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Your questions answered

Incandescent Phase-out
Why was the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) enacted? Why is the government setting efficiency standards for light bulbs? Does EISA ban incandescent bulbs? Which bulbs will EISA affect? When will EISA be implemented? Will I be able to purchase a traditional light bulb after the scheduled effective date? What product should I chose to replace incandescent light bulbs? Will replacement bulbs cost more money? Can I use my dimmer switch with LEDs, CFLs and halogens?

Why was the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) enacted?

The Act is designed “to move the United States toward greater energy independence and security, to increase the production of clean renewable fuels, to protect consumers, to increase the efficiency of products, buildings, and vehicles, to promote research on and deploy greenhouse gas capture and storage options, and to improve the energy performance of the Federal Government, and for other purposes.”

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Why is the government setting efficiency standards for light bulbs?

The government has been setting minimum efficiency standards for many years on products such as clothes washers, cars, and refrigerators. This encourages manufacturers to develop products for consumers that are more energy efficient and therefore less expensive to operate. It also helps protect our natural resources, saves energy, and reduces our dependency on foreign oil.

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Does EISA ban incandescent bulbs?

No, but its minimum efficiency standards are high enough that the incandescent light bulbs most commonly used by consumers today will not meet the new requirements. Once implemented, the Act will essentially eliminate 40W, 60W, 75W, and 100W medium screw base incandescent light bulbs.

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Which bulbs will EISA affect?

EISA sets efficiency standards for general service lamps, which currently include the following light bulbs:

  • General service incandescent lamps
  • Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)
  • General service light-emitting diode (LED) and organic light emitting diode (OLED) lamps
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When will EISA be implemented?

EISA will be phased in, starting with standards for the 100W bulb in 2012 and ending with standards for the 40W bulb in 2014. The following table provides the complete timeline. (California is implementing the standards one year before the rest of the country.)

Typical Current Lamp Wattage Rated Lumen Ranges Maximum Rate Wattage Minimum Rated Lifetime Effective Date California Effective Date
100 1490-2600 72 1,000 hrs. 1/1/2012 1/1/2011
75 1050-1489 53 1,000 hrs. 1/1/2013 1/1/2012
60 750-1049 43 1,000 hrs. 1/1/2014 1/1/2013
40 310-749 29 1,000 hrs. 1/1/2014 1/1/2013
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Will I be able to purchase a traditional light bulb after the scheduled effective date?

Yes. Twenty-two types of incandescent lamps are exempt from the new minimum efficiency standards defined by EISA:

  1. Appliance lamps
  2. Black light lamps
  3. Bug lamps
  4. Colored lamps
  5. Infrared lamps
  6. Left-hand thread lamps
  7. Marine lamps
  8. Marine’s signal service lamps
  9. Mine service lamps
  10. Plant light lamps
  11. Reflector lamps
  12. Rough service lamps
  13. Shatter-resistant lamps (including shatter-proof and shatter-protected)
  14. Sign service lamps
  15. Silver bowl lamps
  16. Showcase lamps
  17. 3-way incandescent lamps
  18. Traffic signal lamps
  19. Vibration service lamps
  20. G-shape lamps with a diameter of 5” or more
  21. T-shape lamps that use no more than 40W or are longer than 10”
  22. B, BA, CA, F, G16-1/2, G-25, G-30, M-14, or S lamps of 40W or less
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What product should I chose to replace incandescent light bulbs?

A variety of energy-efficient options are available, including LEDs, CFLs, and halogens. When choosing a light bulb, consider where it will be used, the amount of light you need, and the color you want. Read the packaging for information on the bulb’s qualities. Beginning January 2012, all new medium screw base light bulbs will include the Federal Trade Commission’s consumer label, which will make it easier to compare light bulbs.

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Will replacement bulbs cost more money?

The obvious cost of a light bulb is the sticker price, but after you purchase the bulb, several other costs are involved. The total cost includes what you pay for energy to use the bulb. Halogens and incandescents cost less to buy, but use more energy, so they cost more to operate. LEDs use about 80% less energy and CFLs use about 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs. So although LEDs and CFLs cost more to purchase, they cost less to own over the lifetime of the product.

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Can I use my dimmer switch with LEDs, CFLs and halogens?

Many LEDs are designed to operate on dimmers and all halogens operate on dimmers. If a CFL is dimmable, it will be marked on the product packaging. However, consumers are encouraged to review the packaging carefully, as CFLs do not dim as much as LEDs, halogens, or incandescents

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