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Energy Saving Light Bulbs - You should read this, You may not live to regret it!

Services for Real Estate Pros

Alarmist, Possibly!

But do you use Energy Efficent or Energy saving light bulbs normally called CFL bulbs, see the photograph for the type of bulbs we are talking about.

As Realtors, we sell homes.

Ever had a CFL Breakage Disclosure?

Have you ever disposed of an Energy Efficent bulb?

I hope that it did not go in the trash!

Ever broken an Energy Efficent bulb?

I hope not!

Now this might be the same for 60w type normal bulbs but I don't belive that is so. I know that you should not throw or break the long type flourescent tubes, but not many people have those in their homes.

The disposal and clean up instructions are typical examples and are not "Safe" or "Legal" instructions. They may also be different depending on your location.

Disposing of Burnt Out Bulbs  

  1. Seal the bulb inside two plastic bags, or one thick freezer bag, before disposing in the trash. You should throw the bulbs away only if you have no other options.
  2. 2Find the nearest recycling station that handles hazardous materials. Check with your city's municipal office to see if there is a recycling program in your town.
  3. Contact the recycling station if it is not in your city. They may or may not take your bulbs if your city does not allow or participate in such a program.
  4. Take the bulbs to the recycling station. Ask the people there about the process of giving them your bulbs and follow all their instructions.
  5. Tell everyone you know who is using energy efficient bulbs how to properly dispose of them as the use of these bulbs is growing.
  6. Read more: How to Safely Dispose of Energy Efficient Light Bulbs | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_2052849_safely-dispose-energy-efficient-light.html#ixzz19hYoCJgZ

If a Bulb Breaks

  1. Open a window and leave the room. Let no one inside for at least 15 minutes.

  2. Collect the fragments and powder with stiff paper or cardboard. Wear disposable rubber gloves. Do not use a vacuum cleaner.
  3. Clean the entire area with a wet wipe or wet paper towel. Use adhesive tape to collect excess powder.
  4. Seal all pieces and cleanup materials in a plastic bag. Follow the above procedures on disposal or recycling. Wash your hands completely afterward.
  5. Dispose of the vacuum bag in the same manner the next time you vacuum the area. If it's a canister vacuum, wipe it completely clean.
  6. Read more: How to Safely Dispose of Energy Efficient Light Bulbs | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_2052849_safely-dispose-energy-efficient-light.html#ixzz19hZJZPbC

Some of the instructions I have seen have been far more daunting!

I am all for saving the planet as well as saving money, but I am not sure this is the way to do it!

Charlie Ragonesi
AllMountainRealty.com - Big Canoe, GA
Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros

I have never heard of this before . What is in these things that is so dangerous? I thought it was just an inert gas

Dec 31, 2010 02:25 AM
Margaret Goss
@Properties - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

I actually did hear that they should not be thrown away - but I had no idea they were this dangerous.  Thanks for the heads up.

Dec 31, 2010 02:36 AM
Tricia Pearson
Tricia Pearson - Pearson Real Estate - Texas Hill Country - Boerne, TX
Real Estate Broker, San Antonio/Hill Country Homes for Sale

Good grief!  I had no idea those bulbs were dangerous.  The clean up sounds like you're dealing with radioactive material.

Dec 31, 2010 02:37 AM
Sylvie Stuart
Realty One Group Mountain Desert 928-600-2765 - Flagstaff, AZ
Home Buying, Home Selling and Investment - Flagsta

I had no idea they were so dangerous, either. We just completely changed out all of our bulbs for the energy efficient ones. This is good to know. Unbelievable. Thanks

Dec 31, 2010 03:00 AM
Mike Saunders
Retired - Athens, GA

Alan - not to mention that CFL's are primarily manufactured in China and U.S. workers are losing jobs because the incandescent plants have no closed down and GE and others have not switched to CFL manufacturing because of the high labor costs in the U.S.

Dec 31, 2010 03:05 AM
Alan Langstone
Mount Pleasant, SC

They contain Mercury. A small amount but if they are not disposed of or not cleaned up properly then the exposure is more.

Plus don't use water or a washing machine as you are transferring the Mercury to the water system and we all end up drinking it.

Here is a link to some Health effects - http://www.epa.gov/hg/effects.htm

Makes me wonder what else we do for the environment that is not so green.

I am not saying that you should not use them, you should. Just be aware of what you have and how to deal with them. If they are used and disposed of properly then everyone benefits.

If everyone would like to "flag" this as "featured" and re-blog it, more people will hopefully see it.

Thanks for your comments!

Dec 31, 2010 03:13 AM
Kevin Quarterley
Starboard Financial - Gold Canyon, AZ

Its a nice tradeoff, isnt it? Go green, and save energy by using these CFL bulbs, but you may be exposed to hazards by doing so. Take this new breakthrough medication to stave off one health problem, but side effects may be your leg falls off, your colon stops working, you can no longer exhale..........you have to wonder if its worth it

Dec 31, 2010 03:22 AM
Chris Smith
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage - New Tecumseth, ON
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta

Alan, is a cfl any different than a flourescent tube?  Is the disposal routine any different?

May 06, 2011 09:05 AM
Tracie Cope
Granville, Newark, Heath, Buckeye Lake & all of Central Ohio - Granville, OH
ReMax 360 - www.LCountyHomes.com

Alan, I did suggest this as a feature.  I tried the new bulbs when they were fairly new, and one of them was smoking in one of my kids bedrooms, I'm just glad we were home and it didn't start a fire.  You're also not supposed to use them with a dimmer.

The big one, the goverment is trying to phase out the incandescent light bulbs invented by Thomas Edison, by 2012 I think.  I don't want to be forced to use the CFL bulbs.

May 06, 2011 09:13 AM
Alan Langstone
Mount Pleasant, SC

Hi Chris, Thanks for the comment.

Basically, No. Both CFL's and flourescent tubes contain Mercury. In some, if not many/all States it is illegal to put them in the trash.

Here's an extract from Department of Toxic Substance Control in California

"A fluorescent light tube in your dumpster is a violation of the hazardous waste laws. Violation of these laws can result in large fines and criminal prosecution. Fluorescent tubes contain mercury and become hazardous wastes when they no longer work. Mercury poses especially serious hazards to pregnant women and small children. Nonworking tubes must be recycled by an authorized recycling firm and cannot be discarded in the trash." (http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/hazardouswaste/mercury/upload/hwmp_fs_fluorescent-tubes-trash.pdf)

There are some differences in the disposal depending on whether you are a home owner or a business.

If in doubt, check with your local department.

May 06, 2011 11:17 AM
Alan Langstone
Mount Pleasant, SC

Hi Tracie,

Thanks for the comment and for suggesting it as a "Feature".

I agree, but it is the government's attempt to reduce energy consumption. Flourescent's are a lot more efficent than incandescent light bulbs.

May 06, 2011 11:20 AM
Jan Chilton
Myrtle Beach, SC
Real Estate Marketing

Alan, the government is crazy.  I've been using these bulbs for about 5 years now...(and they don't last a bit longer than the old GE lightbulbs) and I've always thrown them away.  You know that 99% of everyone else throws them out too.  So now it's more important to conserve a little energy than it is to trash the environment?  NUTS!

Thanks for a thought-provoking article.


Aug 03, 2013 12:13 PM
Alan Langstone
Mount Pleasant, SC

Thanks Jan.


But just remember, if its a business light, throwing it in the trash could be costly if the EPA caught you.

Aug 04, 2013 03:45 AM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

According to the Department of Energy, if every American home replaced just one incandescent lightbulb with one Energy Star CFL bulb we would save enough energy to light 3 million homes for a year, save about $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year equivalent to those from about 800,000 cars.

Sep 28, 2015 07:20 AM