How to change a light bulb

Updated February 21, 2017

Light bulbs come in all shapes, sizes and types. From incandescent bulbs found in most light fixtures and lamps to high-pressure sodium bulbs often found in street lights. Depending on the base of the bulb and the socket of the fixture, each bulb can have a different way to remove and replace. Before you change your light bulb, ensure you have the proper replacement size, wattage and base. Never guess at your replacement bulb, as too many varieties exist.

Remove the light shade from your fixture.

Untwist the light bulb counterclockwise to remove it from the socket. Confirm you have the correct base and wattage for your replacement bulb. There are four sizes of Edison bases, candelabra, intermediate, medium and mogul.

Insert the new replacement bulb into the light socket. Turn the bulb clockwise until it is secured in the fixture. Replace the light shade on your fixture.

Remove the light shade from your fluorescent fixture.

Twist a straight bi-pin fluorescent tube slightly clockwise or counterclockwise to release the bulb from the fluorescent sockets. Insert the bi-pins from the replacement fluorescent tube into the fluorescent sockets and turn clockwise or counterclockwise until the bulb locks in place.

Pull a U-shaped fluorescent tube from the flexible metal hooks holding it into the fixture. Pull the bulb straight from the fluorescent sockets. Insert the replacement U-shaped fluorescent tube into the sockets and secure the tube to the light fixture by snapping it into the metal hooks.

Push in the spring-loaded socket end of the single-pin fluorescent tube fixture to release the tube from the stable socket end of the fixture. Insert the replacement single-pin fluorescent tube into the spring-load socket end and push the bulb into the opposite stable socket to secure the bulb into the fixture.

Unplug the four-pin connector from a circline fluorescent tube. Release the bulb from the flexible metal or plastic clips holding the bulb in the fixture. Snap a new circline fluorescent tube into the metal or plastic clips to hold it in the fixture, and plug the four-pin connector into the socket located on the bulb.

Replace the light shade on your fluorescent fixture.

Remove the shade from your light fixture to expose the light bulb.

Pull the bi-pin bulb directly out of the socket. Verify the wattage of your replacement bulb and the pin spacing against the bulb you removed. The wattage and the pin spacing vary from bulb to bulb.

Wrap the replacement bulb in a tissue if replacing a halogen bi-pin bulb. Push the replacement bulb into the bi-pin socket. If the bulb doesn't fit, verify you have the correct replacement bulb and pin placement. Replace the light-fixture cover.

Remove the light shade from your fixture to expose the GU10 or bayonet-base light bulb.

Grasp both the GU10 and the bayonet-base bulb and lightly push against the bulb while turning the bulb counterclockwise, releasing the pins from the socket.

Line the pins up from the bulb with the openings in the socket for both the bayonet and the GU10 bulb. Push in and turn the bulb clockwise to secure it in the socket. Replace the light shade onto the light fixture.

Open your light fixture to expose the wedge-base bulb.

Pull the wedge-base bulb out of the socket. Push the replacement wedge-base bulb into the light fixture's socket.

Replace the cover onto the light fixture.

Take the cover from the light fixture to access the halogen tube.

Pull the double-end halogen tube from the spring-loaded socket. Wrap the replacement halogen tube in tissue, as the oils from your fingers can damage the bulb.

Push the replacement double-end halogen bulb into the spring-loaded socket. Replace the light fixture's cover.

Things You'll Need

  • Tissue
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About the Author

Cecilia Harsch has been writing professionally since 2009. She writes mainly home improvement, health and travel articles for various online publications. She has several years of experience in the home-improvement industry, focusing on gardening, and a background in group exercise instruction. Harsch received her Certified Nurses Assistant license in 2004. She attended Tarrant County College and studied English composition.