Loosening Rusted Screws on an Exterior Light
The other night, I noticed that one of the exterior lights was out. Bulb had burned out and needed replacing. Grabbed my screwdrivers, and no go! The screws would not budge. Here’s my post on loosening rusted screws on an exterior light.
This tends to happen frequently on exterior lights. With all of the rain, hot and cold weather, and dirt, the screws can get stuck within a short period of time. Using a screwdriver can sometimes result in the screws beginning to get stripped. This only makes the situation worse, because now you need to replace the screws when you’re done.
First I tried some WD-40, sprayed it on, let it sit. Still no luck. I’ve heard of people using vinegar to loosen screws, but I thought that sounded a bit messy.
My next attempt was successful though – I used pliers to grip the screw head and turn it. After a couple rotations, I was able to remove the screws by hand. The bulb was replaced, and voila! the light is working!
So what happens if the pliers won’t work? You could try some penetrating oil on the screws, which will break up the rust. Try putting the screwdriver into one of the slots and tap the screwdriver with a hammer to see if that breaks up the rust. There are also extraction kits available and solutions that involve cutting new slots in the screw head, but these involve some skill and are not recommended unless you have some experience with these tools.