How to Replace a Halogen Bulb

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A halogen bulb is a common choice for ceiling lights, particularly in bathrooms. This is because they're concealed within the ceiling, making them more convenient. They also tend to be brighter and last longer than other incandescent bulbs. However, like any light fixture, over time the bulbs will need replacing. Luckily, this is a fairly easy job and can be done with minimal equipment or skill.

How to Replace a Halogen Bulb
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What Is a Halogen Bulb?

A halogen light bulb is a type of incandescent bulb that uses halogen gas. This makes them both brighter and longer lasting than other incandescent bulbs. In an ordinary bulb, the filament, which is made of a substance called tungsten, gradually evaporates and sticks to the glass of the bulb, leading to decreased light output and a reduced bulb life. Halogen bulbs prevent this issue because the particles of halogen gas interact with the evaporated tungsten and prevent it from fixing itself to the glass.

Halogen bulbs tend to be smaller than other light bulbs and don't screw into place. Instead, they fit into via pins, which lock it into place inside the fixture when the bulb is twisted.

How Can You Tell if a Halogen Bulb Needs Replacing?

The most obvious sign that a halogen bulb needs replacing is if the prior bulb has stopped working, even when it's correctly inserted and the power is on. If you're inserting a halogen bulb for the first time, you might need to replace the bulb if it is not the correct wattage, too.

How Can You Replace a Halogen Bulb?

First, you need to make sure the power is completely switched off. For a halogen ceiling light, make sure the power is turned off at the wall.

If you are replacing a bulb which has recently been on, leave it for a few minutes to cool. Halogen bulbs tend to get quite hot when switched on.

You'll also need to find a safe comfortable position for replacing the bulb. Halogen bulbs can be a little tricky to insert, particularly if they're in the ceiling. Find a stable chair to stand on and, if possible, have someone nearby to "spot" you.

You'll first need to remove the cover of the lamp. This varies from bulb to bulb but can usually be done by hand. A halogen bulb cover usually either unscrews or unclips.

Next, cover your hand for protection and place your palm flat against the bulb. Lightly press the bulb into the socket, then turn counterclockwise. This will unscrew the pins holding it in place and the bulb should fall into your palm.

Take your new bulb and line the pins in its base up with the notches inside the socket. Insert the pins into the notches. This can be a little fiddly and take more than one attempt.

Once you feel the pins insert into the notches, twist the bulb fully clockwise. This will lock the bulb in place and connect it to the power source.

Then, you can reattach the bulb cover and reconnect the power source. Old halogen bulbs should be disposed of in your normal household waste.


Annie Walton Doyle is a freelance writer based in Manchester, UK. Her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Daily Telegraph, Professional Photography Magazine, Bustle, Ravishly and more. When not writing, she enjoys pubs, knitting, nature and mysteries.

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