Ask Anthony: How to Remove a Broken Light Bulb


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Get FREE professional advice for home repairs and home improvements right here on CafeMom.

Expert handyman Anthony Gilardi of HGTV's Myles of Style offers Home & Garden Buzz readers tips and advice every other week. Ask Anthony your home repair or home improvement questions right now in the comments below!

This week, Anthony shows us how to change a broken light bulb. I hate when that happens!



Q: Anthony, I have a bulb in my ceiling fan that has broken, and I need to know how to get it out.


A: Hello loving_mom7. Great question. Thanks for writing in.

As you know, dealing with a broken light bulb in a light socket is a very common problem.

Most common solutions you'll get:

  • Use a raw potato.
  • An onion.
  • A broomstick.
  • Etc.

I'm glad I'm getting the chance to clear a few things up today. Although the many repair solutions that you've heard may work, there is only one safe and correct way.

And here it is...

Before you do anything, you will need a flashlight, an electrical power tester (every home toolbox should have one; they go for $5 to $10), a pair of lineman's pliers, and the known whereabouts of your electrical panel or sub panel—oh yeah, and, if necessary, a ladder. Keep everything handy.

  1. First, find the circuit breaker that powers the fixture and turn it off. Your breakers should all be properly labeled. If they are not, take some time to label them.
  2. When reentering the room, you may need the flashlight, be ready.
  3. MOST IMPORTANT STEP: With your electrical power tester, make sure the power to the fixture is OFF.
  4. Now I don't like to use a needle nose pliers here because they can be pointy and can rip through the very thin metal that was once the base of your light bulb. I like to use lineman's pliers, which (if you don't recognize the name) are standard square pliers (also should be in every home toolbox).
  5. You should see at least 1/8 of an inch of the light bulb base sticking out of the socket. Grab it with your pliers and turn counterclockwise.
  6. When the base is out, carefully blow some air into the empty socket to make sure there is no debris remaining.
  7. Replace your light bulb. Then go back to the circuit breaker and turn the fixture back on.
  8. Finito!

After that, if you have time, take the raw potato and raw onion, place them both in a boiling pot of water until cooked, remove from pot, and mash. Buon appetito! LOL.

Don't forget to have fun and reward yourself for a job well done.

Thank you.

Anthony Gilardi


+++ Ask Anthony your home repair or home improvement questions in the comments below. He'll be back in two weeks with an answer for at least one lucky reader!

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