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My bedroom has a very nice looking flush mounted ceiling light with a glass dome. However, all the bulbs have gone out and I cannot get the glass out to replace them. I'm 5'4" and standing on the bottom corner of my bed I can reach up with my arms fully extended and handle the glass on the bottom and along the very small lip / edge of the glass dome but it doesn't slide or move in either direction. According to a messageboard post I found, the glass dome type of light fixture should move 1/8 of the way counter-clockwise to be removed but I can't get it to budge in either direction. I am at my wits end; HOW can I get this glass dome out? The glass has thus far ignored my curses and yells.

Also my room is pretty small, I can't move my bed anywhere else to get on a stepladder beneath the fixture.

Here is a picture of a similar model:

enter image description here

ETA: I have tried both gloves and exerting sideways turning pressure instead of upward turning pressure. I need to borrow or buy a larger stepladder, but I don't know how much it will help since I think I am getting as much traction and leverage I am going to get with my hand strength. Someone suggested I superglue something to the glass to use as a handle, so I guess I will try that next.

FINAL EDIT: My roommate (who has 6 inches and probably 50 pounds on me) was able to remove the glass after about 5 diffucult minutes of loosening the dome while wearing texturized rubber gloves. His hands are bigger and doubtlessly stronger than mine, which was mostly what granted him victory over the light. I'm glad I didn't have to glue handles to it, but still frustrated by what I maintain is a terrible design for a light fixture. My hands might be on the small side, but it shouldn't be impossible to change lightbulbs if you're on the smaller end of the human spectrum.

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You are going to have to move the bed and get a step ladder. Trying to do this at full stretch just won't work and could be dangerous if you're not standing on a stable surface. Failing that, get a taller person to help :) –  ChrisF Nov 14 '12 at 16:31
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I think you need to find someone to help :) –  ChrisF Nov 14 '12 at 16:40
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Can't/won't move your bed? Put a sheet of plywood on your bed to stabilize and use a short stepladder (like the 2-foot kind) to reach. –  Matthew Nov 14 '12 at 17:10
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The bed could be leaned against a wall to get room for a ladder. If the headboard and maybe footboard are too large, the frame should be able to be disassembled, or maybe the ladder can be maneuvered around the open frame once the mattress and box spring are out of the way. –  bcworkz Nov 14 '12 at 19:31
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Wear rubber gloves while attempting to turn the glass, to get more friction. –  Joel Spolsky Nov 15 '12 at 15:21

4 Answers 4

up vote 10 down vote accepted

I had a very similar light, and the key was this:

Any upward pressure exerted from grabbing the glass created friction that made it not turn.

You want to touch as lightly as you can, near the edges, and try to apply rotational energy only, with no pushing up.

Unfortunately, that is roughly impossible to do if you're reaching so high that you need to press up on the glass to maintain balance. So, you still need to solve the problem of getting higher (and you should NOT climb on anything placed on a bed unless it's highly stable). But if you can get a bit closer, try less pressure, rather than more.

It feels very counter intuitive, but it helped me in a similar circumstance.

One other thing that may help, suggested by none other than @Joel Spolsky, was to try using rubber or latex gloves to allow you to produce more friction without more pressure.

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Upvoting because this is a helpful answer, will accept it if it works! Thank you. –  Katey HW Nov 14 '12 at 19:18

I was stymied for a couple days. I have plenty of upper-body strength but that dome was not going to budge ... period. But when I hit (literally) upon the solution, it was easy.

First I simplified what I was going to do by putting a screwdriver blade between the glass and the ring and pried ever so slightly. Just enough to push the glass a smidgen. Every few inches all around. Be careful, you don't want to deform the ring. (You can skip this step if you want.)

Then the important part. I happen to have a rubber mallet. I used it to strike tangential, glancing blows along the edge of the dome, pushing it in the direction of unscrewing (counter-clockwise). It didn't take many blows to get the dome moving, maybe 5 or 6. At that point it was easy to unscrew the rest of the way.

It's the same idea as when you have a new jar of pasta sauce or jelly and it refuses to open. You take a butter knife and with the heavy end you strike the rim of the lid to move it counter-clockwise. Only here you use a rubber mallet to move the dome. The rubber won't break the glass plus it produces enough friction to effectively transmit the force to the glass dome.

When I replaced the dome I made sure I didn't screw it tight. I left it short of completely tight. I happened to be putting LEDs into the fixture and with their advertised expected lifetime of 22-25 years, changing them next time won't be my problem. Still ....

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It's designed to look easy on paper or in the factory but in real life it's not so easy. You need to rotate the inner glass dome counterclockwise a little and it will come out. Unfortunately if any dust gets in between the glass dome and the metal it will be stuck and won't rotate at all (like mine wouldn't). I took a razor knife and ran the blade between the dome and the metal all around and removed the blockages. After that the dome rotated easily. By the way, don't rotate it clockwise because that will remove the entire unit from the ceiling.

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Some of these types of flush mount fixture globes are removed by turning them clockwise so that they unscrew from a threaded tube that joins to the inner electrical box bracket.

Some types you pull straight down on the cover assembly, most likely including the metal ring in this case. The types that remove in this manner have some spring wires that will fold down from the ceiling when pulling down on the fixture.

Another type will have a decorative metal piece in the bottom center of the globe. These remove by screwing off this knob or finial and then this allows the globe to drop straight down.

Do also take a careful look at where the metal ring comes in contact with the ceiling. It is possible that a previous occupant had repainted the ceiling and painted right up to and on the edge of the metal ring. If this is the case there is no amount of gentle nudging that will get the cover to move. If this is the case in your instance it will be necessary to break this paint lock ring by cutting into it all around using a sharp utility knife.

As far as the problem with getting good access to the fixture you can probably get the step ladder to straddle over the corner of the bed:

enter image description here

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