Local News

New law turns out the light on traditional bulbs

Posted January 1, 2014

— Get your energy efficient light bulbs ready, because the traditional bulbs of the past will no longer be available.

Government regulations taking effect Wednesday stop businesses in the United States from manufacturing or importing 60- and 40-watt incandescent light bulbs. It's all part of a 2007 federal law requiring light bulbs to meet higher energy efficiency standards. In the past few years, 75-watt and 100-watt bulbs were phased out. 

At the Home Depot in Cary on Wednesday, manager Jonathan Pritchett said he only had about two weeks' worth left. He said the store saw a spike in sales of the bulbs last week. 

Incandescent bulbs burn through a lot of electricity. For the average household, they make up about 20 percent of the power bill. 

Greener options of LED and CFL (Compact Florescent Light) bulbs use much less power than regular bulbs and last longer. Replacing 36 standard bulbs with CFLs or LEDS would lower your power bill by more than $200 a year, according to GE. 

Home Depot shopper Dan Wood has already made the switch to the greener bulbs and seen his electricity bills go down. 

Shopper Shea Shelton doesn't think the idea is that bright. 

"Requiring people to go to those new bulbs is ridiculous," Shelton said. 

Calvin McEachin likes CFLs, but he doesn't like the warm-up time when he turns them on. 

"They put out a lot of good light. The only thing I hate about it is when...you first put them on, it takes a while to get bright. So, you flip your switch (and) it's still dim," McEachin said. 

In addition to the warm up complaints, Pritchett said some consumers have complained about the color of CFLs and LEDs. He said choices have improved, but shoppers need to know what they are looking for. 

"The daylight is the one that's like the blue tone. So, if you go with a cool white, you're going to be fine, or a warm white. Those are the colors if you're looking for that traditional color of an incandescent bulb," he said. 

Consumer Reports has said that LEDs last the longest, but they are also the more expensive option to replace incandescent bulbs. However, rebates are making them more affordable. CFLs don't last quite as long as LEDs, but they are still a more efficient option and can use up to 70 percent less power.

Some LEDs can cost up to $25, but according to Consumer Reports, the price is worth it in the long run because the bulbs can last a decade and will save the consumer hundreds of dollars. CFLs can save $100 or more over the lifetime of the bulb.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • fkhaywood Jan 3, 2014

    I have seen some fixtures in which a CFL will not fit, you have to replace the fixture. CFL's cannot be used in circuits that have a dimmer. 3-way CFL's are very expensive compared to regular CFL's. CFL's are a hassle to dispose of once thay burn out. CFL's don't last as long as the warranty says they should. Just some of the 'benefits" of using CFL's!

  • alexncsu Jan 3, 2014

    Its amusing to read the ignorant comments from my fellow ignorant Raleigh residents. Banning incandescent bulb was probably the only smart thing Bush did in all of his 8 years as president. I switched to CFLs as soon as they became available and affordable in 2006. I replaced about 20 bulbs in my house. Only 3 have stopped working so far. Many are on most of the day or night. Not one ever broke and mercury spilled. Today's CFLs are even better than the ones I bought many years ago. I save about $200-300 a year in electricity by switching. Advice to my fellow ignorant neighbors: use the empirical method to make an intelligent decision.

  • Hubris Jan 2, 2014

    I'M going to buy the new bulbs. I like mercury spilled all over my floor when they break.

  • sandim50 Jan 2, 2014

    admin.....of course someone is home. BIG BROTHER. remember we are not smart enough to make a decision on the size soda we drink, fats we have in food, ETC, ETC

  • Monkey_Joe Jan 2, 2014

    If it was cost effective, the market would bear out and we'd all upgrade. Did they have to outlaw gas lamps and candles? No, flashlights were awesome so people switched. That would NEVER happen with these cruddy new bulbs!

    CFL is a scam. They are noisy, don't turn off/on quickly and the light they give off is just weird. I tried switching to CFL but they die within a year. Never have a problem with my good old regular bulbs.

    Who cares if it saves me $20-$30 per month? And the environment... don't get me started. If my 20 light bulbs causes the Earth to heat up, its much smaller than we previously thought.

  • Thought Criminal WS Jan 2, 2014

    I pay about 5$ for a year's supply of regular crummy bulbs.
    I change my living room overhead light every 2-4 weeks.
    My upstairs neighbor has small kids who act like normal children and make a ruckus jumping and playing. The bulb goes out from it.

    Thank you government for removing my freedom to make a sound practical and economical decision. FYI, I've never changed the Cree LED in my nightlight but when I do I'll choose to spend the extra $'s on it (and I'll probably buy a Cree because it's a great product, but not great for my living room).

  • cjw6105 Jan 2, 2014

    Get your new bulbs now! Cost is high, but so what? No matter that a blub will now cost 4 times what it used to, puts out much less light, that the light is bad for your eyes, and it's full of mercury.

    Why is it that everyone else knows what's best for me but I don't? Just like doctors and healthcare, I need it explained to me so I'll understand......

  • Black HelicoptersNFood Insurance Jan 2, 2014

    Oh look, the 2007 law Rush, Fox, the GOP etc was blaming Obama for even if Bush pushed for this reform and signed it into law before Obama even ran for office...

  • TP4Real Jan 2, 2014

    I'm gonna go out on a limb here and just say what everyone's been thinking. The light is on but no one is home.

  • Mon Account Jan 2, 2014

    "Ironic thing is that since the new lightbulbs don't produce heat when lighting the room, the furnace has to run longer and harder to compensate.

    The tree huggers don't think things through."

    Neither do people who clearly lack a science background.

    You forgot to factor in efficiency in the task at hand. Think a bulb is more efficient at heating than a furnace that was designed for heating? Hmmm.