Are Incandescent Light Bulbs Illegal Now?

There’s some hype about if and how congress is making older light bulbs illegal.  Energy efficient bulbs are being given attention now that our government has stepped in.  We’ve attempted to summarize what the new rules are and what it means for households.


  1.  The formal name for the government acts which deal with light bulbs is “Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007”.
  2. The law (Public Law Number 110-140) does NOT outlaw incandescent light bulbs.
  3. The law DOES require a 25% increase in efficiency for light bulbs, to be phased in from 2012 through 2014.  This efficiency requirement basically prohibits the manufacture and importing of incandescent light bulbs, since their method of providing light is inherently inefficient.
  4. The law DOES give exemptions for specialty bulbs – like oven bulbs, reflector lights, and plant lights.
  5. The law IS forward thinking, in that by 2020 they require 200% better efficiency.

This law doesn’t make it illegal to own an incandescent bulb.  You can keep using any incandescent bulbs as long as they work.  It does, however, prohibit manufacturing or importing light bulbs that don’t meet the efficiency requirements.

So basically, in a few months you’ll notice you can’t find 100 watt incandescent bulbs.  In 2013 you’ll be hard-pressed to find 75 watt bulbs.  And starting in 2014, 60 watt incandescent bulbs will be out.


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