Congress Pulls The Plug On Incandescents

Say goodbye to wasteful incandescents. Congress’ recently passed energy bill bans stores from selling the inefficient bulbs starting in 2012. We know you love incandescents and their warm glowing warming glow, but compact fluorescents are vastly superior—their takeover was inevitable.

“Sure, you’ll see more compact fluorescents five years from now, but you would have seen them without any energy bill,” said the chief executive of Osram Sylvania, Charlie Jerabek.

Michael B. Petras Jr., vice president of GE Consumer and Industrial — the unit that includes General Electric’s lighting business — broadened the thought to all forms of lighting. “You’ll see different light sources for your decorative chandelier, for your recessed lighting and for your under-cabinet lights,” he said. “And I can assure you that all the kinds of light sources are already getting a lot more efficient.”

Including incandescents.

Congress has not specifically outlawed incandescent bulbs, only inefficient ones.

In February, G.E. said that it was developing a high-efficiency incandescent that will radiate more than twice the light of conventional incandescents. It expects to make that one commercially available by 2010, and one that is twice as efficient a few years later.

And so far, consumers have been slow to give new products a chance. Compact fluorescents, for example, are already ubiquitous in stores. Many retailers, led by Wal-Mart, have promoted the economics of the bulbs — though compact fluorescents generally cost six times what incandescents do, they last six times as long and use far less energy.

We switched over to CFLs and the only difference we notice is a consistently cheaper energy bill. Switching bulbs has a direct effect on your energy consumption, and is one of the single best ways you can help the environment as a consumer.

No Joke, Bulb Change Is Challenge for U.S. [NYT]
(Photo: Nictalopen)


Edit Your Comment

  1. full.tang.halo says:

    /rant CFLs = Head hurts while reading, and a buzzing that will drive me to a comcast like hammering of any one who won’t sell me a proper lightbulb /rant

  2. uconn says:

    don’t you have to worry about mecury if you break a compact flourescent?

  3. AvWuff says:

    There are still some cons, and incandescents should not be outlawed entirely.

    One con is that CFL’s cannot be used in high heat or cold environments, such as the bulb in your fridge, the bulb in your oven, most outdoor lighting, etc.

    There are other problems too, such as toxic materials and so on that should really be considered. I also think the natural market flow of lowering prices for CFL’s means that they will be adopted without needing a law.

  4. CFLs are not the complete answer, and banning them, even in 2012, is premature. I will be stocking up on incandecsents!

  5. UpsetPanda says:

    @Serenefengshui: They’re banning incandescents, not CFLs.

  6. trollkiller says:

    What the hell are low budget photographers supposed to use?

  7. savvy999 says:

    This is dumb. First the NFL, now my dining-room chandelier.

    Boy, this congress is really attacking the issues.

  8. scampy says:

    This just sucks. Time to go buy a pallet of GE Reveal bulbs so I can actually have a bright house and not be tinted yellow. And yes Ive tried at least 6 different brands of CFL and ALL of them had a yellow tint and the ones rated at the equivalent of 100W incandescent bulb are nowhere near as bright as a 100W incandescent. Im so sick and tired of all the hippies growing up and getting into government telling me what I can and cannot do with my own money just to “save the world” that I wont be a part of in 50 years. Whatever happened to freedom in the USA

  9. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    “…warm glowing warming glow” huh?

  10. SpenceMan01 says:

    Bingo. The previous owners of our house had a CFL for the porch light and over the summer it worked fine. Now that the temps are regularly in the teens, the bulb just doesn’t work as well as an incandescent.

    This isn’t something that should have been legislated. Let the market hash this one out.

  11. Angiol says:

    @scampy: Yeah man why should I have to make a sacrifice for a future generation, I’ll be dead by then! Screw them, I’ve got mine.

  12. clevershark says:

    I would hate to be so sensitive to environmental light that CFLs would give me awful headaches, like all those people who come out of the woodwork every time the subject of CFLs comes up. Life must be terrible for those people — they can’t go to work, since every office I’ve been at has used older-design fluorescent tubes that would give one the same headaches one would get from CFLs, nor can they go to shops because fluorescent lights are also used there. Big box stores are the worst — everyone can easily hear the humming of the light fixtures.

    I guess I’d pretty much have to live outside.

  13. B says:

    @clevershark: florescent lights hum? I guess that’s an advantage of destroying my hearing at rock concerts, I’ve never noticed.
    However, I think the smart thing to do with this law isn’t to ban a incandescent lites, but to ban any light fixture that’s less efficient than a CFL. That way if somebody invents a more efficient incandescent, that can be sold instead.

  14. logie-al says:

    … In other news from 2015, buying an incandescent light bulb means you’re supporting terrorism. Because only terrorists will use regular lightbulbs. Just like they’re the only ones who sell illegal drugs…

  15. @scampy: Try the ones at Home Depot. Either daylight or bright. the daylights actually tint towards the blue end, and are pretty sweet. I use a 100watt equivalent in the magnifying lamp attached to my sewing machine table. Damn that thing is bright.

  16. IphtashuFitz says:

    I haven’t RTFL (read the f’ing legislation) so I’m curious as to if/how it addresses live theater and other similar venues. Stage lights these days are typically halogen bulbs in the range of 500 to 1200 watts. There currently isn’t a suitable alternative to those incandescent bulbs. Do they get a pass or did our congresscritters act before thinking and royally screw them all over?

  17. scampy says:


    Ill give them a try and see if I can tolerate them.

    and @Angiol:

    Sacrifice should never be mandatory that is why it’s called sacrifice. You voluntarily give up something in order to help someone else. FYI I dont believe any of the end of the world if we dont do this rhetoric so therefore I dont feel the need to sacrifice. Over the last 10 million years we have had ice ages, extinction of almost all life on the planet during dinosaurs and temperatures fluctuated well before the was ANY technology on the earth and it will ocntinue to do that no matter what we do

  18. milw123 says:

    I replaced the bulbs in one room with CFLs as a test. It’s been 3 months and I still wonder why the light is so dim every time I flick the switch. The CFL bulbs do eventually brighten, but I’m reminded every time that they aren’t incandescent. I’ve got them in the basement but I won’t put them in any other room. I don’t see how anyone can use them as reading or task lighting.

  19. The photo is awesome in it’s freakiness.

    I’m also not seeing why it was necessary to legislate this. Are the more efficient bulbs not as popular as I thought?

  20. ARP says:

    The newest generation of CFL’s don’t flicker and there are new models out that are very close to natural light (a la Reveal). LED’s will begin to be affordable in a few years [Arguably, they are now, but the ROI is 5-10 years].

    As to the environmental issues:

    1) The mercury that they contain is nothing compared to the amount released by burning coal and other fossil fuels from increased electricity usage.

    2) Fox News and a few others are trying to introduce FUD into the bulbs. You don’t have to call Haz-Mat if a bulb breaks. That was a completely staged event. If a bulb breaks, don’t immediately drop to the ground and inhale heavily (duh). Let the place air out a bit. Sweep up the glass, put it in a ziplock, grocery bag, etc. and put in trash. If you’re paranoid. Take out the garbage right away and mop the floor. Note, if you’ve ever owned one of those bulbs, you know the glass is much thicker than a traditional bulb.

    I have to assume there is a exception for special purpose lighting (studio lighting, stage lighting, etc.). It will probably just require standard socket bulbs to be efficient.

  21. FullFlava says:

    I swear by CFLs. I had a big apartment a few years ago with a few friends, and some other friends of ours lived in an identical unit a few doors down. I put CFLs all through the apartment, and from that change alone our electric bill was half what the other guys paid. I’m talking half as in $150/mo vs $300/mo. I’m sure there were probably other factors at stake, but I’ve been a convert ever since.

    I’ve also seen the problems they’ve had in the past several years… long ‘brightening up’ times, horrible yellow light, etc. A lot of the bulbs out there, especially the cheap ones or the particularly big ones, seem to still have some of these, but there are a few good ones out there.

    Personally, I use the Sylvania 60-watt equivalents all over my apartment now, found ’em on sale in 4-packs for really cheap. They’re actually brighter and whiter than the 60-watt incandescents I replaced, some of which were new, it only takes a few seconds for them to hit full brightness (they snap on at probably 75-85% brightness).

    More than anything, make sure to check the color temperature of the lights… a lot of the ones sold in stores are 2800K, which tends to give you that nasty yellow light. The Sylvania’s I mentioned run at 3200 or 3500K, which is much “whiter” light, whiter than a lot of incandescents. They “daylight” bulbs run at ~4300K, which looks too blue to me, but some people like ’em… good way to make your doorstep stand out if anything.

  22. rasbach says:

    @milw123: The dim to bright can be a benefit, I use these in my bedroom and bathroom and they seem to light up the room gently for my barely opened eyes. I’ve noticed that this effect is better or worse depending on the ambient temperature and brand of the bulb. My house is full of these, and my electric bill is about %15 cheaper since I started using them.

  23. rasbach says:

    @rasbach: Sorry, 15%

  24. iEddie says:

    I’ll just pay an extra 15% on my energy bill, thank you very much. At least then I won’t have to listen to the damn humming from CFLs.

  25. timmus says:

    Link to the bill? Consumerist? NYT? Anyone?

  26. marsneedsrabbits says:

    Did they explain what we’re supposed to do for our fridge, our oven, our turtle tank, grow lights for violets, chicken incubators, etc?

  27. nequam says:

    Am I the only person who read the following: “Congress has not specifically outlawed incandescent bulbs, only inefficient ones.” ?

  28. catskyfire says:

    I don’t mind the one in my living room. I tried putting one in my bathroom, and with the acoustics, the hum drove me nuts. Also, I can get incandescent bulbs in smaller sizes – such as small enough to fit in the fixture that came with my apartment. The CFLs are nice, but they’re bigger than regular bulbs to start with. So what about small lamps/fixtures?

    I hate it when they don’t think things through…

  29. vliam says:

    @nequam: Yes. Apparently you are.

    The only thing that I really got from the article is that GE has some good lobbyists on The Hill.

  30. cde says:

    @clevershark: You can’t hear the hum over a crowd’s background noise in a big box store, you halfwit.

  31. scoosdad says:

    The ones I tried played havoc with my IR remote controls. I couldn’t use them in the living room.

  32. dodonnell says:

    As much as I am all for energy efficiency, the CFLs I have in my office really don’t cut it and I end up having to supplement them with an incandescent… which is a shame because incandescent bulbs are so wasteful. Maybe I’ll check out the Homo Depot ones mentioned above.

    As for Congress, well… government, especially this one, is mostly incapable of making sound decisions–which IMO reflects the general populace these days. It’s sad to see so many people willfully trashing the future for their convenience today.

  33. Posthaus says:

    Grrr. I’m split by the allure of less engergy consumption and annoyed by the prospects of having to use CFL’s to light models and stilllifes to paint. Granted there is always natural light-which always is changing and is so fickle to work with, and the closer to daylight 6500K CFL’s and Halogen bulbs as well.

    But there is just something about that incandescent “glow” that I know I’m gonna miss someday.

  34. AndyRogers says:

    Don’t worry – ALL the CFL’s are made in China. They’ll be recalled LONG before 2012.

  35. Anyone else have any recommendations on which bulbs provide the best, most natural light? I might do a test run on my bathroom bulbs to see how they look.

  36. theblackdog says:

    That’s strange, I have never noticed a hum from my CFL’s in my apartment, and every single bulb with the exception of a desk lamp (it’s halogen) has one.

    I have had the issue with the bulbs taking a while to warm up to full light, but that seems to only happen with the Ikea branded bulbs, I’ll probably switch to another brand when these burn out, but it’s more likely I’ll move out of this apartment before that happens.

  37. bohemian says:

    We had one of the early CFL bulbs and it was horrible.

    The newer ones are much better. We have them in the recessed lighting in our house, outdoor light fixtures and garage. You can get ones made to be used outdoors. Ours have worked in hot summers and single digit cold winter nights.

    What we found got the best results were to buy the best brand name ones you can find. Get the ones that have some sort of bulb over the coil like the regular light bulb would look like.

    We did get some small ones for a fixture that took chandelier bulbs and the CFL ones were longer than the normal oblong bulbs and won’t fit in the fixture.

  38. esthermofet says:

    Probably ought to put Easy-Bake Ovens out of business. Won’t somebody please think of the children?!?

    (Yes, I’m only kidding.)

  39. AD8BC says:


    I will switch to CFLs the day that the dimmable ones work like a regular bulb (right now they suck) and the day that they look good in a clear light fixture.

    Until then,

    a) Stock up on the good old Edison bulbs (especially for your decorative fixtures,

    b) vote these a$$holes out of office. It is NOT the governments place to mandate this.

  40. cef21 says:

    What’s the point? I’m paying for my electricity, why can’t I use it however I choose? I have some CFLs in my house, but they’re not good for chandeliers, outside lights, oven lights, refrigerator lights or any fixture with a visible bulb.

    If Congress is really concerned about heavy users of energy, it should allow power plants to use clean coal instead of scrubbers. Power plants burning clean (i.e. western) coal without scrubbers pollute less than power plants with scrubbers burning dirty (i.e. eastern) coal. Since a scrubber uses a huge portion of a power plant’s output to clean its emissions, this one modest switch would have a huge savings in power consumption and actually lower costs.

    [The scrubber rule is there to prop up the “dirty” coal industry in Robert Byrd’s West Virginia.]

  41. AD8BC says:

    Also, Philips full-range dimmable halogen energy efficient bulb as well… but I haven’t seen any in the stores yet:


    This may be an answer to those left-leaning tree-hugging environmentalists who still like romantic dimmed light.


  42. Congress has not specifically outlawed incandescent bulbs, only inefficient ones.

  43. meadandale says:

    Well, in California, it’s soon going to be illegal to exhale, what with the legislature working to reduce CO2 emissions.

  44. mrestko says:

    Why does big daddy government feel the need to outlaw incandescents. CFLs will naturally take over as they become superior to incandescents and I imagine incandescents will still have niches to fill for the foreseeable future. Market forces will drive people to CFLs without a mandate, this is just a way for congress to pat itself on the back and give its members something to campaign on next election cycle while eating away at our liberties.

  45. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    I wish these bulb manufacturers would put more effort into making LED bulbs.

  46. trollkiller says:

    I have florescent lights in most of my fixtures, I have found they don’t last much longer than the regular filament bulbs. I don’t blame the bulbs but the power company, they don’t call it Florida Flicker and Flash for no reason.

    Even though I am not getting full benefit from the bulbs I still use them because I can put a “100” watt bulb in place of the 60 watt bulbs the fixtures require.

  47. SJActress says:

    “I haven’t RTFL (read the f’ing legislation) so I’m curious as to if/how it addresses live theater and other similar venues. Stage lights these days are typically halogen bulbs in the range of 500 to 1200 watts. There currently isn’t a suitable alternative to those incandescent bulbs. Do they get a pass or did our congresscritters act before thinking and royally screw them all over?”

    I was wondering this too. However, theatre lights (ones used for Fresnels and what-not) aren’t typically sold in retail stores, so hopefully they won’t be affected.

    My boyfriend had issue with CFL’s because he can’t find any that work on his outside light dimmers.

  48. squikysquiken says:

    I have CFLs everywhere and I like them. As with a lot of products, you get what you pay for regarding color temperature, humming and “warm up” times. Personally, I like them and I put them everywhere. The only exception is for dimmable lamps. Unfortunately, the dimmable CFLs are just too expensive.

  49. FullFlava says:


    Yeah, the only non-CFL bulbs in my place are the four dimmable vanity lights in my bathroom. It’s funny though, every other bulb in my apartment combined uses about the same power as those bathroom bulbs alone.

  50. JayDeEm says:

    I forget what brand they were (Phillips sounds right), but we replaced all of the bulbs in our house with CFLs for about $35 during a trip to Costco. The only incandescents we have left are the appliance bulbs and ceiling fans (which we never use). I have never noticed a hum or any other noise, just a long warm-up time when there are more than 2 on a circuit.

  51. newspapersaredead says:

    I’m seriously going to stock up on the traditional bulbs. There is a major difference in light quality and as cheap as bulbs are it’s well worth the investment.

  52. missdona says:

    This is insane. CFLs are great for a hall closet but not for my living room. Are they kidding me?

  53. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Even though I’m a big fan of CFL’s, I don’t see how you could just ban incandescent lamps completely. Even if the legislation seeks to only ban “inefficient” incandescents, who’s going to be determining what constitutes inefficient?

    Secondly, what’s the difference, for example, if an individual consumer leaves 4 25-watt CFL bulbs on all day vs. one regular 100W incandescent? Are the light-bulb police going to be knocking on our doors and checking the efficiency of everyone’s bulbs? If people are wasteful, they’re going to leave every CFL bulb in their home on and use more energy than somebody who uses an incandescent bulb only when needed.

    I’m all for encouraging people to use CFL’s and other efficient devices, but this is just stupid. People are going to be smuggling incandescent bulbs over the border from Canada and Mexico.

  54. jwissick says:

    Fucking democrats and this make up global warming shit.. They don’t even make a CFL that fits in my lamps. Enough of this shit.

  55. morydd says:

    I’m in favor of conservation, but wouldn’t it be more effective to outlaw the construction of new coal-fired power plants? Nuclear is cleaner and safer (nuclear plants keep all localized rather than spewing it into the atmosphere and hydro-power has killed many many more people than nuclear.) Then rather than having to take all the dimmers out of my home, not be able to have light outside my home quickly in the winter, and actually replace some of the lamps in my home because a CFL won’t fit in it, I can choose what to use in my home. Maybe congress should look at improving things from the regulatory and industrial side rather than by telling me what to do in my own home.

  56. inspiron says:

    America: land of the free?

  57. scampy says:


    You cant build nuclear plants because the same environmentalist hippies in government wont let us build those either and too many people have the perception that they are dangerous because of what happened at 3 mile island (which I live about 15 minutes away from and have no problem with it as I have cheap electricity and its safe) and Chernobyl. The same people who also wont let us drill our own oil and build new refineries so we can have cheaper fuel. I hate them all and wish the 60’s and early 70’s never happened

  58. TTFK says:

    Considering the mercury content of the soon-to-be-mandated bulbs, one has to wonder where the anti-vaccination Mercury Militia is on all this..

  59. boxjockey68 says:

    uh…doesn’t congress have more important things to worry about right now rather than what type of light bulb I will be using?? What the hell am I paying taxes for anyhow??

  60. Corydon says:

    I really don’t understand a lot of the objections people seem to have to CFLs. I replaced most of the incandescents in my apartment a little over a year ago.

    1) The CFLs are NOT dimmer. If anything, they are brighter than the incandescents they replaced.

    2) The color seems just fine to me, but that may be because I got the bulbs from Home Depot mentioned above.

    3) I’ve never heard ANY noise from any of the CFLs. At all.

    4) I have not had to replace a single CFL yet.

    The only problem I have seen (and this is incredibly minor) is that on very cold mornings, one of the CFLs in the kitchen (which is the coldest room in the place) might have a tiny flicker (<0.1 sec) when I first turn it on.

    Honestly, you really have to be a reactionary stick-in-the-mud when you complain that you are being dragged kicking and screaming into buying products that save you money and provide better performance.

    Considering everything this government is doing to rape the Constitution, you REALLY want to complain about your right to buy inefficient light bulbs?

  61. azntg says:

    @B: Well said.

    Yes, CFL bulbs have an (barely) audible hum, just like the Orion VII electric hybrid buses have a high pitched squealing noise during acceleration (which most people can’t seem to hear, but annoys the living hell out of me).

  62. digitalgimpus says:

    Note the mercury in these things is really only ok when “properly disposed of”…

    assuming they are “recycled” like most other electronics (dumped in poor Asian and African nations), you can bet that will be in the water.

    IMHO this law is pretty bogus until they remedy the following:

    1. Make it a law (not just a “voluntary commitment”) to limit use of mercury.
    2. Set a solid date for a safer alternative.
    3. Criminal punishment for improper disposal by consumers and companies that recycle them.
    4. Create limits for ALL bulbs, not just certain wattages.

    Take a look at this:

    Agreement only covers up to 40W. Most consumers these days use 60W… that means this doesn’t even apply to most.

  63. Buran says:

    @jwissick: Global warming is not “made up shit”. Why don’t you open your biased eyes and read the frigging science?

  64. Buran says:

    @Corydon: No, people just want to whine about SOMETHING. As you can see, since they will whine when told to SAVE MONEY. Apparently, having more money to spend is something to whine about. No wonder people elsewhere make fun of the US.

  65. jnorris441 says:

    Urge to kill…rising.

  66. swalve says:

    @busydoingnothing: How do you make an efficient incandescent?

    @avwuff: I have CFL’s in outdoor fixtures and they are fine in the depths of winter. Probably wouldn’t work in the oven though…

  67. Shred says:


    “I don’t believe that an overwhelming majority of the world’s scientists are wrong about Global Warming being a direct result of human influence.”

  68. Shred says:


    Enough of this shit, I’m an American! And I have the right to make life on this planet impossible for all of humanity! Give me my damn lightbulbs!

  69. Shred says:


    Being allowed to buy wasteful lightbulbs is a pretty lame definition for freedom.

  70. Shred says:

    And for the record, I began transitioning my home to CFLs two months ago. My girlfriend is *incredibly sensitive* to the lighting in her environment. We were both nervous that they were going to make our house feel like an office/big box store/garage.

    However, I researched online which ones to buy for home use, picked up some “EcoBulbs” labled “Soft White” from Walgreens, screwed them in and, Viola. I really don’t notice a difference. No hum, no flicker, no soul-sucking fluorescent feeling. If I pay really close attention, I notice that they aren’t at their brightest when you first turn them on and it takes about 1 minute for them to “warm-up” to full brightness. NOT A BIG DEAL. NOT A SACRIFICE.

    My girlfriend was surprised that they don’t bother her in the least. She gave them two thumbs up.

  71. HooFoot says:

    My apartment complex recently placed CFL bulbs in the common areas. Not only do they look cold and terrible, but they’ve also caused problems for an epileptic family member of mine. I’m going to start stockpiling incandescents and then import them if I have to. I don’t care if it costs more–it’s worth not to have to come home to shitty, troublesome lighting.

  72. gitemstevedave says:

    I replaced every light in my house with “homo” depot bulbs. Besides the fact that they are cheap(NJ is kicking in to discount the bulbs), they come with a guarentee. If they burn out within the time on the package, you call a 1-800 number, and they mail you new ones. I already have over a dozen that were sent to me(I had a bad fixture, and it didn’t like any bulbs). Popular Mechanics also rated them the best of the bunch. The name is N*Vision, or something. They have soft white, bright white, and Day. I use soft around the house (I have sensitive hearing, enough that at 30, I hear that damn tone on the KFC commercials), bright in areas I need it(sewing machine lamp, porch, etc), and day inthe fixture over my bathroom mirror and in my office.

  73. Atomike says:

    “Global warming is not made up sh#t!”
    Yes, it is – if you mean man-made global warming.
    The same people who scream “read the science” I have found are the people who themselves have NOT read the science. That big chart behind Al Gore with the CO2 and global heat – remember that? Take a closer look. The fact is that the HEAT line rises first during the peaks. The heat causes CO2, not the other way around.
    Al Gore has PROVEN that global warming is absolutely NOT man-made. But this is the first most hippies have heard this fact. Al Gore is a con-man plain and simple. And Environmentalists are too stupid to know it. Feel free to laugh at them.

  74. says:

    the heat… causes… CO2? How exactly would that work (scientifically)?

  75. badgeman46 says:

    Flourescent bulbs give me severe headaches, I suffered through my school years because of it, and I assure you I am not the only one! So what am I gonna do? Do you eco-fascists suggest we use gas lamps?

  76. forgottenpassword says:

    we are talking about the typical sized bulbs right? or do I have to throw away my desklamp because they dont make a fuorescent bulb small enough to fit in it? If so…. then I better stock up!

  77. kostia says:

    I must be reading the packaging wrong, or else “equivalent” doesn’t mean what it does. When I replace a 60-watt incandescent with a 60-watt “equivalent” CFL, my apartment is so freaking dark I’m lucky if I don’t walk into the walls. I have yet to see a single CFL bulb that’s bright enough to actually live by.

  78. TechnoDestructo says:


    Are you wearing tinted contacts or something? Because it’s incandescents that tend to glow yellow. Fluorescents tend to be a little bluer.

  79. Keter says:

    CFLs and LEDs are hell on the environment…mercury, arsenic, and a slew of other things that either don’t break down or leach into and poison soil and groundwater. Manufacturing them makes toxic byproducts and takes more energy. What’s in a normal incandescent bulb? Steel and glass…iron and sand, essentially.

    Fluorescents give me migraines (yes, even the so-called “flickerless” ones) and they glare terribly. And LEDs are just ugly…glare, weird color, and no ambient illumination! If I can’t get incandescent bulbs, I will switch to candles and oil lamps.

    I can’t even comment on Congress without using too many expletives to be appropriate here.

  80. scampy says:


    Not GE Reveal bulbs. They are bright and a natural white light

  81. kostia says:

    I can’t believe how much this bugs me. CFLs are NOT better than real buls; they’re worse.

    The globes on my ceiling fixtures won’t fit over a CFL because they’re taller than real bubls. Also, how do you put a clamp-type lampshade (the kind that attach to the bulb itself) on a CFL? You can’t.

    Until they’re a) bright enough and b) shaped like light bulbs, I’m not on board.

  82. kostia says:


    Apparently I cannot type the word “bulbs.”

  83. Sam says:

    @ConsumptionJunkie: That’s a “Simpson’s” reference. To the Treehouse of Horror parody of “The Shining.” Although the quote, uttered by Homer, refers to a portable television, it works just as well with regard to incandescent bulbs, which do indeed tend to glow rather warmly.

  84. Sam says:

    @Sam: Nooooooooo, the superfluous apostrophe! My mortal enemy!

  85. Sam says:

    @B: That’s what they did. From the quotation of the linked article: “Congress has not specifically outlawed incandescent bulbs, only inefficient ones.”

  86. Sam says:

    @timmus: Here ya go.

  87. EtherealStrife says:

    Good riddance.

    CFLs are only slow and noisy in the cold. Above 60 I’ve always had mine instantly on (at ~90% of max brightness) with minimal to no sound.

    On a slight tangent, I do hope that with the ban we’ll see cheaper CFL dimmers coming out.

    @kostia: Update your eyeglass prescription. It’s amazing what some people consider to be the “necessary” level of light. The LED on an external HDD I used to have was enough to light up the entire room it was in. By itself not enough to wire up a PCB, but certainly enough to navigate the room’s clutter.

  88. Gnasche says:

    I’ve heard that the problem with CFLs (at the moment) is that they
    are all made in Chinese factories powered by electricity from coal.
    Increasing the demand for CFLs actually increases the amount of
    pollution that China generates. Whether it’s more than the CFLs save, I
    don’t know, but I would like to see further information on that.

  89. Sam says:

    @ad8bc: Sorry, but it is the government’s place to mandate things like this. The federal government has so far set efficiency standards for numerous appliances, including (among many others) refrigerators, dishwashers, and residential boilers.

  90. Sam says:

    @inspiron: Garrett Hardin suggests an interesting analogy in his essay “The Tragedy of the Commons” (I believe). You’ll notice that your freedom to rob banks has been cruelly stripped by the long arm of the law. In fact, it was stripped from your ancestors centuries ago. But you don’t seem to mind! You understand that the fact that you are less free to rob banks means that others are more free to go about their daily bank-visiting lives.

    Why is the removal of the freedom to buy inefficient light bulbs any different? In both cases, there are harms of the action. (Although they may not be as clear for the use of inefficient light bulbs. Let me articulate a few: Increased solid waste stream, increased local air pollution, contribution to climate change and all that entails.) In both cases, there are clear alternatives available (not robbing banks, or buying more efficient bulbs). But for some reason, you’re not complaining about not being able to rob banks! Huh.

  91. Sam says:

    @Atomike: You’re correct on one point — CO2 did not cause the rise in temperatures in previous warming periods. However, the records show that once CO2 was increased (via releases from permafrost, the oceans, and organic decay, for example), it accelerated the warming. Now, we’re pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. We’re essentially skipping the step where temperature rises cause CO2 concentrations to rise; instead, we’re causing them to rise.

    See Grist’s “How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic” article on the issue. The entire series is great and should eliminate your doubts (that is, if you have an open mind that is willing to change.)

  92. velvetjones says:

    How much of a typical energy bill is devoted to light? At night, we have at any given time, one maybe two lights on in the house with the exception of the mornings when we’re getting dressed in different bathrooms. This seems like a tiny fraction of our monthly bill. I’d like to see the gov’t make programmable thermostats the only kind available, that’s where you save energy. We keep our house on the cool side in the winter and we saved at least 20% by installing a new thermostat.

  93. jwissick says:

    @Buran: The earths temp fluctuates. We have been in a warming trend for more than 15k years. Was it caused by Man?? NO!! There is ZERO proof that man is causing global warming. ZERO. ZIP. NADA. NONE.

    Global warming is a SCAM to control YOU. Nothing more. Open you eyes sheeple.

  94. jwissick says:

    @Sam: No it is not the governments place to mandate this shit. Show me WHERE in the US Constitution the US government is allowed to mandate this shit. THE US GOVERNMENT HAS NO AUTHORITY TO MANDATE THIS. NONE.

    If CFLs are so much better then let the market dictate which ones people want. Make CFLs better and less toxic then they will sell. Otherwise no one will want them.

  95. dirtleg says:

    @jwissick: Dude. While you have a legit’ argument for the cause of global warming not being us, you have no such argument to the fact that it is taking place. Polar caps are melting, storm frequencies and paths are changing, even the make up of storms is changing. We have had more ice storms in the mid west the last couple of years than we have had in the previous twenty years combined. Who heard of power outages in the winter until the last couple of years? Just didn’t happen. Open YOUR eyes dude. Maybe do a little reading on the subject, you would be surprised what you might pick up.
    After all that, I am pissed at congress legislating freaking light bulbs. Like there is nothing else going on that might require their attention. Idiots.

  96. kc-guy says:

    Countless pages of forum post later, here goes:

    I bought a bunch of CFLs for the engergy savings and bulb life. The does appear to be a relationship between light up delay and circuit load.

    CFLs do not dim, which makes them great for the kitchen, bad for the living room, bedrooms and bathroom.

    I have a CFL in my Missouri (read: ice storm country) basement. The bulb lasted less than six months.


    Now for the flame-bait:
    I suspect CFLs have a pretty strong residual impact because of the mercury/etc that they contain. the path of least resistance is to toss them in the trash.

    I don’t care for a Congress to legislate light bulbs. It’s ridiculous. (Grammar Nazis please inform me if “a Congress” is grammatically permissible. Honestly, I’d like to know)

    I don’t believe in Human induced global warming, and I’m frustrated by anyone to declares the debate to be over when there is still evidence to support or refute both sides.

    Most importantly:


  97. kc-guy says:

    Just visited GE’s FAQs website…apparently there is a dimmer compatible CFL, but I’d like to see if it is truly dimmer’d or just 3-4 levels of light intensity.

    I also found this, which I found interesting, discuss:
    Q. Can I use a compact fluorescent light bulb in an enclosed light fixture?
    A. Compact fluorescent light bulbs may generally be used in enclosed fixtures as long as the enclosed fixture is not recessed. Totally enclosed recessed fixtures (for example, a ceiling can light with a cover over the bulb) create temperatures that are too high to allow the use of a compact fluorescent bulb.

    Heat created by a CFL to high for a space occupied by a standard bulb? I don’t get it. I thought CFLs efficiency came from their decreased heat-related energy loss.

  98. iamme99 says:

    I have CFL’s throughout my place except for a halogen over the dining room table (it’s a custom fixture.).

    This weekend I replaced the bathroom bar light which supported 4 bulbs in 2 double sockets because only 1 socket worked). I had been using 2 100watt bulbs and replaced them with 3 CFL’s 75watt each equivalent light. They give a beautiful white light that is far brighter than the incandescent’s were. I actually tried 4 bulbs at first but it was just too bright.

    The only downsides to CFL’s are they take a minute or so to fully warm up to reach maximum brightness and as they age, their brightness will decline. I don’t hear any buzzing and I have very good hearing. On the plus side, CFL’s run cooler and will last a lot longer than an incandescent bulb.

    I paid 50 cents a bulb for the CFL’s at Walgreen’s (4 for $2.00). I think these were subsidized by the big utility company (PG&E).

  99. forgottenpassword says:

    I was watching good morning america (or one of the other similar shows) this am about these lights. And they said they have to be sent to a special center to be disposed of. Can you say “serious pain in the ass”? Batteries are also supposed to be disposed of propery, but what do most people do? They just toss them in the trash. The same will happen with these new bulbs. MILLLIONS & MILLIONS of them in landfills.

    BTW… I use these lights in nearly every fixture in my place (maybe 5 bulbs total … I have a small apartment) & I do like them (I am a cheap SOB & anything that helps lower my utility bills & is easy to do … I love!).

  100. iamme99 says:

    Re: recycling – Many Goodwills will accept items for recycling. I dropped off my yearly donations last week and I also gave them a collection of dead batteries and a small fluorescent light bulb. They will take most electronic items.

  101. simonium says:

    While it’s lovely that CFL’s require much less energy to operate, the user-end consumption doesn’t represent the entire ecological footprint of a product. If we’re going to espouse the virtues of a product for its ecological benefits, we need to consider the whole picture.

    What is the energy cost of manufacturing these bulbs when compared to incandescents? What about packaging? How much do the blister packs CFL’s come in offset the energy savings, especially when compared to the cardboard incnadescents are typically sold in. And how about disposal? What’s the environmental impact of recycling a CFL bulb vurses putting it in a landfill vurses tossing an incandescent?

    While I don’t know the answers all of these questions, it’s imperative for us, as consumers purporting to be environmentally-friendly choices, to consider these factors. If one’s goal is simply to spend less on electricity regardless of the impact on the world at large, then CFL’s are a great choice. If one wants to make lifestyle changes which truly benefit everyone, then these issues of the greater ecological footprint of CFL’s (and all products in general) must be understood. Until such time, it’s irresponsible to rush to this new technology and outlaw alternatives.

  102. mmcnary says:

    My issue is that my house eats light bulbs. I go through 50+ light bulbs a year. I bought CFL’s thinking I might dodge the bullet, but it burns them out as well. I have purchased about 15 CFL’s and as of today, only 2 are still working.

  103. suburbancowboy says:

    Incandecents last a very long time, and don’t use a lot of energy if you use a dimmer switch. I use CFLs all over my apartment, but there are some areas where you would like to be able to control the lighting and make it nice and warm. CFLs can not do this. Incandecents can.

  104. kc2idf says:


    /rant CFLs = Head hurts while reading, and a buzzing that will drive me to a comcast like hammering of any one who won’t sell me a proper lightbulb /rant

    It sounds like you last tried them in the 80’s. The technology has vastly improved.

    They no longer flicker

    They no longer buzz

    They are no longer green (unless you want them to be).

  105. EnergyStarr says:

    dooming migraine sufferers to constant headaches for the rest of their lives.

    I switched from CFL back to incandescent b/c my wife had a constant migraine. her health was more important than the savings (~$20/month).

    How about a REAL energy bill? One that doesn’t doom us to higher food prices so we can pillage our environment with worthless ethanol.

  106. polyeaster says:

    Ugghh…this news really hurts my soul:( I HATE CFLs with a strong fiery passion. CFLs give me headaches, are normally not dimmable, and many contain mercury. And then there’s that awful yellow light…I have a hard time understanding why a law like that could even pass- it takes away consumer choice, and if I want to choose a better product in exchange for a higher energy cost, I should damn well be able to do so. (Also, when I promoted Phillips Marathon CFLs, their promo materials stated that the bulbs are mercury free.)

  107. @nequam: Apparently Vliam was the only person to read your comment as well. I think every single comment following yours continued to assume incandescents were being outlawed.

  108. vastrightwing says:

    Not only that! consider the consequences: electric rates will go up due to less revenue for the utilities. I kid you not! Here’s what WILL happen. As critical mass in CFLs replace incandecents, utilities will start selling less energy and their revenue will decline significantly because of it. They will complain to regulators they are losing money and rates will go up to compensate. Great job congress!

  109. vladthepaler says:

    So, those of us with recessed lighting will be left in the dark? CFLs can’t be used in recessed lighting, or so says the package….

  110. Starfury says:

    The local drug barn was closing so we went there to see what was left. They had CFL 4 packs for $1.50 each. I bought 1 pack to try out and they were a lot better (but still yellow) compared to the 60w bulbs. I picked up 2 more boxes since they were so cheap; I use them in lights that aren’t as important like the pantry/landry room lights.

  111. Sherryness says:

    Fluorescents give me incapacitating migraines. I guess I’ll switch to oil lamps in 2012.

  112. ELC says:

    If it’s true that “compact fluorescents are vastly superior; their takeover was inevitable” then why did Congress have to do something as stupid as this and waste their time on it?

    Let the market decide what’s best – that’s what ultimately is best for our economy and ultimately our country and its policies.

    As is noted in so many comments on here – energy efficiency is not the end-all and be-all of lighting. I bet there are a lot of lighting engineers who take great prides in designing environments around lighting, that are not too happy about this.

  113. jwissick says:

    @dirtleg: Then why is the antarctic ice sheet the largest it has ever been in recorded history? Have you examined these sensors they use to record the temp? They are placed in locations that give faulty readings. Like next on roofs to AC units, next to the tarmac at airports, next to parking lots. So many of the temp sensors are so poorly placed the scientists can not have a clue of what is happening. Satellite readings of temperatures in the lower troposphere (an area scientists predict would immediately reflect any global warming) show no warming since readings began 23 years ago. These readings are accurate to within 0.01ºC, and are consistent with data from weather balloons. Only land-based temperature stations show a warming trend, and these stations do not cover the entire globe, are often contaminated by heat generated by nearby urban development, and are subject to human error.


  114. Sam says:

    @jwissick: I’ll show you where in the U.S. Constitution it says the government is allowed to mandate energy efficiency as soon as you show me where it says the government is allowed to prohibit bank-robbing.

    The fact of the matter is that the Constitution only really deals with the structure of the government. It doesn’t promulgate specific laws. In the event of any law’s passage, it must be shown that it doesn’t conflict with the authority given the government under the Constitution.

    Don’t you think that, if energy-efficiency mandates were unconstitutional, they would have been struck down by the Supreme Court sometime after 1978, when the National Energy Policy and Conservation Act directed DoE to set standards for 13 products?

  115. Sam says:
  116. Sam says:
  117. whirlybird says:

    Great. Now I can throw out all my X10 Home Automation gear, since it refuses to work with CFL.

  118. synergy says:

    People just need to use less light bulbs. There is only one lightbulb on in my apartment and it’s one with more than one wattage setting. It disgusted me when an acquaintance wrote on a blog how many lightbulbs were in their house which they were being just SO green about by changing them to CFLs. There’s a reason my bill is only $45 every month.

  119. it5five says:

    The idiots come out of the woodwork on issues like this.

    I use only CFLs in my apartment. I do not ever hear a hum or buzz. I notice no difference in the quality of lighting. I DO notice a difference when I get my electric bill, and it is quite a nice difference.

  120. simonium says:

    While it’s true and wonderful that CFL’s save us users so much energy, I think that a look at the larger picture is necessary when calling these products “environmentally friendly”.

    The ecological footprint of any product is measured not only by its effect on the user-end of things, but also by its impact in the manufaturing, distribution, and disposal stages. Are these bulbs truly better for the environment than incandescents when we consider the chemicals which go into making them? Are their energy savings outweighed by their blister packaging? Does the energy and resources required to properly dispose of them negate the energy savings realized through their operation?

    While I don’t have the answers to all these questions, it’s vital that we, as consumers, consider them thoroughly before espousing their environmental benefits, and certainly before we allow alternatives to be outlawed.

    If one’s only aim is to save on the electricity bill, then CFL’s are undeniably great. However, if one is hoping to do something to better our world, then an honest assessment of that method’s total ecological impact must be made.

  121. EtherealStrife says:

    @suburbancowboy: I have a CFL dimmer sitting next to me that begs to differ.

  122. EtherealStrife says:

    @suburbancowboy: nm, I skipped over the temperature bit. :)

  123. swalve says:

    How do you make an efficient incandescent? How do they define it?

  124. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Why is congress doing this? Because it’s easy! Much, much easier than coming up with and enforcing a CAFE standard for cars and light trucks that isn’t pathetic. There’s very little work involved in banning incandescent bulbs, and it’s a lot easier to enforce.

    Congress wants to be green, so they pick something really, really easy, make a big deal about it, even though it’ll hardly make a dent in world energy use. So they get the credit for being green with the least amount of work possible while the nation’s energy woes and environmental problems keep right on getting worse.

  125. jstonemo says:

    Lighting only accounts for approx. 15% of the average electric bill. The vast majority of usage is tied to the refrigerator and heating/cooling systems. Say for instance that you have 5 100W incandescent bulbs on for one hour at $.11/KWH, you would pay $.055 for that one hour. If you used a 5 20W CFLs for one hour, you would pay $.011 for that hour. You would save basically $.04 per hour of usage for those 5 bulbs. Now say that you run those 5 bulbs for 5 hours a day for 30 days. You would save $6.60 for the month.

    Sure it is a savings, but it ain’t huge. I changed 90% of my homes lighting to CFL and maybe saw a $3/mo. drop in my bill. At that rate, it would take me almost 2 years to recoup my costs, which by then, I would be replacing bulbs again anyway.

    I probably saved less per month because I only pay about $.09 per KWH in the midwest. I know some of you in the coastal states pay far more for elecricity so it might make more sense for those people.

  126. fishiftstick says:

    I switched to CFLs years ago, except for a crystal chandelier.

    I am writing this with a CFL about 6 inches from my ear, as usual when sitting at my computer. I’ve never heard a hum from a CFL. Old-style stick fluorescents do hum, and they drive me nuts. CFLs don’t.

    Another big advantage of CFLs is the money you save on air conditioning. An incandescent bulb is a heater that happens to emit light. You’d be amazed how much cooler a room is without them.

    But government has no business forcing the issue. If I want to waste electricity, that’s my business.

  127. inspiron says:


    Your right, I don’t have the right to rob banks, I don’t have ABSOLUTE freedom.

    Assuming that global warming is a fact and is caused my man man it is still not right to ban incandescents,my house is almost entirely illuminated by fluorescent light,I’ve always been a fan of there efficiency and pale light. But there are places where incondecent lights are mandatory, the oven, the microwave, the motion activated light that sits outside in freezing temps. there is no other light in existence that can replace them but with this ban I am fucked, I have nowhere to go if they burn out.

    It would be like if the government banned everything except the Toyota puris how will you move things like refrigerators,large sheets of drywall or 7 children?

    It just would have been a matter of time before people stopped buying incandescents except for those who need it but now the minority who need them are screwed and without an option.

  128. S-the-K says:

    Although CFL are fine for outdoor and industrial lighting, and I have florescent lighting in the kitchen and garage and front porch, I HATE HATE HATE CFLs for indoor lighting!

    CFLs give everything a blue tint compared to incandescents, even the “natural light” bulbs. The cold stark flickering light from CFLs hurt my eyes and make me so very depressed — reminds me too much of being at work.

    I will be hoarding incandescent bulbs for when the Imperial Federal Government violates my Constitutional and human rights by telling what I can and cannot use to illuminate my house.

    The Socialists running the Imperial Federal Government will not be happy until we are forced to go back to oil lamps and live like we did in the early-19th century.

    Will ALL sales of incandescent bulbs be illegal? When stores are no longer permitted to sell incandescents, can I sell some from my hoard on eBay and flea markets for a huge profit?

    Drug dealers will switch from sneaking drugs across the Mexican border to sneaking incandescent bulbs. Drugs will be legalized before incandescents.

    Except for Australia and the U.S., who else has made incandescent bulbs illegal?

    Thank you, environmental wackos, aka “watermelons” (green on the outside, Red on the inside)!

  129. mamacita says:

    @esthermofet: you laugh, but my 5-year-old got an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas and we drove all over town to try and find the right bulb for it.

  130. Difdi says:

    I use LED bulbs instead of CFLs. Less fragile, lasts MUCH longer, and uses less electricity.

    As for global warming, one thing the panic-mongers hate to admit is that the Earth is coming out of a severe cooling trend, one so severe that it was considered a minor ice age (ice age lite?) In point of fact, while the Earth is indeed warming, it’s not yet up to “normal” (defined as *not* a near-ice age) yet.