How to change an outdoor light bulb

Updated February 21, 2017

Outdoor lights are installed in a variety of locations around the yard to illuminate walkways as well as to increase safety. Outdoor light fixtures typically use either a standard-sized bulb, such as those installed next to the front door, or a flood light such as those installed on the corners of a home or on a tree. Changing these bulbs is slightly different depending on which one you have, but the basic process is the same.

Turn off the power switch to the outdoor light fixture, which is typically locate just inside the front or back door. For floodlights or other hard-wired lights there is no switch to turn off.

Place a step ladder or a ladder under the location where the outdoor light is installed so that you can reach it without stretching.

Remove the outer globe or glass cover from the light fixture, if applicable. These are typically attached via two small screws at the base of the glass. Use a screwdriver to remove the screws and then lift the glass straight up away from the fixture.

Grasp the bulb in your hand and turn it counterclockwise to remove it from the outdoor fixture.

Insert a new bulb that is identical to the old one into the light socket and twist it clockwise until it will no longer turn.

Insert the glass back onto the light fixture, if applicable, by tightening the screws with the screwdriver.

Climb down off of the ladder and go inside the house to turn the power switch back on. Verify that the new bulb functions properly. If the light has no switch, such as a flood light, the bulb should light up immediately.


Check packaging label to make sure the bulb you buy is for outdoor use.

Things You'll Need

  • Ladder or step ladder
  • Screwdriver
  • Replacement light bulb
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About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.