How to Change Recessed Light Bulb | Tips & Tricks

How to Change Recessed Light Bulb | Tips & Tricks

January 12, 2021

While recessed lighting might appear simpler and neater in a room, it is not always the easiest thing to change when the light bulb dies. One problem is that, typically, recessed lighting is high up, because it is tucked into your ceiling. Unless you have unusually low ceilings, you will likely need a ladder to change any recessed lighting. 


It is not the exact same process as changing a light bulb in, say, a lamp. For that, you simply unscrew the bulb and put a new one in. You can probably do it in less than a minute. It will likely take you a bit more time to change a recessed light bulb. 


Once you get the hang of it, it is not the most difficult thing in the world to do. However, you might need to learn some tips and tricks for changing it first. 


In this article, we will discuss what recessed lighting is, some pros and cons, and how to change a recessed light bulb step by step. Read on to learn everything you need to know about recessed lighting! 



What is Recessed Lighting?

Recessed lighting is also referred to as can lights, canisters, and cans. These light fixtures are tucked inside the ceiling so nothing hangs below the line of the ceiling. The light bulb is then secured inside the fixture in the ceiling. 


Recessed lighting operates in the same way as other standard light fixtures. They have a screw-in socket that works with light bulbs that have the correct bases. They are common in home theaters, above kitchen islands, in showers, and around kitchen perimeters. 


Now that you know what recessed lighting is, here are some pros and cons to help you decide whether or not this type of lighting is something you want for your home. 



Pros of Recessed Lighting

  • Recessed lights are hidden in the ceiling. This makes them less noticeable to you and to guests who come to visit. This also means no exposed wires, cords, or anything electrical-related. This also helps prevent hazards because everything is tucked away and out of reach.
  • Recessed lighting is extremely energy-efficient. This is due to the type of bulbs they use, which are low-voltage. Some use dimmer switches as well, which lets you control the amount of light. This gives you the ability to lessen the amount of energy used even more. 
  • This type of lighting is typically spread out across the room with multiple lights set in each part of the ceiling. This setup will allow for increased lighting and visibility in each room. The lighting will also allow for an even distribution of light.


Cons of Recessed Lighting

  • When they are installed, it becomes a permanent fixture of your house. If you get new furniture or rearrange the layout of the room, the lighting may not match up correctly. You would have to have the ceilings repaired and new lighting installed in order to correctly work with any new layouts. 
  • Sometimes the light cast from recessed lighting is unflattering. They can produce a lot of shadows and appear harsh at times. It definitely is not the best light source for places like bathrooms, where you need good light for makeup and shaving. 
  • Another con is that you need a lot of recessed lighting in order for it to work in an entire room. For example, in a basement or living room, you cannot just have three or four lights set up. You will need (generally) at least eight to ten recessed lights (and sometimes more) depending on the size of the room. If there are not enough lights, the room will be too dark. 
  • One other issue is that recessed lighting is not always compatible with every home. For example, it will not work in concrete ceilings or ceilings that have detailed plaster and molding details. 


Steps to Follow For Changing Recessed Light Bulbs

While it is similar to changing a standard light bulb in a light fixture at home, replacing and changing recessed lights is just a little bit trickier. If the light bulb dies or the electrical circuit stops working, then you will have to replace the light. Try following these steps before calling an electrician or handyman. 


Step One: Shut Off the Power

Make sure you shut off the power to the recessed lights. Do not just turn off the light switch; shut off the power grid for that area through your circuit breaker. This will ensure your safety when changing the bulb. 


Step Two: Grab Your Tools

Get a ladder and position it under the light(s) you are changing. You will then need one of two things: duct tape or a pole bulb changer, depending on which method you prefer. If your ceilings are low enough, you might just need the bulb changer and not the ladder.


Step Three: Remove the Bulb

If you are using the bulb changer, follow the directions accordingly. Typically you will fit the bulb inside the device and turn it until the bulb comes out. If you are using the duct tape method, you will fold the sides in on each end, leaving a sticky space in the middle. 


Carefully climb up the ladder, and attach the sticky piece of the tape onto the light bulb. Use the folded ends to turn the bulb until it loosens. You can then remove the tape and finish taking the bulb out by hand. Step down from the ladder and get the new light bulb. If you are using the bulb replacer, but secure the bulb onto it. Otherwise, simply grab the new bulb. 


Step Four: Replace the Bulb

Now it is time to replace the bulb. Take the new bulb and re-attach the duct tape to it. Start turning it clockwise until it begins to tighten. You can then remove the duct tape and finish turning it by hand until it is tight and cannot turn anymore. 


If you are using the bulb replacer, simply fit the bulb into place and turn the bulb replacer in a clockwise motion until the bulb is snug inside the canister and cannot be turned anymore. 


Replacing the Trim

Replacing the trim for recessed lighting is a separate issue that requires different tools and a different set of steps. You must first follow all the above steps to remove the light bulb. Wait to replace the light bulb until after the new trim is in place. You will need a screwdriver to help detach the trim. 


You must check to make sure your new trim will fit the size of the hole. There are also steps you must take that involve new canisters and wiring, so it is best to watch tutorial videos for a step-by-step guide. Once the new trim is in place, you can follow the above steps for replacing the bulbs. 


Choosing the Best Bulbs

When it comes to choosing the light bulbs for your recessed lights, consider using Boundery’s LED light bulbs if they are compatible. The Boundery EBULB Emergency LED Light Bulb is the perfect energy-saver that also doubles as a safety and security measure. 


Not only does it utilize LED light (which emits low heat and energy, effectively lowering your energy bill each month), it is also the world’s first self-charging light bulb. When it is on, it charges. When you find yourself in a power outage or blackout, the bulb turns on automatically and provides light for 6 hours when fully charged. 


For outdoor lighting, try the Boundery Night2Day Smart Safety Bulb, which turns on when it gets dark out and turns off when it is light outside. 


Final Thoughts

Recessed lighting is great if you want low-profile light fixtures. They fit snugly into the ceiling and no part of the light hangs lower than the ceiling line. There are a few pros and cons to recessed lighting. It is energy-efficient and allows for even distribution of light within a room. On the other hand, it is permanent and not always compatible with every home. 


Changing the lights is relatively simple once you learn the right steps. You will need only a few simple items to change the bulb: duct tape, a ladder, or a bulb changing pole. From there, you will simply unscrew the light bulb by attaching the duct tape (for a more secure turn) or by using the pole to remove it. You then reverse the process to install the new bulb. 





Sources:

  1. https://homeguides.sfgate.com/replace-recessed-residential-lights-28075.html 
  2. https://www.familyhandyman.com/project/upgrade-a-recessed-light-fixture/ 
  3. https://www.thespruce.com/recessed-lighting-pros-and-cons-1821552