The Incandescent Light Bulb Freedom Act

The Incandescent Light Bulb Freedom Act, which unanimously passed South Carolina’s Senate panel, would allow South Carolina manufacturers to continue to sell incandescent bulbs so long as they have “Made in South Carolina” on them and are sold only within the state.

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There are certain things about southern, conservative states you just have to love. Of course there’s no guarantee legislation like this will keep the old incandescent around for you to enjoy, but you can stock up now while they are still legal. (Did I really just type that? In the freedom, individual rights loving U.S. of A.? Yeah, I did.) Hardware stores regularly have overstock sales on Amazon where they sell off incandescents in bulk, usually by the box which contain anywhere between 24-48 bulbs per, usually in 2 or 4-pack cartridges. Depending on the deal you find, the cost per pack can average between 50 cents to around $1.50. (The smaller, lower wattage bulbs tend to be more expensive.) It’s really not that expensive when you total it up as the number of bulbs you’ll need is actually pretty small.

I started a light bulb burn-out survey a couple of years ago and from that calculated generally how many bulbs I’d need to supply my house for 1.5 times my life expectancy. First I took a survey of every light bulb in my house, plopped that into Excel, then tracked how often each burned out. From that I was able to calculate an average life expectancy for each wattage. (Note, lights that turn on and off again burn out in about six to twelve months, those that don’t last around two to three years. The average for your house per wattage is what you want to know.) Then I started shopping. The total cost after purchasing a full 1.5 life expectancy supply? About $900.00. It took about six months to buy a complete set since finding the best deals took time. My personal choices for bulbs were the GE Long Life or GE Double Long Life bulbs. (I’m also planning on adding to my horde in case I decide to move.) After all this, I’m happy to say I’ll never have to buy another expensive light bulb off a store shelf and the feds will not be allowed to destroy the lighting quality in my house. Win, and Big Win!

If you plan to do this, make sure and buy the right thing, bulbs have an id that identifies the wattage and base size –

A19 Std 100W (standard)
A19 Std 75W
A19 Std 60W
A19 Std 40W
A19 Std 25W
A15 Short 15W (bathroom fixture)

Also, remember that not all bulbs will be illegalized by the federal government at the same time, the more common bulbs will go first, the smaller wattages will go later. The Wikipedia article has the details. Happy shopping!

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