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Congress Voting To Repeal Incandescent Bulb Ban 990

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the most-important-issue-ever dept.
Bob the Super Hamste writes "CNN Money is running as story about a bill Congress is going to vote on today to repeal the 'incandescent light bulb ban' that was put into place during the Bush administration. The bill is supported by Republicans in Congress who are claiming this places unnecessary restrictions on the market. For those of you wondering, it does bring up the standard issues of energy efficiency, mercury (in both the bulbs and that emitted by coal power), and cost of the bulbs. The bill was introduced by Texas Congressman Joe Barton."
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Congress Voting To Repeal Incandescent Bulb Ban

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  • Classic! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Karl Cocknozzle (514413) <kcocknozzle@hotma i l . com> on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @01:15PM (#36736382) Homepage

    This is as close to a modern version of "fiddling while Rome burns."

    Glad to see they're not wasting their time on silly things like the budget.

    • Re:Classic! (Score:5, Funny)

      by TWX (665546) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @01:18PM (#36736434)

      The congressman isn't wasting time, his constituency includes the factory where the Easy Bake Oven is made, and with the end of the 100W incandescent they'll lose tens of jobs!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by toastar (573882)
        This maybe offtopic, But this guy also introduced legislation to legalize online poker.
    • Re:Classic! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @01:38PM (#36736850)
      Same guy who apologized to BP for all those hard questions they were getting about that thing in the gulf. He also has called for two witch hunts into global warming studies.

      This isn't the guy fiddling while Rome burns. This is one of Nero's dedicated foot soldiers actively setting the fires on command. Except that there are multiple Neros, and it's not Rome, it's the world that's being set on fire.
      • by syousef (465911)

        This isn't the guy fiddling while Rome burns. This is one of Nero's dedicated foot soldiers actively setting the fires on command. Except that there are multiple Neros, and it's not Rome, it's the world that's being set on fire.

        Excellent! We won't need light bulbs at all then!

  • CFL are no savings (Score:4, Insightful)

    by brian0918 (638904) <brian0918NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @01:16PM (#36736408)
    I have had several CFL's fail within months, completely destroying any potential long-term savings. And do they really think anyone is properly disposing of these bulbs?
    • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @01:20PM (#36736470) Homepage Journal
      Check your manufacturer, most of the reputable ones offer multi-year replacement guarantees on the bulbs. Although if you buy good ones originally you generally won't need to use those guarantees.

      Unlike old style bulbs, CFLs are complex enough that quality matters. The ultra-cheap ones are really crap.
      • by rubycodez (864176) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @01:30PM (#36736708)
        Reputable like GE, Sylvania or Phillps? I've had early failures with all those, and good luck with actually getting a replacement. In six more months I'll know if my use of them over the past three years was worth it, might be a wash. I have many CFL in the house, except for two places with dimmers (CFL dimming bulbs suck, won't go to low brightness but just off), and three of the "three-way" bulbs (CFL versions also suck and die early).
        • by afidel (530433)
          Your wiring and/or local power utility must really, really suck. I've replaced 3 bulbs in 6 years and two of those were physically broken. These are all GE from Sam's Club. The only traditional bulb I won't replace is the one on my front porch because the CFL's don't operate well at very low outdoor temperatures (the motion detection going from dim to bright takes too long). The dimmable floods in the basement work fine but they do take an extra second or two to turn on (the 40,60, and 100's are instant).
        • by Urza9814 (883915)

          Every bulb in my house has been CFL for a while and I've never even _heard_ of them failing until now. I generally buy GE, and they've always been great for me....

          Haven't noticed any problems with the ceiling fan dimmer that's now using CFL bulbs either. Dims a bit faster I guess, but nothing more than that...

        • I agree with the parent that quality control is a problem with all new CFLs, and disagree that it is merely a matter of household electrical quality. I made the switch to CFLs throughout most of my apartment way back in 2002. I did it because my overhead lighting sockets were inconvenient to replace, and I was replacing incandescents on average one every 2 months. I bought some Phillips (or Sylvania? I don't remember) 32-watt bulbs that emitted the lighting equivalent of 120-watt incandescents. They wer

      • by trb (8509) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @01:57PM (#36737288)

        Check your manufacturer, most of the reputable ones offer multi-year replacement guarantees on the bulbs. Although if you buy good ones originally you generally won't need to use those guarantees.

        Unlike old style bulbs, CFLs are complex enough that quality matters. The ultra-cheap ones are really crap.

        Check my manufacturer? Reputable ones? Replacement guarantees? Complex ones?

        Disposal guidelines? Mercury? Ballast? Warm-up? Flicker?

        We are talking about light bulbs. I understand that CFLs are more energy-efficient than incandescents of comparable lumens. But they are a poor replacement in every other way. We are asking the world to waste more personal energy using CFLs than they waste on electrical energy using incandescents.

    • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @01:21PM (#36736510) Homepage

      I have had several CFL's fail within months, completely destroying any potential long-term savings.

      I'm in the same boat ... given the massive increase in cost, and the claims for bulb life ... even one or two failures basically means you've wiped out any savings for the next decade or so. Which means as soon as they start dying anywhere less than the claimed lifespan, you start replacing with old school bulbs.

      And do they really think anyone is properly disposing of these bulbs?

      They might think it, but I seriously doubt people are doing it.

      I'm definitely not impressed so far with actual bulb life vs claimed.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by LordKronos (470910)

        given the massive increase in cost, and the claims for bulb life ... even one or two failures basically means you've wiped out any savings for the next decade or so.

        Complete and utter BS. A CFL runs less than $1.50 each in 4 packs at Home Depot. A regular incandescent is about 10 cents each I suppose. So that's a difference of $1.40, so let's see what it takes to make that up.

        If you replace a 100w bulb with a CFL, you save approx 75 watts. That means that bulb consumes 0.075kwh per hour, or 0.00125kwh per minute. At a rate of 12 cents per kwh (pretty typical...not to many places are much lower, but some are quite a bit higher), that means switching to a CFL saves you a

        • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @02:18PM (#36737720) Homepage

          Complete and utter BS. A CFL runs less than $1.50 each in 4 packs at Home Depot. A regular incandescent is about 10 cents each I suppose. So that's a difference of $1.40, so let's see what it takes to make that up.

          Maybe where you live that's true ... and I wish that were true because they would be more cost effective. Up here in Canada, the last time I bought a 4 pack of CFLs, it cost $10, and that was on sale of 50% off ... I'm looking on a web site for a local retailer, and two pack is $10. That's a $5 lightbulb, and I've seen them for as much as $10 each, and some as much as $15.

          I've bought dim-able CFLs, and had them fail within days if not hours, so I've stopped buying them. And I'm not talking off brands, I'm talking major the companies. In my experience, the dim-able ones are complete crap. I'm not prepared to rewire my 7 year old home to put in dimmers to accommodate these things.

          Now, some of the other ones I've had that have burned out have been in places where the bulbs actually see a fair amount of hours of usage, so they may have legitimately reached EOL. But some of them haven't lasted nearly as long as I'd hoped.

          But, please, unless you've personally bought me some CFLs and actually paid my electric bill, please don't act like you actually know what my experiences with them have been. Because my experience has been that they cost a hell of a lot more, and so far haven't seemed to last any longer than incandescent.

          I'd prefer to use them, I'm just not convinced that based on the failure rate I'm seeing, they actually save me any money in the long run. Because I pay a crap load more for them than you apparently do.

    • by KiloByte (825081) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @01:33PM (#36736744)

      In a lot of places, there are no savings whatsoever. CFLs take orders of magnitude more energy to manufacture, which are supposed to be offset by lesser efficiency of incadescents. Except, every bit of energy that is "wasted" in your house lowers your heating bill by just that much. Unless you live in a hot region where air conditioning is needed, this is either a win or neutral. Very few businesses and even fewer private houses use indoor lighting during day (at least around my parts), and during summer... right, neither light nor heating are needed. Thus, incadescent light bulbs end up with almost no waste.

      Which cannot be said about manufacture and disposal of CFLs.

      Unnatural colour of CFL light being harsher on your eyes is another story...

      • by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @01:48PM (#36737078)
        I thought similar until I saw the numbers. Electric heat is one of the least efficient forms there is. For homes with gas heat, relying on incandescent lamps for their heating is just wasteful. It's much more efficient to minimize electricity use by using CFLs and use more efficient gas for actual heating. When trying to cool your house the savings go way up by not having so much heat load.

        Something else is all the people complaining about the cost of CFL bulbs. Even with failures, the electricity savings by using CFLs is huge. I have those light bars in my bathrooms that could either be 360 watts of incandescent lamps or, with CFLs, just 90 watts for more light output. I use CFLs everywhere that I can. The only exceptions are the oven, refrigerator, and the ceiling fans that have candelabra base bulbs and maybe those are available as CFL now.

        There was a very easily noticed drop in my electric bill when I switched over - especially in the summer due to the reduced heat load for the air conditioning.

        It all adds up, folks. The electric savings due to using CFL lamps is huge. That's a hell of a lot of coal and natural gas that isn't being burned and it cuts the need for nuclear.

        There is a bigger picture than just that you had to pay a buck or two for a CFL instead of 50 cents for an incandescent.
      • by timster (32400)

        Resistive electric heating is generally less efficient than a heat pump, and much less efficient than gas heating.

    • by Karl Cocknozzle (514413) <kcocknozzle@hotma i l . com> on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @01:41PM (#36736924) Homepage

      Funny, I've used dozens of them in my home since they became available, and I've had a sum total of ZERO fail to date. ...But I didn't buy "Discount Bob" brand light-bulbs, either.

      With CFLs, the quality is at the top-end. The low-end bulbs are garbage, and not worth using even if they're free.

    • Buy better CFLs (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @01:42PM (#36736948)

      The ones in my house are all around 4 years old, still going strong. That is half the reason I buy them. Replacing bulbs is a pain, I like not having to do it very often.

  • I figure there's a pretty good load of money to be made by stockpiling these things and selling them to desperate homeowners in a few years once they're scarce. Anyone who's already started stockpiling may be in for a scare...

  • Maybe I'm nuts, but last time I checked my local store still had plenty of incandescent bulbs for sale. Wait, I can check.

    Nope, not nuts. [homedepot.com].

    If there was a ban on these things, it doesn't appear to be working.
    • by blueg3 (192743)

      Not only is it not a ban, it doesn't go into effect until 2012 and doesn't reach full force until 2020.

    • Re:There was a ban? (Score:4, Informative)

      by PIBM (588930) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @01:23PM (#36736542) Homepage

      Starting in 2012, standars would slowly keep increasing until reaching the peak in 2020. So, that means that none should have yet disappeared, and depending on their caracteristics some of them could still be sold for a while. Anyway, that was all in TFA, but this is slashdot, so, that was expected :)

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @01:20PM (#36736474)

    There never was! There are new efficiency standards, which both GE and Osram Sylvania say they can meet with new incandescents. The whole thing started as a talking point for a Republican primary, and took off when the punditry caught a whiff of it and smelled red meat.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by QuantumPion (805098)

      There never was! There are new efficiency standards, which both GE and Osram Sylvania say they can meet with new incandescents. The whole thing started as a talking point for a Republican primary, and took off when the punditry caught a whiff of it and smelled red meat.

      It may not be a ban de jure but it is a ban de facto.

      Playing with semantics is what politicians do to fool the ignorant into being ruled. See The Prince, 1984, etc.

  • by pnuema (523776) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @01:20PM (#36736480)
    I'm a firm believer in using the tax code to influence behavior. Tax the snot out of them. Considering that my house is entirely lit by canned lighting on dimmer switches, an incandescent ban means I basically have to rewire my house - fluorescent dimmables just don't work. If they were heavily taxed - to the point of being slightly more expensive that the fluorescents - then I would have an alternative, while the majority of the market will still make the choice you want them to. Everybody wins.
    • by hasbeard (982620)
      I would rather see the tax code used to raise a reasonable amount of revenue to meet the true needs of our country (defense, roads and other infrastructure), things that government really needs to do. Other than that, the government should keep its hands out of people's pockets.
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @01:49PM (#36737112)

      Not CFLs, you are right those dim for shit, but Philips has new LED lights that are actually worth getting. What you are after is the Philips AmbientLED Dimmable A19. As far as I know, it is exclusive to Home Depot currently, but they all have them. It is a real, no shit, replacement for an A19 bulb. Its luminous efficacy is equal to or above CFLs (which isn't true for many LEDs), it dims properly using a normal dimmer, and it fits in normal sockets. Funny looking bulb, but it does the job and it is white when it lights up.

      The downside is, of course, upfront cost. They are expensive little things. However being LEDs they ought to last a decade or two which combined with low energy usage means they are likely to be a net win.

      I got them for my living room because I was really tired of having to get out the ladder to change bulbs, and because dimmable CFLs are crap. I'd been stuck on incandescents but tried these. They work great. I just have a standard Lutron dimmer and all I had to do was put the bulbs in the sockets and it works right.

      Now I'm not advocating an incandescent ban or anything, I am making you aware of a new, high tech, option you've got. I love the things, despite the cost, because they work well and I don't have to replace them all the time. Plus they look neat :).

      • I can confirm this - they're the ones that look like eggs (yellow light filter inside, visible through the white enclosure). I bought 5 of them - 2 for a pair of accent fixtures attached to a dimmer and 3 more for a pain-in-the-ass fixture in my front entryway that I really don't want to mess with again for the next howeverthefucklong LEDs last. They look and work great. $20 a pop but I consider it truly worth it.
      • by syousef (465911)

        What you are after is the Philips AmbientLED Dimmable A19

        $40-$45 a bulb!? Serioiusly!? I would dearly love to get rid of my 2 remaining incandescent 100W globes, but I am not paying $50 a globe. That is insane! Regardless of the warranty (which no doubt is a hassle to claim). Not to mention they only replace 60W incandescent bulbs and the lighting is weak enough in my study and bedroom without making it even weaker. So they're not a good replacement for anything as far as my needs are concerned.

        I think long term LED is the way to go. The dimming issue probably do

      • by Khyber (864651)

        "Its luminous efficacy is equal to or above CFLs (which isn't true for many LEDs)"

        This isn't true and hasn't been for a few years. Cree smashed 100 lux/w for usable human lighting years ago, and just recently they popped past 220 lux/w.

        Most typical LEDs from Cree, Epistar, Edison, Nichia, Seoul Semiconductor, etc. that are out now offer 110-130 lux/w, with fluorescent's PEAK being near 95 lux/w in the most efficient fluorescent lamp type, the T5HO.

        LED has become a direct replacement for HID.

    • The proper way to use tax code to influence behavior is to tax electricity, and let the consumers and markets decide where to save and spend electricity according to their means, needs, and values. Those that want to burn electricity with incandescent bulbs would be allowed to. Or is the bulb ban not really about reducing energy usage, and really is about control and moral imposition?
  • by FudRucker (866063) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @01:21PM (#36736486)
    this message brought to you by the Acme Kerosene lantern company.
  • by DrDitto (962751) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @01:26PM (#36736612)
    Several months ago, a CFL broke right next to my 2-year old son. I had the sense to get him out of the room, but not for about 10 seconds.

    After much research, I discovered that a CFL has about 4 milligrams of Mercury that is released as a vapor (which is readily absorbed by the body unlike the solid form).

    The EPA website's cleanup instructions were vast. They even recommended that all clothing that came in contact with any of the CFL be destroyed. I assumed this also meant the wall-to-wall carpeting in my son's bedroom where he plays.

    Do I think the EPA is probably being a bit paranoid? Sure. But this is my son we are talking about during his key mental development years. A little paranoia is in order. Who knows how much mercury vapor he inhaled. Yes, I got rid of the carpet.

    I'm personally stocking up on incadescents until LED or Halogon alternatives become viable. BTW-- I vote Democratic ticket and am otherwise pretty liberal.
    • by Amouth (879122) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @01:51PM (#36737150)

      Yes, I got rid of the carpet.

      i hope you checked all the ingredients in the new carpet against chances of causing developmental problems..

      i also hope if you where that paranoid that you properly disposed of this now contaminated carpet - rather than throw it in the trash to go to a land fill to allow it to enter the water table where your son will now drink it from the faucet.

      and if you are that worried - you might want to avoid fish all together..

    • The EPA website's cleanup instructions were vast.

      Cleaning Up a Broken CFL

      When a fluorescent bulb breaks in your home, some of this mercury is released as mercury vapor.

      These steps are precautions and reflect best practices for cleaning up a broken CFL. If you are unable to follow them fully, don't be alarmed. CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury -- less than 1/100th of the amount in a mercury thermometer. However, if you are concerned about the risk to your health from a potential exposure to mercury, consult your physician.

      Before cleanup

      Have people and pets leave the room.
      Air out the room for 5-10 minutes by opening a window or door to the outdoor environment.
      Shut off the central forced air heating/air-conditioning system, if you have one.
      Collect materials needed to clean up broken bulb:

      stiff paper or cardboard;
      sticky tape;
      damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes (for hard surfaces); and
      a glass jar with a metal lid or a sealable plastic bag.

      During cleanup

      Be thorough in collecting broken glass and visible powder.
      Place cleanup materials in a sealable container.

      After cleanup

      Promptly place all bulb debris and cleanup materials outdoors in a trash container or protected area until materials can be disposed of properly.
      Avoid leaving any bulb fragments or cleanup materials indoors.
      If practical, continue to air out the room where the bulb was broken and leave the heating/air conditioning system shut off for several hours.

      Cleaning Up a Broken CFL [epa.gov]

      Future Cleaning of Carpeting or Rugs: Air Out the Room During and After Vacuuming

      1.The next several times you vacuum the rug or carpet, shut off the H&AC system if you have one, close the doors to other rooms, and open a window or door to the outside before vacuuming. Change the vacuum bag after each use in this area.

      2.After vacuuming is completed, keep the H&AC system shut off and the window or door to the outside open, as practical, for several hours.

      Detailed Recommendations [epa.gov]

      These clean-up recommendations are more or less what you expect for any accidental toxic spill in the home.

      Actions You Can Take to Prevent Broken Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

      Always switch off and allow a working CFL bulb to cool before handling.
      Always handle CFL bulbs carefully to avoid breakage.
      If possible, screw/unscrew the CFL by holding the plastic or ceramic base, not the glass tubing.
      Gently screw in the CFL until snug. Do not over-tighten.
      Never forcefully twist the glass tubing.
      Do not install CFLs in table lamps and floor lamps that can be easily knocked over, in unprotected light fixtures, or in lamps that are incompatible with the spiral or folded shape of many CFLs.
      Do not use CFL bulbs in locations where they can easily be broken, such as play spaces.
      Use CFL bulbs that have a glass or plastic cover over the spiral or folded glass tube, if available. These types of bulbs look more like incandescent bulbs and may be more durable if dropped.
      Consider using a drop cloth (e.g., plastic sheet or beach towel) when changing a fluorescent light bulb in case a breakage should occur. The drop cloth will help prevent mercury contamination of nearby surfaces and can be bundled with the bulb debris for disposal.

  • Wrong summary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by liquidweaver (1988660) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @01:49PM (#36737104)
    Just so we are clear - there never was an incandescent light bulb ban; this was/is spin.
  • by yt8znu35 (1202731) on Tuesday July 12, 2011 @01:55PM (#36737226)
    Dear Republicans:
    There is no incandescent light bulb ban.

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