How to Change a Bulb in a Swivel Light Fixture

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Things You'll Need

  • Step stool or stepladder

  • Duct tape

Changing bulbs in a light fixture is usually a simple process. If you have swivel light fixtures, the process is still the same, although you have to account for the swivel. Depending on the fixture, the swivel might move the fixture as one unit, or the socket and fixture might move independently. Most ceiling swivel fixtures use standard bulbs. Changing a bulb in a swivel light fixture might require lining up the socket with the fixture housing or holding the housing to prevent the fixture from swiveling as you unscrew the bulb.


Step 1

Go to your home's electrical panel box and turn off the circuit breaker to the light fixture. Set up a step stool or stepladder under the fixture.

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Step 2

Grasp the outside of the fixture with one hand and hold it still, if your fixture attaches to the socket and they swivel together. Grab the light bulb with your free hand and unscrew the bulb from the fixture socket.

Step 3

Swivel the light bulb so the sides are in between the light fixture, if your bulb socket moves independently from the fixture. Grasp the edges of the bulb and turn it counterclockwise to remove it from the socket.

Step 4

Tear a 12-inch piece of duct tape off a roll if there is not enough space to grab the sides of the bulb. Fold 1 inch of each end of the tape over itself to make two nonsticky handles. Press the tape over the center of the bulb and rotate the bulb counterclockwise with the tape to remove it from the socket.


Step 5

Thread a new bulb into the socket until it is hand-tight. If you used the tape method, make sure that you remove the tape from the bulb. Turn on the circuit breaker to power the fixture.


Telescoping suction cups are available at home improvement centers for fixtures that are out of reach even if you have a stepladder. The suction cup is on the end of a telescoping pole and fits around the bulb.

Some swivel fixtures use special halogen bulbs that simply push in and pull out of the socket, or twist slightly to unlock the pins from the socket. If you have halogen bulbs, use paper towels to grasp them with your fingers.


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