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Old 07-16-2009, 05:41 PM   #1
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How to change a (broken) light bulb


Sorry, I know a 'how to change a light bulb' question is way beneath you pros, but I want to ask just in case.

It's a CFL, stuck in a socket in the ceiling of my garage. The base is securely in the socket, but the coils/tube/whatever it's called was apparently knocked at some point under the previous owner, and is now dangling loosely from the base. Amazingly, it still gives light. I want it out of there. But I've heard those things contain mercury and in its current very-fragile state... I'm just wondering how to approach getting it out without breaking it.

Obviously, first step is to turn the power off to the circuit. Beyond that -- suggestions would be appreciated.

I know, lame newbie question, so sue me.

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Old 07-16-2009, 05:43 PM   #2
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How to change a (broken) light bulb


Try a pair of snap ring pliers with a 45 degree angle head. Insert into the base, squeeze and turn it out.

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Old 07-16-2009, 06:02 PM   #3
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How to change a (broken) light bulb


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Originally Posted by Bigplanz View Post
Try a pair of snap ring pliers with a 45 degree angle head. Insert into the base, squeeze and turn it out.
Be sure the power is off

You could also use the potato trick. Cut a potato in half and stick it onto the broken base of the bulb and twist.
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Old 07-16-2009, 06:23 PM   #4
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How to change a (broken) light bulb


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Originally Posted by Atroxx View Post
Be sure the power is off
Indubitably.
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Old 07-16-2009, 06:26 PM   #5
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How to change a (broken) light bulb


The base is the ballast
I had the same thing happen to one in the laundry
Shut off power & puished it back into the base
It's been working for quite a while now
The mercury is in the twisty bulb part
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Old 07-16-2009, 06:38 PM   #6
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How to change a (broken) light bulb


There are several websites available that have instructions regarding broken CFL's. Then contact your local HASMAT Team.

Good luck

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Old 07-16-2009, 07:01 PM   #7
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How to change a (broken) light bulb


The HASMAT team will tell you to evacuate your house

Snopes info on CFL's
http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/cfl.asp

Body builders consume more Mercury from eating Tuna then if you ate the CFL light bulb

I would not call HASMAT even if I broke all 200 CFL's that are part of my Christmas display

http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=55213
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Old 07-16-2009, 08:14 PM   #8
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How to change a (broken) light bulb


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Originally Posted by RDS View Post
it still gives light.
Therefore the glass envelope hasn't been compromised.

Probably if you twist it back and forth the wires will break from fatigue and then you dispose of the unbroken glass tube and work the plug loose from the socket.

Here's some more info.
BTW, LD50 stands for Lethal Dose (for 50% of the population).
http://www.google.com/search?client=...UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

Last edited by Yoyizit; 07-16-2009 at 08:17 PM.
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Old 07-16-2009, 08:16 PM   #9
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How to change a (broken) light bulb


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Cut a potato in half and stick it onto the broken base of the bulb and twist.

Old wives tale.....and a dumb one at that.


Everyone owns needle nose pliers. Use them.
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Old 07-16-2009, 08:47 PM   #10
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How to change a (broken) light bulb


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
The HASMAT team will tell you to evacuate your house

Snopes info on CFL's
http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/cfl.asp

Body builders consume more Mercury from eating Tuna then if you ate the CFL light bulb

I would not call HASMAT even if I broke all 200 CFL's that are part of my Christmas display

http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=55213
Wow that's some serious stuff right there (particularly the cleanup process).

Recently I had one in my hand and it slipped out as I was holding other items, and I went to catch it and smashed it against a surface with my hand, I checked that no glass entered my hand but it only broke against the surface. I threw it out and called it a day. It actually stayed in that trash for a few days before it got full and I put it in the garage.

I'm still alive. :p The mercury levels are so low I doubt it can do anything especially in a big open space. I would still dispose of them properly though. Come to think of it, wonder if my town even has a program to recycle those... last time we brought about 50 neon tubes to the dump they just told us to throw them with regular trash.


For broken bulbs I usually just use needle nose plyers. Close them, insert into broken socket, open, and turn.

For the CCFL if it's just the balast part that is loose from the socket, I'd see if it can safely be glued into place. You can probably keep using the light. I just added 4 of these in my crawlspace in addition to the two incadesent ones. One of the incadesents happened to burn so I replaced it with another CCFL. It's like a foot ball stadium at night in there now. Nice white light.

Last edited by Red Squirrel; 07-16-2009 at 08:49 PM.
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Old 07-17-2009, 11:24 AM   #11
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How to change a (broken) light bulb


Thank you folks, needle nose it is, while keeping a firm grip on the dangling coils in case they decide to break loose. Or if it feels really loose I'll do what Yoyizit says.

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