How do you change your lightbulbs in high ceiling areas?

gobrunoAugust 4, 2009

Hi all,

If you have super high ceilings, I was wondering how you change (plan to change) your lightbubs. We have a double high foyer entry now, and we have a device that can get to the recessed lights, but that just doesn't work for chandeliers. We are planning chandeliers for the new house, but I was wondering if we should put in a lift so that we could access the lightbulbs. The lifts are really expensive and we'd need it for 2 chandeliers. Is there another solution? What do you all do? Can you hire people to do it? How much would it cost?


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Just wanted to chime in that we have the same problem - but we didn't think about it until AFTER we built. We are stuck. Hoping some people have ideas and/or cost estimates. TIA

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 12:43PM
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I use a ladder, but I envy you if you are working from a flat floor.

I have a lamp in a ceiling fan in a stairwell. The idiots who built this house did not slope the stairwell ceiling, so the ceiling fan is on the second floor ceiling above the midpoint of the stairs down to the first floor. There is absolutely no way to reach it without jury rigging a scaffold out of a ladder and a heavy plank.

Painting the stairwell is also a P.I.T.A.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 12:53PM
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You can buy a telescoping lamp changers on the internet for fixtures up to 35 ft above the floor. Shorter ones are available at hardware stores and lumberyards.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 1:14PM
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Those don't work for those of us with chandeliers (OP) or fixtures with globes (moi), macv. I wish they did.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 1:25PM
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Check out chandelier lifts

Here is a link that might be useful: chandelier lifts

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 1:26PM
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I know a number of people who have run into this.

If there are enough houses in the area someone will have a ladder or lift system and will do the job for $$.

Chandelier lifts start just below $1,000 for a manual crank located in the attic (or a second floor closet) and go up from there for motorized units with controls in the same room as the chandelier.

Raising and lower in the easy part.
The electrical line feeding the chandelier box and canopy that move down must also be part of the hoisting gear.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 3:41PM
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Our ceiling is too high to work from a ladder, so we have to set up Baker staging and put a ladder on top of that. We tried using those expandable gadgets that remove the can lights, but it didn't work. Our ceilings are about 17'.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 3:49PM
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I was quoted $600 per lift & wish to goodness we'd done that at framing. I'm living in fear of a chandelier bulb blowing hanging from our 2 26' ceilings... I've heard it's very expensive to get someone out. One of ours is wood, so that's going to need to be cleaned too. Someday.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 4:22PM
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"Our ceiling is too high to work from a ladder..."

An a-frame with a trestle extension will do that easily, and even just a large a-frame.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 6:18PM
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We did a manual crank lift for our chandelier.
We did it ourselves for around $650.
It makes such a difference in cleaning the chandelier and changing bulbs.
I used a Chandelease lift system. I noticed it is listed in the This Old House website link mentioned in an above post.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 9:04AM
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The trestle ladder mentioned earlier is illustrated at the link below. Mine is an older Babcock 10' wooden that I store under ideal conditions. The length is the base section. While straddling the top of my 10' unit with center section extended, I can reach to about 22'. Mine weighs 84#. Moving one of these into a finished house and setting it up really requires 2 people to avoid banging up doors and walls. Straddling the top is, in my opinion, the safest way to use the center extension as it permits use of both hands for the work. But it does take some "getting used to".

Here is a link that might be useful: Ladder

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 10:11AM
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It seems like the rolling Baker staging and smaller ladder is easier, but you need to have Baker staging.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 10:44AM
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Before we installed the lift, we purchased a Little Giant
21 foot ladder. It is so heavy and awkward that my husband and I have a hard time moving it. I like the idea Bus Driver suggested of a trestle ladder especially for ceiling fans in a vaulted ceiling, etc.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 5:53PM
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Is it 2009 again?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 10:41PM
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While it doesn't necessarily answer your question on how to change chandelier bulbs, it certainly helps to understand how to not change your light bulbs often.

Using LED chandelier bulbs is a great solution to this problem because they last as long as 20 years, so you wouldn't have to change them for a long, long time!

Here is a link that might be useful: LED chandelier bulbs

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 5:08PM
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follow the directions for an electrical winch, but install a hand winch (60$) in the attic instead of a powered one. put the chandelier on a DC plug and unplug it when you lower it or leave 20 ft slack to hit the floor. good luck

    Bookmark   February 22, 2015 at 8:14PM
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Please understand I am not trying to be too mean, as I do this too...But I am trying to be funny.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 22, 2015 at 8:57PM
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I'm not quite 5' tall, so MOST ceiling lights are a challenge for me. My thoughts:

- Eliminate the problem as much as possible by purchasing those long-life bulbs.
- Choose as many wall-sconce type lights as possible. For example, think about your front porch. It's easier for little people like me to reach two sconces placed on either side of the front door . . . rather than reaching a ceiling-mounted light on the porch . . . and the quality of the light is equivalent.
- Minimize the lights that are genuinely difficult to change, and use a ladder only when absolutely necessary.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2015 at 10:14AM
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