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How To Clean Up A Broken Light Bulb

So you’re in your kitchen when all of a sudden a fluorescent light bulb comes crashing down onto the floor. The glass shatters and the mercury held within spreads all over the place. How can you go about cleaning it up safely?

Let’s start with the how a fluorescent light bulb works. They get their glow from the mercury trapped inside and although compact fluorescents (CFLs) are more energy-efficient, they work in the same way. You don’t want to play around with mercury but don’t worry, the amount inside your light bulb isn’t enough to do much harm.

However, you’ll want to follow these steps and exercise extreme caution regardless:

  • Air out the room as soon as the bulb breaks. Open the windows and get everyone out of the area for at least 15 minutes. If your central air conditioning system is turned on, turn it off right away in order to prevent mercury from circulating throughout your home.
  • Find a sealable container and when the room is completely aired out, scoop up the pieces with paper or cardboard and place them in the container. For smaller pieces, use a piece of duct tape.
  • Let the room air out for another few hours just to make sure no traces of mercury vapor remain.
  • Find a safe place to dispose of the broken glass. In many areas, you can dispose of the sealed container at a recycling center. This is your best bet because you don’t want to contaminate a landfill with mercury, right?

Need to replace the light bulb or the fixture that came crashing down? You can count on Lon Lockwood Electric. We specialize in residential electric and have been serving the Rochester area for years. Call us today at (585) 766-4702 to make an appointment.