Before you start thinking the U.S. government is going to kick down your door looking for incandescent bulbs like they’re drugs – that’s not the case. The lighting ban isn’t a true ban; you’re still free to buy them in stores and use incandescents at home. The U.S. is simply stopping the import and domestic manufacture of 40W and 60W bulbs, similar to the previous phase out of 100W and 75W bulbs.
Furthermore, incandescent bulbs will still be in stores, albeit with a dwindling supply. The availability of these bulbs should go on for a good part of next year. When the shelves run empty, homeowners will be able to use a multitude of other lighting solutions including halogen, compact fluorescent lights (CFL), and the new fangled LED light bulbs.
Here’s a breakdown of the alternatives: halogen lights provide the closest color temperature to incandescent lamps but only last for 1,000 hours and consume approximately 43 watts compared to a 60-watt incandescent light. On the plus side halogens are also the cheapest of the bunch.
CFL blubs, meanwhile, last considerably longer 10,000 hours and consume 13 watts for the equivalent of a 60-watt incandescent bulb. CFLs also have drawbacks as they’re priced slightly higher and contain trace amounts of mercury that has to be recycled at a proper facility. Lastly the light they produce is cooler, tinting rooms in a slight blue rather than warm, orange tinged incandescent bulbs.
Homeowners looking to future proof their home should look to LED lights. Although they are the most expensive lighting solution, prices have been going down steadily throughout the year. LED lights also provide the near white illumination and are rated to last the longest, up to 20 years.
Lead image © Alessandro
Infographics by Jill Fehrenbacher