I’ve been in the electrical wholesale business for almost 30 years and every day I sell light bulbs. For over 30 years lamps basically got better, offering more light output per watt on the newer lamps. But recently somebody started taking my light bulbs away. What am I going to do? What are all the old people going to use to read their papers?
Younger people tend to understand this, while other people tend to get upset that the government is getting involved in something as simple as light bulbs. Most people don’t even know it’s happening. So now I let out the secret.
GENERAL SERVICE INCANDESCENT LAMPS
Rated Lumen Ranges
Maximum Rate Wattage
Minimum Rate Lifetime
What does this mean? On January 1st 2012, 100 watt light bulbs went bye bye. Well not really. On January 1st 2012 light bulb manufacturers could no longer make 100 watt A style lamps (table lamps) for sale in the US. Then on January 1st 2013, 75 watt A style lamps are no longer made. January 1st 2014, 60 and 40 watt go the same way. All these lamps are available until stock is depleted.
Now, why are they doing this? After reading and reading and talking to factory reps and some energy specialists, it has to do with building power plants. The more wattage and kilo-watts saved, the less power used. DUH. If energy is saved on a large scale, then enough energy would be saved to avoid building a power plant. In this age of “not in my backyard”, the legal fees would probably be as high as the cost of building the plant.
Once all the incandescent bulbs are gone, you’ll have to choose between LED and CFL.
Which to use, LED or CFL
Which is better, Compact Fluorescents (CFLs) or LEDs? I’m not the greenest person in the world and normally don’t go out of my way to be green, other than recycling trash.
At one time legislation was going to cost you big time bucks if fluorescents, including CFLs, were broken. It was considered a “hazardous spill” and you had to open your windows; if you cleaned it up yourself you would not be able to use a vacuum or broom, only a sticky tape to clean it up. A professional team did this for a woman in Maine and after everything was done it cost her $3000.00 and insurance did not cover it. Now, it’s still not a good idea to use a vacuum because of the mercury.
Now all fluorescents are required to be recycled. Smaller recycle boxes can cost you as much as $1.50 a lamp to dispose. Some waste companies offer to be open on certain days and be available for you to bring the lamps to them. Today, with this legislation, nobody ever throws their light bulbs away (wink wink).
LEDs are not cheap, but they are coming down in price. Right now the biggest change in LEDs is the lumens per watt, or the amount of light coming out divided by the wattage used. While the wattage on some lamps has not gone up, the light output has. It was just 2 years ago when the LED manufacturers started making lamps equal to a 75R30 (65BR30), which is the most popular residential light at the moment. Prices are starting to come down on older technology LEDs, and more and more stores are stocking them. LEDs contain no mercury, making them easy to dispose of, and no special handling, other than throwing them in the recycle bin. The energy saving is ridiculous! I just changed out 7 – 50 watt MR16 lamps with 7 – 6.2 watt dimmable lamps. That right there is a 87% energy savings, and it cuts out going up and down a ladder 56 times to change the lamps (7 lamps, 8 times). In this case, CFLs were not an option.
Now the negative about LEDs. When they first started becoming a reality in residential lighting they were advertised at 50,000 hours lamp life. Lawsuits happened, causing the big names in LEDs to start advertising 25,000 to 30,000 hours, with some lamps still rated at 50,000 hours. LEDs lose lumens over time, just like incandescent and CFLs, but LEDs lose more than 3 times that of a CFL: 29% to 9%.