How to Remove Broken Light Bulb Safely

Like other electrical light sources, bulbs are prone to wear and tear, breakages, and failure. Everyone is at least familiar with installing and detaching a bulb from the main socket, but what if it breaks while on duty?

There are many reasons why a bulb breaks in the socket, including:

  • Poor insulation causes the metal screw base to melt when it overheats.
  • An inappropriate bulb compared to the socket type, size, and strength.
  • Poor installation of the bulb into the socket.
  • Vibration or vigorous movements within the ceiling, such as during earthquakes or house repairs.
  • Excessive line voltage causes the bulbs to overheat and break.
  • Poor quality of bulbs or sockets.
  • Standard wear and tear of bulbs, sockets, or the entire electricity connection in the house.

Usually, you can replace a broken light bulb from the socket by yourself. However, you must remember to stay safe from electrocution, cuts, and related accidents. Should the issue persist, ensure to call a residential electrician. They will be able to sort out the underlying electricity issues and replace the broken bulb.

Let’s learn how to remove a broken light bulb safely.

1. Turn off the switch to the bulb

The foremost step to removing a broken bulb from the socket is turning off the switch to that bulb or the main power supply for maximum safety. The reason for turning off the power supply is to prevent electrocution as you operate the broken bulb.

Counter-check if the power has been perfectly shut off by switching it on and off. If the bulb lights, the power supply hasn’t been disconnected well.

2. Put on protective equipment

As uncomfortable as they may feel, electrical protective equipment, as the name suggests, offer maximum protection to anyone handling electric bulbs, power supplies, or wires. After turning off the power supply, wear electrical protective equipment before handling the bulb.

Such protective gears include rubber or gardening gloves, a face shield or the appropriate eyeglasses, and a hard hat.

3. Use pliers to detach the bulb

While detaching a broken bulb from the socket, say no to any temptations to do it with your gloved hands but instead, use a pair of pliers. Instead of hooking the broken bulb glass itself, place the pliers at the base where the bulb connects to the socket and move it anti-clockwise to disconnect. Needle nose pliers are more suitable for this task than standard ones.

4. Alternatives for pliers

Sometimes, the pliers may fail to disconnect the bulb from the socket, maybe when it has been tightly connected. However, this shouldn’t be an opportunity to use your gloved hands for the job. Experts have recommended a semi-peeled medium-sized potato as an alternative for failed pliers.

Use the peeled side of the potato to grab the bulb’s broken glasses and turn it anti-clockwise to unloosen. Other alternatives for failed pliers include a bar of soap, a piece of cork, a well-rounded duct tape, and a broken bulb remover. A broken bulb remover is a tool with a rubber head and string meant for holding and disconnecting a broken bulb from the socket.

If all the above bulb-removing tools have failed or you prefer to use something more special, you can purchase a broken bulb remover from your local hardware or electrical store and get the job done. Make sure the bulb remover matches the size of the bulb and socket.

5. Dispose of the bulb

After you’re done with the removal process, you should dispose of the broken bulb in a trash bin, away from reach by children and pets. The main exterior trash bins are the most suitable for broken bulbs and other glass waste since the interior ones are at risk of being tampered with.

Brush away broken glass remains from your gloves and do the same to the floor. A vacuum cleaner clears even the smallest glass particles better than a brush. After disposing of it, you can now remove the protective equipment and store them (the pliers, too) in a safe place away from children and pets.

6. Replace the removed bulb

After removing a broken bulb, you shouldn’t leave it at that since the room still requires a light. Replacing a broken bulb with a new one is quite easy. You just need to get a new, faultless bulb, attach it to the socket, and turn it clockwise for a tighter fixture.

The main power supply or switch should remain off during the process to avoid possible electrocution. After connecting the bulb perfectly, you can turn on the lights to check its functionality.

7. Call an electrician

Bulb breakages are common across several homes, so you should worry too much about it. However, there are some extents of the issue that should trigger you to seek an electrician’s help, such as when:

  • Several bulbs break simultaneously or within a certain period in a single house or room.
  • The same socket has been associated with the breaking of several bulbs.
  • When the lights dim or flicker before noticing a broken bulb.
  • A burning smell accompanies the breaking.
  • The bulb breaks with an audible explosion.