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How to change the light bulb in an outdoor light fixture

Updated March 23, 2017

The lowly light bulb---and the number of people it takes to change one---has been a long-running joke, usually bashing the intelligence of the changer. It's true that changing a light bulb is pretty much a no-brainer. When a light is in an outside sconce or fixture, however, changing the light bulb takes a few more steps than unscrewing a bulb indoors.

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Turn the light off at the wall switch to ensure that the bulb is cool enough to remove.

Unscrew a finial, if applicable, on top of the lamp's cover. Locate any screws that are holding a glass cover or hurricane to the fixture and turn counterclockwise to loosen and remove.

Clean the interior of the lamp's glass cover with the rag while it is off the lamp. Place the lamp's cover and the screws in a secure location while you change the bulb.

Unscrew the old bulb with the rag; replace with a new bulb.

Place the cover back on the fixture and tighten the holding screws to fasten and hold it in place. Replace the finial if one was removed and screw it back in place.

Warning

Do not exceed the manufacturer's recommendations for maximum wattage.

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Things You'll Need

  • New bulb
  • Ladder if needed
  • Rag

About the Author

Elle Smith has been an advertising professional for more than 25 years. Her work for ABC, CBS and Sony Pictures Television has appeared on radio, on air, in print and outdoors. In addition, Smith has more than 20 years experience in marketing, graphic arts, commercial photography and print production, and is a licensed real estate agent with property management certification in California.

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