Home Improvement Follies

I had a bulb flickering in the over-the-sink fixture. It’s a GU4-style bulb with two pins that you twist counterclockwise or clockwise, respectively, to get it out or in. I picked up a new one (or, rather, three new ones, because they don’t sell singles) at Home Depot, and went back home to replace it. It was seemingly impossible.

They give you a suction cup with the light fixture to grab them, because they are flat, and recessed into the canopy. The suction cup grabs them fine, but it can’t transmit any torque; it just turns on the surface of the smooth glass. I eventually managed to get enough pressure on it with my fingers to twist the old one out, but the new one was even harder. First, you have to find the two keyholes to insert it into, by the braille method. Then you have to twist it clockwise to lock it in and make contact for the juice. I could. Not. Do it. The glass was just too smooth to get a grip on it.

I was also getting tired of standing on a step stool and reaching up to fight with it, so I ended up removing the fixture itself so I could work on it on the kitchen counter.

I put duct tape on on the bulb, in hopes that it would give me a better grip, leaving some extra on the sides for a handle to turn it with, but when I started to torque it, the tape just turned itself off the bulb face.

I put more tape on, and trimmed it to fit so it wouldn’t get caught on the inside of the canopy. After much cursing, I found the holes again, but I still could twist; the tape itself didn’t have enough grip with my fingers. Finally, I grabbed a pair of scissors, and put the points on the circumference of the bulb, which finally allowed me to exert enough pressure and torque to lock it.

I reinstalled the fixture on the wall above the sink, and finally my long national light-bulb nightmare was over. I spent at least an hour on it that I could have used for more useful things.

Anyway, consider this a tip for anyone else who has to do this.

11 thoughts on “Home Improvement Follies”

  1. Um. Don’t use GU4 light fixtures? You were 50% of the way done when you had the fixture removed, then you went backwards.

  2. What can I say? I like the fixture. It looks great, and it adds a lot of light over the sink for washing dishes and food preparation. 🙂

    And it has three lights in it; this was just replacing the middle one which was clearly on its way out, and the flickering was annoying.

  3. David Spain nailed it exactly right.

    Life is like that sometimes … we spend enormous effort recapitulating the old instead of moving to something better. Reminds me of NASA.

  4. I used to have fixtures exactly like that and I got rid of them all. I selected fixtures that used the typical screw in base incandescent or LED bulbs. No ordering of special bulbs; no fiddling to get the bulbs out. No difficulty in getting replacement bulbs.

      1. Been here a long time. Rand does what Rand wants to do and I don’t write here to change HIS mind – or anyone else’s.

  5. A little late. I’ve used high temp silicone dielectric grease. A little on the posts doesn’t interfere with the connection but it helps keep the contacts from welding and corroding. I’ve had to remove more than a few Edison (screw) base bulbs in pieces when the base froze in the socket. The grease works on those as well. You can get it at auto supplies.

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