We originally did this post a few weeks back, but just found out that 60% of Americans are unaware that 40 and 60 watt bulbs will, like 75 and 100 or great incandescent bulbs become part of history once the New Year comes.
Also: we want to fix an “Oops” in our original post where we stated the ban was for 75 and 100 watt bulbs. (Like many of you we still have some in our closet since the funding to implement the 2012 ban on those bulbs was delayed and many were available long after January 1, 2012. Not this time: the funding is there and it will be enforced in a timely manner. This post summarizes the pros and cons of different bulbs most people will choose from.
Along with summarizing the pros and cons of the alternatives most people will use for residential use (indoors and outside), we want to point out 3 things that many people don’t know. What we see on the news or read in papers is not always accurate.
Well meaning: yes. But accurate: no. And there’s some other things you’ll have to get used to.
- If you use fixtures with dimmers: be very careful since most LED and CFL bulbs will “Burn Out” when a dimmer is used. This isn’t true for ALL dimmers, but it is for most. The fixture will work, but test the cheapest LED or CFL you can find before using your dimmers.
- We hear LEDs are the answer in most newscasts. It’s just not true. LEDs are expensive, so while they may be great for certain areas (like ceiling lights) but for table or floor lamps? Probably not the best choice for clumsy folks, or those with active kids and/or pets.
- Many LEDs are not designed well. LEDs don’t glow like other bulbs. They need special design so that they cast illumination in a meaningful way.
- Halogen bulbs do provide the light most like incandescent bulbs but should be used very carefully. One of the reasons the light looks the most like that from incandescent bulbs is that a significant portion of energy used to power the bulb also creates head. And the heat is not only much hotter than incandescent bulbs, it’s hot enough to burn hands, fish, plants, lampshades and curtains if you aren’t careful about where you place them. (Especially if you are one of the many people who often forget to turn lights off.) The heat of halogen means they can melt pond equipment and means that halogens really should not be used in areas (like sheds, barns, garages, or workshops) where flammable materials (hay to gasoline) are stored.
Difference Between Illumination of Good vs. Fair/Poor LED Light Bulb
If you are going to shell out money for LEDs thinking you will save money in electricity costs, you’re right. But if you think ALL LEDs are equal, you’re not. There are a lot of lousy LEDs out there. (We know because we were going to sell them but our rep told us to wait until the “new and improved LEDs” arrived.)
Basic Alternatives: Halogens, CFLs and LEDs
Few people were aware in 2012 when 75 and 100 versions became hard to find that the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 has set these bans into effect. It had nothing to do with the present administration. It’s not political: it’s because incandescent bulbs are antiquated technology. this in place.
By 2020, the goal is for China (who manufacturers 90 percent of the worlds light bulbs) to cease manufacturing of all incandescent bulbs. Most people will choose from one of the following three technologies:
- Compact Florescent Light Bulbs (CFLs)
- Light Emitting Diodes (LED)
Will more types be available down the road? Probably but not soon. High pressure sodium light bulbs used for street lights for example, just aren’t cost-effective for home use.
Table: Summary of Pros and Cons
Each of the three primary lights available for residential use indoors and outside are discussed in far more details below. Here’s a summary table based on our educated opinion, research and personal experience. The summary is followed by more detailed discussions of the various light types. (For a detailed discussion of the three different bulb types, read our original post “Lights out for Incandescent Bulbs.”)
|Type of Bulb||Pros||Cons|
|Halogen Light Bulbs||
|Compact Florescents (CFLs)||
|Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)||
While all three have come a long way, all three are very different technologies. They work differently, have different lifespans, use different amounts of electricity (or solar power), and have far different price tags.
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