Local News

Old light bulbs head toward extinction

SEBRING - People buying new light bulbs to replace their old incandescent ones may soon be experiencing sticker shock.

As stores finish selling their inventories of those bulbs, people will face buying light bulbs that cost three or more times as much. A federal law aimed at reducing energy consumption by the phasing out of such light bulbs that are seen as being less efficient than other types on the market, mandates the phaseout. As of this year 60 and 40-watt incandescent light bulbs were being phased out. Previously, 75 and 100-watt bulbs were phased out.

Wayne Todd, who has owned Bulb Bin for almost 25 years, said so far he's seen no evidence of a run on light bulbs.

Some of his customers, he said, object to the law itself, believing the federal government is regulating something it shouldn't be regulating. Others object to the prices, he said.

But on the other side of it, Todd said, some customers ask if he carries LED bulbs, the most expensive alternative on the market.

The change from incandescent bulbs was signed into law by former President George Bush in 2007.

As for how it will effect his business, he said, he may sell fewer light bulbs, but he'll make more money on the more expensive bulbs.

The American Lighting Institute on its web site notes that the law doesn't prohibit the sale of incandescent light bulbs, but requires the sale of more efficient ones.

Consumers will be able to buy halogen incandescent lights, which are about 30 percent more energy efficient than regular incandescent bulbs, the institute says on its web site.

The other choices include the compact fluorescent lights, which last six to 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs and the LED lights that last 25,000 hours or more, the institute says.

Todd said that he doesn't currently sell regular LED light bulbs, except bulbs that provide different colors of lights. He said the LED lights sell for about $10 each and he's hoping the costs will come down. Ultimately, he predicts the LED lights will become the most popular ones.

Compact fluorescent lights were promoted as lasting as long as seven years, but few keep working much beyond two years, Todd said.

He said he believes the reason is that tests were based on those lights being on all the time. But turning those lights on and off apparently affects the life of the bulb, he added.

That's not the case with the LED lights, he said.

In Florida, ultimately, one of the biggest benefits to the change may be savings during the summer on electric bills that are greatly influenced by running the air conditioner, Todd said.

Since LED lights emit no heat, that will help people conserve on using the air conditioner, he added.

On Facebook reaction to the change varied. Vernon Yost questioned whether continued use of incandescent light bulbs would destroy the world.

"After working in steel mills, auto assembly, and the airlines, my light bulbs are about as sufficient as a grain of sand in the universe," Yost wrote on Facebook.

Ian Maffett said he still sees uses for the incandescent bulbs.

"There are still many demanding uses for traditional incandescent bulbs," he wrote. "For home use, I only use the newer fluorescent bulbs. They do tend to last longer, but they do not work well in the cold and can't fully replace the old style."

Harry Pope said on Facebook that he already replaced his incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. But, he said, he will replace those with LED bulbs.

"I have no problem paying extra cost because in the long run you will make it up in savings," he said.


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