The switch flipped on new government regulations Jan. 1, making it illegal for manufacturers to produce 40- and 60-watt incandescent bulbs.
Production of 75- and 100-watt bulbs halted in 2013 and 2012, respectively.
The legislation, signed by President George W. Bush in 2007, does not make it illegal for stores to sell the familiar pear-shaped products. As a result, some stores and consumers have stocked up.
It's a trend that is expected to continue until inventory runs out.
Spring Lake Ace Hardware owner Tim Dean said in anticipation of the change, his store has stockpiled traditional light bulbs for the past year and a half.
“We have purchased as much as we can get of the standard incandescent bulbs,” said Dean, estimating he has 100 four-packs of each wattage variety — 40, 60, 75 and 100.
“We are trying to stay on top of the incandescent bulbs as long as we can have them in stock,” Dean said. “We also carry the halogens and CFLs if people want to go ahead and transition.”
Energy-efficient choices include CFL (compact fluorescent), LED (light emitting diode) and halogen/energy-efficient incandescent bulbs.
Although initial prices are greater for energy-efficient models, they also use less electricity and last longer. An LED light can cost $25 or more, but can last more than 20 years.
CFLs are less pricey, but they also take time to warm up before they emit full brightness. Some customers have also complained of the color hue energy-efficient models emit.
“We are getting an influx of customers starting to stockpile,” Dean said. “And we did have a rush on bulbs before Jan. 1, probably because people were hearing the news in December and were more aware of the other wattages going away. If they came in for one box, they may have bought five.”
Dean said he's already noticing a price drop in energy-efficient bulbs. LEDs last year were in the $40 to $50 range, according to the hardware store owner. This year, they're selling for $20 to $50.
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