You head into a dark bathroom or bedroom and turn on the light switch, only to be surprised by a sudden flash of light and then darkness. The light bulb has just blown out! If you are like most people you probably don't have spare bulbs lying around to replace with so you have to head out to the store to get a replacement. There are some things you need to do and consider when changing a light bulb, so let's get started on what you should do.
Remove the dead bulb
The first thing you have to do is remove the blown out light bulb so you can not only get it out of the socket for replacement, but so that you can also check its wattage and even take it with you to the store for replacement. Depending on what kind of fixture this bulb is in you have to take precautions to ensure safety. I have had light bulbs burn out in overhead lamps that had to be unscrewed in three separate locations before being able to take off the glass. Once it was unscrewed it would obviously have fallen right on top of me if I wasn't holding it correctly to remove it from the socket. While this is just a personal example, always make sure that when you are removing a bulb that safety is your number one concern.
Checking the wattage
Now that the bulb is safely removed you want to check its wattage located on the top of side of the light bulb. The reason for this is because you don't want to get something that's lower or higher in wattage or else you risk frying the device and breaking it. If the wattage is slightly lower or higher than what the current bulb says you should be alright for the most part, but generally speaking you don't want to go too far above or beneath that set limit. If you put in a slightly lower watt bulb then obviously the illumination will be lower so it won't be as bright as before, whereas the opposite is true if you go with a higher wattage. Knowing the watts is key and once you know that you can head out and buy a replacement.
Heading to the store
Now that you know what you are looking for, you can head to your local department store like Home Depot or Lowes and head to the area that sells light bulbs. Look for the specific wattage it was and buy one that is to your liking. There are so many types out there and lately stores have been pushing these new energy efficient types that illuminate like old light bulbs while at the same time only taking up a fraction of the energy cost. Whichever you decide to go with just make sure that you are exactly, or close to exactly, the same watts and buy that.
It's good to mention here that you should always have spare bulbs in your house for all of your devices. If you don't feel like doing it prior to heading out that's fine, but check all of your light bulbs in your house and in all the devices you have and make sure you have replacements sitting in your cabinet. You can avoid the hassle of always having to go to the store and get a replacement if you have a bunch of spares in the house, so it's a good investment to consider since bulbs will never last forever and eventually they will have to be replaced someday when they do burn out.
Replace the old with the new
When you get home take the bulb out and slide or screw it back into where the old bulb was. This should be taken with some caution because if the device is screwed in and you aren't sure if it's on or off you could get hurt or shocked. Always have light switches off and lamps and other things unplugged if possible before putting a new one in for safety reasons. Once it's in turn it on and make sure it works before putting all the other coverings back on. It's silly to put everything on it and then finding a problem and having to deconstruct it all again.
That's really all there is to it! Some devices could be complicated to take apart and bulbs hard to find, but in general this is the process you can use to generally replace a light bulb in your home. Specialty bulbs require specialty stores so make sure that you do your research where they are sold and buy them there. The process is still the same, just a different approach. Now that you have this information and know you should have spares, follow through with this and it won't be a hassle ever again.