Bulb buyout

It's lights out for traditional light bulbs.
Marie Havenga
Jan 10, 2014

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.

To read more of this story, see today's print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.



herding sheep


The LED itself will last quite a long time, but the power supply WILL NOT. In fact, the power supplies in the 120v LED retro-fit units are known to last only marginally longer than conventional incandescents. The problem is in the crappy quality of the components (cheap junk from china) and the fact that the heat-sinks are not large enough to dissipate the heat generated. This issue effects almost all 120v LED retrofit units. CFL's also have this issue to some extent.

And then there is the horrid color temperature of the current offerings...

Essentially, while everybody gladly advertises that LED's are so energy efficient, the sad fact is, with the current designs, these LED's will never pay for themselves.

Im no conspiracy theorist or anything, but some of you may want to watch this... http://youtu.be/AfzQzGNYaiU the lighting industry has already been well-known to practice planned obsolescence, and I have a hunch they may be applying this to CFL's and LED's as well.

EDIT: I should add that I am a big proponent of LED's, and in fact was one of those pushing hard to get them installed at the fountain. I am just saying that the companies currently producing these 120v retro-fits are using shoddy components and design which in turn will never allow the units to pay themselves off, thus negating their efficiency benefits.


Re: color temperatures - have you tried the newer options? They are now available in Soft White, Daylight, and Bright White - all very nice, imo. Also, CFL's are now available in 8 different shapes, although it should be noted that most all the specialty incandescent bulbs will continue to be manufactured and available - none of them are affected by the new law.

Tri-cities realist

If only we could unscrew them, scrape off the red, yellow, blue, etc. paint and screw them back together. Yeah, I know they are sealed at the factory.

(Edit) and I did get a good chuckle seeing this article after our bulb comments... Karma?

Tri-cities realist

Good info SM, err JB. I wasn't aware of the sub-par performance of the other components of the LED bulbs. That would be like the auto manufacturers giving you a 100,000 mile warrantee on the drivetrain, while knowing that the frame (I know Uni-body now) would disintegrate after 20,000 miles. I'm sure consumers would have no problem with that.

I've dealt with LED's for years in my profession, although at much lower luminance. I can understand why getting similar light output (and component reliability) to an incandescent is a challenge for the LED bulb manufacturers, kind of like over clocking a computer. I just hope that is the real issue, and not as you suspect. But it wouldn't surprise me either.


I personally like the Compact Fluorescent Lamps. They have come a long way and are more efficient than the incandescent bulbs. The LED's are coming along also but they still have a long way to go to make it worth it. Though I don't believe in Unnatural Global Warming at all I do agree that we need to become more efficient. Just for the sake of cost.


LED's although the wavelength is not the best for some applications are my favorite. I do not like the slow CPF bulbs much but they are energy efficient. It's simple; heat is energy, if a bulb produces heat that is wasted energy (unless the bulb is supposed to heat something). LED's produce little wasted energy in the form of heat making them very efficient but I must say I do not like it when cars use them; they seem annoyingly in your face whether the lights are in front of behind you.
We could all save money on our bill if Consumers would not run ads every half hour during prime time about how they are saving you money…just sayin’.


Ok, fine....but what am I suppose to do with my easy-bake oven if I can't find an old-style bulb to use as a heat source??

Signed....my granddaugher


To your granddaughter: Ask Poppa to buy you a new Easy Bake Oven - they no longer use 100-watt light bulbs, and will get to temperatures of 375 degrees. All for $49.99, twenty dollars more than the ones they are replacing.....:'-(


Sure, make me buy a new one when the old one works just fine. I think I've got enough old style 100w bulbs stashed to last until she grows out of that phase and maybe her kids too!
I'll leave 'em to the great grandkids in my will! :-O

Tri-cities realist

Yep, throw away a perfectly functional item because the govt has outlawed an item that costs less than a dollar, and would make it function again. Then blow $50 on a new "energy efficient" one. Let me know how many cupcakes she would need to make to recoup that investment. Brilliant logic.


HaHa!! Guess what?? It's so much more complicated than that. Hasbro has made the Easy Bake Ovens since 1963, using a 100-watt bulb for heat. But in 2007, 1 million ovens were recalled due to children getting fingers stuck and burned - in one case the burn was so bad part of the finger had to be amputated. That was the primary impetus, along with the Energy Bill of 2007, that prompted Hasbro to totally redesign the oven, and scrap the light bulb heat concept. It now can reach up to 375 degrees - I don't think energy efficiency enters into the equation.

If you object to the new, safer models that cost more money, but are less likely to burn little children, you might want to contact Hasbro with your complaint.

Tri-cities realist

No complaints here about Hasbro making their products safer. There are warnings about parental supervision, so I don't blame Hasbro. Who would think that an oven would get hot? But in our sue happy country, Hasbro probably didn't have a choice.


how do they know that LED lights can last up to 20 yrs? I havent heard of LED's until recent years, so where is the proof that they will last that long? I think the new light bulbs are ridiculous. the cost is near the same (if not more) & they dont emit that much light. so lets say, I have one lamp in my living room (which is true & its still not enough light) now with these bulbs I have to buy another lamp & more light bulbs in order for in to look the same. where am I actually saving money with these stupid things? & you cant throw them in the garbage? oh okay. Im sure everyone will find some recycling place "near by" & bring them there.
I love how the US is not "free" anymore. when you cant even buy a specific light bulb. you've got to be kidding me


LED's have been around for ages. It is just in the past decade however that we have been able to get acceptable output from them for home lighting.

But you are correct, the advertised lifespans are an estimate and are only for the diode itself and not the other components in the unit such as the power supply. Many retro-fit LED bulbs on the market are overdriven to get more output or to get a certain color temperature, and thus the diode itself will fail prematurely. The biggest problem however is the power supplies, which typically fail after about 1,500 hours of use; not much longer than an old-school incandescent.

If houses were wired with low-voltage lighting circuits with a common power supply for the whole house, THEN LED's may really shine as an efficient lighting source.

Also, gotta get the lighting cartels out of there... Manufacturers have gotten together to ensure that incandescent bulbs don't last nearly as long as they could in order to keep sales up. I have a funny hunch the same thing is happening with CFL's and LED's.


FYI - I buy CREE LED bulbs that have a 10 year warranty for $8-10/bulb (Home Depot and online). Save the receipt and if the bulb dies prematurely, take it back to the store w/receipt and they will give you a new one (within 10 years).

Tri-cities realist

You may want to read the fine print on the warrantee. My hunch is that you would need to pay to ship it to the manufacturer, not just bring it back to the store. But I could be wrong (I know you'll let me know if I am ;) ), the store may be betting that the majority won't save the receipts.


I'm not trying to prove you wrong - just sharing information. The warranty states you must ship it back to the manufacturer for replacement or refund, but I was told when I purchased some that I could bring it back to Home Depot (I have also purchased online). Most people don't save receipts indefinitely, I know I don't, but it is standard policy for most returns. I know at Menards they can track your purchases using your method of payment, and print out a receipt for you.

The sole purpose of my comment to JLB was in response to his concern that they might not last as long as they are estimated to, and I wanted to point out the terms of the LED warranty of those I have bought.

Tri-cities realist

Thanks for the confirmation. My concern is whether Home Depot would honor you bringing them back, and whether the sales clerk just told you that to get you to buy them. If you have to pay to ship them back to the manufacturer, it might not be worth it.

"If it ain't in writing, it doesn't exist"

Former Grandhavenite

Whether you're using incandescent, LED, or CFL it's important to get the color spectrum right for your preferences. Especially in the dead of winter when it's dark so much of the time, having a realistic simulation of a sunny afternoon at the beach with a blue sky tint really boosts my overall mood. Since getting a full spectrum lamp with a timer/dawn simulator it's been quite a bit easier to get up and get moving in the morning.

A lot of people also seem to prefer the yellow/orange more traditional color that was popular in incandescent bulbs for years. I never thought something as simple as changing the color of the bulbs would make a huge improvement to the ambiance of the place.

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