Tommy’s Tips: What’s a Toothache got to do with Bulbs?

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It’s strange how a toothache often occurs at the weekend, when dentist surgeries are closed, and you wind up spending six hours in A&E allowing a dental student license to practise on your molars (something you wouldn’t do if it wasn’t the weekend!) You might justifiably ask what’s dentistry got to do with DIY? And I’m not suggesting we pull our own teeth! I simply want to emphasis electric light failings in the home, and like a toothache, seem to inconveniently occur at night, when of course you can’t see anything in the dark! But then that is logical, as that’s when you use the lights!  My point is, if possible leave fixing them until the morning, when you can turn off the power and actually see what you are doing.  Unfortunately with a toothache, waiting any time at all for a fix, is simply unacceptable, and in extreme cases, you would quite happily consider a prognosis of decapitation to stop the pain!

A common occurrence, a bulb blows, and you decide to replace it.  As you are replacing the bulb, the bulb holder, crumbles and breaks, and the new bulb pops out, now we have a different problem because we have a DIY job to do. 

There are generally two types of bulb, for the average household, a screw in type, and the more common bayonet type, which you have to push and twist to fit.  Always keep a selection of suitable spare bulbs to hand.  Changing the bulb is a simple task and can be achieved without turning off the mains power at the fuse board. Ensure the light switch is in the off position before you start, position your steps under the light (do not use a chair) and if the bulb holder is faulty you most turn off the power at the mains fuse board before you do anything

Removing the old bulb holder! Turn off the power, undo the threaded plastic ring, to release the lampshade and put it aside, un-screw the top section of the bulb holder to expose the two connecting wires.  Undo the grub screws holding these wires in place, and remove the damaged bulb holder.  The top part of the old bulb holder can then be removed by sliding over the wires.   If the ends of the wires have become brittle from the heat of the bulb over a long period of time, cut off the last inch (25mm) of the old wires, then re-strip the casing from the wires, to allow you to fit the new bulb holder. First slide the top section of the new bulb holder, over the wires and flex, and use a piece of tape, to stop the top section from sliding down until you have connected the wires to the new bulb holder. After tightening the grub screws, loop the wires over the supporting lugs, to prevent the weight being carried by the terminals alone.  Now remove the temporary tape, and screw the top part of the bulb holder onto the main body, being careful not to cross thread.  Attach the lampshade and carefully tighten up the plastic retaining ring which holds it in place, finally insert your new bulb and turn the power back on, and your problem should be successfully resolved.

Tommy Tip:- Use a soft cloth or tea towel, when removing a bulb that has just blown, as they can get tremendously hot.

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