Personal Finance 

Are You Ready for the Incandescent Light Bulb Ban?

Email  Print Print  

light bulb banIn an effort to encourage energy efficiency in homes across the country, incandescent light bulbs are being phased out. One of the early steps in this process takes place this year. As of January 1, 2012 light bulb manufacturers are supposed to stop making 100 watt incandescent bulbs. The move is meant to encourage consumers to turn to more energy efficient choices, including CFLs, LEDs and halogen bulbs.

Many consumers may not even be aware that this is happening. However, it’s something that you should be aware of — especially if you still use 100 watt incandescent bulbs (75 watt bulbs are supposed to be more efficient by 2013 and lower watt bulbs by 2014). Congress did, in December 2011, vote to delay the funds that would allow for enforcement of the ban until October 2012, but many manufacturers have already stopped producing the 100 watt incandescent bulbs.

Stocking Up on Incandescent Bulbs

Even though I use CFLs (and am waiting for LEDs to come down in price to make a true switch), I know that many people like incandescent bulbs better. The bans on incandescent light bulbs is likely to encourage stockpiling. Even though manufacturers have to stop making the 100 watt bulbs (although some might continue to produce them anyway, since the ban won’t be enforced until later in 2012), stores don’t have to stop selling what they already have in stock. That means that you can head down to the store and stock up.

Some consumers are stocking up on lower watt incandescent bulbs as well, since those will be experience changes in the coming years. And, of course, the federal law about incandescents doesn’t affect states, like California, that plan to ban these types of light bulbs entirely. Since incandescent bulbs are cheap, stocking up on them should be fairly easy. However, due to their shorter lifespan, you might need more than you expect to set you up for life.

Getting Rid of Old CFLs

While consumers can certainly purchase LED bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs or CFLs, many consumers are likely to choose the CFLs, since they are cheaper than the LED bulbs. Over time, LEDs last longer and provide more energy savings, but many customers are more interested in the immediate bottom line.

As a result, consumers need to be aware that there are special disposal concerns associated with CFLs. These light bulbs contain a certain amount of mercury, so they can’t just be tossed out with the trash. They need to be recycled. Some hardware stores and other retailers allow you to bring them in for free disposal. If you are unsure of how to get rid of your CFLs, call your city’s waste or environmental department to determine the proper mode of disposal.

Bottom Line

At some point, you are going to be affected by a ban of incandescent light bulbs. It’s time to prepare now. Either stock up on incandescent light bulbs, or save up some money to pay extra for other options. For those who already use CFLs, LEDs or halogen bulbs, the new ban won’t change much. However, if you rely on incandescent bulbs for lighting, you need to figure out what you will do next.

(Photo: Peter Rosbjerg)

{ 22 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

Related Posts

RSS Subscribe Like this article? Get all the latest articles sent to your email for free every day. Enter your email address and click "Subscribe." Your email will only be used for this daily subscription and you can unsubscribe anytime.

22 Responses to “Are You Ready for the Incandescent Light Bulb Ban?”

  1. Jason says:

    There is no ban on incandescent light bulbs. The law mandates greater efficiency for incandescent light bulbs. Most manufacturers have already prepared to produce bulbs to the new standards. Please revise this article to avoid perpetuating the myth of a ban.

    • Scott says:

      Agreed. Miranda, I like your articles normally, but this one is completely untrue. Congress overturned this ban on December 15, 2011 and from what I can tell has no plans currently to reimplement it. Although, if you Google this topic, there are a multitude of unreputable sources saying the ban is still in effect (the reputable ones have it right).

      My own personal opinion is that if Congress is going to try to force the general public to use CFLs then they need to also provide funds to help with easier (read idiot-proof) proper disposal of these bulbs. Otherwise, I think the EPA will have a field day with Congress when they find out how many CFLs are going straight into general trash bins.

      • Miranda says:

        According to everything I can find (Washington Times, CNN Money, ABC News, etc.) the regulations are still in effect. But, as I stated in the article, enforcement won’t be funded until later. (Unless the measure is de-funded again in another spending bill.)

        “The spending bill doesn’t actually amend the 2007 law, but does prohibit the administration from spending any money to carry out the light bulb standards — which amounts to at least a temporary reprieve.”

        “The new standards and regulations remain on the book, even if they now won’t be enforced.”

        As mentioned in the article, the mandates on more efficient 75-watt and low watt incandescent bulbs are supposed to go in effect later. But, as Jason points out, manufacturers are already moving on, and the law doesn’t prevent people from buying what’s out there, or using what they have. That probably should have been clearer in the article.

    • lighthouse says:

      No ban “myth”
      ALL known general service incandescents – including touted replacement halogens – will be banned on the 45 lumen per Watt 2007 EISA regulation standard that will come to apply.

      Of course, any product not meeting a standard is “banned” anyway.
      “Efficiency” is not just energy efficiency, eg performance efficiency from greater energy use
      also with cars etc, and “energy saving” is not the only desirable feature a product can have.

  2. Fabclimber says:

    In 2009 researchers at Cambridge University in England developed an LED bulb that is 3 times more efficient than current CFL’s with an expected life of 60 years. The cost was estimated then at about $3. When these are commercially available both incandescent and CFL’s could be history. We’ll have to see.

  3. SLS says:

    We started changing to CFLs more than 3 years ago, when we first moved in to our current apartment. In that time, I have only had 1 CFL bulb die – the one at my desk that I used almost every single day for hours at a time. I’ve been super happy with the CFLs we have – once we go through them, I’d be happy to purchase LEDs instead.

    • Glenn Lasher says:

      I started changing over in 1995. The last one of the tubes I bought back then finally died last year. The potential lifespan of these things is amazing.

  4. elloo says:

    I don’t like the light of a CFL. LED’s are too expensive. I have a nice supply of 75 watts as 100’s are too bright for me. Better color tone and price will have to happen to make me switch.

    • cubiclegeoff says:

      I never understood the argument that people don’t like the light of CFLs and such. There’s a difference, but it’s not enough for me to care. I know people that have stockpiled for this reason. Generally, I think this is ridiculous. Or maybe my eyes are just not that sensitive and yours are, and you can’t handle the CFLs.

  5. Shirley says:

    We do have CFLs in most of our fixtures, however they don’t work with a dimmer switch… they burn out at the first ‘dimming’. That was an unhappy surprise. Hopefully the bulbs that Fabclimber mentions above will soon be available to us.

    • Strebkr says:

      They do make dimmable CFL bulbs. They cost a little more then the regular ones, but they do the trick.

      • Scott says:

        Dimmable CFLs are a pretty recent development, at least ones with any reasonable reliability. Shirley and many others probably have not even seen them yet.

  6. Texas Wahoo says:

    We started buying CFLs when we moved into our house a couple of years ago and we’ve had to replace many of them, including two of them twice. I do not know what it is about our house, but CFLs tend to die more quickly than incandescent bulbs.

    Out of curiosity, what is the punishment for not disposing of CFLs properly? How do we expect to enforce such a rule?

  7. Craig says:

    I agree with the other comments. This article is not factual and should be removed.

  8. Jon says:

    While I agree with the spirit of reduced energy consumption, I must point out there is one arena where incandescent lamps may be difficult to eliminate. CFL and fluorescent lamps in general have difficulty getting “started” at temperatures below 0F, and those that will operate are not energy efficient. So if you live in Minnesota (like me) and have outdoor lighting then a stash of incandescent lamps may be good advice.

    • Strebkr says:

      Jon – Also a very good point. We have CFLs outside in Ohio. While its not too cold here yet, (25-30f) I do notice how long they take to “warm up” and actually get bright.

      I try to use CFL or LEDs where ever I can, but if the task calls for a different light then I have no problem changing to incandescent light.

  9. JoeTaxpayer says:

    For what it’s worth, the math of the CFL savings is impressive. The 65W floodlight type bulbs (for in ceiling canisters) are 15W as a CFL. So 20hrs usage saves 1KWH. My Costco has these in 4 packs for $4, so the bulbs pay for themselves after 140 hours of use at a 15c/KWH rate. Yes, the dimables are still a bit more.

    To Craig, if you have a link to newer info, present it. My latest reading shows Miranda is correct. A delay of enforcement, but the rules aren’t eliminated.

    • cubiclegeoff says:

      The math on LEDs is even more impressive. But you have the up-front cost.

      • Strebkr says:

        CFLs are nice, but I have not seen the reliability out of all of them like promised. I returned one to the manufacturer two years ago with receipt and everything. I got no response from them. So now I return them to the store to exchange them for new ones. You have to talk to the right people, but its possible to get new ones even if you have had yours for over a year.

        I want the LEDs to be rock solid so I don’t have to worry about this. I have them in one room as a test. Hopefully they work out and I have no issues with them.

  10. lighthouse says:

    Saving energy and emissions is one thing,
    but banning popular and safe-to-use products is a rather odd way to do it.
    (It is a “ban” – see other comment).

    If using electricity was such a big deal,
    it, or say coal, could simply be taxed
    (The government income of which could help pay for insulation of poorer affected homes – or whatever. Bans give no such income!)

    Light bulbs don’t burn coal or release CO2 gas.
    If there is a problem – deal with the problem.

    The switchover savings,
    is less than 1% of total energy use and around 1% of total grid electricity.
    – US Dept of Energy stats and surveys, referenced.

    Much more relevant to deal with electricity generation efficiency, grids, and alternative wasteful consumption, as described on the above link, than to tell people how they can use the electricity that they – yes they – pay for.
    The so-called “power factor” alone of common CFLs means power plants use twice the energy to what your meter says – which you will still have to pay for.
    Meanwhile, the 95% heat production of incandescents is not necessarily a waste in cold conditions, and the 80% heat production of CFLs is internalized, to give a greater fire risk, while LEDs have brightness and lifespan issues affecting supposed savings,
    as described.

  11. Carmen says:

    I don’t know where you get the price of a 4 pack of incandescent bulbs, where I live, they’re usually about $5-$7 for a pack of 4, which is why I don’t buy any unless they’re on sale.

  12. Anders Hoveland says:

    “Energy efficient” bulbs don’t make any sense, at least not where I live. Incandescent lights are actually 100% efficient – it is just that they give off more of their energy the form of heat. It gets very cold here in the winters. Sometimes I turn on the central gas heater in my house, but I prefer to use a portable electric space heater to heat just the individual room I am in to reduce my utility bills. How on earth does it make sense to use an “energy efficient” lighting while I have an electric heater going at the same time?! I only turn on my lights in the night, when it gets colder anyway. And even summer nights can sometimes get just a little cold. I wouldn’t normally go to the trouble of turning on the heater for this, but any extra “waste” heat would be more than welcome.

    It’s also not the best idea to use those spiral CFL bulbs as reading lights. They give off UV radiation, so it is not good to have the light bulb so close to your skin. All that extra UV exposure could lead to premature wrinkling or skin cancer.

Please Leave a Reply
Bargaineering Comment Policy

Previous Article: «
Next Article: »
Advertising Disclosure: Bargaineering may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website.
About | Contact Me | Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights | Terms of Use | Press
Copyright © 2016 by All rights reserved.