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How to Remove a Halogen Mr-16 Bulb

Updated February 21, 2017

Halogen MR-16 bulbs burn brighter than normal tungsten bulbs and provide a much clearer light. The "MR" designation stands for "multifaceted reflector," which gives this series of bulbs a softer edge when lit. These types of bulbs use the same tungsten filament as normal bulbs, but the inside of the MR-16 bulb is filled with halogen, which gives the filament a longer life. You can remove a halogen MR-16 bulb from lamps or other fixtures yourself --- but the key is to use caution because these bulbs get quite hot.

Turn off the power to the bulb you are replacing, either by turning off the light switch or cutting the power for the electrical circuit which the light is on at the main circuit breaker. If you cut the power off at the main breaker, test that you have cut the right circuit by trying to turn on the halogen bulb at the light switch. If you've cut the right circuit, the bulb should stay dim.

Remove any covering from around the bulb, such as frosted glass or covers. Wear gloves or wait a few minutes for the bulb to cool, as this surface can be quite hot.

Remove any clips holding the bulb in place. This is most commonly found in downlighting. Use a pair of needle-nose pliers to pull out the retaining clip.

Press down on the MR-16 halogen bulb and turn counterclockwise to remove. Some MR-16 bulbs plug into the socket directly and do not need to be turned to remove.

Avoid touching the glass part of the bulb when removing. Oil and skin salt that are present on your fingers stay behind on the glass. Once deposited, they can weaken the glass in the bulb. This leads to a shorter bulb life. It can also cause halogen bulbs to explode, rather than simply burn out.

Things You'll Need

  • Needle-nose pliers
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About the Author

Nathan McGinty started writing in 1995. He has a Bachelor of Science in communications from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in international journalism from City University, London. He has worked in the technology industry for more than 20 years, in positions ranging from tech support to marketing.