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Paul Coughran

Paul Coughran

Updated 01/05/2021

A step-by-step guide to changing a lightbulb

Changing a light bulb is one of the easiest home projects to complete.

It's far from a DIY project that will take hours away from your day.

Despite how easy it might be, not everyone knows how to change a light bulb.

After you finish this guide, you can start changing light bulbs like a professional!


What you'll need

You don't need very many tools to change a standard light bulb.

In fact, all you need is a way to reach the light fixture and a fresh bulb.


  • A Chair or stepladder if the light is on the ceiling

  • A new bulb to put in the socket

How to change a light bulb: Step by step

Step 1: Turn off the power and let the bulb cool

Make sure the light switch is in the off position before attempting to change the lightbulb. If you don't, you may be in for a nasty shock.

If the bulb recently died, it's likely still hot from the light it was emitting. Give it a few minutes to cool off before you make the switch.

Touch it gently with your fingers to make sure it's cool enough to grab ahold of.

Step 2: Grab a stool, stepladder, or secure chair

If the light bulb is on the ceiling, don't stand on your tiptoes while you struggle with the fixture.

You may end up breaking the bulb, cutting your hand, and damaging the light fixture.

Get into a comfortable position on a secure surface before trying to remove the bulb from the socket.

Step 3: Remove the dead bulb

There are two different types of bulbs you'll come across: screw fitting and bayonet mount.

Which one you have will dictate how to remove the bulb from the socket correctly.

How to remove a screw fitting bulb 

To remove a screw fitting bulb, twist it anticlockwise until it comes free.

If the bulb has been in place for a long time, the screw portion could have rusted.

When this happens, the bulb section will come off.

Use a pair of needle nose pliers to remove the base of the bulb from the socket carefully. Never use your fingers!

How to remove a bayonet mount bulb 

Push the bulb upwards, then turn it anticlockwise until it comes free.

Step 4: Replace the bulb

Take the fresh bulb from the packaging and gently twist it into place.

Be careful not to push or turn too hard, or you may risk breaking the new bulb.

Important note: make sure you're using the appropriate bulb for the fixture.

Check the power rating to see if they match before completing this step.

Step 5: Let there be light!

Turn the power back on and hit the switch to the light bulb.

If you completed the previous steps correctly and have a working light bulb, you should have your light source back

Step 6: Throw out the old light bulb

Light bulbs are fragile and break easily.

Instead of throwing it directly into the trash, wrap it up in something to protect the bag and your hand.

Safety tips

Learning how to change a light bulb isn't dangerous, but there are a few safety precautions you need to take:

  • Always make sure the fixture is powered off or unplugged before changing the bulb.

  • Always use a tool to reach into the fixture. Never use your fingers.

  • Check the wattage on the fixture to make sure you're using the right bulb. If you don't know how to find this information, just look at the bulb you're replacing.

  • Make sure you're standing on a secure platform if the bulb is on the ceiling.

  • Wrap-up the dead bulb before throwing it away.

There you have it: everything you need to know about how to change a light bulb. No more fumbling around in the dark for you!

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This guide is opinion only and should not be taken as financial advice. Check with a financial professional before making any decisions.

Paul Coughran is the General Manager of Emerging Verticals at Compare Club. Paul has over 20 years of experience across a wide range of industries including Banking and Finance, Telecommunications and Energy. Paul leads a team of trusted experts dedicated to helping individuals make informed decisions about their insurance and utilities needs.

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Meet our energy expert, Paul Coughran

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