The Incandescent Bulb Phase-Out: What it Means for Consumers

January 1st, 2014 brought forth the last phase of a gradual plan to phase out traditional incandescent light bulbs in the United States. Since legislation was originally passed back in 2007, the United States government has been discontinuing the production and sale of different types of incandescent light bulbs.

As of the January 1st update, tungsten-filament based light bulbs in 40 and 60 watt varieties will no longer be manufactured. These types of bulbs will remain on store shelves until supplies run out, but after that, they will no longer be available to consumers.

Most consumers have already opted for more energy efficient lighting choices, such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. A third option for consumers exists in newer, more efficient versions of incandescent bulbs that use halogen gas to improve bulb lifespan and efficiency.

Despite the improvements of these bulbs over the older versions of incandescent light bulbs, there remains segments of the population that are disappointed by the progression. Fluorescent bulbs are cheaper to buy over the long-term, and produce greater amounts of brighter light when in use. LED bulbs are slightly more expensive than their incandescent counterparts, but are rapidly dropping in price. Aside from subjective aesthetic lighting differences, fluorescent bulbs and LED bulbs will soon be superior in every way to the obsolete incandescent bulbs.

If all or most of your light fixtures have already been upgraded to more efficient bulb choices, the phase out will likely not affect you at all. If you plan on continuing to buy incandescent bulbs, however, your choices will soon be restricted.