DIY: Changing a light globe

group of light bulbs on green background

DIY is not always about building or renovating. Sometimes it can be the simplest of tasks, like changing a light globe. Because I have always changed our light bulbs myself, as did both of our fathers, we were quite shocked to find that many people don’t know how to change a light globe. For the record, Lynne does know and can do – she just prefers not to stand on a ladder or play with electricity! In this short post, I show you how.

You will know your light globe needs changing when it stops working or when it flashes. This flashing may occur as soon as you switch the light on, or it might happen after several minutes of the light being on.

Changing a light globe is generally a quick and easy DIY project. Recently, I had reason to change all the light bulbs in a three-bedroom unit and the job was over in less than half an hour, which included moving the steps and carrying the box of light bulbs from room to room.

To get the job done, you only need the correct globe and  a set of steps or a ladder (if the globe is above head height). You may want to wear gloves in case you break the globe when removing it.

There are two types of globe: screw in types, often called Edison screw, and bayonet mount. The Edison screw is exactly what it says it is: you unscrew the old light bulb and screw in the new one. The bayonet mount has two pins opposite each other. It requires you to push in and twist to remove the old light globe and replace it. If this is the first time you have changed a globe in your place, you will need to remove the old globe to find out which type of globe is needed.

The first thing do do is make sure the light is switched off. My father-in-law used to insist on the entire light circuit being turned off. He was a very cautious man; he also insisted that I did not do anything electrical on a metal ladder. His father had been an electrician and that’s where he learnt that rule. Some people use a fibreglass ladder as a substitute.

It’s up to you whether you only turn the switch off at the wall or whether you go outside and turn all the lights off. Your family may not appreciate you turning off all the lights at night and you will need to hold a torch while you’re trying to change the light globe if it’s dark; or, at the very least, you will need someone to hold a torch for you.

You may also need to allow a couple of minutes for the globe to cool if the bulb has only just blown.

If your globe is above head height use a set of steps or ladder to safely reach the globe. Overreaching or “balancing on your toes” may cause you to break the globe or, worse still, fall from the ladder.

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Turn off the light.
  2. Remove the light cover (if fitted) by releasing the clips or screws holding it in place.
  3. Remove the globe and wrap it (or use packaging from the new one) for safe disposal.
    • For the screw type: screw it anti-clockwise until it is free of the mount.
    • For the bayonet type: push the globe into the mount and twist anti-clockwise.
  4. Replace the globe
    • For the screw type: screw the globe in clockwise until it is firm. Do not overtighten.
    • For the bayonet mounted: align the pins on the globe base with the slots in the base, push into mount and twist clockwise.
  5. Turn on the light.

If the light does not come on:

  • you may have put the old globe back in the socket (I have done it!)
  • the “spare” globe you had may have been broken or you may have saved an old one in used packaging
  • there may be a fault requiring an electrician

Hope that helps!
Mark 🍅

Disclaimer: Any information given in this post is general in nature. The owners of Hillside Homegrown & Handmade will not be responsible for any consequences of following these instructions.


Published by Lynne

I'm one half of the partnership that owns "Hillside Homegrown and Handmade". We teach people how to develop food security by growing some of their own, learn basic handy-person skills to complete their own DIY projects and to live in a manner which is more sustainable for themselves, their families and the earth.

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