This is Day 134 of the Green in 365 series!
By Hilary Kimes Bernstein of Accidentally Green
I remember when compact fluorescent lightbulbs were introduced to the public. My husband and I had just bought our first house, and we invested in dozens of CFL lightbulbs to conserve energy. Room by room, we replaced every incandescent bulb with a CFL one. The lighting definitely looked different, but we were excited at the thought of saving so much money.
Then our electric bill came.
It turns out that we didn’t save much money after all. In fact, we never could tell if the CFL lightbulbs truly paid for themselves.
We kept using them, and I passed all of our old – but not burned out – incandescent bulbs onto my parents (who had no interest in CFL bulbs).
A couple years later, I learned about the mercury levels in the bulbs. I wasn’t too concerned – until I read about the extensive clean up process:
- People and pets should leave the room – especially pregnant women and children.
- Turn off the heating and air conditioning. Ventilate the room by opening a window.
- Use disposable gloves, sealable plastic bags and cardboard to collect the debris. (Don’t touch the debris, but brush the shards of glass and mercury powder into the sealable plastic bag with cardboard.) Use a flashlight to detect any missing pieces, and pat the surrounding area with sticky tape to attract powder and glass.
- Promptly throw everything in an outdoor trash container and continue to air out the contaminated room for several hours.
As soon as I heard about that process, I realized our CFL bulbs weren’t the safest items in our house – especially considering two of our family members are rambunctious, young children. I always half expect any belonging in our house to break by accident – and I certainly didn’t want a mercury-filled light bulb accidentally shattering.
Recently I’ve learned that CFL bulbs also have been proven to emit UVA and UVC rays. I try to avoid those when my family’s outside, and I certainly don’t want those inside my house.
Making another switch
Because of the mercury, need for extensive clean up, and the UVA and UVC rays, I’ve stopped using CFL light bulbs in my home. My parents returned our old incandescents, and I’ve been stockpiling them when I find good sales at the store.
To conserve energy – and money – everyone in my family makes sure to turn off lights when we leave a room. Our light bulbs last longer, we’re conserving energy, and are not exposing ourselves to the potential dangers of CFL bulbs.
Your turn; what kind of light bulbs do you use … and why?
Find all the Green in 365 posts.
Hilary from Accidentally Green: Hilary Kimes Bernstein is a Christ follower, wife, mama, and writer who blogs about making healthy decisions that honor God and happen to help the environment at Accidentally Green. She’s recently released her first eBook, First Bites: How To Instill Healthy Eating Habits During Your Baby’s First Year.
If you’d like to learn more about living green and living frugally I’d love to have you as a Live Renewed reader! You can subscribe, either by email or in a reader, to get the latest posts, ideas and inspiration for living frugally green. You can also connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!
*Disclosure – There are affiliate links in this post. If you make a purchase through one of my links, I’ll receive a small commission. Thanks for supporting Live Renewed!