Are All Incandescent Light Bulbs Banned?

CFL bulb covered in green plant life

Being more energy efficient is good. Saving money on household energy costs is also good. But is it good for the government to shift consumer buying behavior from cheap, inefficient incandescent bulbs to more expensive CFLs and LEDs even though they use less energy?

Expectation of the EISA

Since the Energy Independence and Security Act was passed in 2007, inefficient incandescent light bulbs have begun to be phased out. While hardware stores and lighting manufacturers have almost totally shifted to more efficient alternatives, Congress is still wrangling with how to enforce the so-called “light bulb ban.”

It was expected that lighting technologies would become both more efficient and less expensive between the passing of the bill and the phase-out of bulbs. Unfortunately, this has not happened. While CFLs are becoming more efficient and safe over time, and LED technology is advancing by the day, the cost of these bulbs are the problem. They can be several times more expensive than traditional incandescent or halogen light bulbs.

Because the price of LEDs and CFLs are higher than anticipated than when the bill was passed, enforcement of the EISA has become an issue in Congress. Some Congress members argue that consumers should not be forced to purchase more expensive alternatives to cheap, effective (if inefficient) light bulbs. However, this disagreement over enforcement of the bill has not stopped manufacturers from ending production of the old bulbs, shifting those resources into producing more CFL and LED bulbs.

Finding Incandescent Light Bulbs Online

So will the incandescent bulb disappear forever? Probably not. There is a laundry list of exceptions to the bill, including some variations of the familiar 60 watt and 100 watt light bulbs. As far as common hardware stores go, though, it seems as though the old Edison bulb has gone the way of the dinosaur.

This is why specialty bulb websites like Topbulb have become more and more important. With shelves emptying of “banned” light bulbs, and the big box stores not carrying the specialty bulbs excluded from the ban, the search for a cheap and efficient light bulb has moved to the internet.

The following two tabs change content below.

Nick Heeringa

Nick is a writer, publisher and editor for the Topbulb blog. Check back often for more of his writing on lighting applications and announcements for the Topbulb website and blog!