Light bulb manufacturers have stopped making traditional 40 and 60-watt light bulbs – the most popular in the country – at the start of 2014. This comes after the phasing out of incandescent 75 and 100-watt light bulbs at the beginning of 2013.
In their place will be halogen bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs, LED bulbs and high-efficiency incandescents — which are just regular incandescents that have the filament wrapped in gas. All are significantly more expensive than traditional light bulbs, but offer significant energy and costs savings over the long run. (Some specialty incandescents — such as three-way bulbs — will still be available.)
The rules were signed into law by President George W. Bush under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. They are designed to address gross inefficiencies with old light bulbs — only 10% of the energy they use is converted into light, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The rest is wasted as heat.
Experts point out how much consumers can save with more efficient bulbs.
The high-efficiency incandescents cost about $1.50 each, compared to 50 cents or so for the old bulbs. But they last twice as long, and use 28% less power.
With LEDs, the saving are even greater. While a 40-watt LED goes for about $7.50 — a big drop from the $50 or so it cost just a few years back — it uses 85% less energy than a traditional bulb.
Over the course of the year, a LED will consume about $2 in power under normal circumstances. That compares to over $7 for an incandescent. For consumers that means in two years you pay off the bulb, and because LED bulbs are expected to last at least 20 years — it’s all savings for the next 18 years.
LEDs are also free from many of the issues that plagued compact fluorescent bulbs. They turn on instantly, do not contain mercury and give off a warm light similar to an incandescent.