The End of the Light Bulb

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Well... you have to admit, it had a good run.

The incandescent light bulb, the one you and I grew up with, will soon become extinct. As mandated by the 2007 Clean Energy Act passed by Congress, the traditional light bulb will begin to be phased out of the U.S. marketplace starting in 2012, with it becoming essentially obsolete by 2014. The 100 watt bulb has already been obsoleted as of January 2012. The reason is that the incandencesent lamp, largely unchanged since Thomas Edison invented it in 1879, is very inefficient. A recent study conducted by Osram Sylvania revealed that 78% of Americans are unaware of the federal legislation intended to phase out the incandescent lamp.
This leads people to ask, “what am I supposed to do about replacing light bulbs in the future?” Fortunately, there are a few options available. The most common next-generation light bulb is the compact fluorescent lamp, or CFL. CFL’s are essentially a fluorescent lamp shrunk down to fit in a standard light bulb socket. The gas tube is small and spirals up from a miniature electronic ballast encased in the base. Some of the benefits of using CFL’s include reduced electric consumption (usually around 25% of an equivalent traditional bulb) and extremely long life. In fact, many CFLs are boasting warranties of up to nine years! While the initial cost of a CFL lamp is higher than an incandescent, savings are easily realized over the course of its life. Prices for these bulbs have been steadily decreasing as well, further adding to the overall savings. 

Of course, there are drawbacks to using CFLs. One of the more prominent ones is that when the bulb is cold, it takes a couple of minutes to warm up and provide maximum illumination. Another is the fact that many CFLs are unable to be dimmed. If you install them in a fixture controlled by a dimmer, you’ll shorten the life of the bulb dramatically, if it even works at all. Color rendering used to be another drawback, as many people disliked the harsh white light that a CFL produced. However, the industry now produces different types of CFLs that can produce the soft warm light similar to a traditional bulb. CFL’s now come in many different shapes and sizes to accommodate all types of light fixtures. 

With regards to dimming these bulbs, the industry has responded by starting to produce a dimmable CFL. However, most of these newer bulbs require that you use a magnetic dimmer as opposed to the standard ones currently in use in the majority of U.S. households. To replace a dimmer, you’ll most likely need the services of an electrician. 

Originally, the CFL was widely considered to be the ultimate successor to traditional light bulbs. However, LED lamps have been coming up to speed very quickly and they are now becoming more affordable and as such, a direct competitor with CFL's. The biggest drawback to LED lamps so far seem to be the illusion of 'cold' light that they produce, not having the traditional warm tones associated with an incandescent bulb.
Lastly, if you hire an electrician to replace any older fixtures, dimmers, or wiring, be sure that the person you hire is licensed.
It’s the law in Sullivan county, and also in Orange county as of January 1st of 2009. As any fire chief will tell you, more than 60% of all residential fires are caused by faulty electrical components or wiring. The safety of your home and family is just too important to trust to an amateur.

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Wurtsboro Electric Service, Inc.

Licensed electricians serving Orange county, Sullivan county, and Ulster county in New York
(845) 888-8000 

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