How To Replace A Bulb In A Recessed Light Fixture

by Claude Walters

If you have a damaged recessed light bulb in your home, you don't have to replace the whole fixture. Changing a recessed light bulb can be tricky, since little space exists between the bulb and fixture, but it isn't impossible to change the bulb yourself. Here are some tips to change a recessed light bulb.

Prepare to Work

For this project, you need a ladder, voltage tester, duct tape, and a replacement recessed light bulb. If the lights have been on, turn them off, and let them cool for several minutes. For extra safety, turn off the power to the lights from the breaker box.

Test the fixture with a voltage meter to ensure there is no current. Touch both test probes to the light socket The voltage tester will beep, if it detects a current. Set a ladder on a level surface, and get someone to hold it for you.

Remove the Old Bulb

Examine the fixture to determine the type of trim. An eyeball trim allows you to adjust the bulb at different angles. A baffle trim has ribbing that holds the bulb in the housing to reduce glare. Only remove decorative or wet wall trims, commonly installed above showers.

Pull the outer edges of the bulb trim down with your fingers, which should expose the butterfly springs. Press the butterfly springs together to free the trim from the L-bracket.

Twist the bulb to the left to remove it. If the light bulb is hard to remove by hand, tear a foot long strip of duct tape. Attach it to the center of the bulb so it forms a "U"; leaving tails for handles. Keep twisting until you get enough leverage to finish removing the bulb by hand.

To remove bulbs with eyeball or baffle trims, point the bulb to the floor. Rotate the bulb left to remove it. If it won't budge, attach duct tape in the middle of the bulb so it makes a "U" and follow the instructions given in the previous paragraph.

Install the New Bulb

Take the old bulb with you to use as a guide for a replacement. Compare the pins on the new bulb and old bulbs to ensure they are the same length apart.

Don't throw the old bulb away, as it may contain mercury, which harms the environment. Check in your area for recycling programs.Set the new bulb in the socket, then reinstall the springs and trim.

Restore power, and test the bulb for proper operation. If it still doesn't work, or you don't trust your skill, contact an electrician, like one at D & D Electric Enterprises, Inc.