Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I don't know how to change a fluorescent light bulb.

The lights in my kitchen are fluorescent strips. If you've ever wondered just how long fluorescent lights last, consider this: I moved into this apartment four years ago, and have never had to replace these tubes.

But all good things come to an end, and the light tubes are dying. They still come on, but it takes a good 10-15 minutes for them to reach full brightness, and I need to replace them.

The problem is, I don't really know how -- and I feel almost superstitious about trying to figure it out.

Many years ago, I tried to install one of those self-sticking fluorescent strips underneath a kitchen cabinet. The adhesive didn't stick, the light strip fell, and shards of glass went everywhere. I was still finding light bulb splinters months later.

So I'm nervous about messing with these tubes, and will have to wait for a bright, sunshiny day when I'm feeling extra confident -- and when my vacuum cleaner bag is empty. Any tricks I should know?

Five Random Songs

"Feeling Good," Nina Simone. From the Verve Remixed CD, a gift from my friend and former housemate Joseph.

"Murderer," Low. I own a couple of copies of this track; this one is from Into the Dark, the soundtrack CD that accompanied UK editions of John Connolly's THE UNQUIET.

"History Never Repeats," Split Enz. This was a retro sound in the 1980s, a cheeky homage to Byrds-style 1960s-era pop. Now it sounds almost new again.

"Killing the Blues," Robert Plant & Alison Krauss. From Raising Sand, an album that continues to grow on me.

"Scared," The Tragically Hip. A song about the dangers of love. I love these guys.


Anonymous said...

Call your landlord(s)!
Good luck.

Anna said...

Thanks a lot, Sue!

Consider them called -


AnswerGirl said...

Who calls their landlords to _change a lightbulb_, for Pete's sake? I would die of shame...

Anonymous said...

It is scary, the tubes are held in with a spring type contact. Turning the bulb 90 degrees, like you were rolling a cigarette, would do it, rolling near the ends. They do tend to stick so it may initially take a bit at first.

I hate doing it because you never know how strong the glass is, and wearing gloves is hard because it it hard to grip. it is easier to call the landlord and have them also dispose of it, because what do you do with the spent bulb?


Laura Benedict said...

I have faith that you can do this! I have done it and, in the end, it's really no big deal. R's directions are great...The tubes aren't quite so fragile as they appear. Well, you wouldn't want to drop one, but they're unlikely to break while you're fidgeting with them to get them out.

Good luck!

Sue Lin said...

Agree with below, but it's a bit awkward if the bulb is overhead, because you're at a weird angle. If system is very old, might need a new ballast. Helpful to remove one bulb first, so you know what to purchase, as bulbs can come in either "cool" or "warm" tones. Good luck... yes, get the landlord to pitch in!

Linda Brown said...

Spent fluorescent tubes are considered hazardous waste, and do need to be disposed of properly. Tim drilled that into me, along with spent batteries, etc.

They aren't that hard to change, unless they're really long. Hold both ends at the same time, roll gently but firmly til you feel them give; one end usually locks in place. Once you feel the "give" the tube should slide out of the locking slot at one end and pop out of the inserted slot at the other end.

Be brave, Clair -- you are a resourceful, independent woman who has traveled the world and conquered much!


Ruth said...

Thank you so much, I totally dismantled my light last night not knowing how to change the bulb, couldn't put it back together, went to bed and was about to call an electrician this morning but thought I would just look and see if I could get help from the glowing screen in the corner of the room and sure enough I turned off the electricity, have followed your instruction, re assembled the fitting, replaced the bulb and we have light. Thank you so much. I have acquired my new pice of knowledge for today, What will I learn tomorrow?!