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Goodbye Incandescents

January 4th, 2014 · 6 Comments

Starting January 1, 2014 it is now illegal to manufacture or import incandescent light bulbs in the US.

Actually, the law (signed by George W. Bush) doesn’t specifically state incandescents. It just sets a maximum wattage to produce a given amount of light, from 40 to 100 watt equivalents, and there are many loopholes for appliance, 3-way, reflector, rough service and decorative bulbs. There are also incandescent halogen bulbs that meet the standards, but given price, longevity and performance it probably makes more sense to go with CFL or LED bulbs for most applications.

I’ve started converting my whole house to LED bulbs, gradually replacing the incandescent and CFL bulbs as they burn out. The data I have collected over 15 years shows that CFL bulbs actually do last much longer than incandescent bulbs, and my early data shows that LEDs last at least as long (I won’t know for sure until some burn out). CFLs continue to be cheaper than LEDs, but LEDs come on instantly to full brightness, contain no mercury and I like the color better. The one advantage of CFLs is the relatively soothing ramp up in brightness in the early morning that lets my eyes adjust.

I’m sure some will complain about the “nanny state”, or government tyranny, but I think the improvements in energy conservation will be worth the inconvenience. The American Council for Energy Efficient Economy states that the average household uses 5 – 10% of their electricity for lighting, spending $50 – $150 per year, and that doesn’t include the added air conditioning costs in the summer to remove the excess heat (though admittedly some of that heat will reduce heating costs in the winter).

GE has some good information about the change here.

Tags: Computers, Tech & Science · Opinion

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Richard // Jan 4, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    We replaced all the regular incandescent bulbs in Darin’s new house with instant on CFL’s. They work fine. We could not find any instant on round decorative bulbs for over the bathroom sink, so we replaced them with LED’s. We have the same LED’s in our trailer bathroom now. I even replaced the two florescent bulbs in the main 12V fixture above our stove with a single strip of LED’s. Of course, I replaced all the halogen ceiling pucks with LED’s a few years ago. As someone who lives off batteries much of the year, I can tell you that LED’s are the way to go. The savings in power is incredible.

  • 2 Dale // Jan 4, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Most of my lighting comes from LED’s. In fact, I wear it around my head at night!

  • 3 Donna // Jan 5, 2014 at 8:40 am

    I’ve discovered all CFLs are not alike and don’t give off the same glow. I threw away a whole package of “Daylight” bulbs that gave off a horrible, weak bluish light. But other ones are fine.

  • 4 Don // Jan 5, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    We’ve probably replaced 80-90% of our incandescents over the last few years. As they die we replace them with CFL.

    One issue is you can’t use a CFL with a dimmer switch so we’ve held off on the one fixture in the dinning area but soon we will have to deal with that. I think LEDs will work with a dimmer?

    Darn nanny state and government tyranny!


    Couldn’t let you down.

  • 5 Daryl // Jan 5, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    CFL bulbs with the Energy Star label are supposed to work better, coming to full brightness faster, and having better color. I don’t know if they would solve all your problems.

    I know that some LED bulbs are labelled that they work with dimmers.

    On the other hand, I have a timer switch that controls my outside lights and it does not work with either CFL or LED bulbs. The bulbs all burn out within a month. I ordered a new switch on Amazon that is supposed to work better.

  • 6 Richard // Jan 6, 2014 at 8:22 am

    We put dimmable LED’s in a three armed free standing lamp fixture in Darin’s living room. They work great.

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