How to Remove the Cover of a Square Recessed Light Fixture

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Square recessed light fixtures typically consist of a clear or opaque sheet of heat-treated glass set in a frame. The frame either screws into the ceiling or slides into position on a metal track below the fixture for the lightbulbs. Removing the cover from a square recessed light fixture requires an assistant to hold the ladder steady for safety and to take the glass from the person removing them as each piece is passed down.

Things You'll Need

  • Ladder
  • Safety goggles
  • Screwdriver
  • Glass cleaner
  • Paper towels

Turn off the overhead lights and allow them to cool.

Scale the ladder to reach the fixtures while your assistant holds the ladder steady. Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes and face from dust, dirt and dead insects that may fall out of the fixture when the cover is removed.

Slide out covers that fit inside metal tracks, pushing in the direction of the track openings. Use a screwdriver to take out screws holding covers attached to the ceiling. Some covers swing downward on a hinge or hinges, which hold the cover while you change out the bulb underneath. Other cover styles remove completely from the fixture.

Hand the fixtures one at a time to your assistant below.

Tips & Warnings

  • Clean the light fixture covers with a light mist of glass cleaner, wiping off the solution with paper towels, before replacing them in the fixtures.
  • Do not attempt to unscrew or remove any light bulbs inside the fixture until the bulb and the fixture have cooled completely.

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