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The Home Depot

5 Light Bulb Replacement Safety Tips

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Handyman > 5 Light Bulb Replacement Safety Tips
5 Light Bulb Replacement Safety Tips

Light bulb! You have burned the last of your resplendent and glorious filament! We honor you now, by gently removing you from your home and replacing you with an exact replica! Long live your memory!


Okay, although your ritual in replacing a light bulb may not be quite so ceremonial, a light bulb change is something everyone will have done in his or her lifetime. It’s a simple, 30-second procedure. That being said, there are still safety issues to keep in mind. These five steps will help ensure you don’t end up on the wrong end of an electrical charge or nursing a cut to the hand from broken glass.

  1. 1.Know your circuit, and shut it down!

    Many, many people will often “hot swap” their light bulb. Hot swapping is removing or replacing an electrical component with electricity still running to that component. Light bulb sockets are designed to transfer energy to the bulb – and if your circuit is still hot when you remove that bulb, you’re fractions of an inch away from putting yourself through a shock.


    Find the light switch that controls power to the bulb you are replacing. Turn it off and wait for the bulb to cool down before removing and replacing the bulb. Ten minutes doing this can save you the discomfort of an electrocution.

  2. Whether you choose to use gloves or not, you’ll need to pay close attention to the grip you have on the bulb.
  3. 2.Furnish a Fine Foundation!

    “Oh, it’s just right up there; I’ll just lean on this for a second.” – Famous Last Words


    We know how close that light bulb might appear to you. All you need is a bucket, a box, that rocking chair. Wait! Seriously! Many household injuries are the result of falls, often from people standing on things they simply should not be on. Before grabbing that bulb, go grab a stepladder. A proper safety device such as a stepladder will ensure your stability in reaching those high-up bulbs.

  4. 3.Dear Hands, Meet Gloves. Gloves, Hands.

    Although it may seem silly to wear protective gloves in removing a light bulb, gloves aren’t just protecting you from hot glass. They are also protecting you from broken glass.


    Often times, when bulbs are screwed in tightly to their socket, they feel “stuck,” and many people will actually end up cracking and breaking the bulb during removal. These fine fragments of glass are prone to cause lacerations on the fingers and hands, causing pain and irritation for days or weeks. Slipping on these hand-shielding bad boys will keep your digits safe and protected.

  5. 4.Light Grip = Light Out

    Whether you choose to use gloves or not, you’ll need to pay close attention to the grip you have on the bulb. Sometimes people squeeze around the bulb and attempt to remove it with a similar motion of opening a doorknob. Do not do this. Curl your fingers around the bulb, allowing only your fingertips to touch the glass. Using even pressure with all four of your fingers and thumb, press only enough to get a no-slip grip on the glass as you unscrew it from it’s socket. Don’t push your hand all the way around the bulb, exposing your palm to the glass. The less contact you have with the bulb in its socket, the better.


    Repeat this light-touch technique when replacing your new bulb as well!

  6. 5.Dispose of the old bulb safely

    With the new bulb in and the old one out, you’re almost done! But before you discard that old piece of glass in the trash, let’s take one extra step to ensure that no broken glass lies at the bottom of your trashcan. Using the packaging from the new bulb you just installed, slip your old bulb into its place before discarding it. This extra padding will help to prevent cracking and breaking of the old bulb.


    By following these five steps, you’ll soon be the light bulb guru of your household!

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