WASHINGTON - Fans of 40- and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs only have a few more days to stock up, because they will no longer be made after the end of the year.
The popular bulbs will be discontinued because of federal legislation, drafted after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency opined the 40- and 60-watt bulbs were inefficient.
Now shoppers will have to choose between compact fluorescents, halogen bulbs, and LED lights and high-efficiency incandescent bulbs.
The ban is on manufacturing - hardware stores and other retailers can sell as many old bulbs that they have in stock.
"If you're able to get a hold of them you still can sell them, however they are very hard to come by," says Craig Smith, co-owner of Twins Ace Hardware, in Fairfax, Va.
Smith says this is the latest bulb to be phased out - manufacturers were no longer able to produce 100-watt bulbs after Jan. 1, 2012, and 75-watt bulbs ceased production last New Year's Day.
Initially, customers were determined to use the incandescent bulbs as long as they could.
"Yes, they were coming looking for 100 watt light bulbs, and getting as many as they could, cases at a time," recalls Smith.
"Now, I think people are accepting the change a little bit, also because they're having a difficult time finding those particular bulbs," says Smith, "but there's still definitely a demand for the older bulbs."
Smith says the quality of light provided by the new bulbs is slightly different than incandescent bulbs, but most evident when replacing a burned-out bulb in a fixture with several bulbs.
"The only issue is you may find a little bit difference in the light if you put an old one right next to the new one, so if you do a changeover, change all the bulbs at one time.
Smith believes many consumers will opt for LED bulbs, as the price has dropped in recent years.
Not all of them are dimmable, says Smith, "so you want to make sure if they're marked dimmable or not."
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