I have a light fixture in an entryway that is about 17 feet high and several of the bulbs in the fixture are burned out. It is a candelabra type fixture with a glass enclosure, so a person has to be able to manipulate the fixture.

The only way I can see to do it is to get a very high step ladder, but the only one I could find that high cost $1000 and has a very wide base that it might be tricky to fit in the foyer. I saw one guy do it with a jack knife ladder and a crossboard, but it seemed incredibly dangerous to me. This is his set up:

enter image description here

What are my options to do this safely without spending $1000?

  • 3
    It might be advantageous to see photos of your setup rather than someone else's - also shots down the stairwell from the top & up from the bottom, to get a better sense of the geography.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 9:27
  • 1
    Just check local big box and they have multi-ladders from 150 to 440 dollars, for 17 to 25 feet. Canada local.
    – crip659
    Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 10:26
  • What is the length and width of the foyer floor area (and unobstructed path upwards)? This could easily be a couple lifts of narrow scaffold or a “multi position” (aka gorilla ladder). Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 14:28

4 Answers 4


Rent staging.

A 2-lift "Baker scaffold" will get you up to 12 foot standing level, plenty for 17 foot fixture height. There are other portable staging systems available - they disassemble, can be carried into place, and are assembled in place.

For rental, they are quite reasonable. Purchase is reasonable if you need one regularly and value your life, otherwise not so much.

Alternatively, have the architect drop by for a visit and hand them the pack of bulbs, while inquiring what in heck they were thinking.

When you rent the staging, replace the fixture with something actually serviceable, rather than merely replacing the bulbs in a fixture that's improperly designed for actual use past the life of a lightbulb where it is installed.


Rent a lift. Of course, that depends on being able to get it into your entryway, but should be a lot easier and safer than a big ladder.

Replace all the bulbs at one time. If that seems like a waste, find someplace accessible where you can use the bulbs that are still working.

Replace with the absolute best quality LED bulbs from a major manufacturer, DLC listed, 5-year warranty, etc. You want to have the best possible chance of the lights lasting a long time.

  • Define a "lift" Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 4:17
  • There are various types - e.g., scissor lift, boom lift. Basically a mechanism to somehow mechanically/electrically/hydraulically lift a person & tools up in the air. Many big box stores (e.g., Home Depot) rent them, as well as tool rental companies. Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 4:28
  • This light is indoors as it says in the question and there are steps to get in. Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 4:46
  • You might be able to snake a boom lift in. Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 4:48
  • Small battery-operated scissor lifts are used indoors regularly. Stairs can be handled with a ramp, if not excessive in number/height.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Nov 20, 2021 at 15:51

Based on the picture it looks like you could just hook the lower bar and pull it to the railing and have enough reach to replace the bulbs?

Couple pulling it to the railing with a trash picker and you could probably remove the bulbs even if they require a little reach.

You could build 2x4 scaffolding to change light fixtures like this. Or you can rent a few levels of scaffolding and set it up fairly quickly. Probably $1000 ish to buy enough scaffolding to get up there or a couple hundred to buy the wood to make one.


Frame challenge: This fixture is a bad choice. It is not compatible with good fixture design.

Most chandelier fixtures of this sort are deliberately designed with the bulbs aiming downward. That allows the use of a "spring grabber" tool to grab appropriately sized bulbs.

enter image description here

That is largely a "quasi-standard" for fixtures of this sort. The pictured fixture doesn't appear to support that - and also, it looks rather tacky, so perhaps it was built by a less competent manufacturer.

In a high-end luxury market like this, it's really a matter of "buyer beware".

  • As I said in my question, it is candelabra type fixture with an enclosure so it HAS TO BE ABLE TO BE MANIPULATED DIRECTLY. Maybe actually read the question? Commented Nov 20, 2021 at 9:37
  • 1
    @TylerDurden I did. The problem is a bad fixture, and it will need to go. My answer is to educate you as to the gold standard for maintaining such fixtures, so you know what to look for. Commented Nov 20, 2021 at 23:21

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