How do I remove a light bulb stuck in the ceiling socket?
By Alex from Naples, FL
I have used gaffer's tape especially with floodlight or spotlight bulbs. Use a 6 inch or so strip of tape and tape about 1/2 of it at one side of the face of the bulb. Tape a second piece opposite the first. Take the end of each piece of tape and pull in the counterclockwise direction. Bulbs that I couldn't turn by hand or with rubber gripper can undone easily with tape. Duct tape or other film tape works as well but everyone should have some gaffer's tape around. It is wonderful.
For a recessed bulb, like in a stove top cover, use a piece of tape on the bulb. Duct tape or packaging tape will work. Just get enough to cover the bulb and fold the remainder back. Of course make sure the power is off. Remember, safety first.
Turn off power at the breaker box. Take a potato cut in half for grabbing the bulb and turn, voila. :)
If it is one of the new compact fluorescent light bulbs, it is extremely hazardous if it breaks. Here is the procedure you must follow if a bulb breaks:
If it is a regular light bulb, follow the suggestions that are archived below.
I just did this! Turn off everything at the breaker box. Then I took a tool that works kind of like pliers. The ends are pointed and sharp. I don't remember what it called. I went up where it broke off and unscrewed it.
If it's not broken, but just stuck, meaning that when you turn the bulb, the whole socket turns but the bulb won't come out and stays stuck, first, turn off the power. Then put on a thick leather glove, to protect your hand. Use a pair of "Needle nose pliers" to hold the socket in place while you turn the bulb. If you still can't get it out, call an electrician to remove it. The bulb may have been cross threaded into the socket and the whole socket may be stripped and, if so, it needs to be replaced. Be very careful, as this could create an electrical fire or you could get electrocuted!
I have this problem with a conventional ceiling light. I really don't want to deal with broken glass. I'm going to remvove the fixture and replace the entrie socket.
I was convinced that I would have to get a whole new light fixture or rewire it after destroying it to get the bulb out, BUT as a last resort I tried the duct tape on the bulb and on the socket part (that I was having to hold still to keep it from twisting and breaking the wires) and surprisingly after a few minutes it reluctantly began to come loose and I got it out without breaking the bulb or tearing up my light fixture. I am surprised that it worked because I have had stuck lightbulbs before but nothing like this one. Thank you to whoever posted this answer first!
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How do you get a light bulb out of a ceiling fan socket?
Make sure the lights are off and spray some Pam in the socket itself. With an oven glove, gently turn the bulb and it should come out. If not, look away and break the glass. Then, cut a spud in half and stick it in the broken area, then turn it. Most likely the first idea will help. If you can't get it out then, turn off the circuit to the light and use a pliers to turn it out.
How do I get a stuck light bulb out of a socket?
First: Flip the circuit breaker to "off".
If the globe revolves and the base doesn't, you may have to break the globe and use the "potato method". (09/01/2009)
Tried the tape for a stuck light bulb, worked like a charm in less than 2 minutes and no broken glass. Thanks so much. (12/14/2009)
Couldn't get soap to work so I tried about 5 unsharpened pencils and placed a rubber band around the end. Then I was able to unscrew the light bulb base. I changed 3 broken light bulbs in about 5 minutes. My wife had the pencil idea. (07/13/2010)
How do you remove a light bulb that won't unscrew? It just turns the wires when I turn it.
Eric from Columbus, OH
Do not use something like WD40, it can leave a residue which can cause a short between contacts. As with everyone else's suggestion, turn off the power, preferably at the breaker or fuse. Some fixtures can be miswired and the neutral is still live and you can get shocked. Next, wrap the bulb in a heavy cloth that will catch the glass if the bulb breaks. With many bulbs the glass will twist loose from the base and the filament wire will be all that still connects it. They are very fine wires and will break if you continue to twist.
Take a pair of needle nose pliers with insulated handles, double check that the power is still off, and grasp the edge of the base and twist. It will either come loose or collapse inward and then can be easily removed. If you are not comfortable doing this call an electrician. They are trained for this and have tools designed to work on these types of things. They may be expensive, but not as much as you'll spend if you get hurt.
Do you mean the socket turns? If so do not twist the bulb. You will damage the socket and or wiring, possibly causing a short. You will need to hold the socket so it cannot turn while doing the above. (11/29/2006)
The important thing is not to give up. What goes on, must, in due course, come off.
By Persistent Bob (aka, the pest)
There is a product on the market that will stop all of those stuck light bulbs in your house. It is called Sure Connect Bulb Grease. It is made by TW Performance Polymers. I have used this product for five years and no more stuck light bulbs. It works best on incandescent bulbs, floodlamps, canlights, and most of all ceiling fan lights. (09/24/2007)
By handymanaround the house
I have used gaffer's tape especially with floodlight or spotlight bulbs. Use a 6 inch or so strip of tape and tape about 1/2 of it at one side of the face of the bulb. Tape a second piece opposite the first. Take the end of each piece of tape and pull in the counterclockwise direction. Bulbs that I couldn't turn by hand or with rubber gripper can be undone easily with tape. Duct tape or other film tape works as well, but everyone should have some gaffer's tape around. It is wonderful. (12/16/2007)
Once the glass breaks, there is no doubt you have a problem, particularly if the lamp is an appliance type with a small socket. There is a solution, however. Run, do not walk to your nearest hardware store and buy yourself some "Gunk Liquid Wrench". It costs about 4 bucks. Soak a Q Tip with a small amount of Liquid Wrench and apply it around the edge of the remains of the bulb in the socket or the bulb base if glass is still intact. You need very little. The Liquid wrench creeps into the joint and voila, if the glass is still there, the bulb will twist out easily.
If no glass, wrap rubber bands around a dowel of the approximates size of what is left of the bulb base and plug the dowel into the base and twist counter-clockwise. Voila No. 2, out comes the base, no problem. Remember to pull the plug/turn off the power and wear work gloves and goggles if necessary before you do anything. Liquid Wrench has been around for at least 70 years that I know of, and probably more. It works great for frozen nuts and bolts, too. Doesn't mix very well with ginger ale, though. (02/25/2008)
By Rob, Elora Ontario Canada
In my case the bulb had shattered, but the little glass stick (technically called glass mount) was still standing. So I wrapped a rubber around the little stick, and put Nivea cream around the base of the bulb, and success. (10/04/2008)
If you can't find the duck tape, reinforced packing tape with the string like parallel ribs works, too. (10/13/2008)
I tried the duct tape and it worked but after a few tries. The stubborn bulb had probably been in the socket for well over 15 years (never replaced it before). I tried the tape trick a couple of times and the tape came off pretty easily. Then I got the idea that the bulb exterior might be dirty or greasy. I got some Fantastic, sprayed it liberally into some paper towels, and cleaned the bulb well. I let it dry and then tried the tape again and it worked beautifully. Thanks so much for the tip. (12/09/2008)
By Tried Tape and it Works