Say Goodbye To Cheap Light Bulbs

By Todd Fratzel on Energy Conservation

Incandescent Light Bulbs No More

Incandescent Light BulbThe end of the road has finally come for the cheap light bulb. As of January 1, 2014 incandescent light bulbs can no longer be manufactured or imported into the United States. The original law to ban them back in 2007 was delayed with larger 100 watt and 75 watt bulbs banned back in 2012 and now both 60 watt and 40 watt added to the list of banned bulbs.

The new ban doesn’t specifically ban the incandescent bulbs outright, it creates such strict energy efficiency benchmarks that incandescent bulbs simply cannot meet them. The new law now requires 40 watt bulbs to only draw 10.5 watts and a 60 watt bulb to draw a maximum of 11 watts.

Time to Stock Up!

Ultimately the incandescent bulb that we know will surely be an antique from the past. However, in the meantime I suggest you run out and buy up a bunch of these inexpensive bulbs if you can. According to a recent article companies like The Home Depot have about a six month stockpile of bulbs. After this supply runs out expect to pay quite a bit more for light bulbs.

Will Demand Reduce Pricing?

Many supporters of this new regulation point to new demand as the first step in reducing the cost of using more energy efficient bulbs like CFL’s and LED’s. Hopefully this will take place sooner than later when you consider that a typical incandescent bulb costs under $1 and some of the newer LED’s can cost $10-$20 each.

Helping The Environment?

Supporters also point to reduced energy and improved environmental impacts as another reason this new law is important. Seems a bit counter-intuitive to me when you consider that CFL’s contain mercury and pose a pretty serious health concern if not properly disposed of. Sure the savings in energy is certainly important but should it come at the expense of introducing more mercury into our homes and living environment?

Big Business, Not Environmental Conservation

The reality is these new laws are a result of good ole Washington politics. Companies like Philips Electronics supported serious lobbying efforts to create this new law. By replacing the inexpensive (low profit) incandescent light bulb with more profitable CFL’s and LED’s and eliminating competition from the old bulbs, companies like Philips stand to drastically improve their bottom line.

The End of an Era

The end of the Thomas Edison light bulb era is finally upon us. Like it or hate it we’ll all have to get used to life without the good old incandescent light bulb. I personally hate CFL’s so my bulb of choice will likely be the LED. Hopefully manufacturers will find a way to better replicate the light of the old bulbs. Currently CFL’s and LED’s offer “warmer” color options but many are not that good. I do have some LED’s in my home that do replicate the color fairly well. In the meantime, I plan on going light bulb shopping soon!


About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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  1. jeff_williams says:

    Now I’ll have to replace all my dimmer switches to the low wattage ones. Boo. Time to stock up on the incandescents I guess.

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