Out with the old and in with the new–light bulbs that is!
The Thomas Edison era largely comes to an end Jan. 1 with the phaseout of America’s most popular light bulb. Surprised? A survey out Thursday finds that most consumers are, and a third plan to stock up on the old incandescents before they fade away.
Three of five, or 59%, of Americans say they didn’t know that the top-selling 60-watt bulb — plus the 40-watt version — will start disappearing from store shelves next year, according to the sixth annual “socket survey” by lighting company Osram Sylvania.
About twice as many respondents as last year — now 30% — say they plan to buy a lot of Edison’s century-old incandescents wherever they’re still available and continue using them rather than switching to more efficient alternatives, says the survey of 300 U.S. adults conducted last month.
“Some Americans are digging in. It takes people awhile to adjust,” says Anne Guertin, Osram Sylvania spokeswoman. She notes, though, that two-thirds of those surveyed plan to switch, and 59% welcome the efficiency shift.
Sales are up for the old 60-watt and 40-watt bulbs, partly because of store promotions, says Mark Voykovic, national light bulb merchant for The Home Depot. He says his company’s stores have put up more signs to educate shoppers about the phaseout.
The two bulbs, which account for about half of all standard-size bulb sales, are part of the U.S. government’s multiyear phaseout of traditional incandescents, which began nationwide in January 2012 with the 100-watt. Last year, the phaseout extended to the 75-watt bulb.
The bulbs won’t disappear overnight. A 2007 energy-efficiency law, signed by President George W. Bush, requires that as of Jan. 1 they no longer be made in or imported into the United States. Stores can finish selling their stock. Voykovic expects The Home Depot to have enough of the old bulbs to last through mid-2014.
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