The Truth about the EISA Light Bulb Ban

Dec 27, 13 The Truth about the EISA Light Bulb Ban

Lately, one of the hot topics of discussion in the news has been the last phase-out of the incandescent light bulb, set to take effect January 1, 2014. When Americans were told that the incandescent light bulbs they had become so familiar with would slowly cease production due to new government regulations, many panicked. Although the incandescent light bulb isn’t something that many Americans would typically put on the top of their list of things to worry about, the idea that something so familiar and everyday would no longer be available angered them. However, contrary to popular belief, the so-called “light bulb ban” does not mean the extinction of the incandescent light bulb. Lighting retailers like 1000Bulbs.com will continue to work with manufacturers to produce the bulbs that many people use in common residential applications such as table lamps, floor lamps, and track lighting.

The Energy and Independence Security Act

The Energy and Independence Security Act of 2007 (EISA) was signed by President George W. Bush in an effort to curb the country’s high energy consumption and push consumers towards more energy-efficient lighting solutions. In Section 321of the EISA, it states that, after certain dates, general service incandescent lamps that do not meet the efficiency requirements set forth by the government can no longer be produced in the United States. Because almost all standard incandescent lamps did not meet EISA standards, the slow phase-out of the incandescent bulb would happen within three years, from January 1, 2012 to January 1, 2014.

According to the EISA, screw-based light bulbs must consume less wattage, or energy, for a similar lumen output, or brightness.  The first bulbs to be affected by the government regulations were 100-watt incandescents in January of 2012. Then, in January of 2013, 75-watt incandescent bulbs began their phase-out as well. Now, in January of 2014, 60-watt and 40-watt incandescent bulbs will begin the transition. By the year 2020, most light bulbs will be required to be 60 to 70 percent more energy-efficient than the standard incandescent bulb of today.

Below is an example of how much less wattage today’s light bulbs will be required to use in compliance with EISA standards:

Present Wattage                          Wattage Use after EISA                                      Effective Date

100-watt                                               ≤ 72 watts                                                     January 1, 2012

75-watt                                                 ≤ 53 watts                                                      January 1, 2013

60-watt                                                 ≤ 43 watts                                                      January 1, 2014

40-watt                                                 ≤ 29 watts                                                      January 1, 2014

Light Bulb Ban Myths

Since the signing of the EISA, many myths about the light bulb ban have circulated, resulting in some angry reactions from those who think incandescent light bulbs are being made illegal or completely disappearing from the face of the earth. Below are some explanations of these myths that will, hopefully, clear a few things up.

Myth #1: All incandescent light bulbs will completely disappear after the New Year

Simply put: This is 100 percent false. Although the EISA is preventing manufacturers from continuing to produce general service incandescent light bulbs as inefficiently as they had been, it does not forbid retailers, including 1000Bulbs.com, from selling their existing inventory. It also does not forbid the use of the remaining incandescent bulbs in any way. 1000Bulbs.com will still continue to sell traditional incandescent light bulbs for six months to a year, or until all stock runs out. This gives customers plenty of time to stock up on their favorite bulbs.

Myth #2: The bulb ban will increase the amount of money people have to spend on lighting their homes

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s no secret that energy-efficient lighting has made major strides in popularity over the past couple of years. LED lighting has become one of the go-to lighting sources for everything from office buildings to art installations because of how little energy they use. While it’s true that the initial cost of energy-efficient lighting like LED and compact fluorescent bulbs is notably higher than the traditional incandescent bulb, the amount of money saved over time will make up the difference. For example, a 23-watt CFL can produce the same amount of brightness as a 100-watt incandescent, using a fraction of the energy. Check out our blog post on how energy-efficient lighting can save you money for more detailed information.

Myth #3: The Mercury in CFL bulbs will be harmful to you and your home

As we have mentioned in a previous post, the mercury levels in a CFL are nothing to be overly concerned about. While the amount of mercury in a CFL can vary, the US EPA’s Energy Star program determined that there is about 4 milligrams in an average screw-based CFL with an Energy Star rating. To put it in perspective, that is about the size of a ballpoint pen tip. Even though the mercury levels in a CFL are relatively small, you should always exercise caution if one breaks and dispose of the bulb properly.

The Exception to the Rule

Although general service incandescent bulbs are being phased out, the new laws do not apply to many specialty application lamps, including those that fall under the category of “rough service.” Besides being sturdier for their use in heavy-duty applications, rough-service bulbs work in the same way as traditional incandescents and come with a similarly inexpensive price tag. Manufacturers only have to add extra supports around the filament of an incandescent light bulb in order for an incandescent to be considered rough-service. This is why the incandescent light bulb will continue to be produced and sold through lighting retailers like 1000Bulbs.com. Whereas many big-box stores will stop re-ordering incandescent lighting after the New Year, 1000Bulbs.com will continue to provide the incandescent bulbs that many have gotten so used to using in their household fixtures.

For a comprehensive list of incandescent bulbs exempt from the light bulb ban, click here.

 

What are your thoughts on the EISA light bulb ban? Let us know in the comments below or send us a message on FacebookTwitter, or Google Plus!

Courtney Silva

Courtney is a copywriter at 1000Bulbs.com. Check back often for more lighting facts, tips, and updates!

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25 Comments

  1. Trish H. /

    Hi Courtney. Can you tell me the fate of the vintage style exposed filament bulbs (Edison bulbs)? Will they fall under the specialty exemption? I have a very (very) expensive lamp that is designed around this style bulb.

  2. I use almost all 40-watt bulbs. In the past I’ve tried Aero-Tech’s 20,000 hour rough service bulbs, but the 40-watt is too dim, and 60-watt too bright for my 40-watt lighting needs. I’m also very concerned about retaining the color spectrum offered by traditional incandescents. Are you saying that 29-watt halogens are going to give the same lumens and color warmth as the traditional 40-watt? Is there a particular brand or type that comes closest? Is the issue I ran into with the rough service bulbs typical? And does anyone make a 50-watt version?

    • Jordan Loa /

      Thanks for reaching out to us, Maude! First, we would need to know which 29-watt lamp you’re referring to. However, halogens will be a little brighter white than an incandescent but they have roughly a 2 to 1 lumen output compared to incandescent bulbs. Have you considered going with CFLs?

  3. Hi Courtney, thanks very much for your blog post. Can you tell me whether Candelabra Base Chandelier Light Bulbs will be phased out under EISA?

    • Hi Jim! Incandescent chandelier bulbs will still be available for purchase and are exempt from the EISA phase-out, but they cannot exceed 60 watts. Thank you for the question!

  4. eric /

    Hi Courtney,

    This is very informative, thank you. Any word on the status of the antique style radio bulbs?

  5. Don /

    I don’t mind saying goodbye to incandescent light bulbs, especially since I switched to LEDs. It took me awhile to find ones that were really good though and just found out you guys now carry them (Leapfrog Lighting).

  6. I like the CFL bulbs for most applications, but is it not correct that CFL won’t work with a dimmer (those are the ones that I still use standard incandescents in)? And the LED bulbs I’ve seen give off a really ugly blueish light that is very unsettling. Definitely NOT something I want in my home. I’ve also got a number of Ikea lamps that use the small-base “candle” style 40watt decorative bulbs (and those are all on dimmers and require incandescents). Are those bulbs effected by the ban?

    • Hi Rick!

      In fact, there are such things as dimmable CFLs. The only catch with those is that they take a while to warm up and aren’t recommended for use in areas where lights are turned on and off with frequency, such as bathrooms. In regards to the unsettling blue LED light, the LEDs you’ve seen may have had a cool or stark white color temperature. If you’re looking for LEDs that give off a warmer light, make sure they have a warm white color temperature of 3000K or less. As far as the 40-watt decorative candelabra bulbs you mentioned, those bulbs are not affected by the ban. All incandescent candelabra lamps that use 60 watts or less are exempt as of right now. We hope this helps!

  7. Michael Harris /

    Are there any LED bulbs available which do not emit a significant electromagnetic field? Every one I have tested, including those manufactured by Philips, are surrounded by fairly strong local fields, sufficient to represent both electronic interference and health issues.

    • Jordan Loa /

      Thanks for reaching out to us, Michael!

      We have had a few reports on a few LEDs interfering with garage door openers and church sound systems. Despite these reports, many of our bulbs bear the FCC markings, which mean they have been tested and have been found to comply with FCC regulations regarding interference. However, depending on the equipment involved, there still may be a possibility of interference. The best solution is to purchase a few of your desired LEDs and test them out before making a significant investment. We hope this helps!

  8. Dennis /

    I despise the compact fluorescent bulbs because their color spectrum is horrible, the phosphor is dangerous if broken and you get cut on it, they emit dirty electricity, they emit UV-C, and random bulbs can fail with a fire. Many share these issues. I believe the mercury issue is not as bad as many fear, but I do not want to break several of them indoors.

    I also believe LEDs have made drastic improvements. I remember when a LED was larger diameter than a compact disc, put out around 400 lumens for 10 watts, and they were extremely heavy. These days, you have omnidirectional and snow cone models to pick from. Snow cones are for fixtures shining away from a wall or down from the ceiling, or recessed fixtures. Omnis are for regular lamps, chandeliers with standard bases, and general use.

    And color temperatures are available between 2700 and 5000 K. The 2700 is closer to incandescent, and I recommend anyone needing a 40 or 60 watt equivalent to try these before trying a squiggly. The 4100 and 5000 K bulbs are for task lighting, for use in areas where delicate vision is needed (sewing, reading), security (burglars will think twice before breaking in where plenty of 5000 K light is around), and for people working nights using them as a substitute for daylight.

    Check that number. Use a 5000 K for evening relaxation or a hallway where you are used to incandescent, you will get a stark white where you wanted a warm white. I believe the 1000 Bulbs site adequately classifies bulbs by color temperature and brightness on its web site. Also, getting a snow cone where you needed an omnidirectional is going to disappoint. But, pick the right LED, and you are going to wish you done so earlier. I did that, replacing my squigglies with LEDs in April 2012, and preferred the LEDs to the point where my plans to replace my squigglies before the end of 2013 was advanced to by the end of May 2012. And I saved money on my light bill, surprised that the CFL bulbs were mysteriously wasting more than 40 watts. I am just glad that 40 watts of up-to-no-good waste is gone–the bulbs weren’t even running hot enough for that.

    Price of LEDs? They are still more than CFL, and way more than incandescent. But worth it. And they are coming down–less than 1/6 that of the older ones (the CD-sized ones of 2008). And they last 3 times longer, or more, than a squiggly. Besides, they come on full blast. Some require a brief initiation (a second), others are instant on. I definitely advise trying LEDs.

    Bonus: One LED takes less space than a stash of 25 incandescent bulbs and will probably still work after your 25 bulbs are all blown.

  9. William Kendall /

    I tried to switch to Soraa LED bulbs because of their color quality and efficiency. However, when I tried to dim them they made a very loud buzzing noise, and I had to retreat to my original halogen bulbs, which are quiet. What’s the story on dimming LED bulbs?

    • Jordan Loa /

      LED manufacturers are aware of this issue, and because of this, they publish dimmers that will work flawlessly with their LEDs. The problem you’re experiencing could be caused by utilizing a dimmer that’s not fully compatible with the bulb you’re using. Hope this helps, and let us know if there’s anything else we can do!

  10. Erik /

    What about standard base chandelier bulbs, like this one? http://www.1000bulbs.com/product/5510/SATCO-A3632.html

    • Jordan Loa /

      Erik,

      Because of their B11 shape, these types of bulbs are exempt from the ban.

      • Susan /

        This is not a reply, it is a question. I for one am furious about the ban. I don’t want to be forced to use something that I do not like, so I have been hoarding bulbs. With all the research I have done, I have no idea which new bulbs will compare (color, warmth, etc.) to our wonderful incandescent bulbs. Frankly I despise the lighting that all the newly produced light bulbs emit. They are depressing and uncomfortable on the eyes. Sorry I am lightbulb illiterate right now, but again can someone tell me the name or number of”incandescent lighting” comparable bulbs? Definitely NOT LEDs. Halogens? I unfortunately do not have a clue. As I understand
        ‘rough service” bulbs will continue to be produced. Is the lighting (color etc.) the same as the consumer incandescent), they appear to be a little dimmer. Is that the best way to continue the “look” of the banned bulbs? Or which bulb exactly would be what I am looking for?Thank you so much for the information you provide!

        • Jordan Loa /

          Susan,

          We understand your frustration over the bulb ban. However, we’re here to help.

          With regards to rough service bulbs, these will be the exact same as the standard incandescent (same shape, color). So if you’re wanting to keep the same look and feel of the traditional incandescent bulb, those are your best bet.

          LEDs match the color and warmth of incandescent bulbs quite well. The only difference is that their service life is far, far longer than the incandescents, not to mention they use only a fraction of the wattage, thereby saving you a lot of money over the course of their lives. The color described in the question probably wasn’t because it was an LED, but because it may have been a higher color temperature than what you’re used to. Bulbs that produce a whiter light have a higher color temperature, and bulbs that produce a warmer light have a lower color temperature. In short, not all LEDs look the same.

          Hope this helps!

  11. Gail /

    Will they ever come out with a ‘squiggle’ that gives the light of a 20W or 15W?

    • Thanks for your question, Gail! By “squiggle” we’re guessing you mean the CFL bulb? As of right now there aren’t many CFLs that are equal to 20 or 15 watt incandescents. There are some torpedo CFLs with a medium base that are 15-watt equals but have less of a squiggle shape, and more of a candelabra bulb shape. Hope this helps!

  12. Ellen Jane Swartz /

    I’ve used 60 watt opaque soft pink bulbs made by GE or 60 watt Sylvania “pinque” pink bulbs around the house for years. I love the soft, warm color these lend to a room. Will these bulbs still be available after the ban? If not, is there anything comparable. I’ve tried other pinks but they’re too strong a pink and look unnatural, like a circus. I don’t mind paying more, but losing these bulbs would give my house a completely different (and unwanted) look.

    • Hi Ellen,

      Even though the pink bulbs you’re referring to don’t give off an obviously pink tone, they are still technically colored bulbs. As mentioned in the article linked at the very end of the blog post, colored incandescent bulbs are currently exempt from the ban.

      • Ellen Jane Swartz /

        Thank you! I wasn’t sure if “colored bulbs” included these or meant only bug lights and party lights.

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