How to change a light bulb

Don’t sit in the dark when a bulb blows. Instead:

  • Turn off the supply of electricity to that light. You will normally know that you have turned it off if you turn off the switch at the wall. If you’re not sure, you will need to turn off the whole electricity supply by turning the main switch on your fusebox to “off” (warn everyone else in the house first).
  • Let the old bulb cool for a few minutes. Decide whether you need a ladder to reach the light fitting safely.
  • Take the bulb out of the socket. How you do this depends on the fitting; for a bayonet fitting, you will need to push the bulb upwards gently and turn it anticlockwise until it’s released. A screw fitting is easier – just turn it anticlockwise until the bulb comes loose.
  • Check which kind of bulb it is and see if you have a replacement handily ready. You need to check:
    • the type of fitting (bayonet, screw or other)
    • the brightness of the bulb (the number of watts or lumens – written on the bulb itself)
    • the shape and size of the bulb

(The range of lightbulbs can be quite overwhelming – you might be helped by this guide produced by the consumer organisation Which?)

  • If you do have a replacement bulb, insert it lightly but firmly into the socket.
    • For a bayonet fitting, turn the bulb until its prongs are lined up with the grooves in the socket. Then push firmly, but carefully, upwards and turn clockwise until you hear a click. That means your light bulb is in place.
    • For a screw fitting, keep gently twisting the bulb clockwise until it won’t go any further.
  • Once the bulb is in, turn the power back on again and switch on the light.
  • Dispose of the old bulb safely – use the packaging from the new bulb

You might also be interested in our other practical pages:

In charge of house and home
Take care of your stuff