How to Change a Light Bulb Socket

Updated July 20, 2017

When the lamp near your bed or the light over the kitchen table ceases to respond to a new light bulb, it's time to look beyond the bulb to see where the problem truly lies. Usually you will find nothing more complicated than a broken light bulb socket. By replacing only the socket, instead of the entire device, you can salvage a lamp or fixture that you like.

Turn off the power running to the socket and remove the light bulb. If the socket is in a lamp, just unplug it from the power supply it is connected to.

Pull the threaded part of the bracket off the base cover until they separate. You may have to use a pair of pliers to force the piece out of the connection.

Slice off the old socket from the base using wire cutters. Cut into the wire just below the knot on the bottom of the socket.

Strip a small portion of the insulation off the wires coming through the base. You need enough exposed wire to form a small hook.

Form each wire into a large separate loop. Pass the end of one wire through the opposite loop. Repeat with the other wire and the other loop.

Loosen the screws on the bottom of the new socket using a screwdriver. Unscrew each one until there is enough space to fit the wires in.

Pass the hooked wires around the shanks of the screws. Tighten down the screws to hold the wires in place.

Trim away excess wires and make sure nothing is loose. Push the new socket down into the base until it clicks into place.


You can test the wiring in the light while you have the socket out of the way to ensure all of the electricity is good.


Do not attempt to perform any electrical maintenance unless you are somewhat familiar with wiring.

Things You'll Need

  • Pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Screwdriver
  • Light bulb socket
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About the Author

Based in New Hope, Penn., Sherry Feder has been writing computer-related articles since 1987. Her work has appeared in “Inc.” and “Business 2.0” magazines and online at Wired. Feder received the John Goldenberg Award in 2006. She holds a Bachelor of Science in management information systems from the University of Central Florida.