November 21, 2013
How to open/ twist off the cover of some really stupid/ awkward/ flush mounted ceiling light dome fittings/ fixtures to replace/ change light bulb
Hello! You’ve come here because you are trying to replace a bulb and can’t. I had a similar issue some time ago and conducted some research – to no avail. A professional electrician had to called. This post contains some of my research.
Over time, this post has attracted a number of contributions. I particularly invite SOLUTIONS. I thank those who have contributed comments/ findings to this post for the general benefit of everyone.
1) SIMPLEST: SCREWED TYPE
SIMPLE SCREWED TYPE (IT IS UNLIKELY THAT YOU’VE GOT SUCH A SYSTEM, WHICH IS TRIVIALLY EASY TO OPEN): Most dome ceiling lights either have set screws that screw in from the side to hold the dome in place or the dome has a metal frame that supports the glass dome. If it has a frame then it generally has 2-3 screws thru the frame that hold the frame to the ceiling flange. Those metal objects should be screws. Unscrew them and the dome should come free. If they are not screws they may be some sort of decorative head on a threaded post but they should still unscrew.
COMPEX SCREWED TYPE
Try twisting the lamp in either direction, or just pulling the metal thing out if it is a nail.
Try pulling the little metal button out (away from the center of the circle defined by the light fixture, parallel to the ceiling). That will move two prongs (like large metal staples) inwards, thereby releasing the shade.
That little metal thingamajig sticking out of the top of the lamp can either be pulled out to remove the globe or it can be slid sideways. One of these options should do the trick.
2) CUTE BUT MAY GET STUCK: NOTCH/GROOVE MECHANISM
The glass dome thingy may have been fitted onto the base through a notch/grove type mechanism. Pressing up on the glass lightly while twisting the pulling down may release it.
Turn slightly until you find the notch, then you push up into the notch & pull down
PUSH FROM THE MIDDLE THEN TWIST
One person should pin the metal against the ceiling with the end of a broom stick while the other person should push or move the dome
For one with metal pole coming through the center of the dome. Hold on to the glass, but pull the metal piece a bit to one side and then unscrew it.
3) CONFOUNDING: SPRING LOADED
If not “screwed”, then you may have a spring-loaded frame. This is quite challenging, with 10s of options. These type have clips inside the globe, spring loaded that press outwards holding the globe in place.
1. Flush-mounted light fixtures that are spring-loaded will typically have two springs holding the metal collar in place.
2. Using the flathead screwdriver or razor knife, loosen the paint by moving around the metal collar where it attaches to the ceiling.
3. Attempt to pry the light fixture from the springs by pulling down with your hands.
4. If you cannot remove fixture with your hands, use the flathead screwdriver or razor knife to pry it off by sliding it under the mouth of the metal collar and prying down.
5. The light fixture will hold itself in place as you change the bulb. Simply remove the existing bulb and replace it with the new one.
6. Replace the fixture by popping it back into place.
Simply pull the globe off.
Carefully tug a bit on the metal frame and see if it will pull down. The whole frame and dome will come down enough to swing out of the way so you can change the bulb.
For the one with two big metal clips INSIDE the glass bowl, just pull to one side until the first side unclips (putting it back on is more nerve wracking!)
Hold metal frame and pull down on glass fixture. One side starts coming out giving confidence to pull more. Finally remove the glass to find three spring clips that hold the glass fixture.
Tap the metal ring gently the dome pops out.
Turn the glass globe – there should be a peg on the holder and a slot along the base of the glass. It might be pretty heavy so hang on and use a ladder.
Use a screw driver to nudge the dome and it comes off.
PRESSURE ON THE EDGES
Apply pressure not at the center but around the edges
4) EVEN MORE CONFOUNDING: SLOTTED CONNECTORS
Some have slotted connectors so that you turn it about 1/8 to 1/4 turn and then pull down, similar to the way a smoke detector is removed from its base.
TWIST the glass counterclockwise and it unscrews (there are three metal bumps on the INSIDE that hold it when you screw it back.
Globe Style Flush Mounted
1. Locate one or more flat-headed screws on the metal collar of the ceiling light. The collar will be the round part into which the globe is inserted.
2. Place one hand on the bottom of the globe and support it at all times. It will become loose and you do not want it to fall.
3. Turn at least one of the screws on the collar counter-clockwise to loosen it. The part of the screw inside the collar protrudes into a recessed rim in the part of the globe inside the collar. Unscrewing the screw takes it out of the rim and you should be able to remove the globe without completely removing the screw. If there is more than one screw, you may have to loosen more than one of them to open the light.
Closed Style Flush Mounted
1. Locate the ornamental finial in the middle of the bottom of the flush mounted ceiling light.
2. Hold the glass part of the light with one hand. It will become unattached from the light and you must prevent it from falling.
3. Turn the finial counter-clockwise to loosen it. When it is completely loose, carefully lower your other hand that is supporting the glass part to open the light. You will have to completely detach the finial, so be careful not to drop it.
Scroll down to see if you find the light fixture you are looking for.
There’s also apparently a “can type” ceiling fixture. No idea what it looks like.
A flush-mounted light fixture is a type of light fixture that is installed on a ceiling, with its rim positioned flush against the ceiling. This type of ceiling light fixture is often used in bedrooms, hallways and foyers, and is recommended for use with lower ceilings.
To open the above see this: http://diy.stackexchange.com/questions/20740/how-do-i-remove-a-flush-mounted-ceiling-light-fixture-dome
To open this:
To open this see:
For this (below)
NOW HERE’S ONE THAT ROTATES
Here’s one that a reader sent – along with a solution:
Solution: “We carefully pushed one end away from us (horizontally), and gently pulled it down. It came undone/unsnapped, and then the other end was easy. ”
Here’s one that a reader sent – he can’t open it and I have no idea either:
Received by email on 8 December 2016: “Squirt some Bang foam cleaner or other glass cleaner solution around rim of light cover. Wait a minute & easily twist off!!”
I hope I’ve helped you in some way. If not, please make note of actions taken by your electrician to fix the problem and send me your comments at email@example.com. I’ll add your insights to this post.
Someone sent me this on 16 February 2015, with a comment “I have tried twisting pulling but won’t budge. I’m afraid of taking the ceiling down with me.”
RECEIVED FROM JACLYN ON 19 MARCH 2015
I realize your article is old-ish, but I am at a loss. I have two of this light in my hall. The first bulb blew and we tried to change it and couldn’t but didn’t worry about it because we had a second light. Well, two days ago the second one goes. So we are trying to no avail. Can you help?
RECEIVED BY EMAIL ON 29 MARCH 2015 FROM MIRANDA
Here is a close up–there are two of these not-screws on two sides:
Thank you for any advice!
RECEIVED FROM ANGELA POOLE ON 26 DECEMBER 2015
RECEIVED FROM TOM ON 24 FEBRUARY 2016
Tom says: “I am confused by the metal tab. It doesn’t seem to do anything and I can’t pull it off. Turning doesn’t seem to work either. Any ideas?”
RECEIVED FROM Trung Le Quoc ON 15 JANUARY 2017
I need to change the broken light bulb but couldn’t open it despite of countless attempts. At first I thought it is kind of screwed/twisted-type, so have tried clockwise, counterclockwise, piece by piece ‘interval’ to see if there are slotted connectors etc. but all failed.
These are solutions provided by readers:
COMMENT RECEIVED FROM A READER
I recently came across a blog entry you made regarding pesky, recessed dome light fixtures. I have one in my place that has been frustrating me, and I hope you can help out. Attached to this email are two photos of the dome light. My instinct tells me to hold the lamp in place with one hand and try to unscrew the silver piece in the middle. I tried this, multiple times, but the silver piece does not seem to rotate left or right. I don’t know if that piece is supposed to screw/ unscrew, but if it is I’m having a really hard time with it. Part of what makes that silver piece hard to turn (and once again it doesn’t turn at all) is the fact that it is almost flush with the lamp and I can’t get a decent grip on it. Do you have any ideas on how to get this lamp off the ceiling? All I’m trying to do is replace a lightbulb, and this lamp is being stubborn. Any help you can provide would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance for any suggestions.
The reader found the solution, below. He also wrote: “This is the exact lighting fixture I have in my kitchen, and the video shows how to install this fixture. I just reversed the directions and fast forwarded toward the end to find out how to remove the lamp itself. Prior to watching this video I had a hard time unscrewing the little bolt that holds the lamp to the ceiling.”
FURTHER COMMENT FROM A READER
I could not get the glass dome to budge on a flush-mounted ceiling fixture. It seemed like it should twist counter clockwise. So, I sprayed WD40 between the glass dome and the metal holder (and caught the dripping with a paper towel), waited about 5 minutes, and then gently smacked the glass dome twice in a counter clockwise direction with the heel of a walking shoe. Yes. A shoe. Worked like magic. The dome moved about 1/8 of an inch each time. It was then loose enough for me to twist off. I had read on another site about a guy using a rubber mallet to do the same thing. I didn’t have a rubber mallet, but I figured a show might work. See attached dome and shoe!
[Sanjeev: I’m posting the dome, not the shoe]
FROM Strat Egerie ON 29 JANUARY 2017
I put CFL bulbs in two of these maybe 15 years ago, and one one burnt-out I was at a total loss on how to change it. I took another look and realize that if I held the metal part and twisted the Dome counterclockwise it popped right off.
I’m putting in LED bulbs this time and hope to never have to change them again.
Examples of search text that brings people to this post. Clearly there is a HUGE issue re: ceiling lights. Is the industry listening? At a minium, this is getting really amusing…
- how can you loosen a ceiling light that wont turn
changing difficult light bulbs covers
light fixture dome with no screw cant open
how to remove stupid ceiling light
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ADDENDUM LED LIGHT SYSTEMS
LED light systems are equally or more complex. I have the following model installed in my bedrooms: dl13smd3000k ip44 saa. I think the model type is “3000k”
I found a clip on this that comes off. I suppose that will allow other similar ones to be installed.