Why Dogs Made Me Rethink Light Bulbs

I haven't bought a 'regular' light bulb for years. Energy saving light bulbs have been the way to go for a while now and one of the more common types are CFLs (compact fluorescent, you know - the curly ones). Well, shortly after adopting the poodles, I discovered why I hate CFLs.

It was a chilly autumn night. Teddy and D'Art were playing together and suddenly a floor standing lamp got knocked over. The CFL light bulb in it broke. No big deal, one might think, just vacuum it up and move on. Sadly, that is not the case with CFLs. CFLs contain mercury. Mercury is poisonous. What should you really do when a CFL breaks?
  1. Quickly evacuate the room, and stay away for at least 10 minutes (some people recommend up to 20). Do not walk through the break site, this could spread the mercury onto paws and feet.
  2. Ventilate the room.
  3. Turn off any central heating/cooling systems to avoid recirculating the mercury.
  4. When safe to return, carefully collect the shards of glass and dispose of them. DO NOT vacuum, this only spreads the mercury around. Instead use sticky tape to pick up the smallest shards and powder. Seal all broken pieces up in a glass jar or thick plastic bag.
  5. Research how to safely dispose of CFLs in your region. Some places mandate that CFLS be recycled in a special process (separate from your curbside recycling).
  6. If possible, continue to ventilate the room for several hours.
 For even more detailed instructions, check out this link:

Sounds like an ordeal doesn't it! Not to mention the risk of making my dogs sick from mercury poisoning! Now add in the fact that your house is small, so in order to avoid the mercury everyone had to go outside. It is 9pm at night in the autumn (so it's dark and chilly) and all you want to do is go to bed. In the end I put the poodles in the car while the humans addressed the situation. The next day I removed all CFLs from lamps and replaced them with LEDs (light emitting diode). Now, every time a CFL dies in any light fixture, I replace it with an LED bulb. LEDs may cost more (around $12 per bulb) but they are plastic so they won't break and leave glass on the floor, they don't contain mercury and they last upwards of 20 years! No more changing light bulbs! And, of course, they are considered 'green' as they consume much less energy than a regular light bulb. Goodbye CFLs! The only thing is that some LEDs (some cheaper ones) will buzz. I now have some trusted (and still affordable) brands that I know don't buzz. If you aren't sure, do some online research first to avoid a house of buzzing lights!

Have you ever had a CFL light bulb break?


  1. I did not know this. Thank you. We have energy efficient bulbs from Costco and I guess they're CFLs. Bummer.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts