Lights out for old bulbs as of January 2014

Photo Credit:  Courtesy of Thomas H. Culhane

The 60- and 40-watt light bulbs will no longer be manufactured in the United States as of January 1, 2014. It will also be illegal to import them. Retailers will still be allowed to sell them until current in-store stocks are depleted. This is all a part of President George Bush’s Energy Efficiency Act of 2007.

The 100- and 75-watt bulbs were already phased out in 2012 and 2013 respectively. According to this law, the primary reason for this change is that “A standard incandescent is only 10% efficient – the other 90% of the electricity it uses is lost as heat”. The government has issued the following guidelines to ease the transition of shopping for the new bulbs:

• If you used to buy 100 watt bulbs, look for a bulb with 1600 lumens.

• If you used to buy 75 watt bulbs, look for a bulb with 1100 lumens.

• If you used to buy 60 watt bulbs, look for a bulb with 800 lumens.

• If you used to buy 40 watt bulbs, look for a bulb with 450 lumens.

The Energy Act is projected to save as much as $6 billion per year. But many are a little leery over the fact that these new bulbs contain mercury vapor, although a very small amount. According to this article in the Scientific American, there is no danger to the household as long as the bulbs are intact. However, if they break, it is very important to follow cleanup details precisely and all should be fine.

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