Whether it’s safe to unscrew a light bulb in your home depends on whether the light bulb is broken and whether there’s power running to it.
When bulbs aren’t broken, changing them is probably one of the simplest, safest electrical tasks homeowners can take on.
When light bulbs are broken, you’ll need to take some extra precautions to avoid cutting or electrocuting yourself. To help you stay safe and get the job done, here are a few safety measures to keep in mind whenever you’re attempting to unscrew a broken light bulb.
Shut Off the Power Before Anything Else
Before making any quick moves, shut off the power to the fixture or the area of the house you’ll be working on.
You can simply turn off the switch, but that doesn’t guarantee that all power is turned off. So, we recommend switching power off at the breaker instead.
Three Methods for Removing A Broken Light Bulb
Pliers: In most cases, a set of pliers will get the job done. If the bulb is still intact, use needle nose pliers to grip the glass base and then turn counterclockwise until it comes loose. If the filament is broken, insert the pliers into the base of the bulb and spread them apart. Holding them spread apart, turn them counter-clockwise.
Potato: Yes, you read that correctly. A potato can actually help you remove a light bulb from the socket. If the glass is broken, use pliers to break away any remaining pieces. Then, cut a potato in half, and press it into the broken socket. Turn it counterclockwise. The potato should be strong enough to grip the base of the bulb, allowing you to remove it.
Bulb Extractor: There is an actual tool explicitly made for this purpose. You can likely find one at your local hardware or home improvement store for around $10.
Still having trouble with a broken bulb? Or do you prefer to have the help of an expert? That’s what we’re here for.