How To Remove Light Bulb From Recessed Socket

Have you scrolled Facebook or Youtube and found yourself stuck at some fascinating video of how-to hacks that look super easy to do, and have a surprisingly good end result in the video?

Today, you are going to learn a lighting hack that will one day give you a chance to look like the smartest person in the room!

This neat tip will come in handy when you or someone you know ends up with a light bulb that needs changing.

The bulb is installed and twisted in too tightly but is also placed in a recessed or can light fixture that has negligible gaps in the sides for you to put your fingers in and grip the light bulb to unscrew it.

Talk about a design flaw!

If a bulb is in an inaccessible fixture such as a recessed socket, it can be unscrewed either by buying a bulb changing kit, or a general purpose suction cup. Alternatively, it can be unscrewed by using a looped duct tape as well.

Common Problems With Recessed Fixtures

Recessed lighting, also called can lighting, downlight or pot light, can make a room look airy due to their low profile, and provide a certain mood to space.

But there are a few inherent problems with recessed fixtures that you should be prepared to handle.

Because the lights are practically inside the ceiling, they are just not going to provide a full illumination range that comes with a projecting fixture.

Recessed lights use bulbs that typically have beam angles that top at 60°.

Another common issue with can lighting is overheating. Since the entire fixture is recessed into a ceiling that may or may not is designed for heat dissipation, this is a problem that you may invariably face sooner or later.

And of course, with overheating and little air ventilation comes the inevitable problem of a bulb that stops working well before its time.

And that is the ultimate flaw in pot lights: maintaining and replacing the light bulb.

By any means, you need to keep the exposed surface of the light clean and dust-free for maximum efficiency.

Once the bulb has completely stopped working, however, is when the real challenge begins.

Most recessed light fixtures use a light bulb that usually has a wide diameter to utilize the entire fixture. What happens then, is that there is very little space between the bulb and the inside wall of the fixture to insert your fingers and turn the bulb to unscrew it.

You will face this problem, especially if the bulb you’ve used is flat in its profile, as opposed to a more rounded shape that might have given you a little protrusion to hold on to.

So accessing the deep and flat bulb now becomes a mini-puzzle.

Because there are no clear solutions, many people end up having to break the bulb and use pliers to turn the bulb around to unscrew it. Of course, making sure the power to the socket is off.

It’s the last-ditch and highly messy, not to mention a serious effort.

So before you go ahead and smash the bulb, I might have a few ideas that can help you unscrew that recessed light with a little less mess.

Cannot Grip The Bulb In Recessed Fixture? Do This

There are few things that WD-40 and duct tape can’t fix. They are just the most vital things to have in your handyman setup. And now you’re going to need that duct tape.

One of the simplest ways to unscrew a really tight and snug light bulb from a recessed can is to use duct tape.

But before I come to that, here’s a quick few methods you can use to make changing your light bulb in a tight spot much easier.

As a general rule, before you insert a new bulb, lubricate the socket thread with a thin film of petroleum jelly, so when you need to unscrew the bulb next time, it turns much easier.

Considering you can take a trip to the hardware store, you have two options:

One is to get a purpose-built bulb changing kit with a pole (Amazon), that comes with either a suction cup or a pincer grip tool that can reach high ceilings and grab any shape or kind of bulb.

The second and cheaper option is to utilize a general suction cup (Amazon) that can grip a light bulb in your case, after you adjust the suction power, and then turn the handle to unscrew the bulb.

But let’s suppose you are not going to go to the store or that maybe you urgently need to change that light bulb. This is where the handy dandy duct tape comes to the rescue.

How To Change Bulb A Bulb In Recessed Lighting Socket

led light bulb

Take a strip of duct tape and loop it around to make it into a double-sided tape, which means the sticky side of the tape should be on the outside of the loop, leaving the inner loop non-adhesive.

Then, stick one side of the duct tape on to the surface of the bulb facing you.

You should use enough tape to cover almost the bulb’s entire diameter for a perfect seal. Give the tape a wipe, so you ensure it has been stuck well.

The other, unstuck side of the tape works like a handle that you then hold on to with your fingers, making a fist with your hand.

And then, it is just a simple matter of holding the loose side of the tape firmly and giving the tape a good twist, and voila! Your bulb is now able to turn.

Simply unscrew the bulb at this point, and peel off the tape when done.

You can use the same tape to then place it on to the new bulb and grip it like before to screw the bulb back in.

It’s an easy, fool-proof, mess-free, and virtually free way to change a deeply and tightly screwed bulb in a recessed can fixture.

Final Words

Always have duct tape around your home, and the solutions will come your way. You now know the easiest hack to unscrew a bulb from a snugly fitted fixture.

What kind of recessed lights do you have in your home that is making it hard to unscrew a bulb?

Have you tried any other techniques that have worked for you?

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