Changing a light bulb.

Help Support House Repair Talk:

swimmer_spe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2015
Messages
751
Reaction score
131
I have a CFL light bulb that is hanging by the wires. It still works, but I am concerned with it hanging down. How do I pull it out? I know to shut the breaker off. If it was an old incandescent bulb I would shut the power off and then shove a screw driver in and turn it out.
 

afjes_2016

Established Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2016
Messages
511
Reaction score
234
swimmer_spe
Any way you can take a better shot? This is far too dark to really see anything to help you.
 

Steve123

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2017
Messages
227
Reaction score
93
Can't see a thing from that photo, so can't comment much on best removal technique, but you don't want to break the glass, so first think I would do is shut off power and cut the wires to remove the glass portion.
If there is a screw base in the fixture, a screwdriver and needle nose pliers might be helpful in getting it out

If you really have a hard time getting bulb remnants out, keep in mind that you can buy a new lamp holder for less than two bucks.
 

Snoonyb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
4,293
Reaction score
870
Since the lamp is, already, broken, why not just use your trued-n-tru method?
 

Bob Reynolds

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2008
Messages
127
Reaction score
72
To get a broken light bulb socket out of the fixture you first turn off the power!!! VERY IMPORTANT!!!!

Carefully break away the glass part away from the socket. Use gloves and safety glasses in this instance because the bulb is hanging down.

Using needle nose pliers, "gently" try to wiggle the center remnants of the bulb while attempting to turn the bulb counter clockwise. It's probably going to break off, but it's worth a shot.

If the center remnants break off, then you will be left with the socket. Open the needle nose pliers are far as they will go so that the back of the needles compress against the inside of the socket. Now try to turn the pliers counter clockwise while keeping pressure on the socket with the pliers. Hopefully that will get it out.

If that doesn't work, then you would need to grab the lip of the socket with the pliers and try to turn it that way. That often damages the socket and you may have to cut it out in pieces using tin snips.

The reason these sockets get stuck is usually moisture. That causes the socket to corrode and makes it difficult to remove. If you have a wet area (like a bathroom or even an outdoor fixture), it is a good idea to coat the sides of the socket, on the new bulb, with a light coat of petroleum jelly. This will usually prevent this from happening again.
 

raymond-

Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
18
Reaction score
6
Location
Seattle, WA USA
turn off power. cut potato and jamb it into the socket to safely grip the jagged edged. use potato as a handle to turn the fractured bulb socket out
 

afjes_2016

Established Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2016
Messages
511
Reaction score
234
Raymond that is what I was going to say to do - ha ha ha ha

Anyway, swimmer_spe - my advice is to just buy a new light fixture base. They are super inexpensive and should be very easy to install. Done with it! You will spend less time probably replacing it than trying to remove that mess without damaging anything.

Get a plastic one, not ceramic. I like them better.
 

swimmer_spe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2015
Messages
751
Reaction score
131
Raymond that is what I was going to say to do - ha ha ha ha

Anyway, swimmer_spe - my advice is to just buy a new light fixture base. They are super inexpensive and should be very easy to install. Done with it! You will spend less time probably replacing it than trying to remove that mess without damaging anything.

Get a plastic one, not ceramic. I like them better.
That sounds easier. Good thing is, with this bulb still working, I can easily verify that I have shut the power off.
 

Jeff Handy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2019
Messages
819
Reaction score
282
Location
Chicago suburbs
I have usually had good luck with just firmly grabbing the lip of the aluminum bulb base with a needle nose pliers, and unscrewing it from the socket.
 

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
6,079
Reaction score
2,211
Location
Erie, PA
I have usually had good luck with just firmly grabbing the lip of the aluminum bulb base with a needle nose pliers, and unscrewing it from the socket.
This is how I do it also. if i can't get a grip with the needle nose I take a small screwdriver and pry the base inward. sometimes when i twist the base it folds around the pliers and crushes inward making it turn even easier.

Power off of course.

The trouble with changing out the fixture is I still wouldn't throw it out I would sit it on the workbench to fix later. The trouble with the potato is after I was done I wouldn't like to throw it out as it would still be a good potato just with shards of glass in it. Then i would have to start a thread on the best way to clean a potato.

As to the question of how many DIYers does it take to change a light bulb? The answer is 100. One to change the bulb and 99 to share in the experience. :coffee:
 

afjes_2016

Established Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2016
Messages
511
Reaction score
234
That sounds easier. Good thing is, with this bulb still working, I can easily verify that I have shut the power off.
Swimmer_spe
It sounds like you are going with buying a new fixture route as I suggested.
Two things though
#1 - when you buy the fixture they are usually in a printed plastic bag. You can buy them at your local hardware store, HDepot etc. Just make sure the screws are in the bag. some people nab them for other uses and then put the bag back on the shelf with the fixture less screws. Then the next person comes along, buys it and finds at installation no screws. Just in case - those should be 8-32 machine screws I believe.
#2 - I know you have posted on the electrical forum a few times in the past but I don't remember your skill set. Be sure when you kill the power you don't just shut off the light switch but find the proper breaker and shut off the breaker. If it happens to be a switch loop shutting off the switch will still allow power to be present at the fixture metal box.

Good Luck
 

ctviggen

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
58
Reaction score
16
Location
Connecticut
I've never done the potato trick, but I've heard it works well. I've used needle nose pliers instead. If you have any issues, you could replace the socket too. And if you need more light, you can buy a socket/base plate with a plug receptacle and daisy chain some shop LEDs:

20210205_132714.jpg
 

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
6,079
Reaction score
2,211
Location
Erie, PA
Or replace it with the as seen on TV triburst from Bell&Howell. brushed-silver-bell-howell-flush-mount-lights-7090-c3_600.jpg
 

ctviggen

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
58
Reaction score
16
Location
Connecticut
I have used those for my garage. Those are a good option.

If that one is like mine, though, they are relatively high power, about 60 watts. An LED bulb plus two strips can be a lot lower wattage. Of course, it depends on whether that's something you care about. If you get linkable strips, you can separate them by about 6 feet, which means you can light up a good area.

I tried using one of the tribursts in the basement (I bought 4 and only needed 3 for the garage), and the kids and my wife hated it. Made me take it out. I ended up getting another LED strip for my workspace, since they didn't like the triburst, and I got it from Costco, so it has a remote. I turn it on while I'm working and off when I leave.

On the other hand, the tribursts are probably cheaper:

 
Top