Three-way incandescent light bulbs are still legal; otherwise, consumers must use more energy-efficient bulbs.
So you are having a little trouble adjusting to the light bulbs of the future, and you just want your old incandescent bulbs back?
Well, you can have them, as long as you use a three-way bulb. Those are still legal, for some reason.
But the others are no longer in production. You are going to have to move on.
As of Jan. 1, 2014, production of incandescent 40- and 60-watt incandescent bulbs became illegal. Production of 75- and 100-watt bulbs stopped in 2013.
The reason? Energy efficiency, or rather, energy inefficiency.
”There are four billion light bulb sockets in the United States and more than three billion of them still use the standard incandescent technology that hasn’t changed much in 125 years,’’ the Environmental Protection Agency said when the new light bulb production laws went into effect. “A standard incandescent is only 10 percent efficient – the other 90 percent of the electricity it uses is lost as heat.”
What we are left with is a variety of choices to replace the incandescent. They include:
Halogen incandescent, compact fluorescents (CFLs), or light emitting diodes (LEDs).
LEDs will eventually be the replacement bulb everyone uses; CFLs are considered energy efficient temporary fixes. The original cost of LEDs made them seem prohibitive, but the cost continues to decrease, and some have dropped below the $10 mark.
To explain some of the problems many Americans have with their new lighting choices, National Public Radio spoke to Noah Horowitz, director of the National Resources Defense Council’s Center for Energy Efficiency, in an interview which was broadcast in mid-February.
Q: Why do some compact fluorescent die so quickly? Weren’t they supposed to last for seven years?
A: “As not all CFLs are created equal, only buy those that have the Energy Star logo on them. Those bulbs meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s rigorous performance requirements and must pass various tests including longevity. Switching your CFL on and off frequently shortens its life. Additionally, CFLs may not turn on or reach their full brightness in really cold temperatures.
Q: Is there a CFL or LED bulb that can be used in a three-way socket?
A: “You can buy a three-way CFL which will offer low, medium and high light output, just like your old incandescent bulb did. If your fixture is dimmable, almost all LEDs are dimmable.”
Q: Are there CFLs or LEDs for candelabras or globe-shaped vanity lights?
A: “Candelabra and globe-shaped CFLs have been around for years, and LED models are coming on line now, too.”
Q: Since CFLs and LEDs use less wattage for the same amount of light, can brighter bulbs be used in sockets that take nothing higher than a 60-watt bulb?
A: “As long as you don’t put a bulb that uses more than 60 watts in that socket, you will be fine.”
Horowitz added that LEDs are best for recessed cans or downlights because they project light better directionally, and said LEDs are also best for hard-to-reach sockets because they last up to 25 years.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.