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Incandescent Bulbs: Their Days Are Numbered

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If he were alive today, Thomas Edison would probably be surprised to learn that the incandescent light bulbs he invented were being outlawed by many governments around the world (Cuba has completely outlawed them — even the import or export of them). But incandescent bulbs are so inefficient and waste so much energy that many governments feel the need to step in and actually outlaw them.

In the US, they are still sold in most stores, and homeowners continue to purchase them, as they are the most inexpensive light bulb choice. But using incandescent bulbs ends up costing the average homeowner more in the long run, as they use more electricity and thus cost more money. Through a simple cost analysis, it has been proven that spending a little bit more on more efficient bulbs, such as CFLs, will save you money since you won't have to replace the bulbs as often. Because CFLs use less energy, they cost you less on your energy bills. California has taken steps to outlaw incandescent bulbs. In fact, California will phase out the use of incandescent bulbs by 2018 as part of a bill that was signed byCalifornia Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on October 12, 2007. The bill aims to establish a minimum standard of 25 lumens per watt by 2013 and sixty lumens per watt by 2018. (Source: Wikipedia, Incandescent Phase Out).

Incandescent bulbs have a thin tungsten filament housed inside a glass sphere and work through heat-driven light emissions. These heat-driven emissions are what make them soinefficient. The heat simply wastes a lot of electricity. Incandescent bulbs get so hot that it is dangerous to touch the bulbs even after they have been off for a few minutes.

In 1880, the year when incandescent bulbs were invented, and for many centuries after, the bulbs provided a great way to light a home. Incandescent bulbs came in a wide range of voltages and were easy to install with their simple screw bases. Incandescent bulbs were also convenient in that they could be used in a number of applications such as in lamps, flashlights and more. These convenient factors, plus low manufacturing costs, made incandescent bulbs a great choice for homeowners for centuries. But as we learn more about energy efficiency and ways in which we can help to save the environment and money, we realize that incandescent bulbs are simply no longer the way to go.

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