Hardware Guy: Casting a little light on bulb law not easy
By The Tribune-Review
Published: Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013, 11:48 a.m.
Have you ever been confused?
Of course you have. Many things confuse me — computers, modern art and the metric system come to mind.
Every once in a while though, something monumentally bewildering comes along which confuses us all equally. The current light bulb legislation is a case in point.
We all remember the good old days when there was no such thing as light bulb legislation and, while those days were good, the future might be — pardon the pun — bright. Let's begin by clearing up some details of the law.
In plain language, all light bulbs must now meet new efficiency standards. This means that lights that use a given amount of electricity (watts) must have a certain amount of light output (lumens).
Traditional incandescent bulbs are largely incapable of achieving the new standards and are therefore being phased out.
Starting in 2012, most 100-watt incandescent bulbs became illegal to produce in the United States. Soon 75-watt and even 60- and 40-watt traditional bulbs will follow. Special purpose bulbs such as rough service, high wattage and three-way bulbs are excluded from the legislation.
Some retailers still stock regulated lights and yes, you are still allowed to use “outlaw” bulbs. But purchasing them in the future will become more and more difficult. On the other hand, it will become easier to find and purchase suitable substitutes.
For a while now compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) have been available as an alternative. Consumers have been slow to embrace CFLs due to the poor light quality and short life span of the early versions.
Another fascinating innovation in lamp technology is the trendy light emitting diode, better known as LED. LED lighting is crisp and remarkably bright. It uses little electricity and is becoming available in more and more bulb styles. LEDs are pricey right now, which makes them seem impractical to most consumers. But as the market changes, I am confident that the price will come down.
Additionally, the savings on the electricity cost is substantial.
The third alternative to traditional bulbs is the halogen bulb. Like the LED, halogen lights are bold and bright. They are now made in the shape of a typical light bulb. Halogen lights have been used extensively for years in spot and flood lights because of their clarity and long lives.
Although halogen lights are a bit more expensive than incandescent, they aren't ridiculously expensive and, like the other new bulbs, they use less electricity.
When it comes to understanding light bulb legislation, I suggest keeping it simple by knowing the fundamentals. That way, you can make wise purchases at the right time. However, if you relish complete confusion, read the legislation in its entirety. If you can wrap your head around that, you must be pretty smart. If, in fact, you are smart, give me a call … maybe you can explain the metric system to me. I still can't figure out how many kilometers are in a foot.
Ed Pfeifer is the owner of Pfeifer Hardware Inc., 300 Marshall Way, Mars. If you have hardware-related questions, call the store at 724-625-9090.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Garden Q&A: Firecracker vine OK for trellis?
- Starkey: Penguins’ arrogance astounding
- Matt Calvert’s goal in double OT evens series for Blue Jackets
- Penguins’ Gibbons scores twice but leaves with apparent injury
- North Versailles, Murrysville families still waiting for report on 2011 chopper crash that killed couple
- Draftees’ longevity key for NFL success
- Pair of Braun homers spells defeat for Pirates
- Film tax credits bill would bump up state budget
- NFL notebook: Pryor will be cut if he’s not traded
- One dead, one wounded in shooting at Chartiers party
- Real estate notes: Work on expansion to Pediatric Specialty Hospital to begin