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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:45 PM
Original message
CFL light bulb problem. It's smoking and smells bad. It burnt at the
ends where it comes out of the base and it cracked the tubing there too.

Husband does not believe that there is mercury in these things. Was swinging it around and turning it upside down to look at it. :eyes: I got a paper plate under it. I don't see anything coming out onto the plate, though.

I forget how to dispose of these things. Can't just trash them, I am pretty sure.

Also have you ever had this happen? It smells SO bad. We were running around the house looking to see what electronic thing was on fire. Pretty scary!
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GardeningGal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:48 PM
Response to Original message
1. Not sure, but if you have an ACE hardware in your area....
I'm pretty sure they have a recycle program for CFL.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:50 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I think home depot does too. Wonder if they take really burnt up ones?
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Fenris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:53 PM
Response to Original message
3. Bad news when they burn out.
Be careful with them - the tube is full of horrible substances. You're supposed to "dispose" of them like used computer equipment - some bulb makers give you a box to send it back to them in. I'm keeping them in a box for now until I find a place to send them for disposal.

Scorching at the base of the tube is typical, as is discoloration. I'm uncomfortable with them and tend to use them only in the basement. My wife hates the light they give off.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:55 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Ok, glad to know that the scorching is normal. The smell is horrible and the crack worries me. Hubby
thinks I am being ridiculous worrying like I am. :( We have these bulbs in the headboard lamps in the kids room. Right by their faces, and they are on all night. We may have to make a change to that.
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Fenris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 10:05 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. If you're worried about it, replace it.
:hi:
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Capn Sunshine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 11:32 PM
Response to Reply #4
11. I don't know about normal, but it happened to me also
only there was so much smoke we called the Fire Dept. They checked the whole house, even with scanners , for an electrical fire in the walls. Never looked at the lamp! I found it the next day. Musta been a major arc there.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 12:13 AM
Response to Reply #11
17. Yeah, fire in the walls was the first thing I thought of. Since this was the bathroom wall
sconce I checked the rocker switch and it did seem like it wasn't quite all the way on or off. However, the smoke smell seems to have cleared and I haven't noticed anything further so we should be all set.
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Gold Metal Flake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 10:13 PM
Response to Original message
6. The problem with CFLs.
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 10:17 PM by Opposite Reaction
I have a lot of CFLs. I have a fixture in the baffroom that uses 40 watt frosted globe bulbs.

I bought eight round CFLs for it. They all died within a year. why?

CFLs are different from incandescents bulbs (IB) in the amount of soldered connections inside. Basically, IBs have two soldered wire joints. One at the side of the base, one at the bottom. CFLs have at least four.

A wire from the side base contact and a wire from the center base contact, both go to a circuit board. These are hand soldered. The circuit board itself has some surface mount electronic components that are flow soldered. The hand soldered joints are usually soldered quickly by poor folks poorly trained. The solder joints are often "cold", that is the solder does not flow onto the solder pad on the board or does not permeate the strands of the wire or both. Consequently, the joint is not so much soldered as it is sort of glued, and it is likely to come loose. It's easy to see if an IB solder joints are bad. Not so with a CFL.

Now, I have fixed regular CFLs when they have become intermittent due to cold solder joints.

You can pop off the cover and get to the wires. But the globe bulbs are all bonded to the glass glass globe and there is no way inside besides cutting, so if they go bad even a McGiver like me is SOL. QC is a thing of the past when it comes to cheap electronics. The consumer is the test department.

Something I have not heard much about as a result of the conservative demonization of the CFL is that all of those old straight fluorescent bulbs that have been in use since the early days of the 20th century have mercury in them. Remember that scene in The 40 Year Old Virgin when the guys are at the loading dock breaking 48" fluorescent bulbs? Mercury everywhere. The mercury is inside the glass bulb. If that is not broke, there is no problem.

Oh, as you now know since it has been demonstrated to you, CFL electronics have no fuses. If something shorts, it's flame on until somehow the current source is disconnected.

I fuck with shit so you don't have to.

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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 11:28 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. I had no idea about the flame on business!
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NYC_SKP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 11:11 PM
Response to Original message
7. Hey, GPV! Get rid of anything electronic that smokes or stinks, and....
...you should be able to Google a place to take them or talk to your waste management company, but the truth is that they are not more dangerous than other fluorescents, like tubes, but they have this big myth of danger associated with them.

Remember that even if the small amounts of mercury end up in a landfill, the amounts of mercury emissions that their use avoids is well worth the trade-off. And the coal fired electricity you might be using to burn incandescent heat bulbs would enter the atmosphere, far worse.

And be sure the next batch you get have the EnergyStar logo!

:hi: :hi: :hi:

http://www.epa.gov/mercury/spills/index.htm#fluorescent

http://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/promotions/change...

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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 11:26 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Mostly I am worried right now about my kids, who sleep with CFLs right next to their heads in
little reading lamps attached to their headboards. And they leave the lights on all night because they are afraid of the dark.

What if one of those had been the one to go bad and it happened when we were all asleep? Might have started a fire right there by the kids. And trailers are notorious for how fast they burn to a crisp.

I used to feel safe having CFLs going all night in the kids' room because they weren't hot like incandescents, so less fire risk. I considered the breakage issue, informed my kids about it and felt relatively okay over the whole thing, but tonight I am feeling considerably less ok. :(
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NYC_SKP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 11:49 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. Then LED's are for you, just the perfect thing...
LED lights are perfect for low lighting needs, they last 10-20 times longer than CFL's and use very little power.



Here are a few examples:

Plug-in to an outlet: http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId=...
I've seen these at Walgreen for $1.99


Under Cabinet units: http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId=...


It might take some shopping where you are, or checking online, but LED's are da bomb.....growing widely in use and getting cheaper over time. Traffic and pedestrian lights are now almost all LED because they last for 100,000 hours or longer and use less power than CFLs and certainly less than old heat bulbs.

:hi:

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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 12:08 AM
Response to Reply #12
14. I seriously thought about LEDs but the high price ones made me balk. However if we
can find some in the right price range that throw as much light as the kids like at night, we could be all set. :)
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NYC_SKP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 12:22 AM
Response to Reply #14
18. for simple low light, those night lights rock...
but you need to plug, not screw, them in.

I'm guessing you have light bulb sockets, so you might need to use these:

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Gold Metal Flake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 09:58 AM
Response to Reply #14
21. No. Not in this situation.
LED lights are just like the CFLs when it comes to the electronics and the quality of the flow and hand soldering. If the location of the area to be lighted is around children, then you want a safe nighlite. Go with a simple incandescent or one of those compact, flat plug-ins like this:



We have had these kind for about 15 years now without a problem. As others have said, get that smokey one the hell out of the house.
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CreekDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 03:15 AM
Response to Reply #7
20. because burning coal for energy creates more Mercury waste
however if one disposes these bulbs properly, there is less mercury waste to the environment from coal burning and none from the bulb itself.

oh and in California, we don't burn coal for energy, but natural gas (no mercury). our mercury is largely from historic mining.
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Whoa_Nelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 11:29 PM
Response to Original message
10. Answering your questions...
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 12:11 AM
Response to Reply #10
15. Thanks, I have no idea if anything leack out through the cracks or not. Given that the bulb passed
over our carpet, bed and a good deal of our laundry, I sincerely hope not.
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backscatter712 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 11:51 PM
Response to Original message
13. CFL bulbs do have a small amount of mercury.
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 11:52 PM by backscatter712
Typically, if you have a mercury spill, it's no big deal - clean up the spill itself, and air out your house to get rid of any possible mercury vapors. I don't think you even have a spill, but you might want to air out the house.

Each CFL bulb has enough mercury in it to make a globule about the size of the ball in the tip of a ball-point pen. In other words, not very much. Don't sweat it.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 12:11 AM
Response to Reply #13
16. In this mess, I would never even see the globule. :^P
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backscatter712 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 12:56 AM
Response to Reply #16
19. It's probably the equivalent mass in vapor anyways.
Probably nothing to do but air out your house.
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