Incandescent lightbulbs have been providing light in American homes since the 1800s, when Thomas Edison patented the bulbs. But now, the nation has evolved into a more energy-efficient society and LED lights have become the new norm.
The federal government’s warnings started in January and have been getting progressively more aggressive as they want to make sure Americans don’t go back in time. The government announced a ban on the manufacturing and selling of incandescent bulbs, saying it will help Americans save money and help the environment.
At Straus Paint & Hardware in Queens, the word “incandescent” won’t be seen on any new purchase orders.
“We saw this coming a long time ago, tried to phase them out for a while,” said Gary Straus, the owner of Straus Paint & Hardware.
The store shelves were stocked with almost every shape, size and lumens of LED lights imaginable.
“It will save energy and it will be cheaper in the long run,” Straus said.
The Department of Energy said LED lights provide more light using 75% less energy than incandescent lights. LEDs also last about 25 times longer.
Starting in July, DOE will make manufacturing or selling most incandescent light bulbs illegal.
The agency also claimed that discontinuing inefficient incandescent lights will save Americans nearly $3 billion yearly and substantially reduce carbon dioxide emissions over 30 years.
The DOE warned manufacturers and retailers about the change at the beginning of the year in January, with full enforcement beginning in July 2023.
Manufacturers who violate the ban could face a maximum penalty of $542 per illicit bulb.
For restaurants like Blend Astoria, where its dimly lit ambiance draws steady crowds, retrofitted LED lights have saved the business cash.
The average cost of an LED light bulb ranges from $5 to $7 each while an incandescent light bulb would normally range from $2 to $3 a bulb, according to a report from Lifehacker. However, LED bulbs save money in the long run because they use less energy to run and last longer.
Despite the long-term benefits, some people said the decision to make the light switch should be their own, not the government’s.
Halogen bulbs and compact fluorescent lights (CFL) will also be banned because of their mercury content.
While the ban will be in effect soon, customers can still buy what is left of incandescent lights that are still being sold in stores.
The DOE hasn’t totally banned all incandescent lights, just the ones most commonly used in homes and that are not energy efficient.
NewsNation writer Devan Markham contributed to this report.