Compact fluorescent light bulbs, also called CFL bulbs, can be an excellent choice if you are trying to conserve energy costs in your home. They are safe to use and last a long time. However, because the tubing in these bulbs have a tiny bit of mercury in them, it is important to handle a broken CFL bulb safely. Here are some things to remember to do if you break one of these light bulbs in your house.
Open the Windows and Leave the Room
As soon as the CFL bulb breaks, you have two immediate objectives--get mercury vapor out of the air and leave the area to avoid inhaling any mercury powder. Opening the window will allow plenty of fresh air into the room so that any mercury vapor dissipates. There is no set amount of time you should stay out of the room, but do not attempt to clean up the bulb pieces until you've given the room a chance to air out for a while.
If you have a central heating or cooling system in your home, be sure to turn it off until you have completely cleared away any sign of the bulb. That way, you don't spread mercury vapor throughout your house.
Avoid Using a Vacuum
If you use another kind of light bulb, after picking up large glass pieces, you might vacuum the area to pick up any tiny bits of glass that are left on the floor or carpet. However, with a a CFL bulb, using the vacuum could spread mercury powder around the area. Instead, put some rubber gloves on and wrap some duct tape around the palm of your gloved hand with the sticky side facing out. Gently pat the floor or carpet to collect any tiny fragments and powder. Dispose of the tape and the gloves in a trash bag or glass jar when you are sure you've collected all of the tiny pieces and powder.
Find Out if The Bulb Must Be Recycled
Instead of combining broken CFL bulbs with your regular trash, keep them separate from other garbage and call a local recycling center to determine whether your town requires that these bulbs be recycled. If so, take the trash bag or glass jar containing the broken bulb to the recycling center at your earliest convenience. Until then, you can store the trash bag or jar with the bulb outside near your home.
Use the information above whenever you should happen to break a CFL bulb in your home. You can feel confident about using these bulbs now that you know how to handle any accidents.
For more information about using CFL bulbs, contact a company like Pacific Lamp Wholesale Inc.