When the Lights Go Out: A Sea Gull Lighting Review

What is the first thing that you look at when you’re getting ready to rent or buy a house? Do you look at the yard or curb appeal? How about the condition of the paint or the foundation? If you cook or entertain, you probably looked at the kitchen appliances. How about size, location, and flooring? Well, I can almost guarantee you probably never even conceived the idea to check for our dilemma, let me spell it out in one word, lights.

I never even thought to check for such an issue, and the only reason I now to know is because this issue is staring me right in the face, an it doesn’t look pretty.

Earlier this year we searched long and hard for a house, which was difficult since they have been selling and renting like hot cakes. It was rough and our quest was long. Alas we found one. It was small, 3 beds and 2 baths, at least after moving from and abode with 5 bedrooms and 4 baths. It had it’s flaws, but we thought that was fine, little did we know of  it’s Achilles heal.


click to enlarge

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When The Lights Go Out – The Hidden Beast.

When we moved in we knew that some light bulbs would fail, such is the way of all man’s creations. But, in our haste to find ourselves an new place to call home, we overlooked that fact that many of the lights were proprietary, and the machines that did make them have long gone silent. This monster hidden in the night, chose to pounce only 8 months later and rear it’s ugly head. So begins our epic quest to discover, the Light Bulb of POWAAAA!

This is what I was expecting to find when I removed the kitchen flood lights.

This is what I expected to see when I removed the compact fluorescent bulbs in the bathroom.

That is NOT what we found. We discovered that all the bedroom, bathroom, and living room light fixtures in this house were from Sea Gull lighting, which unfortunately also use proprietary lightbulbs along with proprietary ballasts which also happen to “burn out.” They each have specialized connections and cost a pretty penny. This fiend of the night was not going down without a fight.

This is a Sea Gull Ballast

This is a Sea Gull light bulb. Notice the lack of threading to screw it into the light fixture.

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My son, Caleb, told us that the ballasts can “burn out,” too. So, we got a light bulb that refused to turn on and put it into a functional ballast. The light bulb worked! That’s great, but now we know we will also have to add ballasts to our shopping list. Not a fun prospect after spending a fortune on Thanksgiving dinner and getting ready for Christmas.


This morning, I started researching the replacements. I was blown away! One ballast from the manufacturer’s website was $25 plus shipping and handling! The lightbulbs, though discontinued, were about $13 a piece when they were still in stock. Amazon sells the light bulbs now for about $15 each. Only then did begin to realize the difficulty of this task.

That’s $40 per socket…

One bathroom fixture has 3 lightbulbs and ballasts, and the other bathroom has 6! If they all went out…


If you have ever rented a home before, you probably were responsible for replacing lightbulbs before you move out. I can’t just leave those that don’t work just the way they are when I move out in January. I HAVE to replace them.

I refuse to cough up that kind of dough for myself, let alone a rental, when there’s the possibility of a lower cost option.

If you’re new to my blog, let me fill you in. I embark on many adventures in an effort to discover lowest cost options to get what I want. Of course, I make sure that it will save me in both the short term and the long term. (I’ve saved an estimated $2500 on home phone since I joined Ooma in 2012 and this month’s cell phone bill with Ting is $60 for 5 lines). Just in case you end up with a house full of Sea Gull light fixtures, too, I’ll show you what I found to save a you a boat load of money.

I started off by looking up the costs of the exact model lightbulbs and ballasts. Even at half price, the cost was ridiculous!

VIVA SU13-GEN2 Replacement Ballast for 1 13W CFL 4 Pin Lamp with GU24 Base

To sum it up I slaved away for 2 hours on my epic quest to, once again, to locate the “Lightbulb of POWAA!” In my search, I found out that I not only needed to make sure that the ballast had GU24 prongs at the bottom, it needed to have threading and a ring to keep the glass bell-shaped decoration attached to the fixture.

Some of the places I searched and considered buying replacement ballasts:

  • eBay: With shipping and handling, the total was about 16 at the time I’m posting.
  • eBay: If I didn’t need threading, there were some amazing deals for $15ish and less for lots of 2 to 10 with free shipping

I wasn’t impressed with Amazon’s prices.

While searching, I found GU24 2 Pin male to E26 female (the kind that uses regular lightbulbs) ballasts. Most wouldn’t work because they didn’t have the threading on the outside that I need. I found I could buy large quantities of unthreaded ballasts on Amazon  and eBay from various venders for very enticing prices. We’re talking about a pack of 15 for $12.69 at Amazon and a pack of 10 for $11.81 at eBay.

What great bargains! There had to be some that were threaded, so I kept looking around.

The Fall of a Titan.

Alas our quest was over! We ended up choosing a GU24 2 Pin male to E26 female Bulkhead Ceramic Adapter  (instead of a 13W GU24 TO G24Q-1 CONVERSION BALLAST) so that the next tenants that move in after we leave in January, can choose lightbulbs at any store for a lower cost and have more options. At LEDlight.com (I don’t get any kickbacks for this recommendation). And we declared “Let the story of our trials, victories, and our failures be known to all!” And so we began this log of our deeds so that you may profit from it.

GU24 2 Pin male to E26 female Bulkhead Ceramic Adapter

When they come, I’ll let you know how it goes and if they work with our light fixtures. We’re hanging onto the rings that we have with our current ballasts to see if they are compatible with the new ballasts (some  fear that the threading is too thin on the older rings/ lights, while other still believe that all will be well )because we suspect that the new rings have too small of a diameter to keep the glass fixtures up.

In conclusion do not as have done, and fully understand the flaws of any home that you may seek to rent or purchase, and check your light fixtures before you buy, else this monster of the night may soon visit you. Thank you for your time, and farewell. I will not hesitate to update this adventure log so return again to hear the remains of our quest.  

Homeschooling in the Burbs signing out…

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Showing 2 comments
  • Margie

    Thanks! I had the same problem and couldn’t find GU24 to E26 E27 adapters that were threaded on the outside for the shade ring. No google searches came up with the adapters I need but it did bring up your blog. Thank goodness! I have measured and ordered the above referenced adapter and I am confident that it will work for me!

    Your blog saved me hours of additional research!

    • Becky

      I’m so glad I could help you and, hopefully, save you a bunch of money. I love saving money and helping the people in my circle do the same. Welcome to the tribe!

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