Ask LH: How Do I Change A Heat Lamp In My Bathroom?

Dear Lifehacker, My bathroom at home currently has one of those heat-lamp and light fixtures with an inbuilt vent. The light in the center has died! How do I go about changing this? Where do I buy a new lightbulb that will fit in that? I am completely new to it and have zero experience changing lightbulbs.Thanks, Mr Dim Bulb

Dear MDB,

Without having a specific model to go on, it's difficult to provide a definitive answer, but I'll try my best.

3-in-1 bathroom fixtures might look complicated on the outside. However, they follow the same basic mechanic as a regular light bulb. Some models allow you to remove the bulbs in the standard fashion, while others require the outer fixture/fascia to be dissembled first. (This may involve using a screwdriver — if so, be sure to hold it securely with your hand so it doesn't hurtle to the floor!)

The individual bulbs probably use ES fittings, which means they should screw out fairly easily. Usually, the centre bulb is purely used for light with the larger heat lamps surrounding it — this is good news for you, as it's the cheapest part to replace.

Once you've removed the affected bulb, your best bet is to take it to a lighting specialist or hardware store. Bunnings has a pretty extensive range of 3-in-1 lighting fixtures and bulbs, so make that your first stop if there's one near your location.

If you can't find the exact same shape, almost any standard bulb should fit the fixture — albeit as an ill-fitting eyesore. But at least you'll be able to see while you pluck your eyebrows.

Cheers Lifehacker

Got your own question you want to put to Lifehacker? Send it using our contact form.


    Our centre Illumination bulb was a 100 watt spot light (~1200 lm). When it died, I replaced it with the brightest LED bulb Ikea had (14 watt/ 1400 lm).
    Now I have even more light in the bath room as that LED bulb is not only brighter, but it is also diffused to the edges of the bathroom.
    My wife has less shadows to deal with when applying her make up, and she has found she no longer needs to turn on the 2000 watt heat lamps for extra light.
    Our power bill had a noticeable reduction.

      I think I was told not to use LED bulbs in the bathroom due to high humidity, am I remembering this wrong or are they bad to use?

        CFLs are sensitive to humidity, maybe someone mixed up their warning. LED bulbs should be ok as long as it not immersed in water.

    I clicked this article thinking it would provide DIY tips on installing an entire heat lamp/vent unit.

      Those instructions come in the box when you buy one. All you need is a sparkie to come in and do the wiring (you don't NEED one, but it's like eating custard without a spoon).

    Unscrew the bulb, take it into a lighting shop and say "I need this replaced". Screw new bulb in.

    "... have zero experience changing lightbulbs"

    What? Has this person been living in a cave their entire life?

    Last edited 12/11/15 5:39 pm

      There's a renowned sports journalist in the USA who freely admits that he has little experience in changing lightbulbs (I can't remember if he said that he still doesn't know how to do it). He also cannot change a tyre on a car, or even check fluids in his car.

      His reasoning (for the lightbulbs) is that he grew up living in an inner-city apartment and whenever anything needed repairing, it was up to the building super to resolve. I can understand the reason and considering that light bulbs are electrical fixtures, I also understand the reluctance to tackle the issue by yourself if you don't know how it works.

      My other piece of advise would also be to disable the fuse/circuit breaker for the lighting circuits in the house before changing the bulb. I've had one case of the kids leaving the light switch on when I've replaced a bulb which spooked me when the bulb turned on as I was screwing it in. I've also been shocked when changing a bulb even with the switch off due to the previous owner of the house doing some shoddy electrical work with the grounding wires...

    How many Lifehacker readers dose it take too change a lightbulb?
    That's just not funny!

    This question... Wow.
    Best also tell them to unscrew counter clockwise, then screw the new one in clockwise just till it's firm. Righty tighty as my wife says.
    Oh and don't put your finger in the lightbulb socket.

      Oh and don't put your finger in the lightbulb socket.

      I learned that the hard way when i was a kid (with a bayonet socket), also learned to unplug a power board before taking it apart to see how it works (or you know, just don't take it apart at all, its not THAT interesting). Thankfully touching live mains parts didn't have any noticeable effect except for the tingle and arm spasm a bit, but its still not a good idea, i was probably lucky though.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now