Sunday, September 20, 2009

As Easy As Changing a Lightbulb

Damn near every time I try to change a lightbulb in this house, it breaks off and leaves the base in the fixture.

I've only rarely had this problem in the past. Like, once in my entire electricity-filled life. But once I moved into the house, it has happened at least four times. I can think of only three possible causes for this:

1. The people who lived here before me bought the world's crappiest lightbulbs.
2. The people who lived here before me tightened their lightbulbs with power tools.
3. Lightbulb technology is seriously falling down on the job.

Today, I had three bulbs to change, and, wouldn't you know it, one of them came off in my hand, leaving its base in the fixture. And guess which light bulb it was, too? Here, multiple choice:

The hallway fixture; the kitchen fixture; or the kitchen canister light. Yes, of course, it would be the one embedded in the ceiling.

Now, in the past, removing the remnants of lightbulb base has required -- (no, not a potato -- first, I don't have a potato -- second, I am not much for jamming a tuber into an electical socket) -- a pair of pliers, some tweezers, and screwdrivers of varying size. I've ended up picking away at the leftover lightbulb innards (spraying them all over the floor) and bending/peeling the base away from the socket until it finally comes out. Takes at least a half hour and makes a big mess.

Last time this happened, I searched the interwebs for a Broken Lightbulb Remover Device (there is such a thing), but I also found some directions on how to do this (correctly) with the tools already at my disposal. One is to take one's needle-nose pliers, put them inside the remaining base, open them so that they're grabbing on the base tightly from the inside, and rotate (in a "lefty-loosey" fashion).

Didn't think I'd get a chance to take this method for a test-drive so quickly, but clearly, I did.

It's slightly less messier than my prior bend-and-peel-the-damn-thing-out-of-there method. Largely because the pliers can't get a grip on the inside of the empty base until the base is, in fact, empty, so bits of leftover glass and whatever the hell else is still inside the base (hardened bulb glue?) come raining down on you. But once the glass storm is over and the pliers get a grip in there ... the base turns! It comes right out! I was insanely excited by this -- not only did getting that base out of there take no more than a minute or two -- advice I'd read on the internet actually worked! This is, indeed, a stunning development.

We will skip right over the fact that I'd bought the wrong size replacement bulbs.

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