How to Change a Bulb in a Pendant Light

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It is easy to change a bulb in a pendant light.
Image Credit: James Osmond/The Image Bank/GettyImages

Changing a light bulb in a pendant fixture can be a simple process if it has an open design that allows you to reach inside and untwist the old bulb. But when the ceiling light cover won't come off of an enclosed design, an easy ceiling light bulb change becomes a sweat-inducing task. Learn some tricks to access light bulbs inside pendant lights to check this chore off your to-do list.

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Ceiling Light Cover Won't Come Off

Pendant lights are a little bit fragile due to the long stem that connects them to the ceiling. Too much man-handling of the pendant light cover could inflict a surprising amount of leverage on the bolts anchoring it to the ceiling. A single nut typically holds the pendant cover in place, and if this won't budge, try spraying some WD-40 on the nut and wait about 10 minutes. Be sure to open some windows to properly ventilate the room after spraying WD-40.

It may be useful to have a helper hold the hanging globe light to change the bulb. One person prevents the globe from falling while the other person loosens the nut holding it in place. To avoid placing too much pressure on the stem, hold it still with one hand while loosening the nut with your other hand. Be careful when using a wrench, because the teeth can scratch or deform the decorative parts of the pendant, so wrap a towel around the nut before loosening it with a wrench.

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The globe should come free once the nut is adequately loosened or completely removed. Carefully pull it down past the light bulb and set it aside.

Changing the Light Bulb

Turning off the breaker is not necessary for a basic light bulb change, but the light switch controlling the pendant should be in the off position. However, if you're removing a light bulb that was just on, it could still be hot to the touch. Wait a little bit for the bulb to cool down if necessary. If you're in a rush, you can protect your hand with a thick towel or oven mitt.

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Gently twist the bulb counterclockwise to loosen it. If the fixture uses bayonet-style bulbs, Topline advises pushing the bulb toward its base and turning it counterclockwise before pulling it out. Take care not to apply too much pressure to the glass, which could cause it to break. You can choose to replace the bulb with one that gives off brighter or softer light but stick to the same size and shape to ensure the new bulb fits inside the pendant light.

Before replacing your pendant light cover, take a moment to wipe it clean with a damp cloth. Rinse out and dry the inside of enclosed globes to remove debris and dead bugs that have collected within the basin. Maneuver the globe over the light bulb until it's resting in its final position and tighten the nut as much as possible with your hand. Then, switch to a wrench to tighten the nut further.

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Cathy Habas enjoys distilling even the most complicated home improvement tasks into bite-sized pieces. She believes in empowering homeowners one article at a time.