Light Bulb Update

Not only has the Government banned our much-loved 100 watt and 75 watt bulbs, the EISA (Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007) deadline has come for the 60 and 40 watt incandescent bulbs as well. So what does this mean for illuminating our homes in the best light? Do we need to hoard these bulbs??? See the end of this article for my thoughts on this! Today there are more efficient (that produce better light with less energy) options available as long as you know what to look for.

If you are going to buy fluorescent bulbs (the coil bulb that takes 30 seconds to light up), make sure to get a “color temperature” of 2700-3000 Kelvin (warm yellow glow of incandescent bulbs) or 4000K (higher intensity true color “white” light) and know that:

  1. You will have to take them to a bulb recycling drop-off when they burn out due the mercury content in them.
  2. If one breaks, you should wash your hands and air out the room.
  3. They have limited dimmability
  4. They can produce a humming sound from the ballast.
  5. They last xxx times longer and burn without releasing any heat.

Our CFL bulb is dimmable!

The better (although still currently more expensive) option is the LED bulb. Using 84% less energy and lasting 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, LED bulbs now come in color temperatures that rival the competition, can focus light in a single direction or have “grouped filaments” to spread light in many directions, come in the familiar glass bulb shape or in mini sizes, turn on instantly, and are compatible with most standard dimmers.

LED E26 3000k Bulb

LED E26 3000k Bulb

For the aging baby boomers who are longing for that super power bulb, we recommend the halogen high efficiency bulb. These are fully dimmable, mercury-free, are instant-on and meet all EISA requirements.  The light output and familiar shape make these a smart choice for those who prefer a lot of light. These bulbs are also great for showing true color. However these bulbs do generate the most heat.

Frost Halogen Hybrid Bulb

Frost Halogen Hybrid Bulb

The popular “vintage Edison” bulbs give a nostalgic or industrial look but don’t provide the maximum illumination and are not energy efficient. However, these are still available since they are in the decorative bulb category and you will love the warm glowing light! So give them a try, especially in fixtures where you can see the bulb.

Vintage Edison A Light Bulb

Vintage Edison A Light Bulb

But with energy savings of up to 30% over incandescent bulbs, these newer options surpass older technology in so many ways. Except they cost more! Just make sure you get the same base (medium screw base, candle base, etc.) as your existing bulb and enough light (see lumens chart below). Luckily “decorative bulbs” (chandelier bulbs, round globe bulbs, appliance bulbs, 3-way bulbs) are exempted from the EISA ban! `So you can continue to buy all your candle bulbs without worry. But my bottom line is to (yes) hoard those incandescent bulbs until the price of the best-option LED bulb comes down (probably within 2 years)! That’s my two cents!


Here is our conversion table to determine similar bulbs:


Ashton Harrison

© 2014 Shades of Light

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