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How to Replace Halogen Recessed Lighting Bulbs

Updated February 21, 2017

Recessed lighting has been around for a long time. Halogen bulbs enhance the light that a recessed light fixture provides by focusing the beam more narrowly. The biggest negative point concerning halogen bulbs is they create high temperatures on their surfaces. This means caution should be taken when replacing halogen bulbs. Another issue is that they are available with many different bases. Learning all you can about halogen bulbs will help prolong the life of the bulbs.

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  1. Locate the rim of the halogen recessed lighting fixture. This is the part of the fixture that is held to the ceiling by springs inside the fixture.

  2. Pull down on the rim gently. Some fixtures have strong springs, making them feel as if they are not removable. Place a putty knife between the rim and the ceiling if necessary to separate it from the ceiling.

  3. Remove the glass or plastic diffuser if it hinders access to the halogen bulb. This is a good practice and the best way to avoid breaking the diffuser.

  4. Locate the bulb inside the recessed fixture to determine the removal method. If the halogen bulb has a G9 base, grasp it with your fingers and pull it straight out. Be careful not to twist the bulb, as this may cause a cut finger. Insert the new bulb in the pin holes in the socket and push it in as far as it will go.

  5. Grasp a GU10 halogen bulb on its edges and turn it counterclockwise until it stops. Pull straight out on the bulb to remove it. Install the new bulb by aligning the pins on the bulb with the slots in the socket and twisting in a clockwise direction. Once the bulb is in place, replace the diffuser and push the rim back into place.

  6. Tip

    Read the instructions on the bulb packaging for specific installation issues. A suction cup can be used on bulbs that fit tightly against the sides of the recessed fixture.


    Do not touch halogen bulbs until they are completely cooled. Do not touch the glass of the new bulb, as the salt in skin oil weakens it, resulting in a shortened life of the bulb.

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Things You'll Need

  • Step ladder (if needed)
  • Suction cup

About the Author

Michael Straessle has written professionally about the construction industry since 1988. He authored “What a Strange Little Man,” among other books, and his work has appeared in various online publications. Straessle earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in professional/technical writing.

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