Ross: Standard incandescent lightbulbs are about to disappear, and that’s OK

Apr 27, 2022, 6:56 AM
(Credit Brennan Burling via Unsplash)...
(Credit Brennan Burling via Unsplash)
(Credit Brennan Burling via Unsplash)

The day has finally come. A new rule governing light bulbs has been officially posted in the Federal Register. 75 days from now, the standard for household lightbulbs will be raised to 45 lumens per watt.

That means for a standard lightbulb to be legally sold in the US, every watt of electricity the lightbulb consumes needs to generate the light equivalent of 45 candles.

That means standard incandescent lightbulbs are going to disappear because none of them are efficient enough to meet the standard.

The day is coming when LED bulbs will be your only choice.

Now before anybody storms the capitol, I just want to point out that this should surprise no one. Congress was fighting about this back in 2011. The State of Texas even threatened to build its own incandescent bulb factory in defiance. It was still controversial enough that Trump delayed the rule again in 2019.

But now, I’m pretty sure nobody will care. Because whereas the early hi-tech bulbs were those curly things that actually had to warm up, the new LEDs can light up your house like a Walmart.

When I turn on the LED lights over the mirror in our bathroom here at home it’s like a flying saucer landed. And I installed them eight years ago – I plan to pass them down to the grandchildren.

I have a work lamp in the garage that could probably light up the Space Needle, and before someone says, well, you’re lucky to be able to afford all that – these lights use about 1/12th of the energy of the incandescents they replaced, and they last so long they’re almost free. Or better than free. I saw one calculation that replacing a filament bulb with an LED is like finding $150 on the sidewalk.

I’m actually running an experiment where I even got a failed LED to work again by taking it apart and replacing the internal capacitor– it’s been on continuously for about two years now.

However, as much as I love this technology, I actually don’t think people should be forced to buy them. In a free country, if you want to burn your money, you should be allowed to.

And that’s why I bought a 16-pack of old-style too-hot-to-touch 60-watt bulbs to sell on the black market.

Unless that’s illegal – in which case I’ll use them for bedtime reading on a cold night when the furnace isn’t working.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross

Dave Ross

Ross: Have Seattleites gone soft on crime?

The Seattle Police Department recently came out with some advice on what to do if a burglar breaks in while you’re at home. The advice… is to get out, ASAP.
19 hours ago
Governor Kevin Stitt (R-OK) speaks during a roundtable at the White House (Getty Images)...
Dave Ross

Ross: Why Oklahoma’s stance on abortion will echo throughout the country

12 states have trigger laws that take effect if Roe v Wade is overturned – and Oklahoma is one of them.
2 days ago
Katie Wussler, a program coordinator at Mother & Child Education Center, checks the lot number on a...
Dave Ross

Ross: Baby formula shortage puts new mothers in difficult spot

I’m having trouble accepting that the US is dealing with a baby formula shortage – especially when the main advice is do NOT try to make your own.
5 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: Are vasectomies the best form of birth control?

A Tweet caught my attention because it was a sketch for a short story about a world where abortions aren’t necessary.
6 days ago
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) (Getty Images)...
Dave Ross

Ross: A dip in the stock market asks us to look at our savvy non-investments

The way stocks have been melting over the past 16 months, those of us with the courage to open the monthly statement are wondering how low can they go…
7 days ago
(Getty Images)...
Dave Ross

Ross: Are Americans ready for Big Tech to eliminate passwords?

Apple, Google, and Microsoft announce that they have joined the FIDO alliance: FIDO stands for Fast Identity Online, and its mission is to end password hacking.
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Ross: Standard incandescent lightbulbs are about to disappear, and that’s OK