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Household Lighting FAQs:

Why should I change to fluorescent bulbs in my home?

We recommend the use of fluorescent lighting wherever possible in your home. These lamps will save you money on your electric bill, enough to offset the higher cost. For more information about how these lamps work and how they can help save you money while being better for the environment, go here: www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=cfls.pr_cfls.

How do I know what kind of bulb to buy?

EPA's ENERGY STAR program includes lots of great information about why this is a good choice and how to choose the right bulb for the right use: www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=cfls.pr_cfls.

I've tried them in the past. I didn't like the color and they didn't fit in some of my lamps.

If you tried them in the past and didn't like them, it's time to try them again. The technology has improved and the lamps come on faster, have better colors available, fit more uses in your home, and come in a variety of attractive shapes and sizes.

I tried a fluorescent bulb in a dimmer switch and it didn't work. And the one in my hallway fixture keeps burning out.

Be sure to fit the right bulb with the right use. Most will not work in dimmer switches. If they are subjected to extremes in temperature they will not last as long. If they are put inside small globes, like in small ceiling fixtures, they will not last as long. Special bulbs made for these specific uses are available - check the label.

Why should I look for the ENERGY STAR on the label?

Choosing a product labeled with the ENERGY STAR means it meets strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the EPA and US Department of Energy. But remember - the length these bulbs last is an average and some will burn out sooner than what is listed on the label.

What about the mercury in fluorescent bulbs?

All fluorescent lamps have some mercury in them, including CFLs or compact fluorescent lamps. CFLs have around five milligrams of mercury in them, the amount that would cover the tip of a ball point pen. Although this is a very small amount (compare to a mercury fever thermometer with about 500 milligrams of mercury), with hundreds of millions of these lamps in use, recycling them at the end of their life is important to keep the toxic mercury out of our landfills and environment.

What should I do with the bulb when it burns out?

Recycle the bulbs when they burn out. Here are some recycling options:

  1. Home Depot is starting free recycling of CFLs for homeowners in all its stores. Call to see if the program has started yet in your local Home Depot.
  2. Visit Earth911's web site at www.earth911.org. You will be instructed to use your zip code to learn about recycling options near your home. You can also call 1-800-CLEANUP (253-2687) for the same information.
  3. Take them to your county Household Hazardous Waste center. These programs are set up in all Florida counties to provide recycling or disposal of hazardous materials generated in the home. Go to www.dep.state.fl.us/waste/categories/hazardous/pages/household.htm to learn about your county's program. When you take your lamps for recycling, be sure to look around your home first to see what other hazardous waste you can dispose of. This might include things like pesticides, fertilizer, cleansers, auto fluids, pool chemicals, batteries, paint, propane tanks, and other items that will be detailed at your county's web site.

What if a lamp breaks?

If a lamp breaks, first, DON'T PANIC! Follow our spill clean up guidance located here.

If you didn't find what you needed or have questions,
please call Laurie Tenace at 850-245-8759
or email Laurie.Tenace@dep.state.fl.us

Last updated: November 04, 2016

Permitting and Compliance Assistance Program #850-245-8705 MS #4565


Division of Waste Management #850-245-8705 MS #4500
2600 Blair Stone Road, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2400

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