Future of Incandescent?

jaym2009December 21, 2009

Do you think incandescent lights will soon be banned from modern society? They don't even sell them at Costco anymore.

Should I start hording them so I can be assured of warm beautiful lighting in the future?


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No, don't do it.

That's what they said when candles got outdated.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 5:53PM
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The fate of general service (type A) incandescent lamps (regular standard "light bulbs") was determined by federal law in 1992 and updated in 2007 to include reflector (Type R)incandescent lamps. If you care about these lamps you should read a summary of the law which is widely discussed on the internet.

I can tell you that the law doesn't outlaw any technology but sets minimum efficacy in lumens per watt (LPW) which will effectively eliminate 100 watt A-lamps in 2012, 75 watt A-lamps in 2013 and 40 & 60 watt A-lamps in 2014 unless someone discovers how to make them 30% more efficient. GE announced that they were working on it but later dropped the project.

The limitations on "reflector" lamps (type R, ER & BR) have already taken place and they effectively eliminate lamps larger than 65 watt BR30. PAR halogen lamps are up to 30% more efficient so they already meet the new standards and most people have been using them for over a decade.

There are too many exceptions to the rules to mention so don't panic. And give the market credit for finding acceptable replacements for these energy inefficient lamps. I suspect that a 60 watt A lamp will be worthless in 2014 and you will be buying a 42 watt replacement that looks just like it.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 8:02PM
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"Should I start hording them so I can be assured of warm beautiful lighting in the future?"

Don't you mean, yucky yellowish lighting? Full spectrum CFLs all the way.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 7:17PM
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Integral ballast CFL's have their own problems with light quality especially when dimmed and cheap ballasts that overheat in recessed light fixtures.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2009 at 6:27AM
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Incandescent is not the future, that's sure. Maybe halogen is an alternative, it's more efficient than traditional incandescent, but certainly not as good as CFL or LED.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2009 at 3:09PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Just be sure you don't throw those CFLs out with your regular trash. They need to be disposed of at your hazardous waste collection center.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2009 at 4:20PM
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Until a whiter "high temperature" (ie 7000 Kelvin) dimmable CFL is developed there is a big hole in the light bulb market, the current offerings seem to be limited to warm white only.

Medium base LEDs are a long way from replacing a standard 100 watt bulb but I'm certainly looking forward to that day as LEDs will be about 90% more efficient.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2009 at 11:55AM
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I tried 23 watt CFL's out in my livestock barn. Now that cold weather is here, they are hideous. Some of them eventually "warm up" and emit mediocre light. Others do not warm up at all and look like a night light. I am stocking up on incandescents just for my barn. The extra money that I have to spend for "cold weather" energy efficient bulbs is not offset by any energy savings, not to mention the hassle they create. Also, the flies, bugs and spiders love the curly CFL's to leave their webs, nests, and excrement.

Most of our politicians have never lived in the real world and think they know what is best for us. They are fooling themselves if they really think that people are going to dispose of the mercury laden bulbs properly.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2009 at 6:08PM
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o brother! the business of these environmentalist wackos is just off the wall, and believe me , it is a business. Our children are being taught such crap in schools by these teacher who have bought into the crap they were brainwashed about in their universities. I know this, I work in schools and hear what is fed to these little sponges and it sickens me. You know in CA they are trying to ban plasma TV's too. kudos to Steve and thank God for dimmer switches.
Yes, we need to be sensible about protecting our environment but............these intrusions into our freedoms are completely out of hand and out of proportion.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2009 at 10:16PM
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if you follow what's happening in the market today, I wouldn't give up on the incandescent lamp for a long time.
The big guys(G.E., Osram, and Philips) are all working on an energy efficient A lamp , and it won't be long in coming.
The light sources in today's market are in a fluid state.
LED is at least 3-5 years away from beginning to make a dent in the retail market, fluorescents are getting closer to being accepted by the general consumer, and halogen sources aren't finished in becoming more efficient.
Hang on to your hat, but for the foreseeable future everything will be in the air.
In 45 years in the residential ligthing business I have never seen some much mis-information and downright fabrication in my business.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 9:21PM
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This past year we've been replacing many of our CFLs with LED (my kingdom for one that will replace a 60-watt incandescent bulb AND is affordable - $59.99 for one bulb). We found several (affordable) styles of LED lights at Sam's Club.

I've never liked CFL for all the common reasons (low light out-put when cold, who wants mercury concerns if you break one - especially in children's rooms and in lamps that can accidentally get knocked over, odd colors - nothing like that deep pink glow over the vanity in the master bath in cold temperatures - we have to wait several minutes for CFL to warm up before we can see to eat or read the newspaper in the dining room, etc...). With all their foibles, we've managed to use CFL since they were first available (in the late 1980's I believe) to reduce electricity use and avoid heat generated from incandescent lights, and yes, they are much improved for general looks and applications since the originals - but still a pain, somewhere lower than the neck, under some circumstances.

Nothing is perfect in the light world, but I can only hope LED technology snuffs out the CFL very soon. We have very few incandescent bulbs left...the interior appliance lights and one can (aka pot) light in a hall that isn't used very often, or for very long when in use.

What I would like to know is why do LED lights glow (ever so slightly) even when light switches are off in our ceiling fan lights? New construction home, new lights.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 6:25AM
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Remember the efforts to change the US to the metric system? Have no fear, the government will let us waste energy til it's all gone.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 4:35PM
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I would really like OLED to take off. GE is working on roll to roll manufacturing techniques of OLED so that we can just stick sheets on the wall and they will illuminate. That would be cool.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 10:20AM
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"What I would like to know is why do LED lights glow (ever so slightly) even when light switches are off in our ceiling fan lights?"

I borrowed a strip of LED under cabinet lights from a lighting store. I plugged it into two different dimmers to see how well it dims. With the two dimmers I used they would never turn completely off.

My theory is that the dimmers I used don't physically break the circuit when they are in the off position, and LEDs are so efficient that even the slightest amount of voltage can cause them to glow.

In you case maybe the ceiling fan uses some sort of electronic switch that lets a little bit of power through.

BTW- I just put some incandescent lights in the new kitchen and I must say there is a significant difference! The cabinets look 10 times better now.

LEDs are great for my car's interior, fluorescent is great for a work shop, but neither have any place inside the home ;)


    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 2:50PM
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Whoever Oopsie is, she is right on the money. Wacko environmentalists is a good description. Yes, the kids are buying into the "green" thing. Too bad they don't realize the "green" is just about "green as in cash". Green countertops with man made resin? It doesn't decompose. CFL's replacing old bulbs with timers so you can just leave them on all night long when you're not home and they'll last forever. Now isn't that great for conservation???? I could go on and on. It's ridiculous. Not to mention that I, being an artist, can tell you............did you ever look at yourself under a CFL bulb anywhere, let alone EVERYWHERE???? Colors are cold...blue hues. Brown hair looks mousey bad, and blondes look grey...nice after spending all that money in the salon. Clothes look awful, too. And forget skin. They won't be selling too many bathing suits with CFL's in dressing rooms. And what about light sensitivity to Flourescents? It's real.....some kids eyes actually "see" the flickering without realizing it and they get awful cluster headaches. They make autistic kids have fits. The day I can't get a normal warm yellow hued lightbulb (they simulate candlelight...the most flattering light of all)......is the day I go back to candles.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 12:38AM
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I've already started hoarding a few incandescent light bulbs - mainly the 3-way bulbs, which will definitely be discontinued, I think. If you are going to hoard something, that would be the one to buy, since at present there is no alternative that I know of. I just bought new table lamps for my living room (which already has a torchère with a 3-way socket), only to find that they require 3-way bulbs. I have enough to last for a while, I think. I may have to rewire them in the future, but I want to put that off as long as possible.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 4:11PM
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I have searched aroundthis site and the web and can't find any data. Does anyone know how long you can store a light bulb and not have it go bad?

I am in the process of buying a stock of Philips Halogena BR40 indoor flood lights becuase I love the light they emit and the wattage (60 watts generates over 700 lumens). When I tried to find replacement bulbs I could not find anything that offered comparable light output from the big box stores, and all they had were CFL's inside a R40 glass bulb. I am not going there - ever!

The stock I just bought should keep me 4-8 years but now I am thinking about buying more bulbs to take me far beyond that. I just want to make sure that if I buy the bulbs they will stil work 15-20 years from now.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 10:49AM
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My province in Canada put regs in place that shoved a lot of the incandescents off the retail shelves somewhat over a year ago. Fluorescents were the affordable alternative, but the disposal problem with them (mercury content) caused the government to take a second look - so incandescents have been back in the stores for about a year.

Personally, I don't care for fluorescent light - even full-spectrum. I do like incandescent when the red/yellow light component isn't too great. But I'll be really happy when full-spectrum, fantastically energy-saving LED (household, screw-in) bulbs commonly hit the $15/ea mark. Especially when they're warrantied so as to offer some 'investment security' - like 5-year warranties by companies that aren't going to go belly-up.

LED can provide very nice indoor light. And with a potential lifetime of 25 years or so, they'd be very well worth the up-front cost.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 12:47PM
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Your stock of bulbs will last 'forever' if not in use. There is nothing in them that will go bad over time.

I would probably be stockpiling incandescents as well - if LED lighting had not come along. There are some really great LED lights available today. (Some poor ones too - so one has to beware.) If your BR40s are in recessed 6" cans, the Cree/Ecosmart CR6 is a very popular option.

I still have 13 BR40s to replace with LED in my house. But they get maybe an hour of use a week, if that. So even with Californias high electric rates, it is not worth replacing with them yet. If I were to do it today though, there are some great options from Philips, TCPI, etc. These are in sloped ceiling cans, so unfortunately the CR-6 is not an option.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 3:47PM
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People all think that LED light will take the place of incandescent, and the nowadays market seems it will have a bright future

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 4:15AM
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I think LED is the Future!

i swictched to led bulbs,and they save my bill up to 80%!!!

Really nice:)


Have a look!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 4:16AM
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If you are over the age of 40, you will probably never have to worry about incandescent lamps disappearing. There are tens of millions of them in existence. If and when they no longer sell them in stores, you will see them in flea markets and garage sales for years and years to come.
I just picked up six 4-paks of GE 100 and 60 watt bulbs at an estate sale at $1.00 for each 4-pak. These will last for years and at 25 cents each, they sure are more cost efficient even with their higher energy use than paying $60 dollars for one LED bulb.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 7:58AM
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How long will incandescent lamps hold suitable vacuum? The electrical conductors do pass through the glass envelope. I had lamps fail in a damp basement in a farm outbuilding after 20-30 years with only 5 or 6 hours of actual use. I suspect that the conductors corroded and the seal to the glass failed. But they will not last forever. I suspect that a lamp which has never been used- never been subjected to heat-cool cycles-- will last longer in storage than one which has experienced such use.
The CFL and LED electronics components would probably not last long in that dampness.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 1:59PM
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Incandescent lamps are filled with an inert gas - usually Krypton. There will be a minute gas exchange with the atmosphere which may be quantifiable over a long period of time(> 100 years).

The most likely causes for failure for stored bulbs would be breakage and corrosion.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 5:46PM
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