Can't Remove Recessed Light Bulb


Old 09-26-04, 09:48 AM
Jim T
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Can't Remove Recessed Light Bulb

I can't get a 4" track light bulb to unscrew. It moves slightly, but it is difficult to grab it and unscrew it, as there is minimal clearance between the bulb and the fixture. Any advice for getting it out would be greatly appreciated. Also, is there some kind of lubricant I should use on a new bulb to keep this from happening again?

Thanks in advance.

Jim T
Old 09-26-04, 06:24 PM
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Is this a low voltage lamp? It might not unscrew. It could just pull out.
Old 09-27-04, 07:35 PM
Jim T
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No, this is a standard 110V recessed track fixture. It starts to unscrew, just barely, but it is very difficult to move. The other three fixtures are a little easier to unscrew, but it is still difficult to get a grip on the bulb as there is about 1/8" clearance between the bulb rim and the inside of the reflector. I may have to either break the bulb to get it out or take the fixture off the track and take it apart from the back if I can. But in the future, is there a lubricant that i can put on the threads to make future removal easier?
Old 09-28-04, 03:38 PM
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Is it possible for you to remove the baffle trim from the light to get a better grip in the bulb?
Old 10-04-04, 08:19 PM
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I found a little trick was to get a small suction cup and place it on the bulb. It will give some grip and if the bulb breaks at least it won't be in your hand. I've also noticed that sometimes bulbs become very fragile and break off at the base, mostly I think caused by leaving the light on for extended periods of time. Heat is the enemy. If it does break off inside the socket turn off the switch or circuit and use some needle nose pliers to remove the base of the bulb. Just insert the pliers and open them to hold tension inside the base and it should screw out easily.

I haven't come across anything to "lubricate" the threads but they may be something out there. I would just check the bulbs more often to avoid the problem.
Old 10-11-04, 09:41 AM
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I use a rubber jar opener to help grip the bulb. Same idea as the suction cup.

Look for bulbs with a brass base instead of aluminium. Sometimes wiping the base with a towel helps or Tuner/switch cleaner can be used sparingly to help lubricate it. Spray on and wipe off any excess.

Don't y'all watch Tool Time?? To remove a broke bulb, make sure power is off, then cut a potato in half and push the cut side onto the broken part of the bulb that remains in the socket. Turn the potato to unscrew the bulb. If it doesn't work you've at least got a head start on dinner...

Doug M.
Old 10-28-04, 12:05 AM
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A tiny dab of Noalox on the threads will make the lamp unscrew easily next time. This works especially well on outdoor fixtures.

Noalox is an antioxidant compound designed for use on aluminum wire connections. Most DIY stores and electrical wholesalers carry it.

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