Goodbye Incandescent Light Bulbs, Hello LED Light Bulbs

by Dan Derkum



Beginning January 1, 2014, production of all incandescent light bulbs ceased. While there are still a few incandescent bulbs out there to be found, when the existing supply is gone, this will be the end of America’s lighting staple for more than 100 years. In its place is the Light Emitting Diode (LED) light bulb.


The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 required that the common incandescent light bulb be phased out by January 1, 2014. You might have noticed that the 100-watt incandescent bulb was phased out in 2011 and the 75-watt incandescent bulb was phased out during 2013.


Why the change? It’s a matter of efficiency. The typical incandescent bulb consumed an enormous amount of energy. However, only 10% of this energy produced light. The other 90% produced heat. Although this was great for Easy Bake Ovens, it was bad for the electric bill and America’s energy dependency.


So, welcome the Light Emitting Diode or LED. The LED is dramatically more efficient:

  1. Typically last more than 25,000 hours vs. 1,000 hours for an incandescent bulb and 10,000 hours for a Compact Florescent Light (CFL) bulb .

  2. Even after 25,000 hours of use, the higher quality LED will still emit more than 75% of its original light.

  3. Over the life of an LED vs. a 100-watt incandescent bulb, the savings will be in the thousands of dollars (yes, I said thousands of dollars) – per light! Typically, the LED will save about $1,100 per year when used 8 hours per day.


Here are some things to remember about LED:

  1. LED life is measured in years, not hours like the incandescent bulb. You’ll need to start thinking in terms of years of use, not hours of use.

  2. LED light is different, measured in Lumens or Kelvin (K) temperatures:
    1. 2,700 K emits a slight yellow light.
    2. 3,000 K emits a crisp, white light that gives the appearance of being brighter than the 2,700 K.
    3. 5,000 K emits a bluish type of lighting, often referred to as “daylight.”

Are compact fluorescent light bulbs still available? Yes. LEDs, however; are much better because they last significantly longer, cost a lot less money to operate, save more money, don’t require special disposal (florescent lights contain mercury – a hazardous material harmful to our environment and health), and are more pleasing to the eye (those “loops” you can see in CFLs are ugly!). LEDs are also “instant on,” require no warm up, don’t flicker, and they don’t hum or buzz, especially when it’s cold. As a bonus, since LEDs last significantly longer, there is a huge reduction in the number of light bulbs—and their packaging—going into our landfills.


If you have 6” recessed ceiling lights, many can be easily converted to LED without replacing the recessed light housing itself, thereby eliminating any drywall and painting work. The best conversions use a true LED upgrade. In other words, there is no light bulb whatsoever. For those who have experienced changing a recessed light bulb 10’-20’ up on a ceiling, you know how much fun that was! The true LED recessed light upgrade will still emit 70-75% of its original light after 23 years of use (8 hours per day, 365 days per year – but who does this? I think they will last about 30-40 years for the typical household).


If you have any questions about converting to LED lights or how they can save you money, please call me, Dan Derkum,
at (949) 380-0177 or e-mail me by filling out our quick contact form

About the Author
Daniel A. Derkum is the owner of DAD's Construction, a leading South Orange County, California design-and-build remodeling and renovation contractor.

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