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Shedding Light on the Bulb

As you may have heard, certain regulations have recently gone into effect concerning light bulbs. In 2013, production of standard incandescent 75-watt and 100-watt bulbs ceased. And since the first of this year, the same has been true for 30-watt and 60-watt incandescent bulbs. There is no law against possessing or using these bulbs in your home, and you may still see them for sale on retail shelves. But, they are no longer being manufactured. In a sense, the least-efficient bulbs are being replaced with more efficient ones. Similar standards have been implemented in dozens of other countries around the world for years.

Modern bulbs do everything the ones they’re replacing do, only better. Here’s a look at the latest and greatest of what’s out there.

Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)

The iconic CFL has come a long way since it was first introduced, and they just keep improving. Today, they produce flicker-free, quick-start illumination, making them bright from the start, right from the start. Their versatility has also come light-years. (Forgive the pun.) There are CFLs designed for use in most types of fixtures, including three-way lamps, track lighting, dimmer switches, recessed can lighting and the outdoors.

You’ll also find a wide variety of color options, some of which provide the same appearance of incandescent bulb lighting. You’re not missing a thing—other than inefficiency. CFLs use around 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs, while producing the same amount of lumens (the measure of visible light.) On top of that, they last around 10 times longer.1

Important advice—to reduce the chance of breakage, hold CFLs by the ballast (the white plastic area) while screwing them in. Today’s CFL bulbs contain less mercury than they used to, but they still must be recycled properly. Many hardware stores and other retailers will take them off your hands, free of charge.

Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

The lighting of the future has arrived. LEDs provide excellent light quality while using around 75% ­to 80% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs1. They also give off virtually zero heat, which can help you save on air conditioning costs. With this cool-to-the-touch attribute, their unmatched resistance to breakage, and the fact that they contain zero mercury, LEDs are the safest choice in home lighting. Plus, they last up to 25 times longer than incandescents1. Thanks to this amazing longevity, you’ll face the chore of physically replacing bulbs far less frequently—an especially nice bonus when considering those difficult-to-reach areas. With LEDs, you won’t get burned out on bulb-changing.

These innovative bulbs come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and uses. Whatever your lighting need, there’s an LED for the job. As with any bulb, pay close attention to the packaging to avoid making purchases incompatible with your needs and preferences.

You can find efficient lighting at, or hardware stores and other retailers near you. Welcome to the bright new age!


1.      The U.S. Department of Energy