How to Replace Recessed CFL Bulbs


Compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs use less wattage than standard light bulbs, but produce the same amount of illumination. CFL bulbs can be used in a recessed light fixture as long as the fixture has no cover, since a CFL bulb produces too much heat for a covered fixture. Replacing recessed CFL bulbs is a simple process. The CFL bulb is often smaller in diameter than a standard bulb, enabling you to grab the edges just enough to turn the bulb.

Things You'll Need

  • Stool
  • Stepladder
  • Duct tape
  • Turn off the power to the recessed light fixtures at the breaker box to prevent accidental shocks. Let the bulbs cool off until you can safely and comfortably touch them.

  • Set a stool or stepladder under the fixture so you can comfortably reach the CFL bulb. Grasp the outer edges of the bulb with your fingertips and turn it counterclockwise to remove it from the socket.

  • If you cannot grasp the sides of the CFL bulb, tear off a 12-inch piece of duct tape. Form the tape into a circle, with the sticky side facing out. Stick the tape on the bottom of the CFL bulb and turn the bulb, using the two ends of the piece of tape as a handle.

  • Insert a new CFL bulb into the socket and turn it clockwise until it is snug in the socket. Repeat steps 1 through 3 for the rest of the recessed light fixtures.

  • Turn the power back on to the fixtures.

Tips & Warnings

  • Contact the waste management authority in your area to find proper disposal locations for CFL bulbs in your area. CFL bulbs have special disposal requirements.

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