How to Change a Light Bulb in a High Ceiling

How to Change a Light Bulb in a High Ceiling

Changing light bulbs is something every homeowner has to do eventually. If you have a low ceiling, then it’s not really an issue, but how do you change a light bulb in a high ceiling?

If your ceiling is 12 feet or higher, changing the bulb in a light fixture can become a bit of an issue. Obviously using a small step-stool isn’t going to work and balancing a chair on your countertop is a sure-fire way to end up in the ER — so what are your other options?

Best Way to Change a Light Bulb in a High Ceiling

The best way to change a light bulb in a high ceiling is with a high ceiling ladder. These aren’t much different from your traditional ladder, they’re just taller, more sturdy, and meant for reaching high spots.

As a general rule of thumb, to change a light bulb to a high ceiling you’ll need a ladder that is no less than four feet smaller than your ceiling. So if you’re replacing a bulb in a 16-foot ceiling, you’ll need a 12-foot ladder. If it’s a 20-foot ceiling, you’ll need a 16-foot ladder, and so on. Even better, some of the best ladders for high ceilings are affordable and lightweight.

This is by far the easiest and most convenient way to change a light bulb in a high ceiling. However, if you’re trying to change a light bulb in a two-story foyer or a 30-foot ceiling, you may not have a ladder that’s tall enough. Thankfully, you’re not out of luck.

How to Change a Light Bulb in a High Ceiling Without a Ladder

If you don’t have a ladder or don’t have one that’s tall enough, you can use a light bulb changing pole to replace a burnt-out bulb. This is basically a long stick with a grabber on the top that you can use to unscrew the old bulb and screw in a new one.

They’re pretty cheap to buy and are easy to use, however they aren’t always the most reliable. For example, if you’re trying to change a chandelier light, this won’t work, you’ll have to have a ladder.

But if you’re trying to replace a regular light bulb that’s less than ten feet high, a changing pole should do the trick.

If you don’t have a ladder that’s tall enough for your high ceiling but have a ten-foot changing pole, you can climb up on the ladder and then try using the pole to reach the burnt-out bulb. This is a great option for changing a light bulb in a two-story foyer.

So, if you don’t have a ladder that’s tall enough to reach the bulb, and you probably don’t want to spend a few hundred dollars on a new one. So your best bet here is going to be to pull out your tallest ladder, climb up as high as you can, and then use a changing pole to change the bulb.

Is There a Tool To Change Light Bulbs in High Ceilings?

Yes, there is a tool to change light bulbs in high ceilings. Aptly named, Light Bulb Changers are simply long sticks with a gripper on the end. This allows you to surround the bulb and easily unscrew them. Even better, you put the new light bub in the top and screw it in.

While this is a great tool, it won’t work for every situation. For example, if you’re working with a broken or oddly shaped bulb, you’re going to have to do it by hand. This tool is best for regular bulbs on lower ceilings.

How to Safely Change a Light Bulb in a High Ceiling

It goes without saying, but it’s important to remember a couple of safety tips before you change a light bulb in a high ceiling, especially if you’re working on a really tall ceiling.

To start, be sure the light socket is turned off, and if you want to be extra cautious, you can flip the breaker off to be sure no electricity is running through the socket.

Next, be sure to place the ladder on even, steady ground with plenty of space around it. Don’t try and squeeze the ladder into a tight spot or balance it on uneven ground. Even better, if you have a family member or friend around, ask them to hold the base of the ladder for you to ensure it doesn’t tip over.

Quick Tips for Changing Light Bulbs

Perhaps the number one and most important tip for changing a light bulb is to let it cool. Now, this won’t be a problem if the bulb is burned out, but if you’re switching to an LED light or trying to replace it before it burns you, the last thing you want to do is burn your hand.

Another important tip is to be sure that the bulb you’re using is the correct wattage. If you’re replacing something like a lamp, the original box should tell you what wattage to use. However, if you don’t have the box handy, a lamp bulb should usually be between 60-75 watts. A ceiling light, on the other hand, is likely going to be between 75-100 watts. In most cases, you don’t want to exceed 100 watts. Using the incorrect wattage is a great way to start a fire.

Lastly, if you happen to be working with a broken bulb, you’ll need two things to remove it safely — gloves and half a potato. Yup, you read that right. Put on your gloves then put the exposed half of the potato against the broken glass. It’ll push into the potato and allow you to unscrew it from the socket safely without having to risk slicing your fingers up.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to change a light bulb in a high ceiling, you should be good to go. For most, a normal ladder will probably do the trick. But if you have a super tall ceiling, give the changing stick and ladder combo a try. Oh, and be sure to steady your ladder before you climb up on it. A burnt-out bulb and a broken arm are not a good combo!