The ban on manufacturing and selling incandescent light bulbs has been 16 years in the making and it is finally a reality. Well, mostly. 

The rule finally went fully into effect Tuesday, August 1.

Tungsten Light Bulb Sale Ban Nears
Getty Images

What is banned?

The rule says that light bulbs must emit a minimum of 45 lumens per watt.  

That pretty much outlaws the manufacture and sale of common incandescent bulbs, the kind you use in your home. Traditional incandescent bulbs provide just 15 lumens per watt, according to light bulb manufacturer Philips. 

Most LED bulbs will get you 75 lumens per watt, or more.

Woman replacing light bulb at home. Power save LED lamp changing

Now this is where it gets tricky, what is not banned? 

As part of the new rule, according to the Department of Energy Here’s what manufacturers can still manufacture, and stores can still sell. 

  • Appliance lamps, including fridge and oven lights 
  • Black lights 
  • Bug lamps 
  • Colored lamps 
  • Infrared lamps 
  • Left-handed thread lamps 
  • Plant lights 
  • Flood lights 
  • Reflector lamps 
  • Showcase lamps 
  • Traffic signals 
  • Some other specialty lights, including marine lamps and some odd-sized bulbs 

So, what do you do with your old light bulbs? Nothing, unless you want to upgrade.

Power saving concept. Asia man changing compact-fluorescent (CFL) bulbs with new LED light bulb.
Pornpak Khunatorn

You can continue to use whatever light bulbs you like, if they still work.  

CNN says, “nearly half of US households use LED bulbs for most or all indoor lighting”, So it seems many Americans have moved on from incandescent bulbs, anyway. In my house about half of my indoor lights are florescent, the other half are LED. As the fluorescent bulbs burn out they will be replaced with LED lights. I’m all for keeping my electric bill down. 

Front Porch Light
Lindsay Hamm

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