Light bulbs get Congressional reprieve

Good news for survivalists and others who’ve been hoarding incandescent light bulbs — Congress has given the 19th Century technology at least one more year of shelf life.

Let there be cheap light, said Thomas Edison, who perfected the production of the incandescent bulb more than 70 years after its invention.

Let there be cheap light, said Thomas Edison, who perfected the production of the incandescent bulb more than 70 years after its invention.

Traditional light bulbs (the kind featured over a cartoon character’s head when he gets an idea) were marked for extinction via a 2007 law that banned their manufacture and sale after Jan. 1, 2012. Congress’ light bulb reprieve was tucked into a 1,200-page omnibus spending bill passed by Congress Thursday night.

This was odd legislation considering the replacement technology, compact fluorescent lamps, while much cheaper to operate, are far more expensive and contain chemicals toxic to humans.

I personally like CFLs, but many hate them, saying the light they produce is too unnatural or even gives them headaches.

But, the CFL on my porch has been on non-stop for at least two years.

Newer technology, LED lightbulbs, are even more expensive, but are even cheaper to operate and provide better light. I have a 12-watt led lightbulb that retails for about $25, but is supposed to last years and save enough energy to eventually pay for itself. It provides the same amount of light as a 60-watt incandescent, but takes a disconcerting half-second to light my bathroom.

Since many manufacturers have quit making the uber-cheap incandescent bulbs, their days are probably numbered no matter what Congress does next year. America’s last traditional light bulb plant closed last year, effectively shipping 200 jobs overseas.

Hmmmm … maybe making laws that dictate what consumers can and can’t buy in the Home Depot lighting aisle isn’t such a bright idea.

* Read more (@TheHill.com)

75 comments Add your comment

Bert

December 16th, 2011
1:15 pm

BobbyP

December 16th, 2011
1:17 pm

Gotta love the government taking care of us!

BILLY MAYS HERE

December 16th, 2011
1:24 pm

BobbyP

December 16th, 2011
1:17 pm

Gotta love the government taking care of us!

Hmm yes making us switch from an energy-hogging device little changed from the early 20th century to a more efficient light bulb that is cheaper to operate than its predecessor…. truly, we are in the grip of tyranny

Alek

December 16th, 2011
1:25 pm

Mr. Mathis:

You said: “But, the CFL on my porch has been on non-stop for at least two years.”

Why are you wasting all that energy burning a light bulb – however efficient it is – when there is no need for artifical light??? Wasting energy is wasting energy – be it by using inefficient light bulbs or burning any type of bulb unnecessarily! Shame on you.

George Mathis

December 16th, 2011
1:27 pm

Because in my neighborhood, if you don’t keep a light on someone kicks in the front door and takes everything I have worked for.

walkman

December 16th, 2011
1:30 pm

Right, Billy. More efficient and cheaper to operate. But far more toxic when disposed. Classic case of unintended consquences when our “leaders” try to make decisions for us.

BILLY MAYS HERE

December 16th, 2011
1:33 pm

walkman

December 16th, 2011
1:30 pm

Right, Billy. More efficient and cheaper to operate. But far more toxic when disposed. Classic case of unintended consquences when our “leaders” try to make decisions for us.

Here, let me help you out: you can take your spent CFL bulbs in to be recycled properly. You can look up places that do it (for free) online with cursory searches. This isn’t that hard.

C’mon dude. Try harder.

BILLY MAYS HERE

December 16th, 2011
1:35 pm

CFLs are already on their way out, anyway. LEDs, which are even more efficient than CFLs, are the future (among other technologies).

Sbinf

December 16th, 2011
1:41 pm

Perhaps do a bit of research before writing. The toxic chemical you speak of, mercury, is released into the atmosphere when we burn coal to produce electricity. The nominal bit of mercury in the bulb is still less than what a comparable amount of incandescent light would release.

Banned Poster

December 16th, 2011
1:57 pm

“Hmm yes making us switch from an energy-hogging device little changed from the early 20th century to a more efficient light bulb that is cheaper to operate than its predecessor…. truly, we are in the grip of tyranny”

No, it’s just the government muddling their way into the marketplace. Face it, it already costs the country 200 jobs and will cause pricing to increase eventually to consumers who will one day have to purchase these bulbs. Let the market drive this and not government.

“Here, let me help you out: you can take your spent CFL bulbs in to be recycled properly. You can look up places that do it (for free) online with cursory searches. This isn’t that hard.”

Yep and one day these will be like other chemicals you have to recycle and everyplace will eventually start charging you to do so.

Blackwatch

December 16th, 2011
2:10 pm

I thought Billy Mays died? Must be the new CFL technology that breathed life into his rotting corpse. Thank goodness for government!

willydoit?

December 16th, 2011
2:11 pm

Just build more coal fire power plants and we wouldn’t have to worry about conserving.
We have a 500 year supply of coal in this country and we have idiots that want us to detechnicalize ourselves.

Truth Squad

December 16th, 2011
2:15 pm

And people wonder why the Congress is so dysfunctional. They are sent there by people who cannot even accept a minimal change such as light bulbs. At this rate, I guess the country will finally get around to updating our infrastructure by the end of the century.

Moi

December 16th, 2011
2:18 pm

I hate the CFL’s. The light is horribly bright and I DO get headaches from them. Plus, why do we have to go to 50 places to recycle things? Now don’t get me wrong, I fully utilize the recycling service offered by my trash service, so don’t accuse me of being a Ninny Nelly for not recycling. But c’mon, I work ten hours a day and don’t have time to traverse the countryside on my ONE weekend day off to recycle everything under the sun. Here’s a thought…how about making it EASIER for us to recycle and most of us would be happy to do so. I am all for saving the planet and all that fallderall. Oh, and I don’t make a ton of money so don’t expect me to pay $25 for a bulb that may or may not pay for itself in it’s lifetime. I can get regular old lightbulbs for super cheap and they last quite a long time and DON’T cost me a fortune to light. When technology catches up with the regular folks, we’ll pay more attention and a few more dollars for what they’re offering. ;)

Wes

December 16th, 2011
2:20 pm

So my lava lamp requires a 40 watt incandescent light blub, the CFL bulbs do not fit into the lava lamp. Will the government be providing so sort of replacement lava-lamp to me since they will soon not allowing me to purchase the correct bulbs.

willydoit?

December 16th, 2011
2:22 pm

Conservation = Weak economy

A B Normal

December 16th, 2011
2:39 pm

Heard someone dropped and broke a pack of CFL’s in a NC WalMart and the mgr. on duty evacuated the store, called in the HazMat team and turned away every customer for 2 hrs. during clean up. Really?

LukasAtl

December 16th, 2011
2:44 pm

Help me out here, how does a light bulb where the switch is in the OFF position use any energy at all? Its really, really simple … exersise some now un-common sense, and save energy by TURNING OFF THE SWITCH.

Susan M

December 16th, 2011
2:53 pm

Thank goodness. I have bought CFL’s that burn out in less than a month. Very few of the ones I tried, really last as long, much less longer than incandescent bulbs. Now I’m stuck with nearly a dozen burn-out CFL’s that I can’t find a place to dispose of them at.

beerad

December 16th, 2011
2:55 pm

Can someone please show me any proof that our founding fathers said the government was to dictate what light bulbs this country is aloud to purchase and use. Hey guys have you noticed the government is bankrupt!!!!

Total Confusion: Congress law did NOT ban incandescent bulbs

December 16th, 2011
2:59 pm

It only required that they use less energy. Today you can buy the ‘Eco-vantage’ bulbs which are a halogen bulb inside the glass globe that looks and works just like an old 60 watt bulb. Fully dimmable, still gets hot enough to make your Lava lamp work, produces a nice warm light, but uses only 43 Watts. Cost maybe a dollar more per twin-pack than the old kind.

rid0617

December 16th, 2011
3:00 pm

I have enough old light bulbs to last me the next 7 years or so. I refuse to buy this new one for several reasons. More expensive, does not last as long as they claim, only made in China and as for recycling, why should I spend money I do not have in this rotten economy to drive it to the nearest recycling center more than 10 miles away?

Harold

December 16th, 2011
3:05 pm

I aint gonna use these new fangled light bubs. When my reglar bub burned out and I caint buy no more, I got candles.

Oh, and the EcoVantage

December 16th, 2011
3:06 pm

Is made by the big company that owns a certain arena here in town, and is sold exclusively by the big orange store, which also is based here.

Jim

December 16th, 2011
3:11 pm

“Hmmmm … maybe making laws that dictate what consumers can and can’t buy in the Home Depot lighting aisle isn’t such a bright idea.” In the words of Leroy Jethro Gibbs: “Ya think?”

Jim

December 16th, 2011
3:12 pm

Harold: Why did you give up candles in the first place?

Mikey

December 16th, 2011
3:16 pm

As usual, conservatives are flying off the handle without the facts. The legislation never banned or ended incandescent bulbs nor did it require CFLs. It required all bulbs to meet certain energy standards. Many kinds of incandescents meet those standards and the industry developed more. You can buy them now.

As is usually the case, the fear mongering never stops to learn anything. If someone sends it in an email, it becomes a “fact” to them and soon winds up in Michelle Bachmann’s speeches.

Gov. Talmadge

December 16th, 2011
3:18 pm

The federal government is bankrupt, wasting printed and borrowed money on worthless wars, weapons, foreign aid and all sorts of other foolishness, but this is what gets the attention of the idiots in the electorate.

Recycle?

December 16th, 2011
3:24 pm

So lets all run to the recycle locations and burn gasoline to get there, using up energy, and polluting the environment as well to get it there. Or, we can do curb side recycling so the pollution belching trucks that pick it up, stop go, stop go, can be running around all day using energy and belching pollution. And then we can use energy and belch pollution at the recycle processing plants to recycle the stuff. Recycling mostly is just a feel good mechanism for the left wing libs. It has some limited validity in limited areas, but overall really is BS.

Mark

December 16th, 2011
3:30 pm

The law should have been written to continue to allow the sale of the traditional energy inefficient bulbs, but only in pet stores, and then only if packaged together in the dog aisle with the Cone of Shame.

Umm...you can recycle CFLs at Home Depot

December 16th, 2011
3:34 pm

Home Depot was founded by a conservative Republican family, if that makes you feel better.

Sheila

December 16th, 2011
3:34 pm

You can bring them to Home Depot to recycle. There is a drop off usually at the returns registers.

BILLY MAYS HERE

December 16th, 2011
3:36 pm

No, it’s just the government muddling their way into the marketplace. Face it, it already costs the country 200 jobs and will cause pricing to increase eventually to consumers who will one day have to purchase these bulbs. Let the market drive this and not government.

The market already pretty much is, the government’s ban just cuts out the outdated bulbs tidily.

Yep and one day these will be like other chemicals you have to recycle and everyplace will eventually start charging you to do so.

Not likely considering commercial LED bulbs are already on the market (those don’t have to be recycled).

Stop being a reactionary.

BILLY MAYS HERE

December 16th, 2011
3:38 pm

Moi

December 16th, 2011
2:18 pm

I hate the CFL’s. The light is horribly bright and I DO get headaches from them. Plus, why do we have to go to 50 places to recycle things? Now don’t get me wrong, I fully utilize the recycling service offered by my trash service, so don’t accuse me of being a Ninny Nelly for not recycling. But c’mon, I work ten hours a day and don’t have time to traverse the countryside on my ONE weekend day off to recycle everything under the sun. Here’s a thought…how about making it EASIER for us to recycle and most of us would be happy to do so. I am all for saving the planet and all that fallderall. Oh, and I don’t make a ton of money so don’t expect me to pay $25 for a bulb that may or may not pay for itself in it’s lifetime. I can get regular old lightbulbs for super cheap and they last quite a long time and DON’T cost me a fortune to light. When technology catches up with the regular folks, we’ll pay more attention and a few more dollars for what they’re offering. ;)

Store your old CFLs in a box somewhere, take them in once a year to be recycled.

You’re just lazy and making excuses for yourself.

BILLY MAYS HERE

December 16th, 2011
3:39 pm

willydoit?

December 16th, 2011
2:11 pm

Just build more coal fire power plants and we wouldn’t have to worry about conserving.
We have a 500 year supply of coal in this country and we have idiots that want us to detechnicalize ourselves.

“Clean coal”–isn’t. It’s a horrible way to produce energy, it just happens to be very cheap when the real costs aren’t internalized.

BILLY MAYS HERE

December 16th, 2011
3:40 pm

A B Normal

December 16th, 2011
2:39 pm

Heard someone dropped and broke a pack of CFL’s in a NC WalMart and the mgr. on duty evacuated the store, called in the HazMat team and turned away every customer for 2 hrs. during clean up. Really?

Can you back this up?

BILLY MAYS HERE

December 16th, 2011
3:41 pm

Susan M

December 16th, 2011
2:53 pm

Thank goodness. I have bought CFL’s that burn out in less than a month. Very few of the ones I tried, really last as long, much less longer than incandescent bulbs. Now I’m stuck with nearly a dozen burn-out CFL’s that I can’t find a place to dispose of them at.

Probably a voltage problem (the bulbs are getting too much and are burning out quicker because of it).

BILLY MAYS HERE

December 16th, 2011
3:42 pm

beerad

December 16th, 2011
2:55 pm

Can someone please show me any proof that our founding fathers said the government was to dictate what light bulbs this country is aloud to purchase and use. Hey guys have you noticed the government is bankrupt!!!!

I would have an easier time relating to you if you knew how to spell and punctuate.

BILLY MAYS HERE

December 16th, 2011
3:43 pm

rid0617

December 16th, 2011
3:00 pm

I have enough old light bulbs to last me the next 7 years or so. I refuse to buy this new one for several reasons. More expensive, does not last as long as they claim, only made in China and as for recycling, why should I spend money I do not have in this rotten economy to drive it to the nearest recycling center more than 10 miles away?

Just stay in your cave, you bitter old coot.

BILLY MAYS HERE

December 16th, 2011
3:46 pm

Gov. Talmadge

December 16th, 2011
3:18 pm

The federal government is bankrupt, wasting printed and borrowed money on worthless wars, weapons, foreign aid and all sorts of other foolishness, but this is what gets the attention of the idiots in the electorate.

Boring and predictable.

Get a new act.

BILLY MAYS HERE

December 16th, 2011
3:47 pm

Recycle?

December 16th, 2011
3:24 pm

So lets all run to the recycle locations and burn gasoline to get there, using up energy, and polluting the environment as well to get it there. Or, we can do curb side recycling so the pollution belching trucks that pick it up, stop go, stop go, can be running around all day using energy and belching pollution. And then we can use energy and belch pollution at the recycle processing plants to recycle the stuff. Recycling mostly is just a feel good mechanism for the left wing libs. It has some limited validity in limited areas, but overall really is BS.

Congrats on figuring out we need energy to do things. I learned this in middle school science class, but it’s nice to see that despite your wasted education, you are finally catching on. Kudos.

Sheila

December 16th, 2011
3:47 pm

You go Billy Mays……

BILLY MAYS HERE

December 16th, 2011
3:49 pm

Sheila

December 16th, 2011
3:34 pm

You can bring them to Home Depot to recycle. There is a drop off usually at the returns registers.

Wow, finally, a little bit of reality in this thread. That’s right folks, the next time you head to Home Depot (among other places), you can recycle your old CFLs. This isn’t that hard, good lord.

Recycling??

December 16th, 2011
4:06 pm

Do you think that the waste disposal company takes them from Home Depot for free??? No, sorry to burst your bubble. Home Depot pays for disposal after you drop them off and then that cost is passed along to the consumer. Places like HD don’t do this out of the goodness of their heart. There is a cost associated with it and it gets passed along to everybody

BILLY MAYS HERE

December 16th, 2011
4:14 pm

Hmm yes I bet it adds nearly one-one thousandth of a cent to the price of products in the store. The horror, the horror!

For real–did you think you had a pertinent point, or are you just doing the usual lashing-out-at-no-one-in-particular routine? Either way, you’re stupid.

BRW

December 16th, 2011
4:14 pm

“Keep your sorry guvmunt hands off my energy wastin’, power plant pollutin’ light bulbs!!!!” Idiots. Your grandkids will hate you one day for your arrogance about “personal freedom, to hell with personal responsibility” attitude. It’s not all about you….

Craig

December 16th, 2011
4:18 pm

BILLY MAYS HERE, you seem to know a lot about this subject, which I respect. I certainly learned some things from your posts. However, why do you summarily dismiss people’s obections to having the government micromanage their lives? You seem to suggest in one of your early posts that the newer lights are the future of technology – and I have no doubt they are. As a result, the marketplace will inevitably embrace it. So, why do we need government “experts” to infringe on our liberty (just one more time) to ensure that our homes are illuminated “tidily”?

BILLY MAYS HERE

December 16th, 2011
4:22 pm

Craig

December 16th, 2011
4:18 pm

BILLY MAYS HERE, you seem to know a lot about this subject, which I respect. I certainly learned some things from your posts. However, why do you summarily dismiss people’s obections to having the government micromanage their lives?

Because no one’s life is being micromanaged by the government in this case.

Merry Christmas

December 16th, 2011
4:22 pm

I have enough of the old style bulbs to last a 100 years

Craig

December 16th, 2011
4:39 pm

BILLY MAYS HERE, that’s your opinion, which normally would affect me in no way. Except the government doesn’t engage in opinion. And summarily dismissing the objection again does nothing to justify the intrusion. This is the problem with the modern state, wherein it is believed that average citizens (the real 99%) are too “stupid” or “idiotic” to manage their own affairs. The solution? Government “experts” and other intellectual elites (the real 1%) must constantly tell us how to muddle our way through life. I, for one, hold my liberties in higher regard. No one here is saying that we should get rid of government (a common straw-man retort), but some folks just don’t seem to be willing to allow that government doesn’t need to solve all of our problems.