Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Let there be light

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 changed the rules for light kits in ceiling fans. Prior to that, most ceiling fans with light kits took regular-base light bulbs. In 2007, manufacturers stopped making ceiling fans that took regular-base light bulbs. Many switched to candelabra bases, and others switched to CFLs. We have halogen bulbs with regular bases that we really like, though, so when we put in a 4-socket ceiling fan in 2008 that came with candelabra bases, I rewired the light kit and attached regular sockets.

I forgot about this silliness until we installed a new ceiling fan in the guest room last week. The last time I bought the identical fan for my office, it came with a single 75-watt-max regular-base socket. When I opened the new one, to my surprise it came with a tiny 75-watt halogen bulb. Very cute, good light output, and completely incompatible with using any new efficient light bulbs. Or even older more efficient light bulbs. In my office ceiling fan, I use a 70-watt regular-base halogen that puts out 1600 lumens. The tiny 75-watt halogen puts out 1300 lumens. The new efficiency rules are forcing me to use a less efficient light. And forget about ever putting in a medium-base CFL or LED, since the socket is wrong. This is clearly the wrong outcome of the new rules.

The ceiling fan manufacturer came through for me when I called, and sent me a couple of replacement regular-base light kits for when I want to switch to a more efficient bulb. But I can’t publicly thank them for that, because I agreed with their wonderful customer service rep that we never had that conversation and that they wouldn’t ship me anything. The correct light kits arrived yesterday, in time for installing the last ceiling fan on Thursday. Or would have arrived yesterday, if they had shipped me anything. Which they didn’t. At no charge.

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