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Author Topic: Attack of the Shattered Fluorescent Light Bulb!
Snaggy

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Icon 8 posted May 26, 2006 10:49      Profile for Snaggy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
ARRRGGGG!

In my office there's this old fluorescent light fixture from the 70's that is the overhead light. One of the bulbs went psycho on me this week, so I went to replace it.

So I get up on a chair to remove the bulb and find there's no way to just remove the bulb, you have to take down the whole panel underneath the bulbs to get at the bulbs. grrrrr

Soof course it's not easy to take off this panel, and you have to pulll and basically hang off of it to get it off, but it finally comes off, and I'm holding it above my head, gently lifting it down.

At that precise moment one of the bulbs drops from its socket and shatters into a billion pieces on the panel I'm holding over my head. Me and my entire office is showered with glass and scary fluorescent powder. [Eek!]

Luckily nothing entered my eyes, but the whole room is covered, and glistening like fresh frost on a meadow of technology. I grab my powerbook and lock down the room, since I'm way too busy to clean it up.

That was 3 days ago. I'm still working on the kitchen table. [Big Grin]

Lessons:
Change Lights from Hell very carefully!
Wear safety googles and gloves when changing Lights from Hell.

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted May 26, 2006 11:51      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
When you do clean it up, be very careful not to cut yourself. The phosphor powder inside the light will actually prevent clotting if it gets in a cut.

There's also some mercury in the bulbs too, but it's a small amount and you may never be able to find it even if it wasn't in vapor form when the bulb shattered.

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Worst. Celibate. Ever.

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Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted May 26, 2006 15:34      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Technically speaking:

quote:
How to Clean Up Broken Lamps and Tubes

Households or Small Amounts of Breakage

In a household or for small quantity breakages, do not use a standard vacuum cleaner! Do not use ordinary residential and commercial floor vacuums, floor vacuums that trap dirt with water, or wet/dry shop vacuums. (For vacuum cleaning, only vacuums designed specifically for hazardous waste may be used.)

Instead of vacuuming, wear latex gloves and carefully clean up the fragments. Wipe the area with a damp disposable paper towel to remove all glass fragments and associated mercury.

Keep all people and pets away from area so that mercury-containing pieces and powder are not tracked into other areas.

Keep the area well ventilated to disperse any vapor than may escape.

After clean up is complete, place all fragments along with cleaning materials into a sealable plastic bag. Wash your hands. Recycle along with intact lamps.

Large Amounts of Breakage
For accidental breakage of larger numbers of lamps, such as a case or pallet, do not use a standard vacuum cleaner! Do not use ordinary residential and commercial floor vacuums, floor vacuums that trap dirt with water, or wet/dry shop vacuums. (For vacuum cleaning, only vacuums designed specifically for hazardous waste may be used.) Ventilate area where breakage occurred. Separate any unbroken lamps and cleanup breakage with a specialized mercury vacuum cleaner or other suitable means that avoids dust and mercury vapor generation. Place materials in closed containers. Recycle waste along with intact lamps.

http://www.ciwmb.ca.gov/WPIE/FluoresLamps/

Or practically speaking:

quote:
Procedure for Cleaning Up Broken Bulbs

Try and avoid breaking bulbs as mercury will be released into the atmosphere. But, if a bulb does break:

Keep all people and pets away from breakage area so mercury-containing powder is not tracked into other areas. Mercury may be bound to the broken glass and powder.

Ventilate area for 15 minutes, and keep area well ventilated. This allows mercury vapors to dissipate.

Assemble necessary supplies: latex gloves, tweezers, tape and a puncture resistant (ex. plastic) container.

Wearing the gloves, carefully pick up any broken glass and place in puncture resistant container. Tweezers can be used to safely pick up broken glass. Tape can be used to pick up small pieces of glass and powder residue left on spill surface.

Use two pieces of cardboard to push together remaining powder and fragments of glass. Finish clean up by sweeping if necessary.

Important: Do Not Vacuum!! If you do, mercury residue in the vacuum is heated up and vaporized when the vacuum is used again.

After clean up is complete, placed contaminated clean-up equipment along with any other materials that came in contact with the mercury powder into the puncture resistant container or a sealable plastic bag.

Label all containers “Hazardous Waste-contains Mercury.”

Store container(s) on a corrosion-proof surface, inside a structure that protects from rain and snow.

Dispose of as a hazardous waste. Contact your town or local solid waste district for more information.

http://vtrecyclers.org/index.php?name=schooltechassistance&ID=15

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Change the way you SEE, not the way you LOOK!

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted May 26, 2006 18:13      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well, that sucks.

At least I know you weren't trying to imitate these people:
http://slashdot.org/articles/05/05/24/1412253.shtml

[Wink] [Razz] [evil]

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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uilleann
Discontinued


Icon 1 posted May 26, 2006 19:46            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hehe I remember reading about them in the local paper. The muppets.

The only problem I've had with a bulb is a bayonet-fitting one that cracked when I tried to remove it. Stupid thing. Didn't actually fall apart though, but I don't think I realised at the time that it contained mercury (assuming the small energy-saver ones do).

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Ashitaka

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Icon 1 posted May 27, 2006 00:46      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
FYI, IIRC a leathal dose of Mercury is 50 micrograms per liter of blood. That ain't much.

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"If they're not gonna make a distinction between Muslims and violent extremists, then why should I take the time to distinguish between decent, fearful white people and racists?"

-Assif Mandvi

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Moe Monkey
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Icon 1 posted May 27, 2006 06:50      Profile for Moe Monkey     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Is anyone else having as much fun as I am with the compact fluorescent bulbs (the ones with the curled up tube)?

These things are supposed to last five years, yet I have had several die within a year (one after about a month of use). One of the ones in our bedroom died emitting a noxious odour that took a couple of hours to air out, and appeared burnt around the base of the tube.

I'm having a hard time justifying the extra cost and environmental considerations with disposal with these things.

I don't think it's a brand thing, as I've used several.

Posts: 145 | From: The couch in the living room | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
uilleann
Discontinued


Icon 1 posted May 27, 2006 06:59            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Where are you? Ones in Britain don't seem to last forever -- in this house they die after a year or two of nocturnal activity. And they're typically dimmer than an incandescent bulb, to boot.

I have no idea about this, but I find it curious that the contacts on the base of the bulb are always melted away whenever I replace a bulb. Unless they make bad contact and arc over (which might kill the bulb) I can only assume that the contacts offer too much resistance, overheat and slowly melt. Very weird.

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted May 27, 2006 15:25      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Moe Monkey:
Is anyone else having as much fun as I am with the compact fluorescent bulbs (the ones with the curled up tube)?

These things are supposed to last five years, yet I have had several die within a year (one after about a month of use). One of the ones in our bedroom died emitting a noxious odour that took a couple of hours to air out, and appeared burnt around the base of the tube.

I'm having a hard time justifying the extra cost and environmental considerations with disposal with these things.

I don't think it's a brand thing, as I've used several.

Over the course of the past six months my brother and I have been rolling over to compact flourescents. I've no complaints so far and, once we got about ahlf our bulbs changed over, our electric bill dropped $10 without either of us changing our electricity usage habits. My parents have also been changing over to compact flourescents with no problems.

They cost more on the outset (unless you wait for a sale and stock up [Wink] )but I seem to be getting it back in my electric bills. I haven't had any issues with decreased brightness once the bulb has warmed up. This is the main drawback I've seen so far, but it only seems to take a couple minutes for the bulbs to get to full brightness.

Snaggy, you might want to wear a dust mask and some rubber gloves when you clean up that mess in your office. The thick, heavy kind you'd do household chores in, not the thin little latex ones.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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Bibo
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Icon 1 posted May 27, 2006 15:54      Profile for Bibo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The 5 year life on the compact florescent bulbs is not 5 years of continuous usage, but is based on an average daily use (see the package for details). I have switched most of the bulbs in my apartment to them and I see a big difference in life. Standard bulbs would only last a month or 2, with the compact fluorescent I am getting 4 - 5 months.
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Moe Monkey
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Icon 1 posted May 27, 2006 21:33      Profile for Moe Monkey     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Bibo:
The 5 year life on the compact florescent bulbs is not 5 years of continuous usage, but is based on an average daily use (see the package for details).

Well, yes -- these bulbs aren't on all the time. We don't leave lights on in empty rooms, as a result the house is actually pretty dark after sundown, aside from the one or two rooms in use. Perhaps it's all the on/off cycling that killed them? Maybe it's just a statistical anomaly... Anyway, we'll keep trying.
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GMx

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Icon 1 posted May 28, 2006 07:22      Profile for GMx     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
That happened to me before. I once worked at a facory that made parts for trains. Windows and such. Anyway, I was the "janitor" there. I had just taken a dead bulb out of the office and took it out to the dumpster. Instead of just placing it in the dumpster, I tossed it towards it. It almost made it. It smacked right on the edge of the dumpster about midway across the bulb. Nice little flash and explosion. All blue and white. [Eek!] I got a few shards in my hair and a little piece caught my cheek, but I was all right. I didn't stay too long at that job. It was kind of annoying seeing how rich the owners were and yet they paid the workers peanuts (it was a non-union shop). So I basically goldbricked a lot of my time, reading the bosses Wall Street Journal while I was "cleaning" his office, etc.
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drunkennewfiemidget
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Icon 1 posted May 28, 2006 08:49      Profile for drunkennewfiemidget     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
A friend of mine used to work at a local recycling facility where his job was specifically to smash those bulbs and try to separate the bits that break all day.
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uilleann
Discontinued


Icon 1 posted May 28, 2006 09:47            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Explosion...? Good grief. Where did the energy come from?

Apparently fluorescent tubes light if you just hold them up in the air under national grid lines. My parents used to live under such wires and I think my dad was rather disconcerted that there was enough EM field strength in the air to light a strip light in his hand. I bet he's glad we moved.

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GMx

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Icon 1 posted May 28, 2006 10:04      Profile for GMx     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well maybe explosion was a bit of an exaggeration. There was a loud pop. Maybe there was a spark from hitting the metal dumpster or something... [ohwell]
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Snaggy

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Icon 3 posted May 28, 2006 10:23      Profile for Snaggy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Update: I finished cleaning my office yesterday. Tried to follow the clean-up guidelines, but it was imposible to get everything cleaned up without using a vacuum. [ohwell]

Enjoying my empty office though... just the desk, a chair, and a PowerBook. Everything else was cleaned and tossed into boxes. If only it could stay this way! [cry baby]

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canadiangeek
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Icon 1 posted May 28, 2006 17:36      Profile for canadiangeek     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
As for the compact flourescents, I've put them in my apartment roughly 2 years ago (got a really good deal oh them when they were on sale) ... and they havn't burned out yet (and our power bill dropped $15)

Moe,

is it always the same light that keeps burning out, or is it a bunch of them.... also, do you live in the country, or in the city?

and is there any welding shops (or places that would cause large fluxuations in voltage)?

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-whenever you build something that's idiotproof, someone comes out with a better idiot-

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ARJ
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Icon 1 posted May 28, 2006 19:03      Profile for ARJ   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Moe Monkey:
Well, yes -- these bulbs aren't on all the time. We don't leave lights on in empty rooms, as a result the house is actually pretty dark after sundown, aside from the one or two rooms in use. Perhaps it's all the on/off cycling that killed them? Maybe it's just a statistical anomaly... Anyway, we'll keep trying.

I don't know-- it might be a dodgy fixture? In our last house we had one particular fixture in the hall where we had to replace the flourescent bulb at least 3-4 times in about 3 years of residency. All the other fixtures behaved OK, it just seemed like bulbs burnt out more quickly in the one spot. I could very easily believe in the state that house was in that there was something wrong with the wiring or fixture for that one light.

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Katie West: Well done steak? Really?

Warren Ellis: Yes. Because MAN COOK MEAT WITH FIRE UNTIL IT NO CRY ANY MORE THEN EAT IT DEAD

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MacManKrisK

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Icon 1 posted May 28, 2006 19:40      Profile for MacManKrisK     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Moe Monkey:
Is anyone else having as much fun as I am with the compact fluorescent bulbs (the ones with the curled up tube)?

Yeah, they're great for... uhm.... "indoor gardens"... uhm... nevermind.... [evil]

--------------------
"Buy low, sell high
get rich and you still die"


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Moe Monkey
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Icon 1 posted May 28, 2006 22:16      Profile for Moe Monkey     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
To answer some recent questions -- We're in a well-established suburb, the "bulbs" were in different fixtures, and the power here seems pretty consistent ... There's an industrial park in the area but I don't think it affects us. The desktop computer is definitely happier than it was in the old house (where I had to keep the resolution relatively low because of the annoying flicker from voltage fluctuations).

The only constant is me -- my hands are clean, I don't lick the contacts before I screw in the bulb, the thing just sits there until it fails. We're not talking a lot of bulbs, here, though -- three or four, just enough to wonder what the #&%$! was going on.

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Stereo

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Icon 1 posted May 29, 2006 04:25      Profile for Stereo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Moe Monkey:
To answer some recent questions -- We're in a well-established suburb, the "bulbs" were in different fixtures, and the power here seems pretty consistent ... There's an industrial park in the area but I don't think it affects us. The desktop computer is definitely happier than it was in the old house (where I had to keep the resolution relatively low because of the annoying flicker from voltage fluctuations).

The only constant is me -- my hands are clean, I don't lick the contacts before I screw in the bulb, the thing just sits there until it fails. We're not talking a lot of bulbs, here, though -- three or four, just enough to wonder what the #&%$! was going on.

Maybe just a bad batch. I know of a recall because the ballast would get hot and could cause fire (I actually have some of those, but when I found out about the recall, I couldn't find my receipt to return them to the store). When they're obviously defective, get them back to the store, or send letter to the manufacturer. I do use some too (not everywhere - they are not recommended for enclosed fixture, and almost all my room lights are either enclosed or halogen), and I concur with the others here; they do last longer than a month.

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Eppur, si muove!

Galileo Galilei

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Luke Skywalker
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Icon 1 posted May 29, 2006 10:37      Profile for Luke Skywalker     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
We had this happen at my work one time. Fun stuff. As it was like a warehouse sorta. lots of boxes to move and clean.

Then again, the fun stuff is to, after they are burnt out and safely removed, take them to a breakable-ok area, and sword-fight with them. Fun stuff.

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Use the Force, Luke.

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MzSunn
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Icon 1 posted June 01, 2006 11:41      Profile for MzSunn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have just seen this very same this just this morning here at work. Wow! The building maintenace guy was changing the bulb in the hallway and it blew glass dust all over the water fountain and the hallwy. It's looked beautifully dangerous.

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Lovely Lovely Mushy Center

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Donnall
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Icon 7 posted June 01, 2006 21:52      Profile for Donnall     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
hehehe snaggy i laughed for the first ime today thanks mate
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