Light bulbs in exterior fixtures and damp locations like bathrooms are notorious for sticking in the socket. Turning the dead bulb to replace it, you hear the crunch of breaking glass – yuck! A new and messy fix-it job.

To prevent a bulb from sticking in the first place, lubricate its round metal threads with dielectric grease before screwing it into the socket. You can purchase this grease at the hardware store. It’s designed to prevent corrosion.

What about that broken bulb? Start by turning off the power at the circuit board or fuse box. Using pliers, grasp the edge of the bulb’s metal base, and coax the threaded portion out. Sometimes you can use pliers to collapse the metal and loosen it.

Another option involves cutting a paint-stir stick to fit inside the remaining metal ring. Force the stick into the base and turn it to loosen the bulb.

Whenever working with glass, always be sure to wear eye and skin protection as well as gloves. Make sure the electricity is off by testing with an electrical tester before you attempt to repair a light socket.