How to change a light bulb

With lots of different types of lightbulbs available it can be difficult to know which one to use. This handy guide explains how to replace lightbulbs whatever kind of fitting you have.

Updated

wooden desk lamp on green table beside bed

Key steps

1. Make sure you have the appropriate bulb for your fitting.

2. Turn off the light before starting.

3. Remove the old bulb and insert the new one.

4. Turn the light back on.

Changing a lightbulb should be the easiest job around the home, but different light fittings demand different methods and there are always safety precautions to follow when doing anything with the electrics around the home. If you’ve ever wondering how to change ceiling lightbulbs or the best way of changing LED bulbs, read on. We’ve got everything you need when it comes to how to replace lightbulbs, whatever type you have.

Unsure which type of bulb you need? Ask for advice from your local DIY store staff who will have lots of bright ideas!

How to change a lightbulb

Here’s a step-by-step guide to changing a lightbulb:

1. Make sure the light in question is switched off and the fixture is not live.

2. If the bulb is still hot, wait for it to cool down before continuing.

3. Ensure you have the correct type of bulb – never put a screw fix into a slot fixture and vice versa.

4. Handle with care as the glass on bulbs tends to be very thin

5. Check that the new bulb you are using doesn’t exceed the maximum power rating of the light fixture involved as this could short circuit it and potentially cause a fire.

6. If you’re unsure of which fixture to use or whether the power rating of your new bulb is suitable for your lamp, check the manufacturer’s instructions.

Many people get confused with the different types of bulbs and fittings available these days. As long as the bulb clearly fits, it should be fine. Many pose questions such as “can you replace halogen bulbs with LED ones?” and in general the answer is yes. In fact, this is generally recommended as LED lights are often brighter while requiring far less energy, making them much more efficient.

Safety tips for changing lightbulbs

Changing a lightbulb may be relatively simple, but it’s not without its hazards. Here are a few important safety issues to think about:

1. Most bulbs are made of glass which can cause cuts if they break, so always be careful while handling.

2. Fluorescent tubes may contain harmful substances so always check local disposal guidelines rather than putting them straight in your household waste.

3. Bulbs get hot after a while so if you’re changing them immediately after use, be careful not to burn yourself.

4. Always turn off the light before you switch the bulb to prevent giving yourself an electric shock.

Those are the key things to know when it comes to how to change a lightbulb and bulb handling safety. Lighting can make such a difference to the feel of your home that it’s worth switching out as soon as one stops working, but always do so with safety in mind.

Originally published