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Questioning CFLs

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
It seems almost like dogma that we're supposed to swap all of our conventional lightbulbs for the "green" CFLs. But I recently learned that they contain mercury (!!!) and require special HAZMAT disposal. What are the trade-offs between the two options? Which do you use and why?
post #2 of 20
post #3 of 20
We use them. They do contain mercury so require special care to make sure you don't break them, but you can take them to numerous stores for disposal - it just means that you don't just chuck'm in the trash when your done, you really *NEED* to be recylcing them.
post #4 of 20
I don't use them anymore because mercury has caused me a host of health problems. I hope they come out with some that don't have mercury so we could use them for environmental reasons. But I'm just not willing to take the risk right now.
post #5 of 20
As my bulbs wear out I am planning to replace them with LED light bulbs. They are more energy efficient than CFL's and contain no mercury. Also one blub is supposed to last 20 YEARS!
post #6 of 20
My understanding: Yes there is a tiny amount of mercury, but it is way less than would be released by a power plant that needs to provide more energy to power the less efficient bulbs. For us, disposal has been easy. Our Home Depot takes them as does our recycling center. The only bad thing is that we have found we have a few fixtures that burn them out in a short amount of time. I think that there might be variable current in those fixtures. I saw that there are now CFL for dimmer switches, so maybe those would work in our bulb eating fixtures.
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ParisApril View Post
As my bulbs wear out I am planning to replace them with LED light bulbs. They are more energy efficient than CFL's and contain no mercury. Also one blub is supposed to last 20 YEARS!
Ooh, awesome! I hate that the old type are not energy efficient and now we can get something to replace them.
post #8 of 20
We lived in a house with 1950's wiring, and there was one ceiling fan that we couldn't put them in - they would make a popping sound and start to MELT! They'd have a burned-looking place on them. Pretty scary.
post #9 of 20
But what happens if you accidentally break one? would the mercury vapours released be sufficient quantity to become an even temporary health hazard?
post #10 of 20
A few months ago my 15yo son got an urge to see what was inside the bulb so he broke one. I called poison control and they gave me a huge list of directions for how to decontaminate his bedroom, but only after telling me it wasn't enough mercuryt o be dangerous.

I took practical steps to wet-wipe the furniture and washed his duvet cover in hot water and then vacummed with my HEPA vac. Then I tried to put it out of my mind. As these bulbs go, they'll be replaced with good ol' fashioned incandescent lights, assuming they are still on the market. If not, maybe I'll finally be brave enough to go with olive oil lamps! LOL
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by blessedwithboys View Post
If not, maybe I'll finally be brave enough to go with olive oil lamps! LOL
I've been so tempted to switch to candlelight but no way would my DH go along with it.

And then I have to remind myself how often houses burned down in the past.
post #12 of 20
Yeah, we're using incandescent until LEDs are readily available at a reasonable price. I think they are $40 or more per right now.

I'm more worried about the mercury (the amount of mercury in vaccinations were supposedly "not enough to be dangerous") and we don't use lights all that much anyway. I *do* use candle light and oil lamps. Not exclusively, but if I'm sitting on the couch reading, I'll use my LED booklight and have candles/lamps to illuminate the room.
post #13 of 20
Most of our fixtures/lamps cannot handle the CFLs. Can't say I am too disappointed. The few we have make weird noises. We don't use a lot of lights anyway most of the time.
post #14 of 20
Try an LED before you commit.

We bought one and the light quality was so awful we'd rather live in the dark.

It's the same kind of light from those car headlights you see where you get an instant headache just passing by one, you know?
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post
Try an LED before you commit.

We bought one and the light quality was so awful we'd rather live in the dark.

It's the same kind of light from those car headlights you see where you get an instant headache just passing by one, you know?
The ones that give me headaches are the xenon headlights. I didn't know they made LED headlights. Those probably would give me a headache too!

My dh brought an LED home (probably from the university, I'm not sure where he got it, but it wasn't for keeps anyway) and I actually was O.K. with the lighting. Maybe it depends on the lamp shade you are using. We had it in the lamp only for an evening, but I liked it better than the CFLs.

And another thing I didn't mention in my earlier post... CFL and any florescent light also triggers my rosacea... and they make my rosacea look worse - people without rosacea look red in the face, let alone those with the condition. Ugh.
post #16 of 20
I really like the CFL's. they do save me money over the incandescent bulbs. I don't mind the light at all, I actually prefer my CFL's in a floor lamp to the incandescent bulb in the ceiling light.

I wish they would make them without the plastic, but I'm not that worried about the murcury. It's a small amount, and I've only broken a CFL once. Even then, I didn't worry too much. Maybe I'd worry more about a broken one with kids around though.
post #17 of 20
Has anybody else seen this from 2 yrs ago?

REP. Ted Poe Republican Texas speaking in the U.S. House on the energy savings bill and the mandatory use of CFL light bulbs. From C-SPAN: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tv59PJ30WeM

I don't know how true it is, but it made me have major doubts about using CFLs. I have a few, but I won't be replacing them without seriously researching them.
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ParisApril View Post
As my bulbs wear out I am planning to replace them with LED light bulbs. They are more energy efficient than CFL's and contain no mercury. Also one blub is supposed to last 20 YEARS!
I am going to look into this, we have changed almost every CFL we have in the 4 yrs we have lived here and they are too pricey to change so often. Especially since they are suppose to last a "long" time.
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by seagull View Post
Yes there is a tiny amount of mercury, but it is way less than would be released by a power plant that needs to provide more energy to power the less efficient bulbs. For us, disposal has been easy. Our Home Depot takes them as does our recycling center.
this is true. you can get "low mercury" cfls or led bulbs. LEDs are getting better all the time.

Check October, 2009 Consumer Reports for reviews of CFL bulbs. Avoid IKEA CFLs! They scored very badly.
post #20 of 20
ummm they aren't all the same? lol
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