Some of you here may have read a past article by me where I told about
changing the bulbs in a floodlight 25 feet off the ground.
Originally about 25 years ago, the dreaded HOA wanted to put a light,
for safety, on the end of my townhouse, or semi-facing end of the next
I wanted it on mine so I could turn it off when I wanted darkness.
But I didn't want any stinkin' conduit running up the wall, so I had
them put it just outside the attic, and wire it to the wires I had
installed there. I made the mistake of letting them pick the height
and it's 4 feet off the "floor" of the attic. If it were two inches off
the floor, I might be able to reach it with a borrowed 20 foot ladder.
Once the bulb burned out and I called the HOA and they sent a whole
electrician or two with an electrician's truck, to change the bulbs.
I'm sure it cost them a lot of money. Maybe that was the time they
changed the fixture from 2 round bulbs to one that's thinner than a
pencil. Or maybe they did that the second time, so they wouldn't have
to come so often. (Do they last longer?) That fixture burned out at end
of the bulb and I replaced the fixture myself, as described below.
Anyhow, since then I've changed the fixture at least once and the bulbs
at least once. I came up with the idea (patent pending) of, from the
attic, disconnecting the romex, unscrewing the molly**
nuts, (used by
the electrician when they installed it from the outside) tying a string
to the romex, and lowering the whole fixture to the ground. Then doing
my work and pulling the whole thing back up.
The one with the folding wings and the spring. It's a molly or a
toggle, never can remember.
I've done this two or three times and it was tricky to get the two
screws back in their now-enlarged holes. (at least an inch each.) One
screw is about 3 inches long and the other about 2. Each time I got the
long one in about 5 minutes, and after that, the short one is easy.
But the bulbs burned out again (and the wind had turned the lghts on too
much) and I bought still another fixture and wasn't sure it would be so
I tried a week ago and the new fixture is so top-heavy that everything
turns upside down. Went back in the attic again with a long stiff wire
with hooks on each end and tried to grab the 3" screw and pull it
around, but no luck. I've spend 40 minutes on it now, instead of just
Almost ready to borrow a 26' ladder, but I know the guy and he'll want
to deliver it for me and pick it up, and he does a lot of favors for me.
I could put it on the roof of my car, but I have to find one part of the
contraption. I have a bike rack that goes into a 1" square vertical
receiver that bolts to the drawbar of a trailer hitch. I also made a
ladder rack that fits in the same vertical holder. But I lost the
holder somewhere in the house 6 years ago, and I still can't find it.
New idea. Tie weights to the light fixture, to the long screw, to
pull the long screw to the bottom, instead of the top where the weight
of the lights pull it. Never throw anything away. Today I got my
brother's dumbells, that he bought about 1956. Took off two of the 1
1/2 pounders plus one collar, about 4 pounds total, and hung them from
the screw. Seems to be the right weight.
Go inside the attic and pull everything up. Fortunately the extra
weight isn't enough to separate the other nylon string from the romex
it's tied to. (Tied it to the end so that the the romex would follow
the string through the hole.) But I can sure tell that the whole thing
is a lot heavier. Still needed the wire with a bend on the end to
catch the screw and pull it in, but only took 5 minutes. Cut the
string holding the weights. I didnt hear anything, but they were on the
wet ground when I went outslde.
And that's how there are two new lights in the xmas sky, although I
didnt' connect the electricity yet. .
LED fixture. I hope it doesn't burn out while i'm here.