Canning Your Incandescent Bulbs

Winter is here. It’s cold, and you want to stay warm. So you reach to the thermostat and crank it up. But as the temperature continues to plummet, your heating bills are soaring. With energy costs on everyone’s mind, it is time to reconsider your approach to being energy efficient.

Here is your light bulb moment.

As of January 1, the manufacture and sale of incandescent light bulbs, specifically 40 and 60-watt bulbs, has been outlawed by the federal government because of their inefficiency. In case you aren’t up on your light bulb lingo, incandescent bulbs are the classic rounded bulbs that contain wire filaments (see the photo below).

Incandescent bulb


 What this means for you:

 Now that you can no longer buy incandescent light bulbs, you will have much more energy efficient options to look forward to such as halogen, CFL and LED bulbs.

These bulbs, however, will run at a slightly higher price point, anywhere from $13-$20 for a six-pack depending on where you shop and what brand you buy. However, these bulbs will last up to ten times as long incandescent bulbs and, ideally, will save you a significant amount of money on your energy bill.

The EPA estimates that if a household were to switch to all CFL bulbs, they could save nearly $80 a year.

Some important tips

 It is important to note that you cannot recycle your old incandescent bulbs, and you must throw them out with waste. Put them in a box to prevent breakage, and kick them to the curb with the rest of your trash.

Halogen bulbs can also be thrown in the trash, but be careful. They contain a small amount halogen gas, so it is paramount to prevent them from breaking.

CFL’s and fluorescents, however, must be recycled. In fact, it is illegal to throw them in with waste. Be sure to check your local laws about disposal or recycling of these kinds of bulbs, and make sure to locate the nearest recycling center.


Note: Maurice Forde is President of Forde Windows & Remodeling, a leading home remodeling contractor in Chicago.  To see a portfolio of the company’s remodeling projects, click here.