Introduction: Compact Fluorescentize Your House

The new fad isn't the iPhone, or the Crocs. The new fad is Compact Fluorescent light bulbs! During this Instructable I will be replacing the word; Compact Fluorescent, with CFLs, to make it shorter, and less repetitive. As you might already know, CFLs use less energy than a regular Incandescent Light Bulb. Not only do they save energy, they also last much longer! What more could you ask for?

Though the price of the CFL is higher than an Incandescent bulb, the extra money spent is easily saved because of the longer output and energy saved. QuickFact: In the United States, a CFL can save over US$30 in electricity costs over the lamp's lifetime compared to an incandescent lamp and save 2000 times their own weight in Greenhouse Gases.

All Energy Star CFLs use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.

In this Instructable, I will be making my house, into a house of Compact Fluorescents! That means that every light bulb in my house, will become a Compact Fluorescent! I will show the many stores to purchase CFLs, I will calculate the approximate money saved by using CFLs, and teach you a little bit about how CFLs help the environment!

Not only do we put new CFLs in, we also have to recycle our old Incandescent Bulbs. I will teach everyone how to do that as well!

(Photo by PiccoloNamek from Wikipedia.)

Step 1: 7 Steps for Purchasing the Right CFL/Stores to Buy Them

What do you want to look for when you are buying CFLs?

1.Well first you have to decide where you will use them. A recommended fixture, is one that is left on 3 or more hours per day. You want to replace the bulbs that you use the most frequently first.

2.Make sure it will fit in your fixture. You wouldn't want to spend money on a CFL, and not have it fit into your fixture!

3.Check to make sure that the CFL is energy star compliant. What is Energy Star Compliant? It is a government that regulates programs and products that help save the environment and save consumers money by using less energy through advanced design or construction.

4.Circline or 2D styles are usually best for most table lamps. These also tend to be the brightest options.

5.Choose the Color Temperature, if listed, that's right for you; for example:
Approx. 2700K = Warm White (looks just like incandescent!)
Approx. 5000K = Cool White (White/Blue, often higher CRI)

6.Does your chosen fixture have a dimmer switch? If so, be sure your CFL choice is labeled to be Dimmable.

7.Avoid using CFL's with photocells unless the control is specifically labeled that is it compatible with CFLs. Timers are an easier option

Nowadays, any hardware store should carry CFLs. They are the new fad of course! The HomeDepot website has a very wide variety of them. Home Depot CFLs

Step 2: Disposing of Old/Burnt Out Light Bulbs

If you do not know where there is a place to drop off old light bulbs, you should follow the following instructions.

First go to Next, type in the first box, Light Bulbs, and in the zip code area, type in your zip code. Click GO. You should get a list of landfills/drop off areas for old light bulbs. I found one right down the road from me!

If you have light bulbs which contain PCBs and Mercury, you must:
1.Investigate and follow state and local requirements for handling and disposing of lamps.
2.If you have not tested your mercury-containing lamp wastes to show that they are not hazardous, then assume they are hazardous and dispose of them as hazardous waste.
3.Mercury-containing lamps that test hazardous must be handled in compliance with hazardous waste regulations.
4.Maintain permanent records of mercury-containing lamps that are disposed as hazardous waste.

For other light bulbs, you can dispose of them by putting them in a plastic bag (which isn't recyclable), and dispose of them in a trash can.

Step 3: Getting Started

Now it is time to make your house eco-friendly with your light bulbs. It is now time to gather up all of the CFLs in your home. Like I have below, I gathered up extras that I own. All the others are already in the fixture.

One picture below is a collection of the many shapes and sizes of CFLs. The second picture is all of my extra CFLs that I could scrounge up. Most of the others are in my fixtures somewhere.

Just gather all of your lights up, and bring them with you around your house. Put them in their fixture to see how well they fit, if not, try another one.

Step 4: The Basement

My basement is used often by me when I am working down there on my desk doing Electronics projects. There are two light fixtures down there, and both of them are currently using CFLs.

Because these are not used very often, they will last quite long! The light is the same as with an Incandescent, except there is the one second wait when you hit the switch for it to turn on.

Step 5: The Kitchen

Your Kitchen lights are one of the most used lights in your home. Switching to CFLs in your kitchen is essential to continue with eco-friendliness, along with great lighting in your kitchen.

I have two lights that are the same. The fixtures just hand down from the ceiling, and they are easy to switch the bulbs in and out. Be careful, if your kitchen lights are dimmable, make sure you purchase a dimmable CFL.

It is hazardous to use a standard CFL in a dimmable light fixture.

The pictures below show before and after of my kitchen lighting.

Step 6: Living Room

Now it is time for your living room! We have a light in our living room that can fit the CFLs that I own, but others are those small candle lights. So I cannot put a CFL in them.

But the main lighting is my Japanese light that is perfect for a CFL. Time to put one in!

This is the 4th bulb that I have switched out, and already I have saved:

My Energy Savings will pay for CFLs in just 10 Months!
$13 per year
Approximately I will save $181 in the life of the four CFLs
Also, I could buy 65 days of electricity with my savings!

Step 7: My Bedroom

My bedroom has one main light fixture. A ceiling fan with four lights in it. Recently I switched out of them because they were always getting burnt out. Now they have been going strong, and are continuing to go strong.

I switch these lights on every time I go to my bedroom. They are often used, and they provide awesome light.

Once I switched out of my old Incandescents in my room, the light seemed to be very much brighter. I felt that the light was better, since I switched to the CFLs.

I sleep in the attic, so it tends to get hot. There is a great Air Conditioning unit, and now the money saved can go towards paying for the AC.

Step 8: Savings All Together

Now for the final verdict!

Considering the circumstances, with 60Watt Bulbs, I changed 8 of them in my house. In PA, the approximate energy cost is $10.26cents/kw hour. The approximate number of hours my CFLs will last, is 10000 hours.

The savings that I will have are the following:

369.36 in Energy bill savings.
4,854pounds of C02 prevented

How was this calculated?
The calculator assumes that incandescent bulbs are replaced with compact fluorescent bulbs with one-fourth the wattage (e.g., a 100-watt incandescent bulb is replaced with a 25-watt compact fluorescent bulb).

State average CO2 emissions per kW-hour are for 1998-2000 and are from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), Updated State-and Regional-level Greenhouse Gas Emission Factors for Electricity (March 2002).

Thank you to environmental defense for helping me calculate my energy savings!

Step 9: Recycling CFLs

There are multiple ways to recycle your CFLs. Here is a list I formulated with reserach from the interweb.

IKEA has a bin in every store where you can take back your bulbs when you need a new one.

One innovative system is LampTracker, which provides "collection and safe recycling of fluorescent bulbs using integrated on-line tracking capability and a unique shipping container design....It is a total-care approach to storage, handling, transport and recycling of fluorescent lamps. *Picture Below*

In step two I gave a link of a site for you to locate your nearest center to recycle your CFLs.

Check with your local solid waste disposal program to find out how to recycle CFLs in your area. It may not be entirely safe to throw them into your recycling bin, because it may require special handling or disposal at a hazardous waste facility.

Another way to use earth911 is when you check or call 1-800-CLEAN-UP for an automated hotline. Online, just enter your zip code, press GO, click Household Hazardous Waste, then fluorescent light bulb disposal. The site will identify your nearest residential mercury recycling facility or mail disposal method. If you find no specific information on CFL disposal, go back and click on the link for “Mercury Containing Items.”

Last Resort: If it turns out your local household hazardous waste collection site cannot accept compact fluorescent lamps for recycling, your only remaining option is to seal the CFL in a plastic bag and dispose of it with your regular trash.

Step 10: Pros and Cons

1. More cost-effective than incandescent bulbs.
2. Every CFL you use will save you about $30 over the life of the bulb.
3. CFLs can last 6 to 11 times longer than their incandescent counterparts.
4. Variety of shapes and sizes to match every families personal preference.
5. Newer generation CFLs come in cool light, soft light and day light versions, making it easier for consumers to choose different types of lights for different rooms in the house.

1. Their price up front.
2. The mercury that is inside of the CFL. (App. 5mg)
3. Sometimes light is not very good.
4. Certain company's make poor CFLs.
5. CFLs are made in India and China, where environmental standards are virtually non-existent.

It is important now for CFL manufacturers to organize a safe recycling system.

Step 11: But Why?

Here is the question:

Why would we want to do this?

In this new age of the sky falling over our environment, it is only necessary to innovate new ways to become more environmentally sound. My feeling is that if one of the smallest pieces of hardware in your house can last up to 10 time longer than its counterpart, DO IT!! Sure, there is the fraction of mercury in the CFL, but if our countries could make it easier to recycle old CFLs, and even Incandescents, wouldn't it make more people want to take part? Some people have to drive miles to dispose of old light bulbs. If we just made it easier on them, and put bins, and collected them every few days, it would reduce the amount of people lost when they feel that the CFL is too much maintenance.

What I am trying to say is that our world is moving rapidly into an eco-friendly era. It is up to us whether we can make the most of it.

Quite frankly, to answer my own question:

Why Not?

Step 12: What to Do If a CFL Breaks of Smokes.

What do I do if a CFL breaks or smokes?

Thank Consumer Reports for the answer to this question.

CFLs contain small amount of mercury, a neurotoxin. If a bulb breaks, follow these instructions from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Open the windows and leave the room for at least 15 minutes.
  • For hard floors, don't vacuum or sweep the mess. Instead, wear disposable rubber gloves and use cardboard or stiff paper to scoop up the debris. Then clean the area with a damp paper towel.
  • For rugs, use sticky tape to pick up any fragments and powder. Then vacuum the area if necessary.
  • Place the debris and cleanup materials into a plastic bag and seal it. Put that bag into another plastic bag and seal that one as well.
  • If your area allows it, and no other disposal or recycling options exist, place in trash outside. Wash your hands.
  • After vacuuming the area for the first time, remove bag or empy and wipe bin. Put bag or debris into a plastic bag and seal it. Then put that bag into another bag and seal it. Place in the trash outside.

Although it is rare, some CFLs smoke, smell, or darken at the base when they burn out. Currently all CFL materials must be self-extinguishing, so they won't catch fire, according to energy star.

If your CFL has a dramatic end, turn off power to the CFL. Once the bulb has cooled, remove it. Then send an email message with a photo of the bulb and its make and model to

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