|Sutton Double Sconce - Restoration Hardware|
So I have to say I was surprised and a tiny bit annoyed when a bulb blew out in one of the sconces after only 7 months wear, and when I went to replace it, the bulb snapped apart with the metal base remaining stuck in the fixture.
Normally I wouldn't get too worked up about a broken bulb stuck in a light fixture. It has happened before, so I know all about the potato trick.
And the soap trick.
The real problem was with the fixures themselves.
You might think, as I did, that you'd simply shut off the breaker to the bathroom, unscrew the bottom sconce, use your potato or soap to remove the stuck part of the bulb, replace a new bulb, screw in the glass again, restore power, and be on your way. But the Restoration Hardware Sutton Sconce doesn't work like that. Twist and turn as I did, the thing would not come apart. And as you can see the glass is too long and narrow to squeeze a hand-holding-potato inside.
The one bright spot (hi-yo) in all this was that the fixture is still available on the RH site, so I was able to download the installation instructions. I found the sconces had come with a special tool that you slip up inside the glass to tighten (or in my case, remove) the thin nut holding the glass globe in place. Problem was, I didn't know what my contractor had done with the tool after installing the fixtures. It was very likely in a box of leftover tile and plumbing parts that I had stowed in the attic of our summer cottage - a two hour drive away.
Ug. I had been out to the cottage just a few weeks back to look at the roof work, and I wasn't planning to make another trip out before Christmas. But we had guests coming over Thanksgiving weekend and I wanted the house to look its best. I couldn't just leave the lights looking like a missing tooth in a perfect smile.
Was there another method to remove broken bulbs? I googled and found several good bits of information, should this ever happen to you:
1. There is actually a tool for this. Several in fact. They are called light bulb extractors.
3. And as it turned out, perusing the comments of Ron Hazelton's Handyman site, I stumbled on exactly the right tool for my tall and narrow sconce: the humble paint stick. (Thank you to Ron's reader Barbara!)
|Ron Hazelton's Handyman Site|
So, the paint stick wins first place in my book on availability and safety.
To recap on how to remove a broken lightbulb that's stuck in a fixture:
Step 1: Shut off the power at the breaker box.
Step 2: If you will be standing below your bulb wear safety glasses and take precautions, as you will likely be showered in glass shards and metal bits.
Step 3: Stick the "handle" end of a wooden paint stick firmly into the fixture and turn counter clockwise (lefty-loosey). The metal end will come right out.
Step 4: Screw in a new bulb.
Step 5: Restore power at the breaker box
Step 6: Flick on the switch and admire your handiwork.