Sheared lightbulb in recessed socket


K

kj

I was doing a routine lightbulb replacement in the recessed ceiling
fixture in my entrance hallway when the top of the bulb sheared
off cleanly from the threaded metal part. Great.

I yanked off the bulb, but now the metal part is stuck in there,
so I have a useless fixture. This would be a pain under any
circumstance, but the fact that the socket is recessed makes it
impossible to stick a pair of pliers in there to attempt to unscrew
the metal part.

The housing for the fixture is attached to the socket, so even if
I managed to pry it out, I still would not be able to access the
socket with pliers. I suppose I will have to pull the housing out,
cut the wire, and replace it with a new housing, splicing the wire
coming off the new housing into the cut end.

Am I on the right track here? If so, what do I have to do to remove
the housing. After working at it for a while I didn't get very
far at all. One would think that one has to rip the ceiling to
get that housing out, but I can't believe the system would be that
stupid.

How does one fix a situation like this, without ripping out a big
chunk of ceiling?

Thanks!

kj
 
Ad

Advertisements

T

Telstra

It's a good job the pioneers opened up America becouse if it had been left
to pratts like you the whole of America would be living in Boston
 
K

kj

In said:
I was doing a routine lightbulb replacement in the recessed ceiling
fixture in my entrance hallway when the top of the bulb sheared
off cleanly from the threaded metal part. Great.
I yanked off the bulb, but now the metal part is stuck in there,
so I have a useless fixture. This would be a pain under any
circumstance, but the fact that the socket is recessed makes it
impossible to stick a pair of pliers in there to attempt to unscrew
the metal part.
The housing for the fixture is attached to the socket, so even if
I managed to pry it out, I still would not be able to access the
socket with pliers. I suppose I will have to pull the housing out,
cut the wire, and replace it with a new housing, splicing the wire
coming off the new housing into the cut end.
I had another idea, hopefully not too harebrained. I could use a
flexible shaft attached to my handheld drill to apply a torque
inside the socket. The only problem is finding a suitable drill
attachment to transmit the torque from the end of the flexible
shaft to the inside of the socket. The only thing I can think of
is something like a drill "socket wrench" attachment whose outer
diameter is slightly smaller than the inner diameter of the sheared
off bulb thread, with a rubber band wrapped around the outer rim.
(Hopefully the rubber band would produce enough traction to twist
the bulb thread.) If anyone can think of a better drill attachment
for this strange task please let me know.
 
T

Toller

kj said:
I had another idea, hopefully not too harebrained. I could use a
flexible shaft attached to my handheld drill to apply a torque
inside the socket.
I would like to see that!
The traditional remedy is to jam a potato into it.
 
R

robson

kj said:
I was doing a routine lightbulb replacement in the recessed ceiling
fixture in my entrance hallway when the top of the bulb sheared
off cleanly from the threaded metal part. Great.

I yanked off the bulb, but now the metal part is stuck in there,
so I have a useless fixture. This would be a pain under any
circumstance, but the fact that the socket is recessed makes it
impossible to stick a pair of pliers in there to attempt to unscrew
the metal part.

The housing for the fixture is attached to the socket, so even if
I managed to pry it out, I still would not be able to access the
socket with pliers. I suppose I will have to pull the housing out,
cut the wire, and replace it with a new housing, splicing the wire
coming off the new housing into the cut end.

Am I on the right track here? If so, what do I have to do to remove
the housing. After working at it for a while I didn't get very
far at all. One would think that one has to rip the ceiling to
get that housing out, but I can't believe the system would be that
stupid.

How does one fix a situation like this, without ripping out a big
chunk of ceiling?

Thanks!

kj
go to your fridge and find a raw carrot about the size of the metal
bulb base in diameter. jam the carrot in the fixture. it should wedge
in enough to turn the bulb base. it might work.
 
C

Cubby

Pair of needle nose pliers has always worked for me. Grab the side of
the bulb socket and turn. if that doesn't work, you can bend the
socket enough to get a better hold on it.
 
Ad

Advertisements

R

RicodJour

kj said:
I was doing a routine lightbulb replacement in the recessed ceiling
fixture in my entrance hallway when the top of the bulb sheared
off cleanly from the threaded metal part. Great.

I yanked off the bulb, but now the metal part is stuck in there,
so I have a useless fixture. This would be a pain under any
circumstance, but the fact that the socket is recessed makes it
impossible to stick a pair of pliers in there to attempt to unscrew
the metal part.

The housing for the fixture is attached to the socket, so even if
I managed to pry it out, I still would not be able to access the
socket with pliers. I suppose I will have to pull the housing out,
cut the wire, and replace it with a new housing, splicing the wire
coming off the new housing into the cut end.

Am I on the right track here? If so, what do I have to do to remove
the housing. After working at it for a while I didn't get very
far at all. One would think that one has to rip the ceiling to
get that housing out, but I can't believe the system would be that
stupid.

How does one fix a situation like this, without ripping out a big
chunk of ceiling?
The baffle/reflector goes in after the fixture itself. Since the bulb
is gone, it's easy to remove the baffle, then you should have enough
room to get a needlenose pliers in there.

R
 
R

RBM

I've seen more sockets chewed up by folks using needle nose pliers on them
and I've yet to meet a person that successfully used any type of vegetation.
A very easy and reliable method is to turn off the power and unscrew it with
a diagonal pliers. It fits right into the socket, grabs the edges neatly and
spins it right out
 
R

RBM

If you do need to remove the baffle or trim from the ceiling, you should be
clear as to what is holding it in. There are several types of retaining
mechanisms so yanking on it may cause more harm than good
 
K

Kathy

kj said:
I was doing a routine lightbulb replacement in the recessed ceiling
fixture in my entrance hallway when the top of the bulb sheared
off cleanly from the threaded metal part. Great.

I yanked off the bulb, but now the metal part is stuck in there,
so I have a useless fixture. This would be a pain under any
circumstance, but the fact that the socket is recessed makes it
impossible to stick a pair of pliers in there to attempt to unscrew
the metal part.
snip

How does one fix a situation like this, without ripping out a big
chunk of ceiling?
Have you tried a potato?
 
J

John Grabowski

I have had good luck shoving the end of a wooden broom handle up into the
light socket and turning counter-clockwise while maintaining pressure.
Other people have told me about using a potato, but I have never tried that.

Make sure that the power is off when attempting this.

Recessed lighting housings are generally easy to pull down for access to the
junction box. Look around inside the perimeter of the housing. You may see
some small screws. If you remove them, the can should loosen and you should
be able to pull it down just below the ceiling. Don't attempt to remove it
completely with investigating how it is wired.


John Grabowski
http://www.mrelectrician.tv
 
Ad

Advertisements

P

Paul Franklin

I was doing a routine lightbulb replacement in the recessed ceiling
fixture in my entrance hallway when the top of the bulb sheared
off cleanly from the threaded metal part. Great.

I yanked off the bulb, but now the metal part is stuck in there,
so I have a useless fixture. This would be a pain under any
circumstance, but the fact that the socket is recessed makes it
impossible to stick a pair of pliers in there to attempt to unscrew
the metal part.

The housing for the fixture is attached to the socket, so even if
I managed to pry it out, I still would not be able to access the
socket with pliers. I suppose I will have to pull the housing out,
cut the wire, and replace it with a new housing, splicing the wire
coming off the new housing into the cut end.

Am I on the right track here? If so, what do I have to do to remove
the housing. After working at it for a while I didn't get very
far at all. One would think that one has to rip the ceiling to
get that housing out, but I can't believe the system would be that
stupid.

How does one fix a situation like this, without ripping out a big
chunk of ceiling?

Thanks!

kj
Turn off the power at the breaker. Then turn it off again. Get
yourself a long fat carrot. If part of the old filament is still
sticking up from the socket, cut a notch in the end of the carrot to
clear it. Jam the carrot into the socket and unscrew it. Potato works
even better, but probably isn't long enough.

If that doesnt work, just take a long screwdriver, slide it between
the bulb base and socket, and twist. Do this in several places until
the bulb base is crumpled enough to fall out.

HTH,

Paul
 
P

Pop

And it's painfully obvious you're not part of America; and you
must be wayyy into the outback in nz too. Your sig's right; you
are definitely backwards.


: It's a good job the pioneers opened up America becouse if it
had been left
: to pratts like you the whole of America would be living in
Boston
: : >
: >
: >
: > I was doing a routine lightbulb replacement in the recessed
ceiling
: > fixture in my entrance hallway when the top of the bulb
sheared
: > off cleanly from the threaded metal part. Great.
: >
: > I yanked off the bulb, but now the metal part is stuck in
there,
: > so I have a useless fixture. This would be a pain under any
: > circumstance, but the fact that the socket is recessed makes
it
: > impossible to stick a pair of pliers in there to attempt to
unscrew
: > the metal part.
: >
: > The housing for the fixture is attached to the socket, so
even if
: > I managed to pry it out, I still would not be able to access
the
: > socket with pliers. I suppose I will have to pull the
housing out,
: > cut the wire, and replace it with a new housing, splicing the
wire
: > coming off the new housing into the cut end.
: >
: > Am I on the right track here? If so, what do I have to do to
remove
: > the housing. After working at it for a while I didn't get
very
: > far at all. One would think that one has to rip the ceiling
to
: > get that housing out, but I can't believe the system would be
that
: > stupid.
: >
: > How does one fix a situation like this, without ripping out a
big
: > chunk of ceiling?
: >
: > Thanks!
: >
: > kj
: >
: > --
: > NOTE: In my address everything before the first period is
backwards;
: > and the last period, and everything after it, should be
discarded.
:
:
 
G

George E. Cawthon

John said:
I have had good luck shoving the end of a wooden broom handle up into the
light socket and turning counter-clockwise while maintaining pressure.
Other people have told me about using a potato, but I have never tried that.

Make sure that the power is off when attempting this.

Recessed lighting housings are generally easy to pull down for access to the
junction box. Look around inside the perimeter of the housing. You may see
some small screws. If you remove them, the can should loosen and you should
be able to pull it down just below the ceiling. Don't attempt to remove it
completely with investigating how it is wired.


John Grabowski
http://www.mrelectrician.tv




I was doing a routine lightbulb replacement in the recessed ceiling
fixture in my entrance hallway when the top of the bulb sheared
off cleanly from the threaded metal part. Great.

I yanked off the bulb, but now the metal part is stuck in there,
so I have a useless fixture. This would be a pain under any
circumstance, but the fact that the socket is recessed makes it
impossible to stick a pair of pliers in there to attempt to unscrew
the metal part.

The housing for the fixture is attached to the socket, so even if
I managed to pry it out, I still would not be able to access the
socket with pliers. I suppose I will have to pull the housing out,
cut the wire, and replace it with a new housing, splicing the wire
coming off the new housing into the cut end.

Am I on the right track here? If so, what do I have to do to remove
the housing. After working at it for a while I didn't get very
far at all. One would think that one has to rip the ceiling to
get that housing out, but I can't believe the system would be that
stupid.

How does one fix a situation like this, without ripping out a big
chunk of ceiling?

Thanks!

kj
I like the current philosophy. If you didn't pay
much, you got ripped off. If you paid an
outrageous amount but didn't get much service, you
didn't pay enough. I think the basic concept
is, "You can never pay too much for service that
you don't really need."
 
K

kj

Thank you all very much for your suggestions. After looking at
diagrams of similar recessed lighting housings online I realize
that mine is apparently pretty unusual. I now see that, as a rule,
in recessed lighting fixtures the bulb goes into the socket
vertically; i.e. when one screws the bulb in, the axis of the bulb's
rotation is vertical. But that's not the way it is in my fixture.
The axis of rotation is (nearly) horizontal. (Yes, even under the
best circumstances it takes *forever* to change a lightbulb in
these fixtures.)

I guess builders use such an insanely incovenient design because
by having the bulb horizontal instead of vertical they can save
1-2 vertical inches per story. (Since this is a family ng, I will
not say what I think of such builders.)

So the socket is *at right angles* from the axis of the housing.
(I'm sorry for not having mentioned this before; I honestly did
not realize that it was such an uncommon design.) Since the housing
is about 3 inches in diameter, there is no room to turn a pair of
pliers around 90 degrees to align it with the horizonal socket.

Hence my blathering about using a flexible shaft attached to a
handheld drill, since otherwise I see no way to exert a torque
around the required axis.

Now I have to find a way to affix a carrot or a potato at the end
of a flexible drill shaft. Oh, this is going to be fun. :)

kj
 
M

maradcliff

I was doing a routine lightbulb replacement in the recessed ceiling
fixture in my entrance hallway when the top of the bulb sheared
off cleanly from the threaded metal part. Great.

I yanked off the bulb, but now the metal part is stuck in there,
so I have a useless fixture. This would be a pain under any
circumstance, but the fact that the socket is recessed makes it
impossible to stick a pair of pliers in there to attempt to unscrew
the metal part.

The housing for the fixture is attached to the socket, so even if
I managed to pry it out, I still would not be able to access the
socket with pliers. I suppose I will have to pull the housing out,
cut the wire, and replace it with a new housing, splicing the wire
coming off the new housing into the cut end.

Am I on the right track here? If so, what do I have to do to remove
the housing. After working at it for a while I didn't get very
far at all. One would think that one has to rip the ceiling to
get that housing out, but I can't believe the system would be that
stupid.

How does one fix a situation like this, without ripping out a big
chunk of ceiling?

Thanks!

kj
You know they sell curved needle nose plyers, right?
They come with a 45 or 90 degree bend.
Be sure to shut off the power first.
 
Ad

Advertisements

R

RBM

Recessed fixtures with horizontal sockets are sometimes used in shallow
depth ceilings as they can fit in a 2x6 space. You need to figure out how to
remove the fixture, then the socket snaps off and would be easy to work on
 
R

RicodJour

kj said:
Thank you all very much for your suggestions. After looking at
diagrams of similar recessed lighting housings online I realize
that mine is apparently pretty unusual. I now see that, as a rule,
in recessed lighting fixtures the bulb goes into the socket
vertically; i.e. when one screws the bulb in, the axis of the bulb's
rotation is vertical. But that's not the way it is in my fixture.
The axis of rotation is (nearly) horizontal. (Yes, even under the
best circumstances it takes *forever* to change a lightbulb in
these fixtures.)

I guess builders use such an insanely incovenient design because
by having the bulb horizontal instead of vertical they can save
1-2 vertical inches per story. (Since this is a family ng, I will
not say what I think of such builders.)
Save your acrimony as there is absolutely no validity in your
supposition.

There has never been a builder that has determined the depth of the
floor joists by considering the height of a recessed fixture. The
fixture may be dictated by the height of the floor joists which are in
turn based on the design loads.

If the structure was sufficient, and the only reason to increase the
height of the floor was those fixtures, each recessed fixture's cost
would be figured in the thousands.

The builder/electrician chose that fixture for a reason. Whether or
not there were other options available, and whether the right decision
was made at the time, is moot.

R
 
C

Chuck

Thank you all very much for your suggestions. After looking at
diagrams of similar recessed lighting housings online I realize
that mine is apparently pretty unusual. I now see that, as a rule,
in recessed lighting fixtures the bulb goes into the socket
vertically; i.e. when one screws the bulb in, the axis of the bulb's
rotation is vertical. But that's not the way it is in my fixture.
The axis of rotation is (nearly) horizontal. (Yes, even under the
best circumstances it takes *forever* to change a lightbulb in
these fixtures.)

I guess builders use such an insanely incovenient design because
by having the bulb horizontal instead of vertical they can save
1-2 vertical inches per story. (Since this is a family ng, I will
not say what I think of such builders.)

So the socket is *at right angles* from the axis of the housing.
(I'm sorry for not having mentioned this before; I honestly did
not realize that it was such an uncommon design.) Since the housing
is about 3 inches in diameter, there is no room to turn a pair of
pliers around 90 degrees to align it with the horizonal socket.

Hence my blathering about using a flexible shaft attached to a
handheld drill, since otherwise I see no way to exert a torque
around the required axis.

Now I have to find a way to affix a carrot or a potato at the end
of a flexible drill shaft. Oh, this is going to be fun. :)

kj
They make needle nose pliers that are bent 90 degrees..
 
Ad

Advertisements

G

George E. Cawthon

RicodJour said:
Save your acrimony as there is absolutely no validity in your
supposition.
Sure there is if the builder did it. If the
architect picked those, he was just nuts,
appearance over function.
There has never been a builder that has determined the depth of the
floor joists by considering the height of a recessed fixture. The
fixture may be dictated by the height of the floor joists which are in
turn based on the design loads.
That's right the builder doesn't do those, but
what he does is fit what the buyer/designer wants
into the space available. You can pick all sorts
of fixtures that won't fit in a specific space
without having to go to some really screwy fixture
design or using a design in a place it is not
intended for.
If the structure was sufficient, and the only reason to increase the
height of the floor was those fixtures, each recessed fixture's cost
would be figured in the thousands.
Bull. Increasing the space for the fixture is as
simple as adding wood strips to the bottom of the
joists. Even you go to the extreme of maintaining
ceiling height by increasing the joist height, the
cost increase is negligible. Especially in the
types of ceilings that typically have those
fixtures. It would cost a bit more if you went
from standard stud lengths to a bit longer stud,
but you would be stupid to make each stud longer,
you would just add 2x4 or 2x6 plates to get the
height.
The builder/electrician chose that fixture for a reason. Whether or
not there were other options available, and whether the right decision
was made at the time, is moot.
Sure he did, profit margin, inability to convince
the designer/home owner of the inappropriateness
of that design, inability to think up a rational
solution, etc.
Not sure why you want to defend a mistake by the
builder. Builders make mistakes all the time.
 

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Top