How to Replace a Halogen 50W With CFL

Written by maxwell payne
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Halogen light bulbs, while slightly more energy-efficient than incandescent light bulbs, tend to run at high temperatures and have shorter lifespans than compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL). Compact fluorescent lamps can replace certain types of halogen lights, including 50W models. Replacing halogen with CFL can reduce energy costs, extend lamp life, and reduce the heat output of the lamp.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Turn off and unplug the halogen lamp fixture. If the halogen bulb has a pin design, you need to pull up and out to remove the bulb. Some bulbs have pin designs that require them to be turned slightly counterclockwise before being pulled out. Inspect the base of the bulb. If it is a screw-in bulb, simply turn the bulb counterclockwise to remove it.

  2. 2

    Look at the bottom of the bulb to determine the size of the base of the bulb. If it is a screw-in bulb, you will need to buy a screw-in CFL. If it is pin-based, you will need to buy a special torchiere-style CFL bulb. These can be identified by their circular shape and pin connectors.

    (see reference 1)

  3. 3

    Bring the old bulb to a hardware store or lighting store to find a bulb that matches the socket size and connector type. A screw-in CFL will not work with a pin connection. The reverse is also true.

  4. 4

    Match the maximum wattage of the halogen bulb with the replacement CFL bulb. In this case, a 50W halogen bulb can be replaced with a CFL that has a listed output of 50W. The bulb's usage watts will be lower than the output watts listed, due to energy efficiency. Do not buy bulbs with output or usage wattage that exceed the maximum wattage of the light fixture.

    (see reference 1)

  5. 5

    Install the bulb either by screwing it in clockwise or by pushing the bulb's pin connectors in place and turning it clockwise, if needed. Plug the lamp back into the wall outlet and turn it on to test the bulb. CFL bulbs take a few minutes to warm up to their full brightness levels.

Tips and warnings

  • Replace incandescent and halogen bulbs with CFL bulbs when possible to save on energy costs and reduce the output of heat from the lights.
  • Never try to force an incompatible bulb base into a light fixture. If the base is too large, too small, or not the same connection type, this can cause a fire hazard.

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