Everything You Need to Know About Changing a Light Bulb

May 14, 2018

Everything You Need to Know About Changing a Light Bulb

How many homeowners does it take to change a light bulb? Hopefully, just you. This helpful guide will teach you all about changing a light bulb and which bulbs you should buy.

Changing a light bulb is one of those household electrical jobs that date all the way back to our light-bulb-changing forefathers. It's something that conjures up images of rugged screw turning and high-density stepladders, made for hard work.

But do you know where your light bulbs are?

Would you know the difference between a halogen bulb or a CFL?

Where does the glass end go?

It's fine if you don't know - because we're here to tell you! Join us, today, as we take a closer look at what the best bulbs on the market are, and how to go about changing yours when it's time.

A Bulb For All Seasons

When changing a light bulb, you need to understand that there are more variations of light bulbs today than literally any other point in history. By a good dozen or so.

Okay, well, no, there are four major groups, which can still be intimidating. Let's take a closer look at these, and clear things up with our comprehensive bulb replacement guide. Depending on cost, light production, and energy efficiency, the right bulb is out there, on a shelf, waiting for you to pick it up.


These bulbs are the "standard light bulb" you imagine over a cartoon character's head when they get an idea. They give off warm, yellowed light and have been popular for many years, but lose 90% of their energy just through the heat they give off.

Halogen Incandescent

Halogen gas began appearing in bulbs after a 2007 law, which prohibited energy wastage in commercial products. This small change improved the energy usage of these bulbs while managing the same amount of light.


Compact Fluorescents (CFLs) are the ice cream-shaped light bulbs that used to be only for people with money to burn on costly lighting. This isn't the case anymore. With more brightness and a lower price, these energy efficient bulbs have become much more popular recently.


Owing to their price tag, these parachute-shaped bulbs haven't gained much of the domestic home use market. Their powerful lighting and longer lifespans mean their prices are becoming less intimidating.

How To Change A Lightbulb: A Guide

And now, with no further ado, it's time to change light bulbs.

Turn Off The Power

This might sound like an obvious tip, but it's one of two potentially dangerous steps in changing any light bulb, so we should take a minute to cover it.

Before you do anything, make sure your light switch is in the "off" position. Compare it to other switches nearby. Make sure it's not on, and you stand a next-to-no chance of shocking yourself while you work.

And make sure to let the bulb cool, if it's just been on a second ago.

Make Sure You Have A Secure Stool

The next step, luckily for us, is the second potentially dangerous step in changing your light bulb.

It's crucial that you find a secure platform to stand on while you work. This can be a chair, table, step ladder or otherwise. The important thing is that you should be able to stand on it without it rocking or tipping to any big extent.

The more confident you feel about your perch, the less likely you'll be to teeter or totter while up high and reaching out to change your bulb.

Remove The Old Bulb

If the burnt out light bulb is within reach, simply reach out and grasp it. Don't squeeze overly hard, or you'll risk smashing it and cutting yourself.

If the bulb doesn't turn left, freely, the bulb might be a bayonet-style fitting. These are rare In this case, push the bulb firmly into the fitting to see if it retracts into the socket. If so, push it all the way in, then twist it left. It should slide, then stop and, when you lift your hand, the bulb should slide out.

A note: if your bulb is in a high vaulted ceiling, eave, or otherwise, there are many excellent bulb extension arms available at hardware stores. These let you reach out and slip a fitting around the bulb and move it, with a long extension arm. Buying one of these will save you a lot of effort, but also keep you safe when changing out a light bulb.

Replace It With The New One

Working from the light bulb replacement guide above, choose a replacement that either matches the old bulb or is more appropriate. An important part of this decision is in choosing a power rating to match your fitting.

This is up to you. Change the light bulb by twisting it up into the socket, using the same amount of force you used to remove the dead one.

Light Up

One your bulb has been installed, flip the power switch to turn it back on. If your bulb is properly inserted (and the bulb itself isn't a dud), the light should turn on and you should be back in the light business. Congratulations! But remember you're not quite finished, yet!

Dispose Of Your Old Bulb

Light bulbs are, essentially, little grass hand grenades, ready to explode into a shower of glass at the slightest bump. Okay, that might be a little dramatic, but the point is they're fragile.

Don't throw burnt out bulbs right into the trash. They may shatter and hurt a refuse worker or an animal. Instead, wrap up the bulb in another, smaller bag or a large piece of balled up newspaper or magazine pages.

Changing A Light Bulb: Easy When You Know How

And there it is: the end of our journey. With your bulb changed and the glass body of that old burnt out bulb safely in the trash, there's nothing left to do but enjoy some time in the light.

If you want to learn about more than just simply a light bulb, check out some of our excellent blog pieces, and get the better of your home electricity, today!