Incandescent Light Bulbs

100 Watt BulbsThe incandescent light bulb. Once a symbol of American ingenuity, it is now under attack as a wasteful.

Just about everyone I know has strong feelings about the incandescent. Most prefer the light they provide. Most would also agree that they are inefficient compared to compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) and light emitting diode (LED) technologies. Some argue that the newer technologies are inferior due to their color spectrum and their turn on time, though both of those characteristics have been improving with each generation of the technologies. Others are just turned off by the higher prices of the newer bulbs.

Congress got involved with the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which was supposed to take effect at the beginning of 2012. The plan was to gradually halt the production of incandescents starting with the 100W bulb this year. The 75W would have been phased out in 2013, and the 60W and 40W in 2014. However, action by Congress during December of 2011 has effectively pushed out the start date until October 2012.

I have two perspectives on the matter. At the personal level, I think that efficiency is important and have been testing out the various CFL products for years. They were very poor at first, and I think they earned their bad reputation. Some of the newer bulbs I’ve bought have been much better, almost as good as the incandescents. I do still have a problem with the smaller specialty bulbs that are visible. Coiled CFLs just don’t look right in a nice chandelier, and I haven’t been impressed with the performance of “decorative” CFLs I’ve bought.

At the professional level I am a really big fan of incandescents. I’ve shown buyers enough homes to know that they are always more impressed with a property well lit by incandescents than they are by CFLs. One issue is that the quality of the CFLs vary depending on which generation technology the sellers have. So it’s common to see older CFLs that play right into the negative stereotype, which gets a buyer thinking about the lighting instead of the house.

My main recommendation at this point is to sellers. No matter how you feel about the different bulb technologies, you will make your home sell faster, and potentially for more money, by replacing all your CFL bulbs with warm incandescents. Think of it as part of the staging process, and remember that you can pack up your CFLs to bring to your new home.

4 thoughts on “Incandescent Light Bulbs

  1. Hi Amy,

    Interesting point. I’m waiting for the $1 LED lightbulbs which will last forever.

    Actually, what I did was confiscate all the incandescents and replaced them with CFL’s when I first bought my house. So, I stored them in the closet, to be put back into the house when I sell it.

  2. Hey, Nick. I agree that the affordable LED is the ultimate solution, but we’re just not there yet. I took a trip to the hardware store in preparation for the post and the only LEDs they carry are 40W equivalents for $21.

    That was smart of you to pack away all the incandescents when you moved in – good thinking!

  3. Hey Kyle, what happens to the look of our lovely crystal chandelier once the incandescent variety are outlawed? I will never put those horrid looking CFL bulbs on the chandelier. Will we need to revert to candlelight?

  4. Amy:

    Certain Incandescent bulbs are exempt.

    The efficiency standards will start with 100-watt bulbs and end with 40-watt bulbs.

    Your chandelier are probably lower than 40W. Therefore, you’re in luck.

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