How to change a light bulb

No, we're not making this up. It may sound silly, but while most of us can use a computer to browse the internet, a 2007 UK survey by HomeServe and the Daily Mail found that 25 percent of people under the age of 35 aren't sure how to change a light bulb.*

So here's our guide to reaching enlightenment...

What to do

  1. Turn off the power
    First make sure the power is turned off. The safest way to do this is to switch the large red power button to 'off' on the fuse box.
  2. Let it cool
    Allow the bulb to cool before touching it.
  3. Use a ladder
    Ensure you can safely reach the bulb by using a stepladder.
  4. Remove bulb
    Take the bulb out of the socket. The way you do this will depend on whether your bulb has a bayonet mount or a screw fitting:
    • Bayonet Mount (two prongs, standard in the UK):
      Grasp the bulb lightly but firmly, push upwards gently and turn anticlockwise until it is released from the socket.
    • Screw Fitting (most common in Europe):
      Keep gently twisting anticlockwise until the bulb comes loose from the socket.
  5. Replace the bulb
    Insert a replacement bulb lightly but firmly into the socket. Depending on the type, turn it clockwise until it locks into place or keep gently twisting clockwise until it won't go any further.
  6. Restore power
    Once the bulb is in, turn the power back on again and switch on the light.
  7. Dispose old bulb
    The old bulb needs to be disposed of safely as the glass is fragile and very sharp. Use the packaging from the new bulb to wrap the old one for safe disposal.

Be safe

As always, safety is crucial when working with electrical or wiring faults. Remember:

  • Check the wattage on the used bulb and replace it with a bulb of the same wattage
  • Dispose of the bulb well out of the reach of children
  • Don't put your fingers in the exposed light socket

* Source: The Week, 22 December 2007, p.17, Staff.

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