Q&A / 

How to Remove a Broken Bulb from Lamp Socket

Quick Column Summary:

  • Light bulbs burn out quickly
  • How to remove broken bulb from fixture
  • Turn off power to home
  • Fix brass tab in socket to stop burned out bulbs

Lori Ohaco, who lives in stormy Lincoln, Nebraska, has a challenge. A light bulb broke in a fixture and she needs to, well how about she tell you:

" I have an outdoor yard light with 40-watt bulb in it. It has started blowing bulbs every two days. Some of the glass got broken in a storm. How do I clean out the light socket without killing myself?  I don't know which fuse shuts off the power to this light."

Here's my reply to Lori:

Lori, the safest way to do this is to turn off all the power to your home. There should be a hugh master breaker at the top of your electrical panel, or the main disconnect could be in another part of your home like it is at my house. My main disconnect is in my garage, while my electrical panels are in my basement.

You then have to use a needle-nose pliers to remove the aluminum bulb socket from the lamp base.

Once you have the bulb base out of the socket, you need to pull up the brass tab at the base of the socket.

If the brass tab gets depressed by screwing in the bulb too tightly, it can lead to arcing that eats a hole in the bottom of the bulb. This could be why you're burning through so many bulbs.

Once you have all this work done and a new bulb in the socket, turn back on the electricity, locate the fuse or circuit breaker to this outdoor lamp and LABEL it.

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4 Responses to How to Remove a Broken Bulb from Lamp Socket

  1. addendum to bulb removal,,,qtip and vaseline inside socket makes installation and removal much more pleasant ,,and safer too

  2. I remember my mom's method. She would take an old wine cork and press it into the socket and simply twist the cork. The cork is non-conductive and the texture provides positive friction.

  3. How about a very old remedy: turn off power; push the end of potato into the broken bulb base and turn the potato and bulb base counter clockwise. Use a paper towel to wipe off any moisture left on top of the socket.

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