Posted by: Jason Anthony
It sounds like the beginning of a joke; how many people does it take to change a light bulb. When you are talking about changing the light bulb in a high-hat canister in a ceiling 22 or more feet high, it is no joke. I learned the hard way that it is easy to make mistakes and cost yourself money. Here is my home repair story and how to avoid the issues I faced.
Our family room has double height ceilings and a light bulb went out. I went to change the bulb, with great confidence, using my extension pole extended as far as it could go and standing on my tip-toes. Home centers, hardware stores and shopping sites sell adjustable pole-mounted bulb changers with different pieces that fit different shaped bulbs. I had successfully used my bulb-changing extention pole often over the years on bulbs in 12-foot ceiling when a ladder was not accessable.
I expected this to be a more delicate operation but not that big a deal. I was able to grasp the bulb and start to twist but I could not get the bulb to release from the socket. I twisted and twisted until I twisted the canister, breaking it and causing it to dangle dangerously. But the worst part was that I could not get the pole to release from the light bulb. So now I had the canister and pole dangling from the sky.
A friend came over to the house and taught me some important tips. First he was able to remove the bulb changer basket from the bulb without ripping down the canister. Then he switched from the wire mesh basket piece that is designed to go around the light bulb to the suction cup piece that you affix to the bottom of the bulb. He easily suctioned to the bulb and twisted it out of the socket and carefully brought the bulb down to earth.
Now we had to get a new bulb up in place. My friend first tied a piece of string into an eyelet on the suction cup. Then he sprayed a touch of WD-40 onto the treads of the new light bulb before pressing the new bulb firmly onto the suction cup. The WD would make it easier for the next time.
He raised the bulb up and used all of his 6 feet plus the fully extended 16 feet from the pole to screw the new bulb in place. Then once the bulb was in firmly, he pulled down on the string to break the vacuum and help release the bulb from the suction cup.
He made the bulb-changing task look very simple. He recommends never attempting changing bulbs in high ceilings without the use of the suction cup, string and WD-40.
I got my 16-foot adjustable (telescoping) pole for bulb changing at Home Depot a few years ago. At this writing, you could combine two items at HomeDepot.com to create the package I have:
1) Designers Edge 6 Piece Light Bulb Changer Kit (with an 11 ft pole) for $18.97 plus the 2) Bayco 16 Ft. Aluminum Telescopic Pole with 3 Sections for $26.79
I tried to recreate my HomeDepot.com on Amazon but could not because the 16-foot pole wasn’t being sold separately. The HomeDepot solution is a better deal that buying one item, the Bayco 16-foot package on Amazon for $80. Bayco LBC-2000 5pc 16 foot Adjustable Extention Pole Bulb Changing Kit.