Screw This: Shopping for the New Light Bulbs

Screw This: Shopping for the New Light Bulbs

If you’ve replaced a light bulb recently, you might’ve noticed something missing from your hardware store’s shelves: incandescent bulbs. Yep, that iconic “I’ve got a bright idea”-shaped bulb was phased out as of January 1, thanks to the Energy Independence and Security Act taking effect. Why the change, you ask? Turns out incandescents sizzle up to 90% of their energy as heat — meaning they weren’t such a bright idea, after all.

So now, it’s time to light things up in go-greener way. The change will be as enlightening for your wallet as it is for the environment: the new bulbs are at least 25% more energy efficient, according to experts at Batteries Plus. If you’re picturing those spiral-shaped CFL bulbs (not always my favorites to display, plus they contain a small amount of mercury, which is unnerving when they break), I’ve got news: you now have gorgeous LED choices that would make Mr. Edison jealous. This new Switch100 can put your old incandescents to shame by beaming out the equivalent of 100 watts of light while consuming a meager 21 watts. And though you’ll pay more for it up front, it’ll last 25 times longer than an incandescent—meaning it could be 15 to 20 years before you shop for a replacement. It’s such a stunner that I’d consider showing it off in a shadeless pendant. 

We’ve grown accustomed to incandescent bulbs, but we’ll be happy when our energy bills drop thanks to their more efficient replacements.

Not ready to fork up big bucks for an LED bulb? The new halogen bulbs are also 25% more efficient than incandescents, and can last triple the amount of time.

Whichever bulb you choose, replacing an incandescent will save you about six bucks per year on your energy bill. I’m hanging these high, and enjoying the long time I won’t have to get on a ladder to change ‘em.

Note! The new bulbs aren’t measured in watts anymore—they’re measured in lumens. Here’s your shopping cheat sheet:

  • If you had a 40-watt incandescent, look for 450 lumens
  • If you had a 60-watt incandescent, look for 800 lumens
  • If you had a 75-watt incandescent, look for 1100 lumens
  • If you had a 100-watt incandescent, look for 1600 lumens

Go on, make the switch.

Will you miss the old bulbs, or are you excited about the phase-out? Let me know in the comments!


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