How to Change a Lightbulb

Changing a lightbulb is a simple task for most people. However, a routine chore can quickly become dangerous if you’re not careful. You could be dealing with an electric shock if the proper precautions aren’t taken, or even a burn if the bulb is hot. If you need to climb up somewhere to get to it, severe injuries can result by falling from an unsecure area.

The general rules for safely changing a lightbulb are as follows:

Turn Off the Main Power – Switching off the main circuit breaker ensures no power can reach the outlet. Turning off the light switch doesn’t guarantee the light fixture isn’t live. A wiring problem or poor workmanship can mean live power is still present. Electricity may still travel through the neutral line in such cases. Shut down the fuse box unless you have an electrical meter to check for current flow at the socket.

Wait for the Bulb to Cool Down – Light bulbs, especially incandescent bulbs, tend to generate a lot of heat, which is why they’re less efficient than today’s LEDs. Touching a hot bulb can be a nasty surprise. The consequences are usually not severe, and certainly not life threatening, but who wants to get burned? Wait a little bit after the bulb is turned off before you try to change it.

Use the Proper Equipment to Reach the Bulb – If you’re changing the bulb of a ceiling light or other high fixture, use a secure ladder. Don’t reach higher than you’re capable of. Table chairs and couches are not designed to support a person in the position they need to be in. Therefore, use a stepladder or secure stool to reach the location and protect your safety.

Removing and Replacing a Lightbulb

Use Care When Removing the Bulb – The bulb should screw out easily. If it gets stuck or requires a lot of pressure to remove, use a thick glove to grip it. Too much pressure could cause the glass to break in your hand and cut you. Perhaps the bulb has broken off the base or excessive humidity in the room affected the socket. Also, if something is stuck inside the fixture, use a tool to remove it. The object may be sharp.

Rarer bayonet-style bulbs are removed by pushing them into the fitting. Once the bulb retracts into the socket, push and twist left. The bulb should then slide out.

Install a Suitable Replacement – Before inserting a new light bulb, check the power rating of the fixture. Inserting a bulb that exceeds this rating can create a fire hazard because the extra power can heat up and melt the wires in the fixture and walls. Avoid this risk by installing a bulb with a power rating less than or equal to that of the fixture. The light bulb should easily tighten into the socket when you twist it clockwise.

Turn It On – When the bulb is tightly inserted into the socket, switch the main breaker and turn on the light. If the light turns on, the job was a success. Now throw away the old bulb, wrapping it up in paper and/or a plastic bag before disposing of it.

Contact Express Electrical Services

When a new bulb doesn’t work, flickers, or makes noise, it can be a dud or there may be a fixture or wiring problem. Express Electrical Services can send a Los Angeles electrician to your home anywhere in Southern California to assess the problem. Call 855-976-9049 or request service online for 24/7 service by a local electrician.


Share This Post!