Saturday, March 23, 2013

Bright Idea

I've actually met a few people who've told me they are beginning to hoard incandescent light bulbs in face the impending ban on sales.

I happen to believe that is a very stupid idea, akin to hoarding buggy whips.

I admit that I once briefly flirted with this notion, particularly considering the fact that the economics of a simple light bulb were changing, dramatically. I can buy an incandescent light bulb for fifty cents. The cheapest LED bulb runs about ten bucks, a ninety five percent increase.

That ten dollar price is actually the good news. Until recently, most LED bulbs sold in the thirty dollar range...some still do, for that and more. A 75 watt LED, for example, will run you somewhere from the mid thirties to the mid forties.

Think of it as a long term investment. In this column in The New York Times, David Pogue writes that “LEDs last about 25 times as long as incandescents and three times as long as CFLs; we’re talking maybe 25,000 hours of light. Install one today, and you may not own your house, or even live, long enough to see it burn out.”

“Yet despite all of these advantages, few people install LED lights. They never get farther than: “$30 for a light bulb? That’s nuts!” Never mind that they will save about $200 in replacement bulbs and electricity over 25 years. (More, if your electric company offers LED-lighting rebates.)”

A LED start up is even making smart light bulbs, opening a new frontier in home lighting...

Yet I imagine that some will still build stockpiles of the incandescents. In a reader’s response column to his first piece, David was asked if it was really necessary “to plug a light bulb into the Internet,” to which he responded “I understand that both incandescent light bulbs and candles are still available at many fine housewares retailers.”
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