August 18, 2021 - BY Admin

Clean Up Broken Bulbs

Courtesy of the Clean Energy Act, the sale of energy-inefficient incandescent bulbs will be phased out. Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) have become the most popular replacement choice. CFL bulbs typically use 66 percent less energy and lasts up to ten times longer than incandescent bulbs.

Making the switch to CFLs doesn't require that you throw out all your incandescent bulbs right away. Even a gradual change can result in significant savings. Just replacing your home's five most frequently used light fixtures can save you more than $65 each year, as CFLs provide the most savings for lights used at least two hours a day. You can continue using incandescent bulbs for fixtures that are on for a few minutes at a time, such as closet lights, changing to CFLs as your incandescent bulbs burn out.

CFL bulbs typically contain an average of 4 milligrams of sealed mercury. Particular caution must be taken when disposing of used bulbs or cleaning up broken bulbs, due to the unlikely event that the mercury were to break free from its seal. Some states require used CFL bulbs (broken and unbroken) to be taken to local recycling centers for disposal. And if a bulb breaks in your home, you should follow the Environmental Protection Agency's guidelines to clean up the debris:

Cleanup Preparation: Air Things Out

  • Lock off the room from people and pets. Use caution when vacating an impacted room's debris.
  • After opening a window, leave the room for roughly 15+ minutes.
  • Turn off central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one.

Hard Surfaces

  • Use stiff paper or cardboard to remove glass pieces from the impacted surfaces. Place the pieces in a metal lid glass jar or sealed plastic bag.
  • Sticky tape can be used to pick up the smaller fragments.
  • Dampen some paper towels or use wet wipes to clean the area and dispose of them in the glass jar or plastic bag.
  • DO NOT use a vacuum or broom on hard surfaces to clean up the broken bulb.

Cleanup Steps for Carpet

  • Carefully pick up and seal the glass fragments in a metal lid jar or plastic bag.
  • Sticky tape can be used to pick up the smaller fragments.
  • If necessary, you may use a vacuum on the area of the carpet where the bulb broke.
  • Empty and wipe the canister, or remove the bag. Then place the debris in a metal lid glass jar or sealed plastic bag.

Future Cleaning of Carpet

  • The clean up will continue for the next several times you vacuum the carpet. Ensure that you have shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system. Make sure to also open a window before vacuuming.
  • Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming is completed.

Clothing, Bedding, and Other Soft Materials

  • Broken glass or mercury-containing powder from inside the bulb may stick to impacted fabric. Unfortunately, the impacted clothing or bedding should be thrown away. You cannot throw these items in the wash to salvage as you may contaminate the machine and/or pollute sewage.
  • You may wash clothing or other materials that have been exposed to the mercury vapor. Specifically the clothing you were wearing during clean up, assuming you had changed out of impacted clothing from the debris.
  • Shoes you can wipe off with a damp towel or disposable wet wipe. Dispose of the towels or wipes in a metal lid glass jar or plastic bag.

Disposal of Cleanup Materials

  • Check local and state requirements for mercury-containing bulb disposal before throwing away. Some areas require the bulbs to be taken to a local recycling center.
  • If it is approved for trash disposal, dispose of all materials used in the cleanup process in your outdoor trash container.
  • Thoroughly wash your hands after.