Lights Out: Pulling the Plug on Another Incandescent - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Lights Out: Pulling the Plug on Another Incandescent

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The future is dimmer for the old incandescent. A popular light bulb just became a thing of yesteryear. It's all part of a law that was signed by President Bush in 2007. A year ago they stopped making 100-watt incandescent. As of today, January 1st, we say goodbye to those old 75-watt classics.

But the long phase out means that the alternative has finally gotten a lot cheaper and more affordable for you. At the south Reno Home Depot, staffer Nick Godbeer told us the squiggly CFL's are now $9.99 for a package of four, working out to $2.50 a bulb. They still cost more, but as he told us, the payoff comes in energy savings. "Anywhere from a cost savings of $8 a year per bulb all the way down to $1.60."

And they commonly last 10 times longer. But they haven't won over everyone. For one, they just don't have that familiar glow of the old favorite. Customer Robert Andrews told us, "And they've got mercury in them. And I don't like the way they start up. They start up slow and it takes a while to come up to full strength."

Robert switched to the new LED bulbs. No mercury in them, and they save even more money. To prove it Nick runs a quick experiment with a power meter. A very bright LED uses just 10.4 watts. But the old-style Edison gobbles up 75.8 watts, and almost all of it is squandered. Holding his hand under it, he said "You can feel the warmth...that's a lot of wasted heat going into an air conditioned home."

That adds up quickly on your power bill...and the LED will last at least 18 years. As Nick told us, "So in 18 years, you're going to save about $108, with one bulb."

There's a learning curve with these new alternatives…there are many different light emitters and different technologies. Nick sells over 100 types of energy efficient bulbs at the south Reno Home Depot. And as you change your style of light bulbs, you also learn a new way to shop for lights. Instead of buying bulbs based on wattage, you're buying based on lumens, which measures not how much power it uses but how much light it emits. Packages now show a lumen number.

But because of the law, Nick says people are cleaning out his supply of the old classics before they disappear for good. "You know, it's old habits. And it's going to take some time for people to transition out of the old."

Stores like Home Depot are still allowed to sell their dwindling stock. And the 60 and 40-watt bulbs are still OK to manufacture…for another year. Then, it will be lights out for them too.

-written by John Potter

We have many more energy saving tips for you to cut down on that winter power bill...45 tips to be exact from NV Energy. To see them and save, just click the link below:

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