An end of an era – the incandescent light bulb

Also, there’s a poll at the end of this article, asking about what you might be doing for the upcoming ban in California.

On January 1st, 2011, just a few days from now, California will begin phasing out the legal sale and purchase of 100-watt incandescent light bulbs. In September of this year, GE closed their last US light bulb manufacturing plant.

Here’s a video on why “compact fluorescent lightbulbs” (CFLs), the favored replacement for Thomas Edison’s most iconic invention are not all that. Personally I prefer LED bulbs/lights and have successfully replaced many incandescents with LED’s in my home.

The rest of the country will begin a phaseout in 2012, as mandated by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

This law phases out the use of incandescent light bulbs between 40 watts and 150 watts over a two-year period. Apparently China will still manufacture light bulbs at least until 2017 when they’ll disappear there too.

So the question is, what will you do?

One of my TV reporter friends asked me if I knew if people were hoarding high wattage bulbs. Since my namesake is “watts”, this seemed to be the place to ask.

Here’s the poll:

The poll is just for entertainment purposes.

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December 27, 2010 11:47 am

If CFLs were such a good and economical idea legislation would not be needed. Legislation is needed only since we shall take a cost in order for government to save on investments.

December 27, 2010 11:48 am

What about my easy-bake oven?

James Sexton
December 27, 2010 11:50 am

Bad poll, the option that I believe most will do, is use what they have and then buy whatever is available at the nearest store, be it CFLs, LEDs or the next latest greatest.

December 27, 2010 11:55 am

Ah yes, that old CFL silliness. Here in the UK, we have to heat our homes for the majority of the year. Replacing all our light bulbs with CFLs will simply reduce the amount of heat contribution made by our lighting products. Consequently, our thermostatically-controlled central heating systems will simply burn a little more fuel to make up the difference. Hence virtually no change in fossil fuel usage in our homes, coupled with enforced use of energy-intensively manufactured, mercury-containing, short-lived, bulky, expensive CFLs. Brilliant!
No, actually.

R. de Haan
December 27, 2010 11:55 am

In Germany now political steps are set to overthrow the ban.
I am sure the same will happen in the USA.
Government has to stay out of the market place.
Trail of toxin the long and shocking route of ESL’s.

Sean Houlihane
December 27, 2010 11:55 am

LED would be great if it were possible to get more distributed sources. More than 5W in a single fitting won’t fly, but where are the 30-50W distributed fittings? Just ordered (as an experiment) some LED tape. Would love to see some cheap active lighting control, but that just seems an excuse for rip-off prices too.

Vince Causey
December 27, 2010 11:58 am

LED bulbs are perhaps even worse than CFL’s. From what I have found in the marketplace, there are two types of LED bulb. The older type is basically the flashlight LED planted into a ceiling light fitting. The amount of lumens they give off is desultory. Living under such lights is like living in a tent at night, with just a flashlight for company.
I was therefore interested when a new type of LED came on the market. Although the cost was astronomical, it at least promised a luminosity comparable to halogen bulbs – no mean feat. I was able to afford one bulb, and indeed, the luminosity was impressive. Unfortunately, this wonderful state of affairs only lasted about 6 months before my investment went the same way as my bank stock. Apparently, this new type of LED suffers from overheating problems and they soon burn out.
So I bought a halogen bulb instead. Perhaps I have committed the globe to irreversible warming, but at least I can see what I’m doing. And in the end, isn’t that all that matters?

December 27, 2010 12:00 pm

I’m very happy with halogen lamps. I use a dimmable 500W R7S. For some reason, they’re not verboten in the EU. Attention, Halogens get very hot. So they’re a nice additional heater in winter, but if you have an air conditioning fight against the heat from a halogen lamp in summer, that would be kinda wasteful.

Sean Houlihane
December 27, 2010 12:03 pm

and as James Sexton notes, I have no real reaction to a ban on incandescents – I had replaced all of mine except the GU10s before they started selling CFLs here at 50p each. I still have a couple of 60W normal bulbs un-opened from about 5 years ago.

Wayne Liston
December 27, 2010 12:04 pm

CFLs with their phosphors, mercury, electronic circuits and massive amounts of plastic (not to mention the grotesqe overpackaging with eco-promotion, ludicrous life claims and tax subsidized rebate announcements..all transported from the other side of the world) should be subject to the same disposal requirements as CRT TVs.
I would prefer to see a $10 deposit on the miserable things to speed the transition to LEDs or other more advanced technologies. Keep the CFLs for wonderful Halloween ghoul lighting effect.

Bruce Cobb
December 27, 2010 12:04 pm

I chose the 3rd option (use up, then buy bulbs from China), but I may do some hoarding as well, although I could probably always get some from my Dad who I believe recently purchased 100 of them. He and his wife are both CAGW Believers too, which is ironic, though I think my Dad is starting to become a bit more skeptical. In my family, as in probably lots of others, the subject of CAGW/CC is taboo. Me and my wife are the renegade non-Believers.
I bought a bunch of the twisty things about 3 years ago, but I doubt I ever will again.
The LED’s seem too pricey right now.

December 27, 2010 12:07 pm

A caution to anyone thinking of buying up stocks of the remaining incandescent light bulbs so as to keep using them. We did that here in Oz, but found that for some peculiar reason, the failure rate on those incandescents was much greater, and the life much less, than we have experienced over the past 40 years or so. How could that be, do you reckon?

Don Penim
December 27, 2010 12:08 pm

P Gosselin over NoTricksZone has a great write up and links to a television report from German Public Television (NDR) that follows the toxic trail of trying to properly dispose of Energy Saving Lightbulbs (ESL’s)
” The citizens want to know if recycling companies properly handle the ESLs? To answer the question, the NDR reporter follows the entire recycling route of the ESL. What he finds is horrific.”

December 27, 2010 12:12 pm
December 27, 2010 12:13 pm

Also, isn’t there a 6th option for the poll? Buying incandescents online from overseas and having them shipped to your door?

Physics Major
December 27, 2010 12:13 pm

I buy a couple of cases every time I’m in Lowes and stack ’em up on the basement shelves. I counted up that we have 92 R-30’s in ceiling cans. We don’t burn them all at once of course.

John from CA
December 27, 2010 12:18 pm

So much for track lighting.
The correct answer, buy high wattage bulbs from other states, who haven’t lost their minds, online and end up not paying CA sales tax.

December 27, 2010 12:22 pm

I already have several cases of various wattage incandescent bulbs stocked up. At .20 cents each, they are a bargain. I don’t like CFL’s although I did try them when they first came out and had bad luck with them. I love LED’s and plan to retrofit some lamps when the prices drop. I don’t use a lot of Edison bulbs, but I have one on the outside of a building – totally exposed to the elements that is going on 20 years and has never missed a beat.
The mere fact that a bunch of politicians are trying to force a product on me I do not want and make one I do like unavailable is reason enough for me. Screw the nanny state.

Steve from Rockwood
December 27, 2010 12:23 pm

Have they banned candles yet?

December 27, 2010 12:24 pm

The poll is fun, but really,.. where’s the ” fight for repeal of the government mandate”? This should be paramount and the first of many initiatives to get the Federal Government out of the equation. The problem with states like California doing it but the neighboring states not, is lightbulbs being brought across state lines.. (just like where Californias power comes from ), but making it a Federal ban, it protected and solidified Californias whacky ban. THIS is the reason the C0ngress pushed this on us. And it needs to be undone. I do not like CFL’s for everything, just like I don’t like incandascents for everything. Each have their strengths and weaknesses. I don’t remember the last time I used a 100 watt bulb for anything…

James Sexton
December 27, 2010 12:27 pm

R. de Haan says:
December 27, 2010 at 11:55 am
In Germany now political steps are set to overthrow the ban.
I am sure the same will happen in the USA.
Yeh, well, the unstated goal has been accomplished already so no point in continuing with the farce.
In September of this year, GE closed their last US light bulb manufacturing plant.

December 27, 2010 12:28 pm

Anthony, you may want to let us select multiple options since we are likely going to do more than one of those. I personally will probably domevery option except the one I selected (Live in the Dark). On another note: somewhere transfat has been banned?

December 27, 2010 12:29 pm

[ snip – is not a valid email address, see the policy page -moderator]

Steven Kopits
December 27, 2010 12:31 pm

I would be curious for a poll question like this:
“How would the inability to purchase incandecent bulbs influence your vote for a Congressional candidate?”
– Not at all
– Only in a very minor way
– As one issue among several
– It would be an important factor in my vote
– It could be a decisive factor in placing my votes
For me, there are only two issues which, by themselves, could influence my vote. Incandescent bulbs is one of them. (Full body scanners being the other.) I’d be curious whether others feel similarly.

Person of Choler
December 27, 2010 12:32 pm

Workers in Chinese factories handling vaporized Mercury. What could possibly go wrong with that?
W. Eugene Smith, call your office.

Robin Pittwood
December 27, 2010 12:33 pm

Thanks R. de Haan for reference to the NoTricksZone article.
I fear most people are too ignorant, maybe just too lazy to react against the mercury issue.
Meanwhile our ‘leaders’ coerce us to have a some mercury in each of our rooms at home – instead of making a bit more CO2 at a power station.
They must know that mercury is really toxic, where as CO2 helps plants grow better. Then comes the disposal problem as per the article.
Our ‘leaders’ are nuts.

December 27, 2010 12:35 pm

Not to worry, mexicans will just start carrying boxes of light bulbs over the border.

December 27, 2010 12:37 pm

Halogen 🙂

December 27, 2010 12:37 pm

Ed Begley Jr. calmly pointing out the evil of these mini-toasters.

Pamela Gray
December 27, 2010 12:38 pm

Can’t find the button that allows me to vote idiots out of office.

December 27, 2010 12:41 pm

I’ve tried CFLs and am not very happy with the shorter than expected lifespan. I’d love to see a follow-up on your hallway LED fixtures. Any failures yet?

Alan S. Blue
December 27, 2010 12:41 pm

The poll is missing this option:
Fireplace + torches.

December 27, 2010 12:42 pm

The wife says ‘candles’….

Don Shaw
December 27, 2010 12:46 pm

Let’s hope that our new House of Rep will restore sanity to the US and repeal the ban on selling the most popular incadescent light bulbs. This is one of the many corrections needed to the reign of terror (pelosi).
As indicated by others the heat is not wasted for much of the tear in many locations and one suspects the claimed savings are bogus. Also we have dimmers on many of our lights which apparently don’t work well with CFD’s.

December 27, 2010 12:48 pm

Leds are not cheap, however if you buy good SMD Led bulbs, they can win in many applications. Most of my house is leds at the moment. CFLs rot and I have to make a special trip to the dump to get rid of them in the hazmat house. There are drawbacks however. The dimmers that are out on the market really do not work with Led bulbs. There are some bulbs that say that they will work with them, but they really don’t. Color temperature is not as wide a variable as they are with incandescents but color temperature in the twister at your HD is an oxymoron. You get what they got. To get anything else you really have to go hunting.
Do not buy the bazillion little leds mounted on a wafer in a capsule flavored led bulb. Leds do not emit much heat, but eventually they will mechanically fatigue the connection to the wafer and you will start to lose a wafer at a time. Wafers in free air are ok. The SMD bulbs have all their leds on a single surface in free air so the thermal fatigue is not a problem.

December 27, 2010 12:51 pm

Bought a sh*tload of incandescent ones last year. I hope there will be no EU bureaucrat till then.

Chad Woodburn
December 27, 2010 12:51 pm

Although I would probably have already moved completely to LED lights if there were no ban, since the dictatorial governmental powers are trying to force it on us, I’ll hold off as long as possible. I’ll definitely buy up some cases of the banned bulbs before they disappear and make sure to always have one shining (even when I’m asleep) as way of telling the dictators “Mind your own business!”
Technology and the marketplace were already moving away from the incandescent light bulb before the ban came about. But, one of the techniques that the governmental dictators use to amass power and control is to find something that is already in the process of changing and to scream “crisis” and then mandate the change that would have come about anyhow. This way they can claim credit for the change as well as increase their power. And in the legislation they enact they can also earmark additional “tweaks” to the process that will enhance their careers and bank accounts. (I don’t know if that is sarcasm on my part, but it is certainly contempt for the tyrants.)
Ironically, such meddling by governments always is counterproductive to their stated goals. Wherever things are already in the process of changing, and the government then mandates the change, it always either produces a backlash against the change of else the regulations that are enacted actually hinder effective change. There are no convincing examples where the intrusive “remedies” that legislators devise actually make things better than they would have been if they had done nothing. Historically the improvements in problem situations have taken place faster or to a greater degree before the laws are enacted. This is true of environmental crises, race relations, economic downturns, education, etc. All the bureaucrats accomplish is piggybacking on the improvements that the people (society) were already bringing about. Light bulb laws? What a crock!

December 27, 2010 12:53 pm

torches + pitchforks should always be an option when the issue involves politicians. 🙂

Jack Hughes
December 27, 2010 12:55 pm

This is what started my journey from believer to skeptic.
The climate going down the gurgler: and the solution ……………………………… everyone change our light bulbs.

December 27, 2010 12:56 pm

I’m going to buy all I can, and then buy from China.
Two choices…..
Other countries besides China will still make them…

December 27, 2010 12:57 pm

Instead of light bulbs you can buy the new “heat bulbs” (100 W):
The same bulb for a “different purpose” -> (c)heating. ;-))
The silliest political thing that the world has ever seen and this is the answer.
Imho leds will soon replace every kind of light we use today.
Buy the new heat bulbs before they are banned too!!! ;-)))

December 27, 2010 12:59 pm

I am surprised to see that many of the reactions here are relatively mild on the issue of incandescent light bulb banning. I feel this is an outrage. Certainly here in Europe there is a strong feeling that the Philips Corporation succesfully lobbied the green EU technocrats in order to sell more mercury based power saving bulbs. The environmental reasoning behind this whole thing is utterly insane. This is worse than nanny state. It is a conspiracy between zealous but misinformed environmentalists and clever industry salesmen. Even left wing politicians here in the Netherlands have openly admitted (alas, after the fact) that they have second thoughts on this.
These power saving bulbs suck, it takes minutes before there is some meaningful illumination. The LED lights still give a very cold type of light.
I agree with an earlier comment, when these new things are obviously better the market will automatically shift towards them. I suspect this is not the case. It is Orwellian stuff.

December 27, 2010 1:00 pm

John from CA:
The correct answer, buy high wattage bulbs from other states, who haven’t lost their minds, online and end up not paying CA sales tax.
That’s cheating, John. Look up CA use tax.
Juan from Azusa

Pamela Gray
December 27, 2010 1:00 pm

This goes very well along side AGW and environmentally concerned citizens still wailing over global warming/cooling/drought/floods/disruption/change/. Hell, you don’t even need the blown up kid video. Just show pictures of Chinese workers making regular bulbs versus those making CFL’s. I’m sure they’ll tout the environmentally friendly nature of their jobs. Right? Right? Right? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?
Must rethink the idea of “No pressure”.

R. Shearer
December 27, 2010 1:02 pm

I’m with Physics Major except that Home Depot is closer to my house. My home has a lot of flood lamp cans, especially in the basement, and I’m building up an inventory. Nothing beats the warmth of these incandescent flood lamps in the basement.

David L
December 27, 2010 1:02 pm

I have an old Alladin lamp with a mantle. With regular liquid paraffin that sucker throws the light and heat! I also have a few Coleman gas lanterns. They throw a lot of light and heat as well. For romantic evenings I still prefer candles, although every room in my house has one or two oil lanterns. So y’all can keep your lightbullbs! :-). I just make sure my fire insurance is all paid up

Claude Harvey
December 27, 2010 1:04 pm

Rudolph with your nose so bright
You can’t come to town tonight
Then how the reindeer loathed him (P.C. dilettantes all)
As they shouted out with glee
Rudolph the red nosed reindeer
You can no longer play with me

December 27, 2010 1:06 pm

We changed to CFL bulbs over four years ago – first using the “straight” ones and then later when they became available, using the “twisted” ones. I replaced the highly used bulbs first and used up the old incandescents in seldom used lights.
We did it because I worked out that for any light that was on for an hour or more a day we saved more than the cost of the bulbs (which when we first started was quite high) even if you assumed that the bulbs only lasted as long as the old incandescent ones. We have lowered our power bill significantly through doing this, even though I decided after the success of the first batch that I would take some of the “gain” as better light – we had tended to live in “low light” with a lot of 40 and 60 watt bulbs to keep costs down. Now I only by the equivalent of 60 and 100 watt bulbs – and the light level is much better.
An additional benefit is that we have found they actually do last heaps longer. In our main kitchen/family area (where we live every evening so the lights are on the most) there are 14 bulbs. With the incandescents seemed to have one blow a week. I have just counted the CFL bulbs and 8 of the 14 are the original “straight” bulbs put in over four years ago.
There is no way I would go back to incandescent bulbs – and that is not because of the “green” arguments – it is because I can think of much better ways of spending my money than wasting it on high-cost bulbs.

December 27, 2010 1:09 pm

Here in UK they have stopped the sale of most incandescent bulbs. I have a cellar and it contains several large cardboard boxes full of incandescent bulbs of all the shapes and sizes that we use. There are certainly enough to last my wife and me for the rest of our lives.

December 27, 2010 1:09 pm

I personally have no problem with CFL light quality. Two things I’ve noticed are that:
1) they don’t last much longer than incandescent bulbs, so we’ve been lied to in that regard.
2) the ballast (?) can burn out, making a horrible smell. I wonder if the vapors released when that happens are toxic.
My biggest problem is use of force (conservation enforced at gunpoint) by the government to keep people from buying incandescents. As some others have pointed out, the inefficiency of incandescents isn’t wasted in cool climates, it just reduces the need for other heating.

December 27, 2010 1:10 pm

I recently returned from Cancun and was there during the tail end of AGW love fest (I didn’t attend but instead was loving the Dos Equis on the beach). On the access road leaving the airport were two large billboards advertising GE low energy lighting products… in English! Now granted, some Mexicans do indeed read English but far more don’t. So I can only conclude the signs were directed at the pinheads attending the UN meeting.
As for me, I’m now staging a one person boycott on GE products.

John from CA
December 27, 2010 1:13 pm

I think I’ll use carbon arc for outdoor holiday lighting from now on — at least it emits CO2.

December 27, 2010 1:14 pm

Try Compact Halogen- fits same fitting, is dimmable, produces a clear bright light instantly. Lasts about three times as long as a GLS bulb , but is about 3 – 4 times the price (in the UK). 70w bulb produces same light as old 100w. GE make them I believe under the Edison brand in the states. Highly recommended.
BTW never believe the quoted life of any flourescent lamp as the lumens per watt falls off sharply over time, you will want to replace them long before they “fail”.

December 27, 2010 1:15 pm

Your poll didn’t exactly match my strategy; I have been trending toward the CFL’s where they are practical to use, but they are not practical where exposed to extreme cold, or small lamps and fixtures, or fancy lights like candelabras. I have been hoarding a lifetime supply for these applications.

December 27, 2010 1:15 pm

“I’ve tried CFLs and am not very happy with the shorter than expected lifespan”
Yeah, the previous owners of our house put CFLs everywhere. In three years we’ve lost about 25% of the bulbs and one melted light fixture… I’m not impressed.

December 27, 2010 1:17 pm

By the way, I thought the incandescent bulb was invented by Joseph Swan who obtained his patent about a year before Edison.
December 27, 2010 1:18 pm

These days legislation serves only 2 purposes: to buy votes and to settle past I.O.U.’s for prior political funding.
I will let you figure out which of these are the drivers behind this new legislation.
California – the home of America’s stealth politics.

December 27, 2010 1:24 pm

So…the traditional cartoon expression : EUREKA! will no longer work , it will be a quite longer EU…….RE………KA.

December 27, 2010 1:25 pm

ANH says:
December 27, 2010 at 1:17 pm
By the way, I thought the incandescent bulb was invented by Joseph Swan who obtained his patent about a year before Edison.

Yes, we all know, Edison was the Bill Gates of his day.. That is to say probably smart enough to make what he sells, but also smart enough to simply muscle out those who have done it for you, and take all the glory.

December 27, 2010 1:29 pm

DirkH says:
December 27, 2010 at 12:00 pm
I’m very happy with halogen lamps. I use a dimmable 500W R7S. For some reason, they’re not verboten in the EU. Attention, Halogens get very hot. So they’re a nice additional heater in winter, but if you have an air conditioning fight against the heat from a halogen lamp in summer, that would be kinda wasteful.
You have to hurry up cause they will be “verboten” either

December 27, 2010 1:29 pm

Do you recall the line from Henry IV? It applies to other idiots also: “Let’s kill all the politicians” . In particular the ECOP (olitical) types.
I have no issues with anyone doing what makes sense for themselves(off grid, garden, etc.), but I get really bent out of shape when some citified overage hippie or politician tells me I ought to do something or other to save the planet. Or jumps up on their “greener than thou” soapbox and preaches that eco-religious BS at me. Makes me want to shove a CO2 fire extinguisher nozzle in their pie hole and pull the trigger.

R. de Haan
December 27, 2010 1:32 pm

I have nothing against progress, new technologies replacing the old.
But they have to be better in performance and quality and not dictated by Government.
We won’t have won the battle behind climate change until the ban on the incandescent light bulb is lifted.
It doesn’t matter that factories have been closed or moved to China.
If the ban is lifted and consumer demand is strong, the bulb will make a come back.
In a free world with free markets the consumer is king right?

Mark Twang
December 27, 2010 1:39 pm

OK, this is OT, but I’m ROFLMAO.
My “green” mother told me the other day in a definitive tone of voice that polar bears are drowning in the Arctic because of Global Warming. I challenged her to show me a video.
Well, she couldn’t – just sighed hopelessly at my heartlessness.
So I went and looked. There’s one video on YouTube that was given the title “polar bear tries not to drown” – but the clip itself says no such thing.
However, I did find another clip from Mia Cool Moon explaining it all:

Be sure to read the comments. It’s a laff riot.

December 27, 2010 1:42 pm

What’s with the Heatball?

December 27, 2010 1:42 pm

When CFLs are in a 40F. room they put out very little light till they warm up, some 3 or 4 minutes. How would a CFL work as a refrigerator light? Not very well. You would have to leave the refr. door open for quite a while to get enought light to find your foie gras. Where’s the energy saving there?
G. Rattray Taylor, in his book; ‘Sex in History’, described Europe during the Middle
Ages as a vast open air mad-house. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

R. de Haan
December 27, 2010 1:44 pm

If you read this article about the Cancun con you will know why it is important to fight and role back the power grab currently underway and why the incandescent light bulb ban is in fact symbolic of that battle.
Next time they your car, your heating system, your lawnmower or even your right to breathe.

December 27, 2010 1:54 pm

This is absolute insanity. The government shouldn’t have to *force* the elimination of these bulbs. If there were a significant advantage, the market would do that all by itself. How much mercury is mined and refined every year to support the production of these bulbs? Maybe China can precipitate it out of their coal power plant emissions.
Again we have a case of a patronizing government preventing individuals making their own choices “for your own good”. I have no need or desire for a parental government. I will use compact fluorescent bulbs where those make sense and incandescent bulbs where they make sense. Please allow me the dignity to make my own decisions.

December 27, 2010 1:58 pm

I’ve got a corner of my basement stacked with 100 watt bulbs.
” . .Out of my cold dead hands.” ;P

December 27, 2010 2:00 pm

Margaret @ December 27, 2010 at 1:06 pm seems to have the same kitchen as I do. I’ve put in CFLs as the incandescents burned out. Some of those had rather short lifetimes, so I started writing the month and year when I put in new bulb. I quickly learned to do the same with the CFLs and have used that to make warranty claims. I fact, I just got a replacement in today’s from for a bulb I put in in May and failed a few weeks ago.
A few cans have really old bulbs with heavy glass and poor light output. I put those in unimportant locations, so far, they keep working.
I also keep a halogen bulb over the stove so eggs look okay. The old bulbs made for some ugly pale yolks….

George Turner
December 27, 2010 2:00 pm

How many 60 Watt incandescents do you have to swap out with 13 Watt CFL’s to make up for the Tesla Roadster you just bought?
The Tesla can charge at 16,800 Watts (140 Amps at 120 VAC), so the answer is 357 bulbs.
If you buy a Chevy Volt, which only draws 3,300 Watts, you have to upgrade 70 of your bulbs.

December 27, 2010 2:01 pm

We use a lot of 60W clear which I buy up when on sale or at garage sales (when new). So yeah I’ve already got my stock of >100 bulbs laid in (and will probably look for more) and I don’t plan on sharing. I do this partly because there may not be a similar replacement even though the bill allows use of halogens at least until 2020 (>25% efficiency improvement but not as “pretty” as standard incandescents as my wife says, especially dimmed, and also hot), rough service (with demand they may make clear), left hand thread and small base lamps (I foresee base adapters to get around the rules) but also partly because the cost of those will be much higher and not necessarily worth the additional money.
The military had a goal of an eventual electrical usage cut to 50%. This has eventually got to catch up with them and personnel in the manner of air conditioning and heating cutbacks and of course the conveniences such as microwaves and coffee pots will probably have to go (except for leadership of course). I worked in a large brick Air Force building in administration during the previous so called “energy crisis” under Carter and the interior got so hot and humid from lack of air conditioning that we had 2 people in my area pass out one summer. The dress code went from required coat and tie to shorts and T-shirts permitted, except for briefings which were usually held in well air conditioned rooms. One of course can predict the effect these conditions had on personnel efficiency.

Tom in Florida
December 27, 2010 2:02 pm

I am using CFLs for my outside lighting. Not because I am green but because I won’t have to change them so often. I lost two outside sockets from these things so I won’t have to buy bulbs for those anymore, does that count as additional savings? My biggest concern is people like my neighbor. He has no plans to properly dispose of them. He figures the few he throws away in the land fill won’t harm anything. I can imagine a there are millions of people with the same attitude.

December 27, 2010 2:05 pm

One thing that was often missed in the debate about CFL’s is that CFL’s put out a higher amount of UV than incandescent bulbs. While this amount isn’t enough to cause problems with most people, those with UV sensitivity (for example, people with Lupus), can experience severe health problems as a result.
I’ve seen this first-hand – a few years ago, my wife went into a prolonged flare and was not getting any better. We finally noticed that a new lamp we had purchased for the living room came with a standard CFL (we just hadn’t paid the bulb any attention), and it was the light from this bulb that was causing her flare. Her problems started a couple weeks after we got the lamp, and went away withing a couple weeks after getting rid of it.
None of the greens ever seemed to care about these sort of consequences, though.

Steve (Paris)
December 27, 2010 2:10 pm

I am lifelong epileptic. After my most recent “crash landing” almost exactly one year ago I was told by the docs to avoid the flicking lights of CFLs. Never really thought about it again till now but will ask my specialist about in January and report back.

December 27, 2010 2:11 pm

It is a meat grinder. It is a grinder of inbred political flesh. The resultant sausages are as one might expect, considering.

Mark Twang
December 27, 2010 2:12 pm

One thing they don’t tell you when you buy curly bulbs (or only in the very fine print) is that if you use them on a dimmer circuit they burn out far faster than incandescents. I bought enough for my dining room chandelier only to have them all fritz out.
Stockpiling old-style bulbs, I am.

December 27, 2010 2:12 pm

Casper says:
December 27, 2010 at 1:29 pm
“You have to hurry up cause they will be “verboten” either

Thanks for the tip. Slowly living in the EU becomes a kind of survivor sport. If i had a political choice, i would use it.

December 27, 2010 2:13 pm

LED’s seem to be the way to go but more experimentation is needed to make them practicable, there is just not enough generated light on the ones that have diffusers fitted, and the others are too bright in a very narrow beam and only useful as atmospheric lighting. Points for, are their long lasting ability. Halogens don’t last a crack, neither do incandescents and you get tired of changing them. Maybe the real answer is extensive use of fibre-optics from a single source of whatever, that’ll cut down the bills!

December 27, 2010 2:17 pm

The ban is premature & ill informed, Most people will begin to install Low voltage halogen (down light) systems, where before they might have only used one or two 60-100w bulbs to illuminate a large room now they usually have to install up to ten 40-50w halogen bulbs and transformers, (more parts to replace means more pollution) and 10 bulbs at 50 watts (10*50w := 500w) is a greater energy usage than even two 100w light bulbs.
Also I’ve seen homes replacing their outdoor 100w bulk heads (because Cfl’s are useless and pollute the environment) with 1000w-2000w floodlights.
Homes are trading the make believe dangers of Co2 for the actual dangerous pollutants of compact fluorescent lamps & high energy alternatives.
I actually have a lot of Ideas for efficient and pleasing Lighting Alternatives but sadly who’s interested? it’s all a depressing con!

December 27, 2010 2:18 pm

Ok, great, the European commissioner for energy is one of the communists (11 of 27 commissioners are communists).
That explains it. They just love it when the proles sit in the dark. I guess i should stock up on soap as well.

Mike McMillan
December 27, 2010 2:29 pm

“Oh, look,” I say, “light bulbs on sale, four for a dollar.” Then I buy a bunch, because you never know when you’ll need a bulb. So I take them home, and open the cupboard door and am buried under an avalanche of bulbs.
Short memories are a peril of getting so old that you remember the complete 60 year climate cycle. Even if I live through the next Ice Age, I will never burn up all the tungsten I have in my closet.
Not that I have anything against flooding the environment with mercury. After all, didn’t we all have mercury-silver amalgam fillings in our teeth, those of us growing up before fluoridation? It’s petty to point out that the EPA wants us all to get rid of that mercury-containing round Honeywell thermostat, safely ensconced on the wall for fifty years, and then infest our homes with breakable mercury-laden Chinese curly-cue bulbs.
The congressman who instigated the tungsten ban is slated to become chairman of the relevant committee in Congress. The Tea Partyers among us might make note of that for the next round of primaries.

December 27, 2010 2:31 pm

It would be good to know some basic things such as what percentage of total electricity consumption currently goes into incandescent lighting, and what percentage of this percentage would be saved by switching to fluorescent, and also take into account the differences in production cost.
I have always disliked fluorescent light and I am convinced that working long hours under it has an effect on your physical wellbeing and health. I’ve known people who could stand it even less than me, and would turn off the fluorescent above their cubicle and buy some halogen or incandescent for their desk. I knew a personn who worked at eBay around 2002, who was denied permission to turn off the fluorescent above his cubicle, so he installed a beach umbrella on his desk to shelter himself from it, and bought a halogen desk lamp.
I cannot believe this banning measure can last. I am convinced that an enormous amount of people are going to find it intolerable to sit in their living room under those horrible lights. There has to be some ulterior motives to this. The savings in terms of percentage of total energy consumption have to be negligeable, and I wish somebody with the right knowledge of the basic facts could estimate them. The illumination industry is a multibillion dollar industry (probably around 80 billion in the US alone) and I would not be surprised if something beyond stupidity is afoot here. This strikes me as one of the most stupid measures since Prohibition.

Frank K.
December 27, 2010 2:31 pm

I, for one, DO notice a difference in the quality of light from some CFLs and LEDs versus a standard soft white incandescent bulb. Hands down, I think the incandescent is better. Maybe it’s just me. On the other hand, I use standard fluorescent tube lighting in my workshop, and that is fine.
My problem with all of this (as others have noted) is the fact that government is mandating what bulbs we use rather than letting the market take care of it. If CFLs and LEDs are superior technologies, people will switch over. Two great examples of allowing the market to pick winners and losers are the compact disk and the iPod (and similar mp3 players). When CD were developed and mass marketed with CD players, the LP album format quickly died. Likewise, it won’t be long before CDs are obsolete and replaced entirely by the iPod/mp3 player technology. Note that the government never had to ban LPs (which you can still legally get and use :^) and will not have to ban CDs either. The market is working…

December 27, 2010 2:36 pm

Something that’s easily overlooked is that incandescent lamps are the only type of lighting that emits a full continuous spectrum. That means that not a single wavelength from below 405nm to above 650nm is missing, even though the distribution is skewed towards longer wavelengths.
When people complain about the cold light emitted by fluorescents (including CFLs) and LEDs, the ecofascists’ reaction is ‘So choose one with a lower color temperature !’. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help.
Most pigments have a discontinuous spectrum. When illuminated by a light source with a – different – discontinuous spectrum, a lot of wavelenghts go missing. That’s why fluo lighting makes things look dull and depressing….
…and why you need more power than theoretically necessary. When stated that a 10W CFL produces as much light as a 60W incandescent, that is only true when a material with a continuous reflection spectrum is illuminated. In reality there will be a mismatch between the spectra of lighting and lighted, and you will need double or treble power to obtain the same apparent brightness. Colors will still be off, of course.
Just google “fluorescent spectrum” for images and explanations.

John F. Hultquist
December 27, 2010 2:44 pm

First, I have multiple pig-tail bulbs, mostly in places that are difficult to reach and change. I have several packages of double life 60 watt bulbs – the highest rating I need.
In the future LEDs or newer technology will be fine.
Full disclosure:
I own a small amount of stock in this company:

December 27, 2010 2:51 pm

DirkH says:
December 27, 2010 at 2:18 pm
……………………………….. I guess i should stock up on soap as well.
Yes, and many other things as well. Don’t forget feminine hygiene products. If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. 😉

David, UK
December 27, 2010 2:56 pm

I mentioned this on another post a couple of weeks ago, and it is apt to repeat it here. A few weeks ago I bought up about a dozen 100w and 60w incandescent bulbs from an internet site as I wanted to stock up for when they finally become unobtainable. As far as I’m concerned, I prefer their light and if their usage adds a few quid to my annual electric bill then so be it.
They arrived shortly before Christmas and I installed a few immediately, throwing out all the nasty “free” (i.e. tax-payer-bought) Government hand-out mercury bulbs that all households in the UK recently got. And oh, the memories! It’s strange, but I actually became nostalgic for a bunch of bloody light bulbs! Maybe it was all the sweeter because I had a feeling of one-upmanship over the fascist state. But I had almost forgotten how nice in comparison their light is – it really is so much more pleasing to the eye.
But how sad that something once so mundane has been elevated to a luxury item by fascist Government interference, which they justify by telling us that it is to help “save the planet.” Yeah right. If I didn’t have an IQ larger than my shoe size, I might believe the corrupt, elitist SOBs.

December 27, 2010 3:04 pm says:
December 27, 2010 at 1:18 pm
These days legislation serves only 2 purposes: to buy votes and to settle past I.O.U.’s for prior political funding. I will let you figure out which of these are the drivers behind this new legislation.
California – the home of America’s stealth politics.
So true! so succinct! Best comment on this thread! Brilliant.

December 27, 2010 3:15 pm

Don’t panic

Mark Twang
December 27, 2010 3:18 pm

Hmm. Will the nation’s museums be required to give up incandescents? If not, they’ll need an exception. If so, get ready for van Gogh to look like shit at the next exhibit. LOL.

December 27, 2010 3:29 pm

I have been using CFL’s for about three years now and have found that they do not last anywhere near as long as advertised. I Have been returning them to the point of purchase for a warranty replacement, but am beginning to encounter resistance. (5 year warranty) I expect they will begin charging a “fee” of some kind as it cannot be financially sound to keep replacing all these dead units. Out of an original purchase of 22 units in my home, all have failed at least once. Some as many as 5 times. I have returned a total of 57 units, so far, with ~2 years to go on the warranties. Like I said, I am getting resistance lately, and get the feeling I am about to be cut loose. I am also suspicious that CFL’s use more power than what is listed on the unit. I should show more savings on my monthly bill. Regardless, all those mercury filled dead bulbs cant be good for the environment considering there are no places for them to be recycled around here. They just get dumped into a landfill like most everywhere else.
LED’s on the other hand have so far been a great success, although the cost is extreme to say the least! I only have 4, and the light quality takes some getting used to, but I have not had to replace a single one: Yet. I am only 4 months into testing LED’s though.

December 27, 2010 3:33 pm

Steve (Paris) says:
December 27, 2010 at 2:10 pm
“I am lifelong epileptic. After my most recent “crash landing” almost exactly one year ago I was told by the docs to avoid the flicking lights of CFLs.”
Does this mean you get incandescent light bulbs on prescription now or did they offer a free no-return flight to Canada plus guaranteed political asylum?

tom s
December 27, 2010 3:40 pm

What about halogen light bulbs? What about dimmer switches? Hopefully the new congress will repeal this absurdity and then get it signed by our new Repub Prez in 2 yrs.

December 27, 2010 3:44 pm

My real choice would have been, buy up all the high wattage bulbs, and then switch over to LEDs. The only real downside to LEDs is they are so directional, not really good for full coverage without doing reflection tricks, and then you need something with more power to get a decent reflection, 10W LEDs anyone?

December 27, 2010 3:46 pm

On the one hand, you can see Scientific American claiming that headaches and other health effects associated with fluorescent lights in many people are a “myth”. These tend to be the same kind of publications who say that the MWP is a myth.
On the other hand you find tons of places documenting such effects.
This site collected some testimonials.
I believe these testimonials because I happen to be affected by that kind of lighting, though not as strongly as some of those people. After a couple of hours in a closed environment with fluorescent light I become increasingly antsy and irritated and develop an irresistible urge to leave. When those lights are very bright, I find them totally unbearable. Being locked in a room with a bright fluorescent light is what I think hell might look like.
Something is wrong with those lights when so many people find them irritating. Those of you who don’t, you may count yourselves lucky. But you can also look at it this way: say you add a small amount of poison to food given to a a large group of people. Some may feel ill, others may feel some disconfort, and others may feel nothing at all. But those who feel nothing, shouldn’t they try to find out why all those people are complaining? Would they continue to eat that food once they find out that something toxic is in it? I mean, would they continue to do it IF the have an alternative? I wouln’t.
I work at home. Winter days are short and natural light is scant. My work place is lit with warm incandescent bulbs in lampshades. I KNOW that I would not be able to work very long if I had to light the place with fluorescent. It would be a nightmare.

December 27, 2010 4:00 pm

Your survey does not make allowances for the one course of action that seems most called-for: Take political action to get the idiotic laws repealed, and/or the moronic legislators who enacted them voted out of office.
I would even go so far as to try to pass a constitutional amendment forbidding the legislator from ruling on the matter ever again. But that’s just me.

R. de Haan
December 27, 2010 4:04 pm

cyberdrop says:
December 27, 2010 at 1:42 pm
What’s with the Heatball?
The first 4.000 “Heatballs” imported from China were sold out quickly.
The second shipment however was impounded by German officials and the owners of the trading company were put in jail:
The message: don’t screw with the EU

December 27, 2010 4:04 pm

“Yonatan Ben Dovid says:
December 27, 2010 at 11:55 am
…….Here in the UK, we have to heat our homes for the majority of the year. Replacing all our light bulbs with CFLs will simply reduce the amount of heat contribution made by our lighting products. Consequently, our thermostatically-controlled central heating systems will simply burn a little more fuel to make up the difference. ”
Similarly I leave gadgets on standby to keep my home office aired.

December 27, 2010 4:13 pm

I was in a discussion with my son who was given a lecture on the evils of incandescent lights by his high school science teacher. I give this to him the next day. Sorry for the formatting but it was originally written in Excel
Unless explicitly stated source information is from
3 Average hours/day a light is used
6000 CFL lifetime in hours
2000 Days of use for CFL (6000 / 3)
5.48 Years of use before the CFL fails (2000 / 365)
0.005 Grams of Mercury in a CFL
45 Average number of light bulbs in house
116900000 Number of households in USA
26302500.00 Grams of Mercury that need to be reclaimed or would end up in the environment (Landfill) if every light bulb was replaced with a CFL after 5.5 years of useful life (0.005 * 45 * 116900000)
57987.09 Converted to pounds (US) of Mercury
28.99 Converted to tons (US) of Mercury
Paraphrased from Source:
The Clean Air Mercury Rule establishes “standards of performance” limiting mercury emissions from new and existing coal-fired power plants and creates a market-based cap-and-trade program to reduce nationwide utility emissions of mercury in two distinct phases. The first phase cap is 38 tons. In the second phase, due in 2018, coal-fired power plants will be subject to a second cap, which will reduce emissions to 15 tons upon full implementation. Source (First phase took affect 2010)
38 Tons of mercury produced by all coal burning plants nation wide
8.80% Percent of energy produced in the USA used for household lighting in 2001(before large CFL use).
49.70% Percent of USA Energy produced by Coal
4.37% Energy produced by coal and used for lighting in the USA (8.80% * 49.7%)
1.66 Tons of mercury produced by coal burning plants to produce energy for incandescent lights in 2001 (38 * 4.37%)
1.25 Mercury reduction at coal burning plants based on the switch to CFL using 75% CFL efficiency (1.66 * .75)
27.75 Increase of Mercury into the environment and/or needs to be reclaimed by from the use of CFL’s (28.99 – 1.25)

Left for Nevada
December 27, 2010 4:18 pm

I already did what any sane person who lives in California should do: I moved to Nevada. Years ago. When it first became obvious that the Golden State was going to hell in a hand basket. Not that Nevada is perfect—too many ex-Californians that want to bring too much government over here—but it’s better. And some of us ex-Californians really want to keep that big-government, high taxes attitude out of our adoptive home state.

Retired Engineer
December 27, 2010 4:48 pm

Florescents (the 4 and 8 foot kind) can produce headaches and the rest of the problems if they run off the old magnetic ballasts. 120 Hz flicker. Newer electronic ballasts flicker at about 20 kHz, so should not be a problem. “Warm” phosphors, easy on the eyes. Squiggly CFL’s suck. Forever to warm up and shorter life. The older and hard to find U-shaped bulbs worked much better. Discontinuous light spectrum, as several have noted. No good for photography, even with an “FL” filter. LED’s are too d— expensive, and in this part of flyover land, no where near as bright.
I suspect the short life problems are more related to the source. The “country of origin” without trying to offend. Which means incandescents from the same place will have similar problems.
The solution is to ban Congress, or at least the current crop. 2012 can’t come soon enough.

December 27, 2010 4:58 pm

Having posted on the negative practicality of LED lighting in their operation, I since found this page,
So the buzzword is organic LEDS aka Oleds, and it’s not even a new buzzword.

Amino Acids in Meteorites
December 27, 2010 5:20 pm

The rest of the country will begin a phaseout in 2012, as mandated by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007
This can be undone.

Warren in Minnesota
December 27, 2010 5:43 pm

100W equivalent CFLs do not fit in my kitchen light fixture. The fixture is six years old, came with my new house, uses three bulbs, and matches the other light fixtures. I am not sure if LED bulbs would work either. I want an equivalent illumination so I can see my food preparation and get my dishes clean.
I also have never seen a 100/200/300 mogul base CFL which is needed for my torch lamp. And then how do CFLs in cold temperatures such as minus 20C or minus 5F work with outdoor lights for the garage and front door? I am all for hoarding or repealing the enforced change.

December 27, 2010 5:53 pm

I fully expect Congress to push back the ban for a few years, after it’s supposed to take full effect. Then when the new deadline gets close, push it back again. Rinse. Repeat.
It should cause just enough uncertainty to convince light bulb manufacturers to move their factories out of the USA. Then stores in every state – except California – will import incandescents to sell.
Then the Marxists in the Democrat Party (and elsewhere) will vilify “The Rich” and “Big Business” for outsourcing jobs… Instead of admitting that they caused the problem, of course.
Banning the incandescent light bulb in America, when we don’t have a superior alternative, and when a good portion of the world doesn’t even have a stable source of electricity to run any light bulbs, is complete madness.

December 27, 2010 6:00 pm

ANH says:
December 27, 2010 at 1:17 pm
“By the way, I thought the incandescent bulb was invented by Joseph Swan who obtained his patent about a year before Edison.”
Yes this is True, Sir Joseph Wilson Swan invented the incandescent light bulb and he received the first patent in 1878, the funny thing is I know this because when I was a young school boy reading an old book I noticed that Swan had the same Birth date as me (not the same year), when I then told my teachers in school that Swan in-fact invented incandescent light bulb I was laughed at ridiculed In History class of all places and was told Edison did. Hahaha! I hope they have the internet now!

December 27, 2010 6:14 pm

I have one word for you, Benjamin:

December 27, 2010 6:17 pm

Control freaks gotta control, and honestly it matters less to them if they accomplish anything but gaining more control.
If politics doesn’t make sense to you, think of it in those terms.
Halogens never lasted long for me, CFLs are more expensive and never lasted long for me, LEDs MUCH more expensive and most not very good… thanks, government, very helpful. Can we pay you to go off and suck your thumbs now?
Ironically, I tend to like higher color temps – 5500k-6000k instead of 3500k, and the market is pushing CFLs and LEDS away from what I like. Incandescents are better for photography anyway. even with filters, esp. with new pocket cameras.
I swear, if governments made sportscars they’d weigh 6000lbs and have 9 seats, and if they made delivery trucks they’d be smaller than Geo Metros. If you want something done WRONG, vote for it.
Not that I’m at all BITTER or anything.

Walter M. Clark
December 27, 2010 6:33 pm

If you work with any rotating bit tools such as drills, mills, saws, etc., if the bit it turning at some multiple of 60 hz it will appear to be standing still! You can get hurt that way. The greens never worked a day in their lives, especially not in a factory or machine shop, and never will. They don’t care about safety for the rest of us.

December 27, 2010 6:45 pm

S.E.Hendriksen says:
December 27, 2010 at 3:15 pm
“Don’t panic

Well, AFAIK they’re not in the Gulag yet. From their news page:
“16.11.2010 Anruf vom Zoll: Bezirksregierung hat mit dem Hinweis auf möglicherweise gefährliche Ware die Heatballs festgesetzt ”
Nov 11 2010 Call by Customs: District government has confiscated heatball delivery under suspicion of possibly dangerous goods.
They have’em made in China and import them, and of course Energy Commissar Andris Piebalgs (Latvian ex-member of the Communist Party Of The Soviet Union) and his German underlings aren’t amused.

December 27, 2010 6:52 pm

DirkH says:
December 27, 2010 at 6:45 pm
“They have’em made in China and import them, and of course Energy Commissar Andris Piebalgs (Latvian ex-member of the Communist Party Of The Soviet Union) and his German underlings aren’t amused.”
But they’re not in jail as far as i can find out. Although, if they sent Europol, they might have just vanished. Only half kidding.

December 27, 2010 6:52 pm

I hate……HATE….. CFL’s.
They look stupid and the light they produce is ugly….and still fluorescent.
(And yes, I am yelling).
Bastard Congress! They need to repeal this royal SH*T.
Maybe this Congress will be able to….we will see.
Norfolk, VA, USA

December 27, 2010 6:57 pm

Mike. says:
December 27, 2010 at 4:58 pm
“So the buzzword is organic LEDS aka Oleds, and it’s not even a new buzzword.”
OLEDs have different compounds for blue, red and green that age with different speed. You don’t get a full spectrum, similar to CFLs, but you get the added bonus of a change of hue with usage. Blue ages the fastest.

Paul Penrose
December 27, 2010 7:25 pm

I’ve already stocked up on 60W incandescents and 100W halogens. Up here in the northern states you can’t use CFLs for outside lighting as they do not function for half the year when the temperature goes below 30 or 40 degrees F! LEDs which are bright enough for outside lighting just don’t exist yet. Halogen are nice, but are just too hot for many types of decorative (enclosed) fixtures. You can still get HALCO brand bulbs, which are made in the US, for a good price per bulb if you buy in case quantities online. I’ve found these to be very good long-life bulbs and well worth the investment.

Dave Springer
December 27, 2010 7:25 pm

So in California you can sell pot from a vending machine but not incandescent light bulbs in hardware stores. Will the pot vending machines need to be retrofitted with incandescent lights to remain legal?
I can see it now. Two prisoners in Folsom:
P1: What are you in for?
P2: Running a meth lab in my basement.
P1: How much time ya get for that?
P2: Six months probation and a $500 fine.
P1: Huh? Then why are you here?
P2: Got 20 years for using incandescent bulbs to light the basement.

December 27, 2010 7:47 pm

My sister gave me a great gift this Christmas: a box with illegal unused incandescent light bulbs (I live in Portugal): two 100W bulbs, six 150W bulbs, one 200W bulbs (!), and the address of a local shop in a remote small village who still have them in stock from the old times. And I’ve looked hard for them! They’re pretty much banned here. Thank you, sis!

Mike McMillan
December 27, 2010 8:01 pm

Mike. says: December 27, 2010 at 4:58 pm
Having posted on the negative practicality of LED lighting in their operation, I since found this page, So the buzzword is organic LEDS aka Oleds, and it’s not even a new buzzword.

OLEDs are a specialty of our occasional commenter Joel Shore. Perhaps the good Dr would honor us with a guest post on something he actually knows something about.

December 27, 2010 8:30 pm

….. and start up a black market supply line into Califoolia….. Of course they won’t be called incandescent light bulbs, but instead renamed luminescent room heaters…;-)
Banning light bulbs….. Pffft. What’s th’ world comin’ to.

December 27, 2010 8:45 pm

I have designed and built some of my own LED fixtures for my house that have been operating for over 2 years now. I figure they should go for at least 10 more years easily.
I recently found these warm white LED bulbs at Home Depot that are reasonably priced. They use LEDs made by Citizen and should have decent lifespans. They put out as much light as a 40W incandescent on 8.6 Watts of power, and I have been happy with them in applications such as outdoor porch lights, walk in closets, and small rooms:
CFLs suck because they take too long to come up to full brightness (up to 10 minutes), have trouble running in cold weather, don’t last as long as advertised, and contain mercury so you have to take them back to the bin at Home Depot to avoid polluting the landfill.
LEDs LOVE cold temperatures, are instant on, do not have their lives shortened by being turned on and off (unlike everything else), and have about 5 years of operating life so they can last over 10 years if they aren’t on all the time (and they have an adequate heat sink so they don’t fry).

anna v
December 27, 2010 9:29 pm

I have been using CFLs over twenty years now in spots where a light has to be continuously on (equivalent of 120 watts). I have only changed it once. A CFL my late father installed maybe more than 30 years ago is still working (as well as many of the incandescent ones).
The only problem I found is with the number of on/offs. In the cheap CFLs ( 2 to 3 euro each) the guarantee is 6000 hours and 2000 on/offs. In many european countries, corridors in apartment houses are on time switches which you press and the light lasts enough to run up/down stairs. This means for my building with 12 apartments and possibly 24 people going in and out on average, the limit of on/off is reached very fast. What happens then is the bulbs stop responding, they revive a bit if you tinker but are off again within a day. The average lifetime in our building is 2.5 months. I have unearthed an expensive version which is good for 500.000 on/offs and costs 8euro each and am slowly replacing the burned out ones with this.

December 27, 2010 9:53 pm

I’ve made a posting with my list of all the things wrong with CFL bulbs:
There are many uses where nothing else will do. FWIW, about 76% of my usage is CFLs and I was a very early and enthusiastic adopter. I’ve put them everywhere possible. There are still many places where they just don’t cut the mustard, though.
FWIW I bought some 16 packs of China made bulbs at Home Depot for $3 a package. That’s 19 CENTS each. I’ve got about 7 years worth in storage now. I’ll have at least a decade worth by the end of the year.
They last much longer on dimmers (and I like the ‘easy on the eyes’ of dimmers). AND dimmers is where CFLs just do horribly. Even the “dimmable” ones are cruddy.
So I’m figuring I’ll get up to about 20 years worth. By then I’ll either be dead or folks will have recovered their sanity and I can buy them again…
FWIW a lot of “pet facilities” need combined heat and light. So things like lizard homes, chick hatching boxes, etc. I’ve also made a yogut maker using an incandecent bulb. For many uses the heat is a feature.
Also they have a color rendering index of 100. So anyone doing color layouts tends to use them and photo studios sometimes too. (I’ve got two such light stands). A relative reports they use GE Reveal lamps for their magazine layout work. The CRI of even good CFL bulbs is often down around 85 (which is why things look strange..)
But who needs esthetics when you can save a penny worth of electricity in an hour. Oh, hope you don’t mind having your $100 dinner out look sort of barf green or baby poo yellow… need to save that nickel…
Choice, it’s a good thing.

Northern Exposure
December 27, 2010 10:14 pm

Oh how I’m going to miss that soft soothing yellowy glow of an incandescent…
So since half of the light fixtures in my home won’t fit a CFL with the equivalent of 100w, does this mean I have to go out and spend hundreds of dollars on new fixtures for my home, or do I need to go see the eye doctor (and spend hundreds of dollars there instead) to get a stronger prescription for my aging eyes so that I can see what the hell I’m doing when I can only fit the puny CFL’s into my light fixtures ?!
And what about those of us who live through half of the year in -20 to -30c temperatures ? Are we expected to fumble around in the dark when we’re outside ?
SemiChemE says:
December 27, 2010 at 11:48 am
“What about my easy-bake oven?”
I damned near fell off my chair from that comment/question laughing so hard… Thank you for that !!

December 27, 2010 10:15 pm

In Germany the ban of light bulbs is becomming satirical.
Some smart guys are now selling heat bulbs. These heat bulbs are somehow similar with light bulbs, but those heat balls are intended to be used as compact heaters.
But we are living in Germany – some kind of nanny state – and therefore the authorities are on the watch:
“German customs stopped an apparently dangerous import in the Cologne/Bonn airport : This concerns 40,000 so-called heat balls. […] On Tuesday the customs stopped the new delivery with 40.000 Heatballs after a hint of the district government Cologne, department 55 for product security and explosives. […]
After information of the district government the customs suspended the release of the delivery, until samples of the apparently dangerous commodity can be examined. Now the Cologne specialists for danger prevention will soon state that the heat balls does not contain explosives – however they shine”.

Layne Blanchard
December 27, 2010 10:50 pm

I have 3 bulb fixtures in my garage that say they can only handle 3X60W. I assume overheating is the issue. I began experimenting with 3X120W CFL’s tho I have no info on the heat created by the ballasts. There seems to be no issue with overheating however. I must wait for them to warm, but once up to temp they’re throwing a lot more light, and I didn’t need to add fixtures. They last no longer than the incandescents. For all other locations, I’m hoarding. I have a large collection, and it’s growing.
When we arrive in the coldest part of the Grand Minima, will we finally see an end to this eco-nonsense?

December 27, 2010 11:06 pm

In terms of CO2 saved, the following is from a UK government report from June 2010:
“As energy-saving bulbs use only 20% of the electricity of traditional bulbs and lighting
consumes a significant amount of electricity, the savings in cash and emissions can be
substantial. The Energy Saving Trust calculates that a home with 15 light bulbs would save about £45 a year by installing the new bulbs. In answer to a PQ in January 2009 it was stated that if only CFLs were used in households, the estimated total reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide would be just less than 3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, some 2 per cent. of the total carbon dioxide emissions from UK households in 2006. 20 Earlier written answers had given a figure of around 5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and this figure has been widely quoted. The difference could be due
to differing definitions of low energy bulbs and timescales. The Government’s Market
Transformation Programme, a body that provides evidence to the Government on energy-using products, produces reports that give some detail of alternative future scenarios: the difference between their reference (do nothing) situation and best feasible outcome for installing low energy bulbs is 3.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide saved in 2011”
Considering they estimate there are some 600 million CFL’s in use in the UK, the argument for saving CO2 seems derisory. And of course it comes from the National Guesswork Commission!

December 27, 2010 11:29 pm

I already experienced this in Spain, as the EU started this silly forbidding program earlier. I am not a big fan of incandescent bulbs, but the truth is sometimes you just cannot replace them. It happens to me with a standing lamp in the living room which I supply with a 150 Watts light bulb. I don’t have a lighting point in the ceiling, nor can I put it new (the flat is not mine). In addition, the living room is rather big. So I need to use a standing lamp, and I need it to be powerful. The CFL bulbs which produce an allegedly similarly powerful light are quite big, and that means that they are seen over the soffit, for a terrible visual effect, quite unconfortable to the sight. Furthermore, the bright control that my lamp has and which I use when watching TV for reducing the ambient light (as well as the power consumption) will only work with incandescent bulbs.
So what did I do? Well, obviously, I needed to buy 4 new 150W bulbs before they were banned. And I did. The 4 of them cost me less than one single CFL. And I am not so sure that they last significantly less. I have had this lamp for 4 years and a half, and I have only needed to replace the bulb twice, last one a couple of months ago. If things continue to work like that, I still have enough bulbs for the next 8 years. In a lamp which I use for several hours everyday. At a lower price than a single CFL. Hey, and it also warms me in winter! 🙂 And while cleaning it regularly, I have also verified that this light bulb’s very high temperature is a fantastic mosquito killer. What else can I ask for 🙂

Bernd Felsche
December 28, 2010 12:03 am

Well the heating effect of incandescent bulbs cannot be denied. It is at least useful, not only in the home but also outdoors; especially so in traffic control lights which can become snow-bound in colder climates. (As reported on this blog at the start of this year.)
Speaking of the hating effect, episode looks like it could go thermonuclear as the lawyer for the importers of the heaters has written a stern letter (on the 17th of December) to the local government demanding a retraction of the government’s unfounded claims and inappropriate application of EU regulations (which explicitly don’t cover such “special lamps”) resulting in damages to the importer. The lawyer identifies federal (German) laws that have been breached by the local authorities; including the unconstitutional restriction of artistic expression.

Neil Jones
December 28, 2010 12:15 am

Just a small point. Edison did not invent the incandescent electric light bulb. That process was started by Sir Humphry Davy in the early 1800s and progressed by increments through a variety of people of whom Edison was only a latecomer. In Deed to maintain his patent Edison had to make a deal with Joseph Swann whose demonstration of an incandescent electric light 7 years earlier would have rendered Edison’s patent null and void. (

December 28, 2010 12:37 am

Here is the UK, pearl incandescents are now banned but not clear bulbs yet. We changed to CFLs about 3 years ago. The light back then was pretty poor – a sickly green – and they took ages to warm up. The latest twisty spiral bulbs from GE are fine. The light color looks normal and they warm up fast. You get enough instant light to see around – unlike the earlier bulbs which had you stumbling about in the gloom. Where we need a clear bulb in spotlights and chandeliers the halogen bulbs are fine.
I’m happy to save the money . We only use electricity for lighting, cooking and electrical equipment but, thanks to the windmill people, our electricity bill never goes down no matter what we do.
Trouble is there are no recycling facilities. But guess what? Nobody will set them up because they are fragile and toxic so into the household trash they go. Crazy.

December 28, 2010 12:45 am

In Europe they are phased out already in practice. During the 90’s factories piled up huge stocks of ‘energysaving’ bulbs which nobody wanted. After some hard and dirty lobbying in the European Commision they got the incandescent banned.
That’s the only reason they are, since heat from incandescents warms up your house. It isn’t ‘lost’. Industry doesn’t use incandescent much so they don’t count.
Money makes the world go round. Luckily i live on the border with Italy whose ‘enforcement’ of EU laws is lax at best so i can buy as many as i want.

December 28, 2010 12:49 am
As H.L. Mencken observed
“The kind of man who demands that government enforce his ideas is always the kind whose ideas are idiotic.”
Being sensible, sensible ideas seldom must be imposed by force. Sometimes sensible ideas are adopted gradually, as practices with widespread advantages displace less-advantageous practices and become part of customary behavior. Sometimes sensible ideas are adopted consciously and quickly, through the art of persuasion or the rigors of scientific demonstration.
In contrast, idiotic ideas have nothing going for them. Most people who voluntarily adopt idiotic ideas in their private lives soon abandon them if these ideas hamper their ability to thrive in the real world. The only way to implement an idiotic idea widely and surely is through force

December 28, 2010 1:04 am

Yes, they will heat your home (which is only useful in winter), but they use electric energy to do so; depending on the circumstances you may (in terms of fuel burned) get even or more, or not. If your electricity comes from water or wind, no fuel is burned. Burning fuel to make electricity is quite inefficient. On the other hand, burning fuel to heat is rather inefficient too – fuel is high-quality energy, whereas to heat, any waste energy can be used as long as it is some kelvins warmer.
The whole issue is silly, it is not as if CCFL were not used already due to cost savings, furthermore lighting in private homes is not really important factor overall, industry guzzles up real power, but – get this – energy-intensive industries like Al smelting have been made EXEMPT from all the expenses and “saving”, I think they pay the EEX wholesale price at 60 bucks/MWh. In homes/offices, the biggest culprits are air conditioning (how many diatribes do you hear against these devilries?), heating (but often overestimated, see above, impressive MWh numbers but they can be low quality energy, and if this fails, you can resort to freezing), and IT/TV/Telecom devices.
Furthermore, there are cases where using a CCFL is just plain dumb: any infrequent but short requirement for light like restroom, stairs, or even coupled with insane cold like in a cold storeroom, ice cellar, etc.
Also, some uses need a broad-band emission spectrum. I wonder how our propaganda industries handle this. They must use thermic emission since CCFL and LED light suck. A typical photo bulb is 500 watts, a typical light cannon for theatre/movie is like 2000 watts or more, I am told.
As to their toxicity, they do contain (small) amounts of Hg, and the inverter(?) in the socket is not nice either, but people have been using (larger) CCFLs for decades now to save energy, it is not some new thing that came along. They are also used in nearly all flat-screen computer monitors (only the newest ones have LED backlight).

Jack Simmons
December 28, 2010 1:16 am

Dave says:
December 27, 2010 at 1:10 pm

As for me, I’m now staging a one person boycott on GE products.

Make that two.
Have stored a thirty year supply of incandescent bulbs. Very cheap at Home Depot.
There are some misunderstandings about the US law regarding bulbs.
Incandescent lights
Under the law, incandescent bulbs that produce 310–2600 lumens of light are effectively phased out between 2012 and 2014. Bulbs outside this range (roughly, light bulbs currently less than 40 watts or more than 150 watts) are exempt from the ban. Also exempt are several classes of speciality lights, including appliance lamps, “rough service” bulbs, 3-way, colored lamps, and plant lights.[23]
The phase-out of incandescent light bulbs was supported by the Alliance to Save Energy, a coalition of light bulb manufacturers, electric utilities and conservation groups. The group estimated that lighting accounts for 22% of total U.S. electricity usage, and that eliminating incandescent bulbs completely would save $18 billion per year (equivalent to the output of 80 coal plants).[24] Light bulb manufacturers also hoped a single national standard would prevent the enactment of conflicting bans and efficiency standards by state governments.

Jack Simmons
December 28, 2010 1:26 am

FergalR says:
December 27, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Ed Begley Jr. calmly pointing out the evil of these mini-toasters.

My goodness. Temper, temper.
But to answer his question regarding climate scientists, try this:
Richard Siegmund Lindzen (born February 8, 1940, Webster, Massachusetts) is an American atmospheric physicist and Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Lindzen is known for his work in the dynamics of the middle atmosphere, atmospheric tides and ozone photochemistry. He has published more than 200 scientific papers and books.[1] He was a lead author of Chapter 7, ‘Physical Climate Processes and Feedbacks,’ of the IPCC Third Assessment Report on climate change. He is a well known skeptic of global warming[2] and critic of what he states are political pressures on climate scientists to conform to climate alarmism.[3]
From Wikipedia.
Mark Twang says:
December 27, 2010 at 1:39 pm

OK, this is OT, but I’m ROFLMAO.

How does that girl even get up in the morning? It is funnier than all get out. I would start laughing if someone started talking like this girl.
Reminds me of this:

However, I did find another clip from Mia Cool Moon explaining it all:

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley
December 28, 2010 1:26 am

It’s a great shame that the myth that Edison invented the incandescent light bulb continues on and on. Although many had made crude attempts, it was indeed Brit, Joseph Swan. All Edison did was to make it better. This is not about what great nations invented, but giving credit to the correct person. I wish I had the power to remove that youtube video, and others where the info is simply incorrect!

December 28, 2010 1:40 am

If energy wasn’t subsidized in the US none of this would be needed.

Liam Davis
December 28, 2010 2:40 am

A lot of talk here of the end of life problems with non incandescent lighting. There are also problems with their manufacture. An interesting article in the Dec/Jan 2010/11 UK issue of The Chemical Engineer – ‘Not so rare after all’ page 33 – 35. It is an article on the availability of rare earth elements (metals), REEs, and their mining & extraction. It talks about terbium, which is essential for non-incandescent lighting, and how, because of the high labour & environmental costs the West has not developed their own sources. Generally speaking, their are lots of REEs everywhere, but they are in such low concentrations that it is not economically viable to recover them. Up steps China. The article states:-
“It didn’t stop Chinese entrepreneurs who, using cheap unskilled labour, flood hilltops with chemical reagents and channel them into catch basins made from plastic-lined earthen ponds. The extraction liquor is partially evaporated and is then processed with crude tanks and makeshift solvent exchange. Only a small fraction of the heavy REEs are recoveredthis way, most remaining in the process residue”
Nothing against the Chinese, I like them, but can you imagine the response if a company flooded the Sussex Downs or the Rockies with a chemical soup and left a huge amount of chemical sludge there!

December 28, 2010 3:01 am

You’d think that ALL incandescent bulbs will go away or be affected, right?
Well, like all laws, there will be “exemptions”.
Here’s a list of the bulbs that WON’T be affected:
EXCLUSIONS- The term ‘general service incandescent lamp’ does not include the following incandescent lamps:
1. Appliance lamp (e.g. refrigerator or oven light)
2. Black light lamp.
3. Bug lamp.
4. Colored lamp.
5. Infrared lamp.
6. Left-hand thread lamp.
7. Marine lamp.
8. Marine signal service lamp.
9. Mine service lamp.
10. Plant light lamp.
11. Reflector lamp.
12. Rough service lamp.
13. Shatter-resistant lamp (including a shatter-proof lamp and a shatter-protected lamp).
14. Sign service lamp.
15. Silver bowl lamp.
16. Showcase lamp.
17. 3-way incandescent lamp.
18. Traffic signal lamp.
19. Vibration service lamp.
20. Globe shaped “G” lamp (as defined in ANSI C78.20-2003 and C79.1-2002 with a diameter of 5 inches or more.
21. T shape lamp (as defined in ANSI C78.20-2003 and C79.1-2002) and that uses not more than 40 watts or has a length of more than 10 inches.
22. A B, BA, CA, F, G16-1/2, G-25, G30, S, or M-14 lamp (as defined in ANSI C79.1-2002 and ANSI C78.20-2003) of 40 watts or less.
23. Candelabra incandescent and other lights not having a medium Edison screw base.
So just think of the different ways you can convert:
a. Get the “rough service” lamps.
b. Get adapters (those that allow a candelabra light to be used in an “edison” socket).
c. Change single socket fixtures for multiple socket fixtures (replace a single 60W bulb with 3 25W bulbs).
If they think people are going to give up the lumens and colors we’ve gotten used to, then they’ll be surprised.

Ray B
December 28, 2010 3:34 am

I too tried the CFLs. I didn’t like the flicker and dim light. Within the first 6 months power line fluctuations took out 7 of 8. I am still all for trying the LEDs, but not at $90 plus a fixture.
As far as uses for the heat ball incandescent bulbs, add my well pump house out back. In winter (45ºN) I heat it with a 75 watt bulb with a 1,500 watt milkhouse heater on a thermostat as a backup. I’d rather run 75 watts all of the time than 1,500 most of the time. I will be hoarding.
As Mike McMillan, Crosspatch and others have stated, let the market sort it out. The problem is, most of the environmentalist schemes don’t work well, so they need to be subsidized or forced by law. We can add CFLs to the failure list of solar, wind, MTBE, and ethanol.

Volt Aire
December 28, 2010 4:06 am

Since a normal lamp is practically a very efficient heating device, and we only use the lamps when we have night (summers =20-24h sunshine here in the arctic, winters cold, dark, 4h-0h sunshine), there is no energy saved by switching to a lower wattage device and then using a heater to make up the difference.
Lamps will be banned here but someone is already selling “heat balls” which fit the existing lamp sockets surprisingly well and also give out light as a side effect. This is not a joke, the ban is. We truly need protection from giant company lobbyists pushing stupid and unnecessary, expensive sh*t by making options illegal.

Bob Layson
December 28, 2010 7:23 am

Compelling people to use more economical forms of electrical lighting in no way requires them to use less electricity, or prevents them from using more. As they could manifestly afford to use the electricity they had previously chosen to buy they can now use it on other things and they will do so – perhaps even increasing their consumption if such consumption seems likely to bring greater utility than spending income on other consumption goods. What is more, global economic growth will necessitate or permit ever growing consumption of electricity. Increasing per capita wealth goes with greater per capita energy usage. See Mr Albert Gore for an example.

December 28, 2010 7:47 am

Can you imagine the government outcry if it was INCANDESCENT lamps which contained the mercury vapour – and not the dreadful ‘low energy’ ones..? Strange that governments worldwide don’t seem at all concerned about all the mercury which is going to go to landfill (oh – please don’t pretend that everyone is going to dispose of the twisty things ‘correctly’)..
I myself see them as the ‘eight track stereos’ of the lighting world – a short-term stop-gap which will be rapidly overtaken by LEDs – which are of course still being refined. Any time soon we’ll see candle lamps with the crisp light which they require, provided by LEDs, and able to fit standard bayonet or Edison screw fittings. Then the world’s governments can buy up all the redundant fluorescent thingies if they love them so much…
By the way – re ‘stockpiling’ – apparently one of the biggest stockpilers in the UK is the Department which maintains the chandeliers at 10 Downing Street…!

Bill DiPuccio
December 28, 2010 7:54 am

I have CFLs all over my house (over 35 in all) and I appreciate the savings in electricity. But I also have lights in my closets and hallways that hardly get used. It seems foolish to spend so much on a CFL bulb that will be used for a few minutes a day.
I am also deeply disappointed in CFLs. I have over a dozen that have burned out in the last 1-2 years (some only ran for a few months). But a few have lasted for about 10 years. There is no correlation that I can see with use, frequency, or even brand. Some are just lousy bulbs. They are not saving me as much money as they promised.

Scott Covert
December 28, 2010 7:57 am

[Placing an order for 50,000 105w light bulbs from China to sell in California]

John Mc
December 28, 2010 8:12 am

I just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed reading WUWT. Thanks to Anthony, and the many folk’s that contribute. I read WUWT almost daily and have learned much concerning our weather and climate. I have to admit, I was a fence setter, until that fool Al Gore started with his trash and of course the big conn with Mann and Jones and Climate Gate.
I have taken a long look at the science and have read countless hour about climate change written form both sides of the fence. My conclusion, I side with those that say man made global warming/climate change is pure rubbish, especially when it comes to CO2.
Concerning light bulbs, I purchased twenty five (25) CFL’s a few years back and have been disappointed to say the least. So far I have lost two (2) of the curly boy’s, I hope they all die soon. I hate them. Though I save a little on my electric bill, not a penny have I saved!
I have approximately one hundred (100) 60 watt incandescent bulbs stored away in the basement, with any luck, that could last me until I’m ready for the nursing home. However, a few months back I came across some LED’s that Lowe’s were blowing out for $8.00 a piece. I purchased their entire inventory of 6 LED bulbs. I love them, great light, fast on, no warm up time and with a 30,000 hour life, they very well could be the last thing I see before the undertake comes to pick me up.
In our society to day there is a lot of foolishness, outlawing incandescent light bulbs is only one. Here in Pennsylvania the state has mandated that all new residential homes have sprinkler systems installed. I can just see the grand kids targeting one of those sprinkler heads with their ball, accidentally of course. Hey grandpa, I think we have a roof leak! Fortunately one of our state represents is trying to get the law repealed, I wish him luck. I am told by some friends in the construction business that these sprinkler systems could add additional $3500 to $6500 or more to the cost of a new home. If I could just be invisible and carry a big stick! I could guarantee you some crazy lawmakers would have sore shins at the mere mention of this outlandish foolishness.
Wish you all a happy New Year!

December 28, 2010 9:12 am

I think the poll needs a few more questions.
What will I do? I have a few lamps and fixtures that are only suitable for use with the incandescent lamps. The black market will thrive. The envioros have decided that the issue of what lamp I purchase rises to the level of using armed federal agents to impose their opinion on me. Of course, it is my OBLIGATION to resist such tyranny. I will do so in so many peaceful ways, including making direct and indirect donations to causes to remove them from being able to impose any more of their dangerous ideology on society. I can also express my opinion in public and on blogs like this one.
I went though this with Freon. I had a freezer that developed a slow leak. I was told that because of the then-pending prohibition on the type of freon the freezer used, it would be far less expensive to just replace it with a new freezer. Thus, the enviros and their running lackey dogs in government were telling me that they had not cared about the environmental cost of junking a perfectly good freezer nor making its replacement when it came to speculating about the total environmental cost of this particular Freon. And they would rather give government the power to use the implied threat of deadly force rather than allowing people to peacefully replace and upgrade their equipment as it wore out or was removed from service. So, this was, like all proposals from the enviros, a move to increase government power destroy personal liberty. What else is new with tyrants? Our tyrants of today are sophisticated, and may employ focus groups and wordsmithing, but they are still tyrants.

Alan Robertson
December 28, 2010 9:24 am

Up here in Canada they are pushing for the CFLs as well. I originally bought some a couple of years ago for the supposed savings they provide, this was before I knew about the mercury.
I have since discovered problems on my own. Other than them not lasting any where near as long as they claimed, have you ever tried to use one out doors to light your step in -25c weather. I got more light out of my wifes little one LED car door lock light key chain.
The other problem I have found up here is that for as much as they push them up here, they have absolutely NO recycling program or facilities any where near where I live in the 5th largest city in Alberta. When our local Minister of Parliament was questioned about this, he failed to respond.
My thoughts are that when ever one of these CFLs burn out, we should take them to the parliament building or the homes and offices of all these green weeny’s and smash the bulbs on there floors and let them deal with the mercury released and the $4 thousand to $50 thousand dollar clean up cost for hazardous materials. Maybe after enough times of doing this they may change there mind about how wonderful theses bulbs are.

December 28, 2010 9:28 am

I continue to see massive numbers of pole-mounted LP sodium lights burning 24hrs/day along Interstate highways & especially interchanges, turning night into pink-tinged day. And then my 40W incandescent over the stove top is being banned because of energy-saving considerations?
Are we going to put CFLs in our oven’s stove-light socket to see if the frozen pizza is done?

December 28, 2010 10:19 am

A few comments…
CCFLs are okay. They do save money over incandescents, at least in warm weather.
T-8 and T-5 lighting is much much superior in both efficiency and lifespan over the CCFLs. The principle issue here is insisting on using sockets intended for incandescent use. CCFLs are a half-way point to real fluorescent lighting, and you lose a lot of the real advantages with this half-way stop…
It is also a drawback to LEDs, they don’t run very well as replacement bulbs in incandescent sockets without ginormous heatsinking. Good LED fixtures have been slow in coming as the initial waves omitted the required heatsinking, or at least didn’t supply enough, or had the power levels be so low as to be near useless. There are a few quality packages out there now, and they’re starting to make a little headway. But the socket compatibility will continue to keep performance less optimal and increase costs over what they could be.
If you considered more diffuse lighting, I think LEDs could prove vastly superior to CCFLs and even potentially clearly beat out T-8/T-5 lighting. The directional nature of the LED is actually an advantage if you stop trying to shoehorn them into a single fixture and instead spread them over your intended area ala canned lighting (which is probably the best stock fixture for LEDs as it plays to their strengths). This also means you *don’t* need fancy reflectors to get 50% of the available lumens that are largely wasted going straight into the ceiling/fixture/etc that incandescent/CCFL/T-8/T-5 all need. You can effectively de-rate the LED by almost half and still have the same lux level on the intended area to be lit.
Now if you built an LED specific fixture of mini-cans every 4 feet or so across a room with a room-wide dimmer… That would probably be about perfect. Unfortunately, few people want to remodel ceilings to redo their lighting, but I’m sure we’ll get there sooner or later.

December 28, 2010 10:56 am

When they finally outlaw 40W bulbs, what am I going to do with my Lava Lamps?

December 28, 2010 10:57 am

some alternative (real) uses for LEDs.
The LVX system puts clusters of its light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, in a standard-sized light fixture. The LEDs transmit coded messages – as a series of 1s and 0s in computer speak – to special modems attached to computers.
A light on the modem talks back to the fixture overhead, where there is sensor to receive the return signal and transmit the data over the Internet. Those computers on the desks aren’t connected to the Internet, except through these light signals, much as Wi-Fi allows people to connect wirelessly.
LVX takes its name from the Latin word for light, but the underlying concept is older than Rome; the ancient Greeks signaled each other over long distances using flashes of sunlight off mirrors and polished shields. The Navy uses a Morse-coded version with lamps.
The first generation of the LVX system will transmit data at speeds of about 3 megabits per second, roughly as fast as a residential DSL line.
Mohsen Kavehrad, a Penn State electrical engineering professor who has been working with optical network technology for about 10 years, said the approach could be a vital complement to the existing wireless system.
He said the radio spectrum usually used for short-range transmissions, such as Wi-Fi, is getting increasingly crowded, which can lead to slower connections.
“Light can be the way out of this mess,” said Kavehrad, who is not involved in the LVX project.
But there are significant hurdles. For one, smart phones and computers already work on Wi-Fi networks that are much faster than the LVX system.
Technology analyst Craig Mathias of the Farpoint Group said the problems with wireless congestion will ease as Wi-Fi evolves, leaving LVX’s light system to niche applications such as indoor advertising displays and energy management.
LVX Chief Executive Officer John Pederson said a second-generation system that will roll out in about a year will permit speeds on par with commercial Wi-Fi networks. It will also permit lights that can be programmed to change intensity and color.
For the city, the data networking capability is secondary. The main reason it paid a $10,000 installation fee for LVX is to save money on electricity down the line, thanks to the energy-efficient LEDs. Pederson said one of his LED fixtures uses about 36 watts of power to provide the same illumination that 100 watts provides with a standard fluorescent fixture.
Besides installation costs, customers such as St. Cloud will pay LVX a monthly fee that’s less than their current lighting expenses. LVX plans to make money because the LED fixtures are more durable and efficient than standard lighting. At least initially, the data transmission system is essentially a bonus for customers.Pederson said the next generation of the system should get even more efficient as fixtures become “smart” so the lights would dim when bright sunlight is coming through a window or when a conference room or hallway is empty.
Read more:

Tim L
December 28, 2010 11:12 am

Use the long lasting bulbs with a dimmer they will last 50 years.
I normally buy 40watt and 25w, but lately getting some big ones to have on hand
70’s 90’s 150’s just found some 300w industrial mogul based , designed from the 50s
for large rooms like basket ball gyms in schools!!!!!! I will buy more.
David L says:
December 27, 2010 at 1:02 pm
I have an old Alladin lamp with a mantle. With regular liquid paraffin that sucker throws the light and heat! I also have a few Coleman gas lanterns. They throw a lot of light and heat as well. For romantic evenings I still prefer candles, although every room in my house has one or two oil lanterns. So y’all can keep your lightbullbs! :-). I just make sure my fire insurance is all paid up
fire insurance is all paid up
how many will die, how much co2 from house fires?
dumb very very dumb
Tim L

December 28, 2010 11:20 am

So who is going to go through the household garbage to ensure these CFLs don’t go into the trash when it becomes mandatory that everyone buys them?
You do realize that’s what’s going to happen? People who are forced to buy CFLs will also need to be forced to dispose of them properly.

George E. Smith
December 28, 2010 2:57 pm

Well I don’t have time to read ALL of the posts above; so here’s my two cents on LED light bulbs.
I recently purchased Three Phillips LED light bulbs. They describe it as replacing a 40 Watt incandescent A19 bulb. It not only screws into the same Edison socket; but the 40 Watt incandescent bulb fit perfectly into the plastic shroud that the LED came in; so they are mechanically the same shape. The LED is much heaveier since there is a fairly massive heat sink portion.
The LED is rated at 8 Watts of electricity, and it emits 450 Lumens with a Warm White color Temperature of 2700 K.
So it simply is not true that LEDs are necessarily cold as in day white.
This bulb has a slightly more than hemispherical diffuser dome just like an incandescent lamp. Inside the diffuser dome there is a Yellow near sphere; which lights up a warm white when turned on.
The yellow stuff is a phosphor; which is typically a Yttrium Aluminium Garnet; that is doped with Cerium (oxide).
This is a totally unique material combination. The Cerium (rare earth) doping in the Garmet has a unique and very narrow blue absorption spectrum at 460 nm wavelength; so inside the yellow dome is a BLUE Gallium Nitride or Indium Gallium Nitride LED. Now ordinary BLue LEDs are usually 470 nm wavelength as 460 starts to look a bit Indigo/violet looking which is not a pleasant Blue light. But 460 is what matches the Cerium doped YAG absorption line.
There is NO OTHER similar absorption situation for any of the rare earth materials; and it is a patented technology (can’t remember who).
So the LED emits a blue light, and the YAG phosphor absorbs some of it. The YAG in turn then fluoresces, and emits a broad yellow centered spectrum of light. This plus the remainder of the BLUE light from the LED forms white light.
In fact you can prove that the highest efficiency white light is produced from a blue and yellow complementary colored pair, at about 400 Lumens per Watt maximum.
Depending on how thick the phosphor coat is, the amount of blue light absorption changes. Thicker phosphor traps more blue, makes more yellow, and makes a warmer color; so they can make it daylight white, with a thinnner phosphor that gives more blue and less yellow.
Problem is there is no red from the yellow phosphor. This is typically handled by spiking the YAG phosphor, with a little bit of a red Phosphor; to give it a red kick. There’s lots of ways to do this.
This Phillips Lamp is very well designed; and the people doing it (LumiLEDS) really know what the hell they are doing. They rate this lamp for a 25,000 hour life. I have one in my bedside lamp that I read by, and another one in a floor lamp.
Now MOST of the packaged LED bulbs I have seen so far, are SPOT light types; and they aren’t nearly as efficient as this broad beam 40 Watt Equivalent bulb.
This also was the cheapest one I could find at Home Depot, at about $21.50 each. Some of the spot lamps werre more than $40. I’m not planning on buying any of those; but I have seen a bunch of them in use in a “Chillis” Restaurant.
The LEDS are somewhat more efficient in their best implementations, than CFLs and they don’t have any Mercury hazard. They are quite recyclable.
The Phillips model # is 8E26A60 56 Lumens per Watt is very good production performance. They have done over 100 Lumens per Watt in the lab; and the industry gurus believe 200 L/W is reachable.
The theoretical 400 L/W max is not a practical white light source; You could make a flashlight like that that looks white; but without a red spike; you don’t get a real color illuminating source.
I’m quite impressed with the LED industry’s performance; and I’m sure they will reach their goals of 200 L/W one of these days.
By the way; CREE REsearch in North Carolina; are another extremely competent LED source; and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy their products either as the price comes down.
But CFLs suck as far as I am concerned; and my approach to eh imminent demise of Edison Incandescents; is to stock pile as many of them as I can get my hands on, before the Sacramento idiots make them illegal. They can have my Incandescent lamps when they pry my cold dead fingers off of them.
But LEDs are coming; and no thanks to Gummint meddlers.

Harold Pierce Jr
December 28, 2010 9:06 pm

The mob will bring in the incan. bulbs from Canada and Mexico like they did for booze during Prohibition. They will probably cut a deal with the First Nation Tribes to sell’em on the reservations.
I have read the Republicans have vowed to repeal this really dumb law.

December 29, 2010 1:59 am

I am sorry for having posted misinformation – these small bent tubes are not CCFLs because their cathodes are not cold. I read up on them and it seems the difference is that CCFLs use way higher voltages, thus allowing electron emission without (pre)heating.
Their usefulness is indeed limited. For some reason, the cheapest ones seem to last longest for me.
But you can have a little science nerd fun with those and a CD. For boring physics reasons, a CD is like optical gatter, splits white into colors; if you hold it at the correct angle to the CCFL and your eye, you can in fact see the emission lines or bands (usually 5).

December 29, 2010 5:47 am

Folks, take heart,
Just google
light bulb rough service
and there you will find where the incandescent bulb will live on FOREVER – at least in the USA – because the 2007 ‘law’ specifically EXEMPTS rough service bulbs from compliance
yes, they are a bit more expensive, but a viable option pretty much forever – I have directly talked with a few of the manufacturers to verify they are not bound by the 2007 law
pass the news of this along…

December 29, 2010 5:55 am

One other comment,
As for longevity of an incandescent bulb, I have 100s in use and most are on dimmers and most last for 10 years or more – they are all 130v (have not seen anyone comment on 120v versus 130v, but, 130v bulbs are far less likely to blow on power up)
I even have several that are on all the time, no dimmer and many last for one year or more before exhausting themselves (130v A19 100W mostly)
So, just remember, pickup 130v instead of 120v and you will most likely receive a ‘dividend’ of extra life for no extra cost.
BTW, most local outlets of bulbs are not stocking 130v, so buy online, plenty of sources.

December 29, 2010 1:33 pm

“SemiChemE says:
December 27, 2010 at 11:48 am
What about my easy-bake oven?”
Name change . “Dimly-Lit Cupcake display”.

R. Craigen
December 29, 2010 3:00 pm

None of the above. Though I no longer live in California, my answer would be “Carry on as I’ve been doing without such intrusive legislation: Use whatever kind of light suits me in each application, til someone arrests me for doing so. In some cases this means CFL or LED and in others it means incandescent.” Who are they to tell me what to do in my own home and how large my electric bill can be? If they really care that much, when are they going to come after me because my freezer and washing machine are older and not quite as energy efficient as current models? When are they going to start turning down my thermostat by force? Lights are small potatoes compared to all of the above, energy-wise.

George E. Smith
December 29, 2010 4:43 pm

“”””” John says:
December 29, 2010 at 5:55 am
One other comment,
As for longevity of an incandescent bulb, I have 100s in use and most are on dimmers and most last for 10 years or more – they are all 130v (have not seen anyone comment on 120v versus 130v, but, 130v bulbs are far less likely to blow on power up) “””””
John, I can’t disagree with your position; but you should be aware of what you are getting. A “130 nV incandescent lamp is just that; a filament lamp that was designed to operate at 130 Volts RMS AC.
If you use such a bulb on the standard US power which is either 120, or 117, or 115 depending on who you talk to, then the filament will run cooler than it is designed to and it will put out a lot less and redder light. And it will certainly last a lot longer as a result.
You can get a similar result by running ordinary lamps on a dimmer; but then you have to deal with all the RFI problems of partially dimmed SCR dimmers.
Small decorative (25 Wattt and less) are notoriously bad for both lifetime, and also light output. To run on 120 AC at such a low Wattage, the filament has to be so delicate, that you can’t stand very much Tungsten evaporation before the filament fails.
And in places like Kiwiland where they have 230/240 Volt AC (and 50 Hertz too) low Wattage incandescents are even dicier.
For me, I am using some CFLs and some LEDs simply because nobody else in my family ever turns a light switch off. My wife can turn every single light in the house on within the first 45 seconds of arriving home; so I spend half of my waking hours turning off lights, and closing doors to compartmentallize the house for heat retention. I also happen to be the one that pays the power bill.
But I’m not agaisnt conserving when I can; I don’t like to see waste; but I also don’t like to be governmented to death either.
I’m quite happy with the 18-20 things that the US Constitution tells the gummint to take care of; and even happier when they allow me to take care of what ever else I may need.

December 30, 2010 8:49 am

As my cfl bulbs burn out I plan to throw them in the regular trash, and when I take it to the dump I plan to make certain those bulbs break. F the government!

Olaf Koenders, Wizard of Oz?
December 31, 2010 2:49 am

This issue will likely go the way of asbestos, especially for the workers, where after years of exposure and many deaths, many more years will be spent fighting for their compensation – if they survive long enough to use it on medical bills.
From Wiki:
“Immediate chelation therapy is the standard of care for a patient showing symptoms of severe mercury poisoning or the laboratory evidence of a large total mercury load.”
Maybe that’s the “immunisation” they were talking about. In any case, the whole thing is awash with blind, green feel-goodery that not only costs far more than it’s worth (except unemployment figures – anyone want a job?), but will eventually kill you.

Olaf Koenders, Wizard of Oz?
December 31, 2010 3:02 am

George E. Smith:
“And in places like Kiwiland where they have 230/240 Volt AC (and 50 Hertz too) low Wattage incandescents are even dicier.”
Low wattage bulbs here in Australia tend to have a much yellower light compared to higher wattages due to the thicker filament needed for 25W @ 240V. I remember my 25w bedside light as a child would last around a year or 2 before it winked out. You could always tell when it was close due to the singing noise of the spark trying to jump the widening break in the filament. Eventually, there’d be a bright flash, a “tink” noise and I’d have to stop reading my encyclopedias. Such memories.. 😉

Rebecca C
December 31, 2010 8:50 am

When I am forced to use CFL’s instead of incandescents, I will also be forced to throw away six ceiling fans in my house that are a mere three years old. The CFL bulbs are about 1/2″ longer than incandescents and DO NOT FIT inside the bowl of the light. How green.
On a related note, I was amused to read the fine print on the LED christmas lights I bought this year. “Up to 88% less!” power consumption for the LED lights. Wow… but that’s “comparing a 60-light LED string to a 100-light standard incandescent string.” Funny they did not also put “Up to 40% fewer lights!” in large print on the front of the box.

January 1, 2011 11:18 pm

You can get incandescent light bulbs rated for 25,000 hours that are used by the hospitality industry. If you use them for an average of 7 hours a day they’ll burn out in just a little under 10 years and cost about a buck or less per bulb depending on how many you buy.
Once you stock up all you’ll have to do is watch out for the light bulb police who’ll be monitoring everyone who might be using those unauthorized, evil incandescents!

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