WISCONSIN (WKOW/ANGIE'S LIST) -- Say goodbye to your old light bulbs. By law, popular incandescent bulbs are being replaced by more efficient models.
It's all part of a controversial energy law from 2007. Under it, manufacturers started phasing out 100 watt incandescent bulbs in 2012, the 75 watt bulbs last year and this year it's America's favorite bulbs, the 40 and 60 watts going by the wayside. They're common in residential lighting, so this change will really impact consumers.
The law doesn't ban you from buying incandescent bulbs or using them in your home, however manufacturers can now longer make or import 40 and 60 watt bulbs.
Stores can sell what they have in stock right now. Many stores report having supplies that will last several months, so consumers won't be forced to make the switch immediately. Eventually though, it will impact everyone.
"Incandescent bulbs are being phased out, if you are not sure what this is going to mean for you check with your electrician because you may find you have lighting fixtures that will need to be changed," Angie Hicks, with Angie's List said.
The most common alternatives to incandescent bulbs are CFL's and LED's. CFL's need one-fifth to one-third the electricity of an incandescent to produce the same amount of light and makers say, last ten times as long. But there are drawbacks.
"It takes awhile for them to warm up," lighting designer Don Dragoo explained. "So, to reach those optimum light outputs it's going to take them a couple of minutes."
LED's are up to 85 percent more efficient than incandescent and 10 percent more efficient than CFL's.
"A lot of the LED's require a special type of dimmer," Dragoo said. "People who are replacing incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs have to be cognizant of the requirements of replacing that dimmer with a specialty dimmer that works in conjunction with the LED's."
While energy-efficient light bulbs last longer, they do cost more than incandescent.
"When you look at the total life of that bulb, what you paid for that bulb versus the amount of energy the bulb is using, these are much cheaper," lighting expert Bob Nuss said. "So, the tradeoff there is if you want to keep your old incandescent light bulbs you're going to pay more and change them out more, they are going to create more heat in your home as well."
Some consumers are stockpiling incandescent bulbs while stores still have them available.
Lighting is one of the top energy users in the home, so when shopping for light bulbs check how much energy the bulb uses because that will have an impact on your electric bill.
"Look at the mission of the light bulb, what are you using it for?" Nuss added. "If you're just trying to get general light out of it, then go with the bulb that uses the least amount of energy."
Consumers who really don't want to change from incandescent, may prefer halogen bulbs. They're not as energy efficient as other alternatives, but the cheapest option, and they function most closely to incandescent bulbs.
If you're looking to switch over your light bulbs but can't make them work in existing lamps or fixtures, Angie's List recommends talking with a licensed electrician or lighting professional.
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