise and reinstall the attaching bracket on the socket.
- Attach the new porcelain socket to the existing bracket in the torchiere. You can use one of the original screws and an existing hole in the bracket or, if you want to center the socket in the lamp, you may need to drill a new hole in the bracket, using the appropriate drill bit. I used a 1/8 " drill bit to drill a new hole. Although the electrical connections are recessed on the underside of the socket, for additional safety, I added electrical tape where the socket touches the bracket. If you use the original machine screw, and you drilled a new hole you may want to tap new threads or use a self tapping or sheet metal screw. Another option is to fasten it with a machine screw + lock washer + nut. Make sure the socket is strongly fastened. You want it to be able to withstand the screwing and unscrewing of the CF bulb. About 3/8" of insulation should be stripped from the socket and lamp wires. Connect the white wire from the socket to one of the existing lamp wires. Connect the other wire from the socket to the remaining wire. Twist the bare wire ends of each connecting pairs together in a clockwise direction, then twist a small wire nut also in a clockwise direction making sure the wire nut connection is secure and that no bare wire is visible. Use Electrical tape for additional safety.
- Install the new CF Lamp in the new socket.
- Plug it in and test it
There you have it. There's no need to send this lamp to a landfill or to give away an energy wasting fixture. With just a few inexpensive parts, you can turn it into a more energy efficient lamp. Using an energy usage meter called a Kill-A-Watt, I measured the actual energy used by the lamp. Before the conversion, the Halogen bulb was using 280 Watts. After the conversion the CF lamp is using only 40 Watts.