What to do if You Break A CFL Bulb

Industry Observer with Retired

What to do if You Break A CFL Bulb


The replacement of incandescent bulbs with CFL bulbs to conserve both energy and the heat given off by incandescent bulbs is now a part of all of our lives.

When an incandescent bulb broke, the only risk we had was the possibility of maybe being cut on the broken glass as we cleaned it up.

Now however, we have a different design for the new bulbs that we are advised that we must safely dispose of any broken bulbs.

The EPA and health official guidelines advise the following precautions for minimum exposure if you break a CFL bulb.

                1. Get people and pets out of the room.

                2. Air out the room for at least 10 minutes, preferably a couple hours.

                3. Turn off air conditioning or heating systems.

                4. Clean up broken glass and powder and seal it in airtight container.

                5. Check with the local government about any additional disposal requirements.                           Take broken or burned bulbs to a recycling center - do not dispose of in the                                 regular trash.    

We are advised that these bulbs are perfectly safe and it sure does sound that way to me. How about you?  

Posted by

Click On Photo Below If You Enjoy My Blog

 Thank You !




Comments (20)

Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

William -- Thanks for the heads up.  I had no idea about these types of concerns. 

Mar 19, 2015 02:48 PM
Emily Medvec
eXp Realty LLC - Santa Fe, NM
Broker | Realtor | Serving Santa Fe & Northern NM

In my opinion, they are not safe period for the human environment. Thanks for telling the rest of their story. Unfortunately are options are energy efficiency or the potential of mercury poisoning. I chose incandescent bulbs and turning lights out when they are not needed.

Mar 19, 2015 02:55 PM
David Shamansky
US Mortgages - David Shamansky - Highlands Ranch, CO
Creative, Aggressive & 560 FICO - OK, Colorado Mtg

Sounds like one of those medication ads that have about 15 things that can happen to you while trying to cure one thing????


Mar 19, 2015 02:59 PM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

I went to our county SWAC (Solid Waste Advisory Committee) meeting and spokesperson from the Dept. of Ecology said about disposal; just throw it the garbage wrapped in duct  tape. If you break it inside, ventilate said room and be careful using a vacuum because most vacuum's are not air tight and the contaminants will again become airborne

Mar 19, 2015 03:07 PM
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA

Thank you all for the great comments. I scratch my head sometimes and wonder if I live in some parallel universe. Some of this stuff makes my head hurt, 

Mar 19, 2015 03:50 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

It can be a bit disturbing when these break, I had some renters call the fire department a few years ago when one burned out, thinking that the house was on fire.

Mar 19, 2015 04:18 PM
Nancy Laswick
United Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ
Your REALTOR® For The Valley Of The Sun

Hi William Johnson. When I figured out how dangerous CFL's were I began replacing them with LED's which I like much better for color balance and brightness and they use less electricity. The CFL's are headed to the Household Hazardous Waste recycling center next month.

Mar 19, 2015 04:28 PM
Pete Xavier
Investments to Luxury - Pacific Palisades, CA
Outstanding Agent Referrals-Nationwide

Looking to slowly replace those CFL bulbs with LED ones over time like Nancy #7.

Mar 19, 2015 04:48 PM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Well, guess LED's just moved up the list for me! Thanks for the heads-up! Enjoy your day!

Mar 19, 2015 08:40 PM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


I broke one, and yikes, I was ultra careful, and we are replacing with LED.  Thanks for the detailed instructions.  A

Mar 20, 2015 04:07 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

William I had no idea, glad I saw this post. Hard to believe that it is dangerous for Pets and Humans....go figure and out government forced us into switching over to this...seriously I am outraged....Endre

Mar 24, 2015 04:18 PM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

William Johnson  really pretty outragous information here

Mar 25, 2015 11:23 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

Gosh - The safety protocol if one breaks a CFL sounds far more perilous than the old incandescents.  They are uglier too!

Mar 25, 2015 04:06 PM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

It looks like it is better not to break sfl bulbs....ever!

How exactly you dispose them? I always were throwing in the regular trash, do I do it wrong?

Mar 25, 2015 04:27 PM
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Wiliam, had to reblog this post as most people do not know how dangerous these bulbs are not only to humans but our pets.

Mar 26, 2015 01:20 PM
Frank Rubi
Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC - Metairie, LA

William, thanks for the information. I have not experience a broken sfl bulb yet. 

Mar 28, 2015 11:52 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

This is new news for me. Thanks for sharing this information.

Mar 29, 2015 06:34 AM
Joni Bailey
101 Main St. Realty - Huntsville, TX
Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR®

It sure does not sound very safe to me. Something is wrong with this picture.  


Jun 05, 2015 07:06 PM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Nancy Laswick is a bright woman (or a bright bulb, if you prefer ) See Comment #7.

Jun 05, 2015 10:21 PM
Michael Dagner
Brokers Guild Classic - Denver, CO
Your Denver Homes Realty Expert

 Hi William, a little more involved than would have thought.  Very helpful to know.  Thanks,

Jun 06, 2015 10:11 AM