How to change spot light bulbs

Updated February 21, 2017

Even if you work behind the scenes, you cannot escape the spotlight when it comes time for maintenance and repair in your home or office. Spotlight bulbs can be found in diverse locations, including your own home, as some types of overhead lighting use a spotlight design to illuminate specific areas, like a worktop in the kitchen or artwork on your walls. Changing spotlight bulbs requires slightly more effort than regular lamp bulbs.

Turn off the spotlight's power source. Make sure the light is deactivated; even if the bulb is burnt out, electricity flowing to the light socket can result in electric shock injury.

Remove the protective glass or plastic cover from the spotlight. Different lights will have different covers. Some may require simple pushing or turning in the right direction. Others may be installed with screws or hinges that must be removed with screwdrivers or pliers.

Set the cover and any hardware that goes with it aside in an area in which it will not get lost or damaged. If necessary for multiple pieces of hardware, label or draw out a diagram so you remember where each one goes.

Remove the old bulb from the spotlight. Turn the bulb counter-clockwise to remove it from its socket. Alternatively, some spotlights may be directly attached to wires by a plug; unplug the bulb to remove it.

Replace the old bulb with the new. Plug the new bulb into the socket or screw it in clockwise.

Reattach the cover and any hardware. Once everything is back in place, turn on the lights to test the new bulb.


Make sure you use the proper model and wattage for your lighting installation. Your spotlight's manufacturer may provide such specifications. You can also remove the old bulb first and purchase your new bulbs based on that old bulb.


Never attempt any lighting maintenance while the power switch is activated. This can result in serious injury.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver or pliers
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About the Author

Samantha Volz has been involved in journalistic and informative writing for over eight years. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with a minor in European history. In college she was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and completed a professional internship with the "Williamsport Sun-Gazette," serving as a full-time reporter. She resides in Horsham, Pennsylvania.