Created on: January 24, 2013
Removing a broken light bulb from a socket can be difficult. It can also be dangerous, not only due to the possibility of cuts or burns, but contact with electricity as well. If you follow basic safety procedures, you should be able to remove the bulb successfully without injury. Removal procedures do vary according to the condition of the bulb.
How to remove a broken light bulb from a lamp socket:
Always unplug the lamp before attempting to remove a broken light bulb. If the lamp was operating before the break occurred, allow the bulb to cool. You should use a pair of heavy gloves to protect you hands from sharp edges.
If the bulb is still somewhat intact, you can wrap a thick towel around the remaining portion and turn the bulb counterclockwise, to the left, to remove it from the socket.
If the bulb has broken completely and only the base is remaining, you will need a sturdy pair of pliers to remove the remains of the bulb. Needle-nose pliers are the easiest to use. Use the pliers to bend the edge of the base slightly away from the socket. Grab the edge firmly with the pliers and slowly begin turning the bulb counterclockwise.
A medium size potato can also be used to remove broken light bulbs. Cut the potato in half, width-wise, but do not remove the skin. Place the round cut edge of the potato on the bulb base and press it firmly into the base. While pressing on the potato, turn it to the left to remove the broken bulb.
Once you have removed the bulb, use a vacuum to clean up any broken glass that may be left behind. If you used a potato, clean the inside of the socket with a lint-free rag to remove any juice or other debris.
Removing a broken light bulb from mounted fixtures:
Turn off the power to the circuit at your electrical panel. Use a meter or hot stick to ensure that the power is off. Follow the same procedure for bulb removal, depending on the amount of breakage to the bulb.
If you are dealing with a bulb that has become stuck in a socket, a lubricant similar to WD-40 can be used to help release the bulb. Again, the lamp must be unplugged or the power turned off first. Allow the fixture to cool completely to reduce the heat that may also be causing binding. Spray a light amount of lubricant between the base of the bulb and the socket. Allow the lubricant to soak for a few minutes to loosen any rust or debris causing the problem. Remove the bulb with a towel, pliers or cut potato.
Learn more about this author, B. Leslie Baird.
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