Fix-It Fred: Halogen Bulb Replacement

I enjoy fixing (most) things and extending the useful life of stuff as long as possible. I find the challenge of diagnosing and remedying problems mentally stimulating and gratifying. My family is more than willing to oblige me this pleasure. In fact, I am often greeted with a pile of broken items when I walk in the door after work. They have even created a designated spot on a shelf in the kitchen to store their damaged goods. Some may call me strange for enjoying what others call mundane; not my family, though. They call me Fix-It Fred.

Do you have a light fixture that uses those small halogen bulbs with the 2 posts on the back? The ones that look like Frankenstein’s neck? Sometimes those can be a real challenge to remove and replace when they burn out. That problem is only made worse when there is little to no finger room around the bulb to grab it.

We have a light fixture in one of our bedrooms that has four of these bulbs and only enough finger space for a Barbie hand around each one. I do not have delicate fingers, so there is not near enough space for me to work. I can’t get enough of a grip to be able to remove any of the bulbs. What should be an easy task turns into something much larger.

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The dreaded light fixture

I have discovered a solution to my problem; a suction cup. A cup that is roughly the same diameter as the flat face of the bulb works best. While most suction cups will work, I have found that the one made of stiffer rubber seem to work better.

This cup is about 1.5″ in diameter


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The cup is almost the same size as the bulb

Simply moisten the cup and stick it to the face of the bulb, with the fixture turned off of course. Otherwise, you will be in for a blinding light when you install the new bulb. There is usually enough force exerted by the suction cup to allow the bulb to be pressed in and turned in order to release the posts and free the bulb from the holder.

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Suction cup in place for removal

Once the bulb is out of the fixture, the cup can be removed from it, and if you want it can be stuck to the new bulb to help with installation. I typically do not use it for installation because I find it easier to simply firmly push on the bulb and turn it. If you need something more to grab onto to securely install the bulb, feel free to try the suction cup.

Now my biggest problem when it comes to changing these bulbs is finding the suction cup. I have a basket in our storage room that I keep all the various light bulbs for the house in. I try to put the cup in the basket with them, but sometimes I forget, or it goes missing. Then I need to go find another suction cup.

Do you have any other hints and ideas for changing difficult light bulbs? Let me know of any clever solutions you have. Feel free to send an email or leave a comment.