US Turns Off 40W and 60W Bulbs

On Jan 1, 2014, US companies were legally barred from manufacturing or importing 40W and 60W bulbs based on a 2007 federal law.  Surveys have shown that more than half of the country is not aware of this happening, but the law is now in effect whether you knew about it or not.

The intent of the law was to raise the minimum efficiency of light bulbs sold in the US in order to decrease energy usage.  The use of new technology in bulbs, such as LED (Light Emitting Diodes)  and CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lights), can reduce the energy usage for each bulb to about one-fourth of what was used in the older incandescent bulb.

But switching out all your old bulbs for the new ones won’t come cheap.   According to Fox News, “Home Depot sells a six-pack of 60W incandescents from GE for $4.67, or 78 cents apiece.  A six-pack of 60-Watt LEDs from Cree sells for an eye-watering $77.82 — $12.97 each.”   The government believes consumers will regain the initial higher price outlay because of the long life of the new bulbs, which are expected to last up to 15 times as long.   And since their energy usage is lower, consumers will be saving a little on their utility bill each month for each bulb they have replaced.

Some people are not convinced, however, and have been put off by the low light level or the slow warm-up time of newer bulbs in past years.  If that is you, take a look at some of the newer bulbs operating in lamps and fixtures at home stores.  Manufacturers have improved them and will continue to do so as more and more people buy them.  If you still want to buy 40W and 60W bulbs, they will be available in stores for several months until the on-hand inventory is sold out.

If you find it too expensive to replace multiple bulbs now with the more expensive ones, consider contacting your local utility.  Many utility companies are running promotions to help people make the switch.  As an example, Indianapolis Power and Light (IPL) currently provides a free home energy review that includes a few boxes of free CFL bulbs, and they will even change them out for you if you ask them.

I had an energy review done at my home a few months ago and was given more than a dozen of the new CFL bulbs at that time, along with several other energy-saving items.   Although I don’t use the new bulbs everywhere in the house, there are some places where they are fine – such as around the bathroom makeup mirror and outside for the porch and deck lights.

Take a look at the new bulbs and see how they would work best for you.  Might as well get used to it, it’s the law now!

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