WHEELING - Like it or not, the incandescent light bulb is going the way of the dinosaur, dodo bird and cassette tapes.
Though it's not impossible to find them, retailers have fewer and fewer "traditional" light bulbs in stock as new federal regulations pushing energy-efficient lighting go into effect. Bulbs of the 100- and 75-watt varieties already are illegal to manufacture, with the ban set to expand to 60- and 40-watt bulbs next year as the result of legislation passed in 2007.
"It's amazing - people in this area don't know they've been discontinued," said Josh Garrett, branch manager at Cardello Electric Supply's Wheeling showroom. "We try to tell everybody who walks in the door."
Josh Garrett, branch manager at Cardello Electric’s Wheeling showroom, displays a recessed lighting fixture with an LED bulb that will burn 10 hours a day for 26 years.
Photo by Ian Hicks
Yes, newer energy-efficient bulbs such as LED, halogen or compact fluorescent cost more up front. But they use significantly less electricity and their lifespan may be measured in generations, not months.
"The initial cost is the main thing that stops people. They're not looking at the future, how often they're going to have to change that bulb," Garrett said.
For example, a typical incandescent bulb lasts 1,000-1,200 hours, Garrett said. But a fluorescent bulb will provide about 12,000 hours of light, and some LED bulbs will last between 50,000 and 100,000 hours.
"Nothing matches LED," Garrett said, pointing out a newer model, recessed trim lighting fixture sold at Cardello Electric. "If you ran that 10 hours a day, it would last 26 years."
A 42-watt CFL bulb will provide just as bright a light as the old 150-watt bulbs. A 13-watt LED light, meanwhile, will replace a 60-watt bulb. This can mean a savings of several dollars per year, per bulb, on your electric bills, which can really add up when you consider how many light bulbs you use around your house, Garrett said.
Light bulb makers have made the transition to energy-efficient bulbs as painless as possible, he added. They fit into the same sockets as incandescent bulbs, and virtually all of them are clearly labeled to show which are best to replace the older 60-, 100- and 150-watt varieties.
Cardello Electric offers a wide variety of lighting fixtures, from Victorian-style and traditional crystal chandeliers to more contemporary looks. One new offering is an under-cabinet kitchen lighting system that even includes built-in docking stations for smartphones.
Garrett said that type of lighting is becoming more popular for people when designing their kitchens.
"You don't want a dominant light in the middle of the kitchen if you're one of those midnight snack eaters," he said.