Why the light bulb phase-out again?
Maybe you missed the memo, but in 2007 the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) was passed which mandated that all screw-in light bulbs, or lamps, must use 25% less power starting with the 100-watt and greater bulbs in 2012 and 75-watt or greater bulbs in 2013. By 2020, all screw-in bulbs must use 65% less energy. To be clear, you will still be able to get lamps which emit a level of light like a 60-watt and 40-watt bulb does, they just won’t be incandescent or Edison light bulbs because those lamps are nowhere near efficient enough to meet the EISA requirements. The 2014 phase-out of 60-watt and 40-watt bulbs is expected to be most disruptive for consumers because those are the most popular incandescent lamps.
And which bulb will we use instead?
If we look at the 60-watt equivalent bulbs on the market we see these possibilities:
- Compact fluorescent (CFL) – 13-Watts, 78% Energy Savings, $2.19 /bulb
–Life Hours: 10,000 hrs (9 yrs estimated)
–Colors supported: 2700K, 3500K, 4100K, 5000-6500K
–Light Output: 650-900 lumens
–Color Rendering Index: 82-90
PRO: CFL bulbs are least expensive and will show you net savings faster than the more expensive LEDs. Slightly better energy savings than LED.
CON: Some might have a delayed start and take up to 3min to reach full brightness
- Light-emitting diode (LED) – 14-Watts, 75% Energy Savings, $4.49 /bulb
–Life Hours: 8,000-25,000 hrs (up to 22 yrs estimated)
–Colors supported: 2700K, 3000K, 5000K
–Color Rendering Index: 80-90
–Light Output: 800-830 lumens
PRO: LED bulbs last the longest and are strongest. If you’re replacing outside lights that are either in hard to reach places or lights which are at peril of being broken by their environment (such as a floodlight near a basketball hoop) then LED lights are the way to go.
CON: Some LED bulbs might only emit light in one direction. Look for omnidirectional bulbs if you want the closest match to a traditional bulb.
- Halogen Incandescent – 43-Watts, 28% Energy Savings, $1.59 /bulb
-Life Hours: 985-1250 hrs ( up to just over 1 yr estimated)
-Colors supported: 2900-3000K
-Light Output: 565-750 lumens
-Color Rendering Index: Unknown – 100
PRO: Rank best in the Color Rendering Index and are known to have crisp, bright light. Look most like a traditional light bulb. They’re considered a favorite for spotlighting artwork or photos.
CON: Poor life hours, low output, less savings on energy costs
Can you provide some helpful tips when shopping for light bulbs?
- Look for models that show the Energy-Star rating logo
- If buying CFL, ensure you get a model that doesn’t require time to warm-up
- Consider buying the replacement bulbs in bulk (especially if purchasing for a home which you don’t plan to stay in for 9-22 years) and save the working old bulbs to install in the fixtures when you leave. It will save you alot of money when you move homes.
- Make sure the model of any bulb you’re buying is actually Dimmable if that’s a requirement; some are not.
- Be aware of the socket type of the bulb you’re buying. Traditional light sockets are of the type A19
- Don’t accidently buy a bulb which won’t physically fit in the fixture you’re aiming to place it in. See below for the measurements of old-school incandescents.
I see alot of stats attached to these bulbs. What do some of them mean?
Color Rendering Index(CRI) – is a quantitative measure of the ability of a light source to reproduce the colors of various objects faithfully in comparison with an ideal or natural light source. Light sources with a high CRI are desirable in color-critical applications such as photography and cinematography.
Light Output (lumens) – a measure of the total “amount” of visible light emitted by a source.
Actual Color Temperature (K) – a measurement of how warm or cool a light is. Ranges from warmer (2700K) to cooler(6500K).
I liked my old bulbs. What are the stats for an old-school incandescent bulb?
Your old incandescent light bulbs operated in the warm 3000K range and put out about 800 lumens with a CRI of 100.
The incandescent’s physical measurements are 2 3⁄8 inches wide at its widest point, approximately 4 3⁄8 inches in length, with a one-inch wide (type E26, i.e. approximately 26 millimetres wide) Edison screw base.
Foot Note: I got all my data from Home Depot’s website. That means the numbers and stats are subject to change and may in fact be innacurate already. The pricing listed is for the cheapest bulb of that type sold. Some pricing reflects the per bulb charge even though they only sell in 2-packs. Please do your own homework for the best priced bulb with the stats and features you’re looking for. Some sites, like Home Depot, have a comparision tool that is very useful for this purpose. Use of Home Depot’s website as an information source does not constitute endorsement of that website or its products.