How to Change a Light Socket

That old light socket just doesn’t work any more.

It clashes with your decor, and it’s time for a new one. You just saw the perfect one in a lighting store and decided you must have it. You don’t want to pay an electrician nor do you want to get zapped by electrical wires. Changing a light socket is less complicated than you might think. In fact, any "do-it- yourselfer", with the right precautions can switch out a light socket in just a few minutes.

Turn off the electricity from the breaker box. Check the switches to make sure. Once you are absolutely certain that the power to the switch has been turned off, and that there is no chance that an unwitting person might turn it back on while you are working, then you may proceed.

Use a step ladder to stand on, remove the encasement, if any from the socket and place it carefully aside. It’s best to climb down the ladder to place it somewhere safe rather than trying to balance the casing, which is usually brittle glass, somewhere on the ladder. For extra safety, retrieve the light bulb before continuing.

Use a screw driver or wrench, depending on what is required, to unfasten the light socket from the ceiling. You will know it is unhooked when the socket is dangling by wires. Pay special attention to how the wires go together. Write it down if you have to. It’s important.

Unhook the wires from each other to remove the socket completely. Keep the wire nuts if any, as you can use them to install the new socket. If there are none, you will want to get some before re-installing. Sometimes electricians are not as careful as they should be, and while another person installing the previous light may have opted out of wire nuts, you will want to take the necessary safety precautions to get it right.

Retrieve your new light socket and attach it all in the reverse direction as you took the old one off. After attaching the wires and before attaching the new socket to the ceiling, put a light bulb in the new socket and turn the power on. Check to make sure the light turns on and off with the switch. Providing that it works properly, turn of the power, take out the bulb, attach the socket to the ceiling, reinsert the light bulb and put on the new casing if any. Only when you have completed all of these steps should you turn the power back on for a final light check.

Things You Will Need

  • Step Ladder
  • Screw Drivers
  • Wrench


  • There you have it. May your new light socket illuminate your family time for years to come!