Old School Incandescent Bulbs Get 9-Month Stay Of Execution

In spite of the fact that regulations to phase out high-wattage incandescent bulbs were signed into law in 2007, the ability to buy antiquated, inefficient lighting somehow became a lightning rod topic in recent months. And so legislators who want to defend your right to waste electricity (and still be able to use your old Easy Bake Oven) managed to find a way to stave off enforcing the rules until next fall.

Buried in a deal to avert a government shutdown is a provision that prevents the Department of Energy from spending any money to implement or enforce the light bulb regulations that were set to kick in after the new year. The reprieve is slated to end on Sept. 30, 2012.

Even though most light bulb manufacturers have stated their support for the regulations, opponents claim that it’s not fair that people should be forced to pay more for light bulbs — even though compact fluorescent lights and high-efficiency incandescent bulbs will save several times the additional cost over the life of the bulb.

Earlier this week, Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of America, National Consumer Law Center, Public Citizen, and the National Consumers League sent a letter to both Senate and House members outlining the consumer benefits that would be lost if these standards were abandoned.

“Lighting accounts for 10-15% of household electricity use, and is one of the cheapest efficiency upgrades available to consumers,” wrote the group. “Repealing lighting standards would undermine consumer savings, drive up costs for efficient lighting, and increase demand on the power grid, which increases the cost of electricity.”

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  1. nerble says:

    That’s not a slanted article at all. No sireebob.

    • nwgray says:

      Perhaps we need another article on the dangers of CFL’s and why it became such a hot topic.

      • nerble says:

        Simply because it’s a toxic hazard if it breaks is no reason to get all uppity. Just buy a hazmat suit and quit whining.

        • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

          Can you imagine what it would be like in a few years if everybody changed over to CFLs right now? Landfills would be loaded with mercury. I can’t beleive that everybody would take their dead or broken CFLs to a special disposal site. It’s nuts. The bill has nice intentions, but the technology for safe, efficient lighting hasn’t geared up yet.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            CFLs, computers, TVs, batteries… There are lots of things that require special dumping and/or are illegal to just throw away.

            But that hasn’t stopped progress, has it? Did we stop using computers? Batteries?

          • Costner says:

            Ok first you need to read up on the list of links Loias provided above.

            Second, you need to realize the amount of mercury contained in a CFL is less than the amount of mercury released during the production of energy required to operate a traditional lightbulb for the lifespan of a typical CFL. Thus in short – there would be less mercury released into the atmosphere if people used a CFL than there would be if they continued to use the energy hogging incandescents.

            Plus – newer CFLs use a fraction of the mercury the older ones did, and only in rare cases does a CFL actually break resulting in some or all of that mercury being released. THey might break at the landfill as a 12 ton dozer is ran over them, but at that point the mercury isn’t going anywhere and since landfills are lined to prevent toxic metals from leeching into ground water etc, it is sort of a moot and insignificant point.

            • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

              “…but at that point the mercury isn’t going anywhere and since landfills are lined to prevent toxic metals from leeching into ground water etc, it is sort of a moot and insignificant point.”

              Not all landfills are lined. Our city dump isn’t. It’s cheaper to pay the fines than retrofit it.

              Given enough time, I think people will get better about recycling CFLs. It took a good 30+ years to get people accustomed to recycling motor oil and stop pouring it down storm drains.

            • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

              You first point is irrelevant.
              Your second point is silly.
              Your third point is wrong.

          • Nyall says:

            I take my CFLs to Home Depot. Lowes probably takes them also.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:
        • nerble says:

          From your own link. I know I associate saftey with materials that are earmarked to go to the local Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Site.

          Even though mercury from the broken CFL is not likely to be dangerous, it would be wise to take extra precautions to minimize mercury exposures. Briefly, the US EPA recommends that:

          1.you immediately open windows to reduce mercury concentrations inside your home;
          2.you do not touch the spilled mercury;
          3.you clean up the broken CFL glass carefully and immediately (but not with your hands or a vacuum cleaner), and
          4.you wipe the affected area with a paper towel to remove all glass fragments and mercury.
          EPA further recommends that you place the paper towel and glass fragments in a sealed plastic bag and bring the sealed bag to your local Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Site.

          • belsonc says:

            5. Do not taunt Happy Fun Mercury…

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            I think you made my point, in that a moniker of safety is all that is required. Most of those instructions apply to any kind of glass spillage anyway, so the big difference is open your windows and that mercury has to be dumped property.

      • RxDude says:

        I’ve never had a CFL break, but the damn things simply don’t last any longer than old fashioned incandescent bulbs. Whatever controlled environment is being used to test CFL longevity is nothing like my last 3 places of residence, where I end up replacing CFLs at least as often as incandescent bulbs.

        • TouchMyMonkey says:

          I replaced a CFL bulb last month. The last time I had to change a bulb in my house was 2005. Either you have really bad power surges in your house, or you got your CFLs from some guy at the local flea market. Or you’re you’re lying through your teeth. Either way, propaganda FAIL.

        • finbar says:

          I have the same issue, I suspect it’s the old wiring in my circa 1955 house.

    • MeowMaximus says:

      Yay! This a stupid law. The Government has no right at all to tell me what kind of light bulbs I am allowed to buy. I hope the incoming Republican administration repeals this idiotic law. I am already in the process of switching to LED bulbs anyway.

      • Rhinoguy says:

        You are absolutely right! The government should never under ANY circumstances whatsoever be allowed to ban any formerly legal product just because it’s bad for the world.
        facetious.

  2. missy070203 says:

    is this the most interesting thing happening right now?

    • Andrew says:

      I would say that SOPA is the most interesting thing happening at the moment. WHY IS THERE NOT MORE OUTRAGE OVER IT?!?!

  3. EnergyStarr says:

    i prefer not wasting electricity. but i prefer not having migraine headahces induced by CFLs more than that.

    • Emily says:

      So do I. We’re fussy that way.

    • miss_j_bean says:

      I get headaches from them too. I don’t get it nearly as bad from normal florescents (like at hospitals and whatnot). Not sure why the house ones are so different. My husband didn’t believe so he switched some of the CFLs out for regular bulbs and I totally could tell.
      The pastor at my old church had seizures so it could be worse. No one knew why until they switched his office back to regular bulbs and the seizures stopped.

  4. Matthew PK says:

    Clearly CFL’s are the best choice. The only logical reaction is to make the old alternative illegal.

    • Costner says:

      Actually incandescents themselves are not banned, but certain kinds of energy hogging incandescents are. There are a lot other options aside from CFLs however. There are high efficiency incandescents, there are halogens, there are LEDs, there are Xenon…. in short there are options.

      The one and only thing the EPA rules were doing is to force consumers to do what they weren’t doing themselvse due to their own ignorance. The typical consumer has trouble understanding long term costs and therefore the fact it might cost $130 more to operate an incandescent bulb over its lifetime versus something like CFL is lost upon them. Not to mention that we need our power grid for more important things than running energy hogging light bulbs…. like running our energy hogging video game consoles and plasma televisions!

      • Matthew PK says:

        There are plenty of justifiable reasons for wanting a 100w+ incandescent bulb.
        non-solution to a non-problem.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Did you miss the comment about the high efficiency incandescents, or did you choose to not read it at all?

          • Matthew PK says:

            I read it, It is irrelevant.
            Since when is the availability of alternatives a valid justification for a ban?

            • GearheadGeek says:

              They’re not banned per se, there’s just a requirement for a minimum level of light output per energy input, and manufacturers and consumers can address that any way they like.

          • chasingveronica says:

            I can’t properly dim CFLs – they make a noise I cannot tolerate or don’t dim at all – they can’t be used in a garage or other cold room and I get migraines easily. I find the warmth of the color of incandescents more soothing, the ability to dim and control the mood of a room, or my ability to see what jewlery I am making or clearly see what I am reading. As far as LED’s go, my new fridge is a dark, dim place where I now need an additional lamp to find anything in.

      • Darury says:

        “…force consumers to do what they weren’t doing themselvse [sic] due to their own ignorance. “

        You do realize that opens some really scary doors to what is and isn’t allowed when the government starts making those decisions?

    • nishioka says:

      Worked for low-flush toilets. Or does the sun not come up in the mornings in Republican Fantasyland anymore because the the choice to flush 4 gallons of water every time you take a leak was torn away from you?

    • rushevents says:

      +1 and you sir, rock.

    • VHSer says:

      CFLs are NOT the best choice. The government has absolutely no right to change things and say what kinds of lights we can have inside or outside of our homes. What do they care ? I like normal lightbulbs, thank you very much. I get sick from the squigly CFL garbage. The light they give out is crap.

  5. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I am really sick of random provisions being put into every bill that are completely not related to the issue.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      I agree, but its how they get their sneaky things done – YOU DON’T WANT CHILDREN TO LIVE! YOU BASTARD! (secretly sneaks in baby-seal-clubbing provision under the radar)

    • Darury says:

      Personally, I’d like to see something along the lines that no law can exceed 3 pages in 10 point font and must include specific summary of the problem the law is resolving. And while I’m waiting on that skittle-sh*ing unicorn, can we include a provision that requires any new law to be validated every 5 years?

  6. George4478 says:

    A cold-room-friendly LED in my basement instead of a cheapo incandescent would pay for itself in 28-30 years, based on my KW/hour cost and amount of usage. I declined to do this (and was called an idiot by some treehugger here for this decision) and bought some extra incandescent bulbs ahead of the ban.

    Replacing my candelabra bulbs on my front porch sconces with LEDs will take 2 years to repay the $25/bulb cost. I have done this — it makes sense, even though the candelabra bulbs were not being banned.

    I don’t need a law to make me do what makes sense and I don’t like a law that forces me to do what doesn’t make sense. And with incandescents, there are examples of both.

    • Matthew PK says:

      The better question is this: WHY DO YOU HATE THE EARTH AND YOUR CHILDREN?!

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      What kind of CFLs do you use? We’ve had terrible luck with all the ones that we’ve tried in our attic and garage.

    • EnergyStarr says:

      I compared a 60w equivelant LED bulb to a 60W equivelant CFL. The CFL bulb consumed 13w and was priced at $2. The LED bulb consumed 12w and was priced at $26.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      CFL prices continue to drop – and will do so more when all manufacturers have to compete in that market. I bought standard CFLs for less than $1/each at Costco.

      People complaining about price either live in an area that doesn’t compete on CFLs or haven’t looked hard enough. It reminds me people who shop at Walgreens and complain how everything costs so much. Everything at Walgreens costs more here.

      • kathygnome says:

        Or heard about the supposed price on some right wing media outlet and never checked for themselves

      • brick-geek says:

        I don’t care about the cost. I just don’t want CFLs because you can’t safely use them in most of the light fixtures out there. The packaging makes little mention of this. As CFL use rises, I suspect we’ll see more than a few house fires caused by them…

        http://sound.westhost.com/articles/incandescent.htm#norm

        • Firethorn says:

          If you reread that PDF, you’ll find that the chance of fire is low, short of criminally manufactured CFLs.

          Sure, you can fry a CFL in an enclosed environment that an incandescent is happy with, but that’s because of the CFL’s lower temperature tolerance. The enclosure will still be (far)cooler than it would be with the equivalent incandescent in it. Any properly made CFL should trip some sort of internal safety fuse before it goes bad enough to fry something.

    • Costner says:

      With all due respect George… you seem to use common sense because you actually have common sense. I dare say a vast majority of the public does not understand this concept, and thus continue to make horrible decisions.

      Case in point – I know at least three people who told me they bought new cars and/or a motorcycle to save gas. Doing some back of the napkin math, I determined that the least expensive of these would take approximately 15 years to get any payback period at all – and that did not include any variable like additional insurance premiums.

      I dare say most people are stupid, or at the very least incapable of doing long-term cost saving analysis.

      • jrs45 says:

        That is true, but it’s not the government’s job to be their babysitter, especially while subjecting the rest of us to silly restrictions.

        • Bill610 says:

          It’s also worth it to bear in mind that the stupid people that some would have the government take care of…are often the ones who end up BEING the government.

  7. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    The issue I have with this is forcing people to do what some government agency think is best for them. Why not let people decide for themselves?

    Lighting accounts for 10-15% of household electricity use, and is one of the cheapest efficiency upgrades available to consumers

    Ok, agreed. So have an education campaign, advertise the savings, do whatever you want to promote the new bulbs…but don’t advocate taking the choice away from consumers “for their own good”. Contrary to what statists think, consumers are generally smart enough to make their own purchasing decisions.

    • Nyall says:

      http://shine.yahoo.com/green/truth-light-bulb-law-200200491.html

      There will still be incandescent light bulbs. They will be more efficient and this improved efficiency is brought to you by the selling companies working around the ban.

      Just like how in the 70s it took fuel economy laws to double the average MPG from 13 to 26:

      http://www.pewenvironment.org/news-room/fact-sheets/history-of-fuel-economy-one-decade-of-innovation-two-decades-of-inaction-329037

    • nishioka says:

      > Ok, agreed. So have an education campaign, advertise the savings, do whatever you want to promote the new bulbs…but don’t advocate taking the choice away from consumers “for their own good”.

      Companies have been advertising the energy savings involved with switching to CFL for years. You want a choice… how about you choose to have the government not waste taxpayer money on ad campaigns that tell us all what we already know and just make the change. You know, like when George HW Bush signed the Energy Policy Act in 1992 to make low-flow toilets the standard.

      I can’t believe wasting resources is being held up as an issue of freedom and choice. Don’t you have any more important issues to stump for?

    • DrPizza says:

      Contrary to what statists think, consumers are generally smart enough to make their own purchasing decisions.[/quote] No they’re not. If there were only smart consumers, this issue wouldn’t be an issue. There are a few, very few, applications where the incandescent bulbs are a wiser decision. But generally, they’re not. Given smart consumers, the demand would be so small for incandescent bulbs that it wouldn’t be worth the bother to manufacture or stock. Most smart people have switched over. The regulations are now going into effect to deal with the non-smart people.

      • rushevents says:

        So what if they are not what gives the government the right to dictate what kind of lightbulb I can buy?

        Everybody always goes on about how the government should stay away from the bedroom – I want them out of my house… period.

        If I want to pay less up front and more on my power bill then I should be allowed to do so. Saying I only do it because I’m too dumb to think otherwise simply shows your true colors… and they clash.

        • DrLumen says:

          You’re tilting at windmills about incandescent bulbs. Not to get under your skin but your house has been approved by the government (US building code, National Electrical Code, whatever covers plumbing) plus the structural engineers, civil engineers (certified by governing bodies), local building inspectors, your local fire department, etc has all had a hand in defining how your house is built but you have a problem with the government mandating the use of certain light bulbs?

          I can understand not being a big fan of abusive and/or corrupt government but having a problem with the mandated light bulbs is very low on my list. Much like “locking the gates after the horses had bolted!”

        • jasonq says:

          It’s not about your house. It’s about the air everyone breathes (which is polluted by energy production, particularly coal burning), and the water we drink (ditto). What, you think all the mercury in your local lakes and streams and rivers got there by itself? Some did, but a lot came from coal burning power plants.

    • ARP says:

      So long as Fox News runs baited breath stories about haz mat suits anytime a person breaks a CFL bulb, then we’ll probably need regulation rather than education.

  8. Zelgadis says:

    Of all the freedoms we don’t have, people chose this to hold up as the ultimate example of freedom’s loss. Let’s take a look at REAL freedoms we don’t have as consumers:

    No choice in print news, if you’re even have it anymore.
    Little or no choice in broadband service.
    Little or no choice in cable TV service.
    Little choice in banking. (Megabank or credit union now. Local banks dwindling)
    Zero choice in loan servicing. (Discovered this myself. Get a loan with your local bank, find out it gets sold to unknown entity a few months later.)

    ^This is what happens when there no “government meddling.” I could go on and on with examples of our lack of choice, a good number of which could arguably be considered monopolies.

    The sham that is our democracy rests upon giving us all the illusion of choice.

    • Matthew PK says:

      I am going to assume you’re not being sarcastic here…
      Print media? — what is the market share of print media?
      Broadband providers? — Most local governments back service monopolies for broadband providers.
      Cable providers? — Same as above ^^
      Banking? — Government facilitated merging of banks into larger entities and provided larger banks with legislative advantages to entrench their position.
      Loan servicing? — The government created and backs a sponsored lending authority with special borrowing privileges; almost all private lenders are custodians of federally-backed loans because they cannot compete with the government-instituted monopoly in lending.

      Are you really hear touting the idea that competitive markets *reduce* consumer choice?
      Where did you learn this economic nonsense you preach?

      • Bsamm09 says:

        I’m pretty sure all of his examples occur when there is significant gov’t meddling.

        • NightWriter says:

          Of course they occur where there is significant government meddling. Who controls the government after all? Big business. But if your answer is to let the free market do its thing with out government oversight then you’ve missed the big picture. Your solution is like saying “let’s get rid of the police force because it is controlled by organized crime”. Yes…that’s much better.

          • Matthew PK says:

            Don’t promote the false dilemma that the only alternative to excessive government meddling and promotion of monopoly is no government at all.

            • jasonq says:

              That certainly seems to be what’s being promoted. Or at least, so little government as to not make a difference – toothless, as it were.

          • Bsamm09 says:

            Wow. He said his examples were of no Gov’t meddling. I said they were. You assumed a lot by my simple statement.

    • StarKillerX says:

      Wait…. what???

      Not only are their choices in print news but there are heaps of non-print alternatives as well ranging from radio, tv, internet services and even streaming news over your cellphone (which I seperate from internet services as it’s starting be be offered more and more on a local basis.)

      There are also a ton of choices in banking as well, they range credit unions to large, medium and even small banks including many local/regional banks. Oh sure most of the banks are large chains, but the number of offices is part of what makes then large banks.

      Claiming you have no choice in loans because your loan was sold would be like claiming you have no choice in car dealers because where you bought your car was sold to a different company.

      When it comes to broadband most people have the option of cable, DSL or satellite, not to mention the various choices for wireless broadband from cellphone and/or other service providers. How many choices do you want?

      TV service also has choices available, there is antenna for locals, cable, DirecTV, Dish Network, and now even some phone companies provide cable like services. In addition there are online services like Netflix, Hulu, etc….

      Also noted by Mattew, any monoply broadband and cable providers might have/had is the result not from the lack of government involvement but due to it.

      • Zelgadis says:

        Well, my little experiment to see if America was still populated by dumb people has produced interesting results.

        I’d love a lot more options, thanks. Most localities have one cable ISP and one DSL ISP and that’s it. Cell phone carriers, in any guise, can only charitably be considered internet service providers.

        Most localities have one cable TV provider and one satellite provider. That’s not choice. That’s a railroad.

        The car comparison does not follow. After buying a car, I am under no obligation to deal with that dealership ever again, which is not the case if I get a loan. Now, if I were to buy a car with an agreement that I would only get it serviced at that dealership, and that dealership sold that agreement to another, that would be similar.

        Print media: Almost all of which is owned by Gannett. Beyond that, on TV and the internet, you either have left-wing propaganda (MSNBC, HuffPost) or Right wing propaganda (Fox, almost all talk radio, Time.) Very few legit news sources out there.

        Financial: Look up Glass-Steagall if you think government meddles too much. The current financial situation is on us because the government STOPPED meddling.

        And people wonder why I renounced citizenship.

        • Matthew PK says:

          Glass-Steagal was repealed to increase ibank participation in government bonds and to fuel the housing bubble Government was deliberately creating with the GSEs.

          It should be reinstated, but don’t delude yourself into thinking that lending markets have reduced government intervention. Have you any idea what percent of the national mortgage portfolio was backstopped or held by government enterprise?

  9. shepd says:

    Yes, it’s a great idea to ask someone with very little money to buy relatively expensive items on credit because it will save them money in a decade.

    • econobiker says:

      “cheapest efficiency upgrades available to consumers,”

      Capital to invest in CFLs versus the cheap today incandescent bulbs.

      My thoughts also.

      Same argument could be made to outlaw selling laundry detergent in those small single wash boxes.

      People should be forced to buy the big mongo0sized 30lb Costco/Sams palletable box versus the single wash boxes because it creates less litter and uses less Earth resources. But some people only have $2.00 to buy detergent in a single wash box versus $29.00 to buy the 30lb box.

  10. jjq says:

    The problem is that the “money saving” bulbs tout a 5 or more year lifespan, yet I’ve had many that burn out after a short period, dim, buzz, explode or otherwise render themselves to be a less-than-economical choice. Why not make effiecient, trouble-free bulbs available before outlawing the incandecent bulbs?

    • StarKillerX says:

      Yeah, ironically they are making the same claims for LEDs that they originally made for CFLs.

      As for the lifespan issue, when they bulbs are $30-50 each it doesn’t take many failures to eat up any potential savings.

      • teamplur says:

        For sure. When CFLs starting becoming a thing. My wife insisted on switching. So we’d spend anywhere from $5 or more per bulb. Then a week or a month later half of them were dead. Has anyone ever really figured out how much it costs for electricity? Those “ESTIMATES” on the packaging are based on a price of ? $0.10 per Kw/H. I’ve never seen my bill be over 6 cents. usually more like 4 or 5. Think about that. it would take 10 hours of use for a 100w bulb to use ONE Kw/H. That’s 1 cent an hour at the supposed $0.10 rate. so, $5 bulb vs a cheapo 20cent bulb. $4.80 price diff. that’s 480!!! hours of use to make up for it. If you use it 6 hours a day somehow (up late cleaning?) that’s still 80 days to make up the cost. And if just one CFL breaks, that means another has to last 2x as long to make up for it.

        i’ll make my own damn choice about what bulbs i want. we’re still about half/half CFL incand.

  11. Taylor Rolyat says:

    I have bought a couple CFLs for bulbs that lights that are a nuisance to replace (e.g. my ceiling light tightly encased by some fancy-schmancy decorative glass), but do any of the green people who claim to want these bulbs so badly ever comment on the oops-you-’ve-got-mercury-poisoning danger of breaking these things? If I had small children around the house, I wouldn’t touch these things

    • Taylor Rolyat says:

      Also, sorry about writing “these things” one too many times. Writing fail, also lack of Edit/Review option from Consumerist comments section :-/

    • Costner says:

      I have a three year old, and 95% of the bulbs in my home are CFL. In the three homes I have owned over the last decade I only broke one bulb… and that was because a drywall contractor I hired used a spiral cutting saw to cut a hole for my recessed lighting and ended up breaking the bulb that was already installed.

      The amount of mercury in a CFL is minscule, and does not require a hazmat team to deal with even if it was to become exposed due to breakage. That said, the glass used in a CFL is very strong and is much more resistant to breakage than a traditional lightbulb.

      Granted once LED are reasonably priced (which will be the case iwthin three to five years max), I imagine CFLs will start to disappear. Unless of course they are just dirt cheap in which case they might be around forever.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      See by earlier comment with links as to the faux danger of CFL mercury.

    • chasingveronica says:

      My understanding is that using CFL’s in a flush mounted fixture where the bulb is not installed base down is not safe and will cause the bulb to burn out prematurely.

    • ARP says:

      So, I presume as soon as one of those bulbs breaks, you rush all your children into that room and close all the doors. No? Then you’re not going to get mercury poisoning. Unless you intentionally concentrate the mercury, then you’re in no greater danger. In fact, your worrying has caused more mercury to be released into the atmosphere by using incandescent bulbs.

      But keep on watching Fox News to know what to be afraid of.

  12. SerenityDan says:

    Unless they make CFL’s that can be used on a dimmer switch they better keep making incandescent bulbs or I’m screwed.

    • Taylor Rolyat says:

      I have a CFL on a lamp which was made to be a dimmer, and it always flickers randomly starting about ten minutes after I’ve turned it on. Always makes me feel like I’m trapped in an office with lousy maintenance upkeep. Incandescent > CFLs

      • SerenityDan says:

        I didn’t know you were not supposed to use them in a dimmer before trying it. It was making a very loud buzzing noise (like not being able to hear the tv over it) and flickering.

    • Emperor Norton I says:

      They already make dimmable CFLs.
      Just look at any Home Depot, Lowe’s or Menard’s.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Dimmable CFLs are wicked expensive – like $30/bulb.

        • AEN says:

          You can get 2 dimmable, 75W equivalent CFL on amazon for $6. That’s $3 each, not $30.

          • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

            Are they any good? I’ve had very bad luck with dim-able CELs.

            • AD8BC says:

              Me too. Plus they only really dim between 70 and 100% and if you have more than one on a dimmer they all don’t seem to be on at the same level.

              I’m switching my heavy-hitters to LEDs as they burn out. Home Depot has some great LED retrofit kits for recessed lights and they dim very nicely, about 5% to 100% and they match each other evenly – they even match the halogens on the same dimmer nicely.

              • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

                We bought a couple of cheap LED lights off of Amazon and they work surprisingly well for the price. The one is dimmable and it has a fairly normal, linear dimming range. The only downside is that they are both dim and nowhere near the supposed 60-watt replacement claim.

    • Costner says:

      Just curious – but why do you need the dimmer? Since CFLs use so much less energy than an incadescent, you could run them full power and still save energy over a dimmed incandescent.

      Case in point a 60W equivalent CFL uses only 13W of energy. You would have to run the incandescent at a pretty low light level to use the same amount of power.

      Now if you are dimming because you want less light that is a different issue, but in that case why not just use a less powerful bulb? Use a 40W equivalent CFL for instance and get less energy output.

      Or just use incandescents, but use halogen versions which are more energy efficient. Then just wait for LEDs to come down in price and switch to them. Or use dimmable CFLs – although I don’t think they are perfect, some will work in a dimmed state.

      • shepd says:

        He could be dimming because sometimes he wants a lot of light, and at other times, much less.

        Case in point, my home theater has halogen bulbs (which are pretty worthless considering how little money they save vs. their cost) because when I vacuum the room, I want maximum light. When I watch a movie, I want just enough you don’t trip over someone’s drinks and/or feet on the way to the bathroom–the light interferes with the quality of the projection.

        Many people enjoy the same type of setup for their dining room, believing it gives a more intimate feeling.

        For me, I have both, and those fixtures actually account for about 30% of the light bulbs in the house, since in both cases these fixtures take a large number of bulbs.

      • GearheadGeek says:

        In general, you don’t dim incandescents to save energy, because it doesn’t always save energy. If you have new more-expensive electronic dimmers, they do in fact consume less energy when dimmed but if you have the cheaper style of dimmer they just dump the excess power as heat, consuming the same amount of energy and putting about as much heat into the living space as running the bulbs full-tilt.

        Electronic dimmers are much more common than they used to be, but there are a lot of old rheostats out there. Dim the lights for quality of light, not for power consumption.

      • SerenityDan says:

        I don’t need a dimmer, but it was already installed when I moved into my house.

    • jasonq says:

      Incandescents will continue to be produced. They’ll just be more efficient than before.

      I swear, it’s as if no one has even the simplest reading comprehension skills any more…this comes up EVERY SINGLE TIME this subject is discussed, is mentioned in every single article on the issue, yet there are always a bunch of people going off about incandescents no longer being available. Jeebus.

  13. AEN says:

    The original legislation blocks 100 watt incandescent bulbs and larger. You can use all the 99 watt and lower incandescent lamps you want.

    Flourescent lighting has been used in commercial buildings since WWII, so it’s not like the mercury hazard is something new. Even coal fired generating plants put out plenty of mercury into the atmosphere to keep incandescent bulbs lit.

    • DrLumen says:

      You need to check that… The first to be phased out are the 100 watt lamps but all A19 type lamps (standard light bulbs) LOWER than 100 watts will eventually be phased out. Lamps over 100 watts are actually safe from legislation for the time being. Still affected by the efficiency standards but not slated for replacement.

  14. EccentricJeff says:

    What should I do when I have to replace the bulb in my lava lamp?

  15. hymie! says:

    Republicans support terrorists.

  16. mewstu says:

    If CFLs were actually better wouldn’t people be buying them already?

    • Costner says:

      Are you trolling or are you asking a sincere question?

      I still know people who buy records because they claim they sound better. It doesn’t matter that every sound measurement device known to man shows digital CDs recreate a more faithful rendition of the original recording, some people just don’t believe they are “better”.

      I know older people who brag about older cars and how safe they were because they were all steel. You can show them crash tests where a more modern econobox protects the occupants versus the “all steel” car that would result in death and they still aren’t convinced.

      The point is even when something is “better” not everyone is convinced. Plus people suck at math and never factor in long term savings no matter how many times it is explained to them. A lot of people just want what is cheap – not what is most efficient over the longer term.

      • Matthew PK says:

        We should ban vinyl records because CDs hold more intended audio data per unit of plastic consumed. Cearly we need to protect these record buyers from themselves.

        • DrPizza says:

          I know you’re being sarcastic, but there’s a difference in the situation here. The people buying vinyl records are having ZERO effect on me. Even all of them put together, and if it was half the country, it would have zero effect on me. However, in the case of CFL bulbs vs. incandescent bulbs, the electricity they use has the effect of increasing the demand for electricity which DOES effect me and everyone else.

          • Matthew PK says:

            Oh? if half the country consumed music on vinyl it would have no effect on you?
            Increased oil consumption?

      • miss_j_bean says:

        I don’t buy them because they aren’t better. Elecyrical usage isn’t the only way to rate quality. I would rather pay more for lights that don’t suck.

  17. mewstu says:

    If CFLs were actually better wouldn’t people be buying them already? Also I think done with this site after a first paragraph like that.

  18. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    Does anyone know of a source for LEDs or CFLs that are Made in the USA?

    Most of our lights, minus the uninsulated attic and garage, have been converted over but we’ve had no luck finding ones that are made domestically.

  19. mister_roboto says:

    Although they are expensive, I use LED lights. Barely any cost to operate (very high cost to obtain though) and last a hell of a long time- plus no start “warming” for full light and runs cool.

    They even make UV ones, so you can make your own cool running quick PCB exposure unit! …are those crickets I hear?

  20. Baelzar says:

    CFL’s don’t work well in colder temperatures, so that rules out my outside fixtures, unheated garages/sheds, etc.

    Also, I heard a rumor that someone was re-patenting incandescent bulbs as “heaters” that happen to emit light. Anyone else hear that?

    • Costner says:

      A wise man did that in some other country. It was either Australia or Canada… I don’t recall which.

      I’m sure some people will do that sort of thing, but most retailers will probably shun it. For the most part government ban will do what it sets out to do – force people to be more energy efficient. This is the same as raising CAFE standards on automobiles – it forces manufacturers and people to save energy… and most don’t even realize they are doing it.

    • apember says:

      Someone I knew bought a heater from a TV advertisement that had as the heating elements several light bulbs. The person was convinced that this was a very economical heater that saved them money.

    • glorpy says:

      That’s not quite right.

      I have four CFL’s in outdoor lamps. In the worst of winter, when it’s below zero Farenheit, it can take them a minute to start up. Above 0 but before 40, usually seconds. Three of them are on motion sensors, so there is some minor variation there.

      They’ve been in place for 2 years without incident.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        That’s pretty much my experience. They work OK outside because it doesn’t matter when they take a few minutes to get to full illumination.

        The real issue is using them in the attic or garage, where it’s nice to have instant light when the switch is flicked.

    • Kuri says:

      I have CFL bulbs in my outdoor fixtures and they never hay any trouble starting up.

  21. The Lone Gunman says:

    Get rid of the old thing, and make only the new replacement available.

    There will be a certain amount of resistance to the change, but if no choice is given eventually it becomes the new normal. People over time wonder what the fuss was about.

    Could this work with Dollar coins vs Dollar bills as well?

  22. azgirl says:

    I am a treehugger, by profession, and I am not a fan of the forced use of these things..

    I have a fixture in my garage that blows up CFL’s. Apparently, an upside down CFL is a bomb.. I am stockpiling the old style like its an apocalypse.

    • AEN says:

      Just to help your planning:

      Bulbs larger than 100W or less than 40W are not affected. “Rough Service” 100W bulbs are also not affected either – those are the kinds made for garage door openers, auto mechanics’ lights, …

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      You should check the polarity of the fixture and the circuit and it probably wouldn’t hurt to break out the multimeter to see if you have a loose connection somewhere up stream.

  23. oldwiz65 says:

    The CFL bulbs burn out quite frequently and they cost a lot more to purchase. I replaced every bulb in the house that I could switch, and when they burn out it costs a lot more to get a new one.

  24. kathygnome says:

    We’ve used CFLs for over a decade, back when the only place you could get them cheaply was Ikea. They’re great. The light is the same light as from an incandescent, they last next to forever, and they save money and energy.

    The only objection I can see is an emotional need by some people to oppose anything that makes sense in order to spite “liberals.”

    • Santas Little Helper says:

      I hate them because they take 5 minutes to turn on. I hate when it’s dark, you turn on a light and it’s still dark.

    • VHSer says:

      The light from a CFL is NOT the same as the light from a real bulb. Don’t know where you got that from. It’s a lot dimmer and gives a great many people huge headaces.

  25. MECmouse says:

    How can I put this…what a crock of shit!

    Turning off lights is the only way to save money on electricity when the new “improved” bulbs cost more and become a hazamat area when you beak one! Is there any adult out there that has NOT broken a light bulb? And you’re supposed to dispose of these properly too– who’s going to do that?

    I’m really tired of everyone telling me how something that costs twice as much as what I was paying and can become a pain in the ass in less than a second is going to be so great!

    GE can eat it — I buy old bulbs everytime I go to Walmart whether I need them or not and will continue to do so until they run out or I run out of room to store them!

  26. quirkyrachel says:

    In order to get better quality light with CFL’s, you end up using more of them. Kind of like the low water-use toilets that you have to flush more. So therefore, the idea that this saves energy is a low of horse s#%&.

    Also, CFL’s are bad for some people, for example: http://www.aarda.org/infocus_article.php?ID=54

  27. ned4spd8874 says:

    Time to stock up! Granted, I do use the more efficient bulbs when I can. But they still seem to blow pretty quickly. The only last about a year or two for me. The main one that gives me a headache is my 3-way lamp. The $30 curly lights last about 6 months! Nope, I don’t think so.

  28. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    around here they don’t have to pay more. the power company subsidized CF lightbulbs and is selling them at goowdill stores, 2 for $1. limit ten packages to cut down on reselling, but 20 lightbulbs covers most houses.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/catastrophegirl/6522577111/

  29. adent1066 says:

    I have many CFL bulbs in my house. One thing that has surprised me regarding them is that the life span has been far less than what I have been promised. I have changed many of them which lasted no more than about a year.

  30. bricko says:

    I think now we get a better picture of why people hate consumer advocates and their BS and lack of sense. When the alternatives come down in price as technology improves they will be phased in. But to mandate folks go from a 1.50 incandescent bulb to what I paid for a 75 watt equivalent LED of 39.00 is simply nonsense. I just wanted to test them and see how the color and brightness looked. And the CFL are simply lying to you on their longevity. We have them all over the house and i write dates on them as replaced. They are no longer lived than the others. The LED had better be for the drastic price differential.

  31. miss_j_bean says:

    Thank goodness. I hate CFL bulbs. The light sucks, it gives me headaches, it looks crappy, it’s slow. I HATE HATE HATE them. If most people choose to use them, fine, but don’t make me.

  32. Froggee285 says:

    Does anyone know of any “new” lightbulbs that come in warmer colors? Maybe, that mimic the warm tinge of an incandesent?

    I highly prefer the pink light bulbs I find at this one particular grocery store nearby, because they emit a warm, friendly light. My downstairs neighbors, bless their hearts, all of the light bulbs they have are the blue-ish swirly kind, and when I went down there a week ago for dinner their apartment reminded me of an office building. Presently, my apartment is warm and cozy looking with reguar and pink light bulbs, and this one very cool stained glass one I found at WalMart.

  33. SporadicBlah says:

    The only time I would really miss incandescent bulbs is at Christmas. I like my tree lit like an airport runway and have the ability to heat my house at the same time.

  34. Rhinoguy says:

    The only incandescent bulbs I have left are in the refrigerator, freezer and the oven. And these bulbs are not being phased out. I’ve been using CFLs exclusively for about twelve years and all my objections are trivial. The ones in the attic take fifteen seconds to light fully in the winter. The one on the front porch could stand to be much brighter. I’m just too lazy to replace the fixture on the porch for one that holds two bulbs.
    My one proud removal of incandescents is the headlamps on my pre-war car. Six volt lamps that just aren’t available in a reasonable time, at a good price, or bright enough to see by. LEDs in a quick and dirty circuit board in the cars original reflector. I could have used a CFL but LED just screamed awesome.

    • adamwade says:

      And has all the other drivers screaming at you as you drive behind them or toward them as you blind them with the awful LED lighting. Now those should be banned, at least in vehicles.

  35. adamwade says:

    You know why I stopped using these miraculous energy saving light bulbs?

    THEY SUCK.

    When I turn on a light I need it to, you know, provide light. Not come on ten minutes later. Tried using one in an outside porch light? Lot of good it does me if I flip it on if I hear a strange noise or something and it takes ten minutes to warm up.

    It’s also ridiculous that the government is limiting something like this, when I don’t see them passing sweeping reform of all the other household devices – gaming systems, TV’s, computers, printers, etc. that sit and suck constant power even if the devices are not used for days.

    I’ll just stock up on real light bulbs should this ridiculousness really happen. It’s such a joke – how about we, you know, add some real infrastructure in public transport so people don’t have to drive to work every day in a gas guzzling or nickel-mined battery powered vehicle. Or the 100′s of other REAL environmental issues. But it makes idiots feel like they are “doing something”, to make a sweeping change like this that does nothing but annoy people (and could be a safety risk as well if lights don’t work when you turn them on).

    Don’t you just love when “technology” comes in and makes things worse than before?

  36. DrRonster says:

    I like cfl’s and prior to moving in in 11/04 swapped as many of the 60watt incandesents to the 17 watt cfls. Wife hates them but electric bill initially was same as house 1/3 the size. Got screwed with photo electic sensor equiped outdoor lighting. CFL’s don’t work with them and LEDs are to expensive to be worthwhile. The 9 month extension is good in that it will allow the price of LEDs to drop a little more. Last week, after a lot of prodding, replaced the deck light. She had replaced the incandescent with a cfl and actually tried to blame me. She also likes to leave a 40 watt incandescent on over a 23 watt cfl claiming the cfl is too bright. BTW most of the cfl’s from ’04 are still working. I noticed at 6 am this morning that newegg had LED’s for more than half off. The email from them was 4:15am. Sold out.

  37. cspschofield says:

    My lifelong experience (born in 1961) has been that when a regulation like this is fronted as “Just making sense for consumers anyway”, the people pushing the regulation are either indulging in wishful thinking, or simply lying. If the change they are pursuing “just made sense”, then it would happen without the regulation, possibly as people used to doing things the old way died off, but still. That somebody finds the regulation necessary indicates that the advantage of the change sought is not clear cut, and may not even exist. Anyone with any knowledge of the history of Governments monkeying around with the marketplace will acknowledge this, if they are even slightly honest.

    BTW; just to cut some arguments short, I am in favor of legalizing all manner of voluntary sex work, of ending the laws against most drugs, and of halting all “green’ subsidies. I would be in favor of halting all subsidies, period, except that I don’t think the economy can take the Farming sector descending into complete chaos just now.

    It wasn’t necessary to ban gas light to get people to switch to electric; it made sense. It was necessary to ban high flow toilets, because low flow toilets are more prone to clogging, smell worse, and generally do not do the job as well. The people who supported the regulation that forced the change do not give a good goddamn; they don’t care about increased hardship among the Proles. They don’t even care about the environment. They are simply the kind of objectionable swine who derive pleasure from making other people do what they say. It’s too bad that so many of them die of natural causes.

    The ostensible Greens will cling desperately to the Incandescent Bulb regulation, because they know that so many frauds they set up with which to push people around are being exposed. The flaws in hybrid and electric cars will soon become obvious as their environmentally unfriendly batteries begin to pile up. The spectacular failure that is Wind Power is falling apart before their eyes. Global Warming may or may not be a reality, but the corruption of many supposedly respectable researchers connected to it is now hard to deny. The Green Bullies will fight on bitterly over the light bulbs, knowing that the impact of tens of millions of individually insignificant amounts of mercury won’t be a crisis until they (the Greenies) have long passed on.

  38. cspschofield says:

    My lifelong experience (born in 1961) has been that when a regulation like this is fronted as “Just making sense for consumers anyway”, the people pushing the regulation are either indulging in wishful thinking, or simply lying. If the change they are pursuing “just made sense”, then it would happen without the regulation, possibly as people used to doing things the old way died off, but still. That somebody finds the regulation necessary indicates that the advantage of the change sought is not clear cut, and may not even exist. Anyone with any knowledge of the history of Governments monkeying around with the marketplace will acknowledge this, if they are even slightly honest.

    BTW; just to cut some arguments short, I am in favor of legalizing all manner of voluntary sex work, of ending the laws against most drugs, and of halting all “green’ subsidies. I would be in favor of halting all subsidies, period, except that I don’t think the economy can take the Farming sector descending into complete chaos just now.

    It wasn’t necessary to ban gas light to get people to switch to electric; it made sense. It was necessary to ban high flow toilets, because low flow toilets are more prone to clogging, smell worse, and generally do not do the job as well. The people who supported the regulation that forced the change do not give a good goddamn; they don’t care about increased hardship among the Proles. They don’t even care about the environment. They are simply the kind of objectionable swine who derive pleasure from making other people do what they say. It’s too bad that so many of them die of natural causes.

    The ostensible Greens will cling desperately to the Incandescent Bulb regulation, because they know that so many frauds they set up with which to push people around are being exposed. The flaws in hybrid and electric cars will soon become obvious as their environmentally unfriendly batteries begin to pile up. The spectacular failure that is Wind Power is falling apart before their eyes. Global Warming may or may not be a reality, but the corruption of many supposedly respectable researchers connected to it is now hard to deny. The Green Bullies will fight on bitterly over the light bulbs, knowing that the impact of tens of millions of individually insignificant amounts of mercury won’t be a crisis until they (the Greenies) have long passed on.

  39. Debbie says:

    This would make my day if US manufacturers hadn’t already stopped making the bulbs. Still have to go out and hoard some.

    • DrRonster says:

      Let the wife hoard them, which she won’t. I want to use less power to accomplish the same thing. Maybe then the LED’s will become affordable/practicle. Had a huge maglite with 3 D cells in it. The LED one has several bulbs and uses 3 AAA batteries. CFL’s will eventually be replaced by LEDs.
      Just thought of something else. I have several incandescents that are guaranteed to last 2 or more years. How will the manufacturer replace them if they are use in photo-electric devices such as my outdoor lighting. CFL’s may lasst a week as my wife recently found out.

  40. akronharry says:

    “Lighting accounts for 10-15% of household electricity use, and is one of the cheapest efficiency upgrades available to consumers”
    Do you thing the electric companies will actually go along with the cost savings? Explin it to the shareholders. Here in Akron, Ohio Edison tried to force bulbs to all of their customers and then wanted to charge them for the money they would have made had they used regular bulbs. I kid you not!!!!
    In Cleveland, water rates went up because consumption went down. The Mayor actualy said they had to raise rates because less water was used. They had an advertising campaign for years saying that everyone should use less water. This is what we got! Stupid people.

  41. HogwartsProfessor says:

    If they’re going to force me to buy the CFLs, then they need to make sure they fit and look decent in all my fixtures. I have some overhead lighting (not that old) that takes those big globe bulbs. It would look really stupid to put the squiggly things in there because the bulbs are visible in this fixture.

    Maybe I’ll stockpile globes. It would have been better to encourage the use of the new bulbs rather than just take the old away. No one can afford to upgrade anything right now.

  42. dwfmba says:

    Honestly there are places for an incandescent bulb besides just an easy bake oven… Should people switch? of course, but a blanket rule getting rid of them altogether is stupid.

  43. verbatim613 says:

    From an environmental standpoint, I am worried about the mercury vapor in each lamp. The EPA’s own site talks about the hazardous nature of the vapor:
    http://www.epa.gov/osw/hazard/wastetypes/universal/lamps/basic.htm

    I prefer incandescent, no danger. I can throw them away at the end of their life, and don’t need to call the hazmat team if one accidentally breaks.

  44. DragonThermo says:

    Where in the freakin’ Constitution does it say the Imperial Federal Government has been given the authority by the People to tell the People what freakin’ light bulbs we are permitted to use?

    I hate hate HATE CFLs! I hate them with the burning passion of a thousand suns!

    I have to tolerate the cold, blue, industrial florescent lighting at work. I sure as heck am not going to tolerate it in my own home!

    Okay, CFLs for outdoor lighting and in the garage, but in my living room and bedroom, CFLs are persona non grata. They’re gonna take my incandescent bulbs from my cold, dead hands!

    I would like to see a list of who voted for this horrible legislation so I can be sure to support their opponent when re-election comes around. Considering this is nanny state infringement on my Liberty, they’re probably all socialist democrats.