5 myths about the great 2014 light bulb shortage - FOX 13 News

5 myths about the great 2014 light bulb shortage

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Say Watt? Reports of the 40W and 60W light bulbs' respective demise have not been exaggerated.

The consequences of their death, however, have been hyped.

New federal energy standards are phasing out incandescent bulbs, which were invented in 1809. And people have pounced. Here are five facts to counter what the rumor mill is spinning about the changes that kick-in on New Year's Day.

MYTH #1: Stores will stop selling 40- and 60-Watt incandescent light bulbs on January 1.


Beginning in 2014, light bulb manufacturers must stop making 40W and 60W incandescent bulbs. Stores can still sell what they have in their inventory, so we will probably see them on the self for a long time to come.

MYTH #2: We must stop using incandescent bulbs.


There will be no light bulb police patrols. We are free to continue using incandescent bulbs. Many 100-Watt and 75-Watt bulbs are still in use, even though they were phased out in 2012 and 2013, respectively. 40- and 60-watters will disappear slowly.

MYTH #3: All incandescent bulbs are dead, so we won't be able to get replacement bulbs for our refrigerators, ovens, and lava lamps.


General Electric notes that several types of incandescent light bulbs are exempt from the new federal energy regulations. Production will continue for:

  • Three-way bulbs
  • Appliance bulbs
  • Colored bulbs
  • Decorative bulbs
  • Plant lights
  • Bug lamps

MYTH #4: Replacement bulbs aren't any better than incandescent.


Repeated lab tests have shown that new CFL (compact fluorescent) and LED (light emitting diode) bulbs are far more efficient at creating light than their predecessors. GE estimates a CFL draws approximately 28 percent less electricity than an incandescent bulb; LEDs use 75 percent less power.

MYTH #5: New bulbs will cost me more.


Although modern bulbs, which sell for a couple dollars each, are definitely more expensive up-front, they should not have to be replaced as often as incandescent bulbs. An LED bulb's lifespan, for example, can stretch as long as 22 years -- far longer than the three or so years you'll get out of an incandescent bulb. When their long life is coupled with their reduced energy cost, LED and CFL bulbs are likely to pay for themselves.

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