How to Replace a Ceiling Fan Light Socket

If one of the light sockets on your ceiling fan has gone bad, don't despair--at least not before you've checked things out. You shouldn't have to replace the whole fixture to get a light working again. Light sockets on ceiling fans are pretty much the same as those on standard lighting fixtures, and many are replaceable. But before you disassemble the light, try this quick fix: Turn off the power to the fixture at the breaker box, then pry up the little metal tab at the base of the socket, using a small screwdriver. Restore power and test the light with a good bulb. Sometimes, a tab gets pressed down too far and fails to make contact with the bulb tip. If that technique doesn't work, remove and replace the socket.

Hand holding screwdriver
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Replace the Light Socket

Step 1

Shut off the power to the fan's circuit at the service panel or breaker box. Remove any globe or shade covering the socket on the fan.

Step 2

Inspect inside and around the socket for mounting screws securing the socket to the fixture. Remove the screws. Pull the socket away from the fixture to expose the fixture wires and the screw terminals securing the wires to the socket.

Step 3

Disconnect the wires from the terminals and remove the socket. If the wires are soldered or otherwise permanently affixed to the socket, you may be able to cut the wires and install a new socket with screw terminals. Don't cut the wires until you find a compatible replacement socket.

Step 4

Purchase a new socket that carries the same voltage, amperage (amp) and wattage ratings as the original. Also make sure the new socket will fit securely into the fixture.

Step 5

Connect the fixture wires to the terminals on the new socket, and install the socket with the mounting screws. Restore power to the fan circuit, then test the socket with a good bulb. Reinstall the globe or shade, as applicable.


Philip Schmidt

Philip Schmidt

Philip Schmidt is author of Install Your Own Solar Panels, The Complete Guide to Treehouses, and 18 other home-related how-to books. A former carpenter, he has been a full-time writer and editor for over two decades, teaching DIYers about houses and everything we do with them.