Light Bulbs Discontinued, Replaced by Energy-Efficient Units

CLEVELAND – It may be the hot-ticket item in the hardware section this summer: four-foot long T12 fluorescent tube lights.

These, along with old-fashioned spot and flood lights, will no longer be made after this week.

“The conversion is all energy related,” said Phil Soroky, project manager for Ullman Electric. “Years ago, the newer LED and some of the other technology components weren’t as efficient as they are today.”

New halogen bulbs, T8’s, will replace the old ones, but Soroky said there’s a catch. The new bulb has a one-inch diameter and won’t fit older fixtures. The T12 units have a diameter of one-and-a-half inches, meaning consumers will have to upgrade their existing units.

“If your home is from the 40s, 50s, 60s and it’s been around for 60 years, most of the electrical stuff has reached its useful end of life,” he said. “It’s really OK to replace it out.”

Electric units can be retrofitted for the new standard, but Soroky said consumers may want to consider LED technology.

According to General Electric, the average 60-watt incandescent light bulb can provide 1,000 hours of life, but similar LED lights can last up to 50,000 hours.

Yet, LED bulbs are more expensive, costing anywhere from $10 to $25 for a standard bulb. Marlin Hamilton of Cleveland said he’s willing to pay the price, especially since the bulbs use 85 percent less power.

“I just got to roll with the change,” Hamilton said. “If I got to switch it out, I’ll switch it out. So, you know, anything to save money ’cause it’s rough right now.”

Doris Greggo, co-owner of Alexander’s Hardware in Cleveland, said many people are hesitant to invest in the change.

Greggo has yet to see anyone stockpile the T12’s but expects that, eventually, people will warm up to being energy efficient.

“Many of the bulbs will say on the packaging, they will last three, five, 10 years,” she said. “The benefit is that if you have to change the light bulbs every couple of months, you won’t have to change the lights quite as often and you won’t have to get on the ladder quite as often. So that’s OK.”