The Truth About Energy Efficient Light Bulbs Pt. 2

The Do’s and Don’t’s of Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs. (Part 2 of 2)

For once you actually get your new CFLs, let’s go over the do’s and don’t’s of installing and handling them.

Installation Location

Remember how in Part One of this post I said that you can install CFLs almost anywhere you can install incandescents? Well, these new CFLs need some tender loving care, and some caution about where they go.

Don’t just install all old CFL into a fixture that has a dimmer switch or a three-way light (eg. a lamp that has a dim, regular and bright setting.) Your bulb will burn out quicker and and you’ll be kicking yourself.

Do read the labels and buy CFLs specifically designed for these kinds of light settings.

Eek, water! Don’t install any CFLs outside that could be exposed to rain, sprinklers or other water sources.

Do make sure that any outside CFLs are fully protected, such as inside a glass lantern under an awning by the door.

What’s this I hear about mercury?

Upon hearing that CFLs contain some mercury, you might be shaking your head and dismissing the whole CFL idea. But hear me out! The mercury levels in CFLs are very low – less than what’s inside a can of tuna. There are just a few simple precautions you should take.

It broke! What do I do? Even the best of us can have butter fingers sometimes. If you accidentally break a CFL…

Don’t vacuum it up and throw it away.

Do leave it alone for a minute or two. Turn on a fan and/or open a window to let it air out. Then clean it up with a paper towel and put it in a plastic bag. And then…

I need to dispose of my broken/burnt-out CFL!

Don’t throw it away! Whether it breaks or just burns out (which shouldn’t happen for about 10 years) don’t just toss your CFL into the trash. Because CFLs contain that small amount of mercury we talked about, if thrown out they can leak mercury into landfills and the soil. In fact, it’s illegal in many states to throw them in the trash.

Do dispose of them properly at a participating store, such as Target or Home Depot.

So there you have it! Those are the do’s and don’t’s for having CFLs in your home.

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