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Utilities

CFL Failure & Disposal#

CFLs occasionally burn out, but more often will continue to operate, gradually producing less light as they age. At some point you'll want to replace bulbs for brighter light. ENERGY STAR® qualified CFLs must produce at least 80 percent of the bulb's rated light output at 40 percent of its rated life.

Only rarely do CFLs fail more dramatically, with a combination of flickering, sputtering, a puff of smoke or melted plastic. ENERGY STAR qualified bulbs must use plastics that do not support combustion, and most are protected by internal fuses. If your bulb fails as described above, turn off the power to the fixture as quickly as possible.

If your CFL bulb fails early, contact the manufacturer, who is ultimately responsible for warranty claims. Be sure to save the proof-of-purchase and register receipt to document your claim.

Disposal

All fluorescent bulbs, including CFLs, contain small amounts of mercury, an environmental concern. Mercury is a toxic metal associated with contamination of water, fish and food supplies.

Local retailers may offer free CFL recycling for broken and unbroken bulbs. When recycling CFL bulbs, please seal all CFL bulbs in a plastic bag.

Visit epa.gov/cfl for additional information.

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