Nearly half of U.S. households use LED bulbs for all or most of their indoor lighting

Hooked on Fenix

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In California, we don’t have much of a choice. Most if not all new construction is non replaceable l.e.d. They purposely made it so you have to replace the whole fixture if it goes out. For commercial, it’s worse. My last real job was working on the lighting crew for an electrical company. (That wasn’t the bad part.) For commercial buildings, large rooms required at least four zones (separate lighting circuits). The first zone was the row of lights nearest the windows which was hooked up to a photocell and occupancy sensor. The lights dimmed down depending on how bright it was outside (sunny, cloudy, nighttime). The lights turned off if nobody was around. The next zone was the next row of lights nearest the windows with the same setup. The third zone was most of the rest of the lights behind those two rows. The fourth zone was the emergency circuit which was a limited number of the lights scattered throughout the room connected to a battery backup. All the lights were then controlled by a lighting control panel that cost probably around $10,000. The lighting and all the other circuits were also linked to demand response. This is
SDG&E’s direct access to controlling the thermostat and lighting of commercial buildings supposedly to help prevent rolling blackouts.

Now don’t get me wrong. I like how far l.e.d. technology has come in increasing efficiency, lowering power bills, and increasing c.r.i., but for businesses being forced to use it in this manner, I don’t see why anyone would ever want to open a business in California. Why would you spend millions of dollars putting in state of the art l.e.d. lighting in your building that should offer you reliability, when all you’re doing is giving the power company an off switch to your building to play with whenever they want?
 

idleprocess

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Most if not all new construction is non replaceable l.e.d. They purposely made it so you have to replace the whole fixture if it goes out.
In Theory™, purpose-built fixtures should have better optics and thermals for LED. I'm aware that reality does not always align with theory.

SDG&E’s direct access to controlling the thermostat and lighting of commercial buildings supposedly to help prevent rolling blackouts.
Demand dispatch should be something that's encouraged with voluntary, positive incentives - i.e. you agree to allow certain loads to be switched off up to so many hours a day under certain conditions and are compensated for the inconvenience since otherwise expensive peaking plants have to be spooled up or the utility has to implement blackouts and/or deal with the associated costs.
 

raggie33

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a while back led bulbs was on sale for like 3 bucks a pop. if you buy 10
 

Hooked on Fenix

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Demand dispatch should be something that's encouraged with voluntary, positive incentives - i.e. you agree to allow certain loads to be switched off up to so many hours a day under certain conditions and are compensated for the inconvenience since otherwise expensive peaking plants have to be spooled up or the utility has to implement blackouts and/or deal with the associated costs.
Title 24 is not voluntary. It’s required by law to comply with all of the energy savings garbage including wiring every commercial building to be capable of remote control via demand response. Whether or not the business has to be asked first before the power is turned down or off is another topic. The fact that every building has to be built with back door access to a business owner’s power is creepy and Orwellian. Is there any other state that does this?
 

jtr1962

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In California, we don’t have much of a choice. Most if not all new construction is non replaceable l.e.d.
This bothers me not because I'm against the idea. I think using purpose-built LED fixtures makes sense on many levels. For starters, in theory you can have better cooling and overall efficiency. You can also have extremely long lifetime if the LEDs can be kept fairly cool. Perhaps the fixtures can last as long as the building they're installed in.

Now the reason why I might not care for the idea depends upon the type of fixtures installed. Do they at least have variable CCT so you can adjust the lighting to your preference? If I was stuck with built-in warm white fixtures that would be a non-starter for me. I guess someone who prefers warm white would feel the same if stuck with a cool white fixture. So if they're going to mandate built-in LED fixtures that's fine, but they should also be required to have user adjustable CCT from a range of maybe 2700K up to 6500K. They should also mandate at least 90 CRI.
 

Hooked on Fenix

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The problem with built in fixtures goes to the heart of the problem. L.e.d. and energy companies like GE have their people lobbying the state to make these laws that benefit them directly. They tip the scales toward forcing you into buying their products whether you like it or not. You get no say in the matter as far as competition goes for what is the most efficient, or longest lasting, or comes from a company you want to support. I prefer the screw in l.e.d. bulbs. They can be replaced to keep up with the newest technology or changed out to different c.r.i. bulbs. I have been on plenty of jobs where a part of the l.e.d. fixture overheated and blew (I think it was a thermistor) and the built in l.e.d. light became a strobe light until a qualified electrician was dispatched to replace the entire fixture.

Case in point:


Sorry, have to click watch on youtube to see video.
 
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jtr1962

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The problem with built in fixtures goes to the heart of the problem. L.e.d. and energy companies like GE have their people lobbying the state to make these laws that benefit them directly. They tip the scales toward forcing you into buying their products whether you like it or not. You get no say in the matter as far as competition goes for what is the most efficient, or longest lasting, or comes from a company you want to support.
Well, that shouldn't be. If I wrote the law it might be something like this:

1) The fixtures must have a user adjustable CCT between 2700K and 6500K to suit user preferences.
2) The minimum CRI must be 90.
3) The fixture must be dimmable.
4) At full intensity there must be enough output from the fixture(s) to light the room to a certain lux (this can vary depending upon the type of room). No idea what the exact numbers should be.
5) The fixture must have a warranted lifetime of at least 100,000 hours.
6) The overall fixture efficiency must be at least 125 lumens per watt.

This covers all your reasons for wanting to use screw-base bulbs. Since LED efficiency has more or less plateaued, it's fairly safe to specify easily reached efficiencies, while being comfortable that those won't improve much in the future. In fact, maybe we could even go to 150 lm/W now in #6. I'm pretty sure you can do that with CRI 90+ using present technology.

Anyway, with a set of open standards like this literally anyone can compete. If standards are designed only to allow a certain company's products then those standards should be void.

Nothing is stopping anyone from having screw-base lamps in the same room if they desire. I personally only have about 12 screw-based fixtures or lamps in the entire house. Most everything else was converted to linear fluorescent decades ago. Now as the ballasts go on those old fixtures they're converted to LED tubes. All the screw-base bulbs have been LED for quite some time.
 

Hooked on Fenix

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Nothing is stopping anyone from having screw-base lamps in the same room if they desire. I personally only have about 12 screw-based fixtures or lamps in the entire house. Most everything else was converted to linear fluorescent decades ago. Now as the ballasts go on those old fixtures they're converted to LED tubes. All the screw-base bulbs have been LED for quite some time.
You obviously don’t live in California where that is not the case. All new construction has to be hardwired l.e.d. lighting. They put dimming requirements in the law that basically eliminated most if not all fluorescent bulb or other options. The photocell and occupancy sensor requirements make the lights get turned on, off, and dimmed frequently which fluorescent bulbs can’t handle without burning out early. Screw in fixtures of any kind don’t pass inspection. I’ve tried. Wired up a screw in fixture with a l.e.d. bulb in it for an outdoor wall sconce. Inspector came back and said the light had to have a photocell and motion sensor and be high efficiency with the inability to use a regular lightbulb. At the time there were no l.e.d. fixtures with both a motion sensor and a photocell in existence. Had to buy an l.e.d. fixture that had a motion sensor and wire it to a photocell. The inspector inspected the system when you were finished wiring it because there was no product made to comply with the law. It’s still that way. They keep making laws forcing companies to comply with updated regulations while the companies making the products and the electricians installing them are scratching their heads and playing catch-up.

As for the screw in bulbs, I prefer nothing be mandated. The most efficient bulbs are the ones that aren’t dimmable. I’ve seen them around 130+ lumens/watt. Let people chose their color temperature or get bulbs that let them adjust it. Makes a difference in cost. Why should everyone be mandated to get the same bulb that claims to do everything? Makes for a terrible recall when something goes wrong. I also don’t want one company having a monopoly on a product either. This leads to higher prices, a lack of innovation, and more of my money spent on politics (lobbying) I may not care for in an attempt to force me to buy more product.

By the way, you should really watch that video I posted. An l.e.d. streetlight started strobing in a retirement community and they have to wait several months to get an electrician out to fix the light. It was so much easier when someone just had to change a lightbulb. Now when something goes wrong, the failing light might drive your neighborhood nuts for a year before the problem gets fixed.
 

jtr1962

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You obviously don’t live in California where that is not the case. All new construction has to be hardwired l.e.d. lighting.
I'm talking about having a table lamp with a screw-base bulb, not a hardwired fixture. Or do they prohibit those in CA also?
Why should everyone be mandated to get the same bulb that claims to do everything?
Because if you're going to mandate LED fixtures which don't use bulbs then they have to produce light which is acceptable to all users, unless you want people using less efficient bulbs in table lamps simply because they hate the light coming from the ceiling fixture. That means a high enough CRI so nobody complains about it, plus adjustable CCT.
By the way, you should really watch that video I posted. An l.e.d. streetlight started strobing in a retirement community and they have to wait several months to get an electrician out to fix the light. It was so much easier when someone just had to change a lightbulb. Now when something goes wrong, the failing light might drive your neighborhood nuts for a year before the problem gets fixed.
I don't understand why an LED streetlight should fail at all. Don't they test these things? Make the manufacturer send someone to fix it if it breaks during warranty period. That will give them an incentive to produce lights which last. A properly designed LED streetlight should last at least 250,000 hours before it dims to an unacceptable level. That's well over 50 years of 12 hour a day use.

BTW, the reason why it's taking so long to fix sounds more like a shortage of electricians than anything having to do with LED streetlights. I've seen my fair share of HPS streetlights fail in a strobing mode also.
 

Hooked on Fenix

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I don't understand why an LED streetlight should fail at all. Don't they test these things? Make the manufacturer send someone to fix it if it breaks during warranty period. That will give them an incentive to produce lights which last. A properly designed LED streetlight should last at least 250,000 hours before it dims to an unacceptable level. That's well over 50 years of 12 hour a day use.

BTW, the reason why it's taking so long to fix sounds more like a shortage of electricians than anything having to do with LED streetlights. I've seen my fair share of HPS streetlights fail in a strobing mode also.
L.e.d. lights have a device called a thermistor built into them. Basically, it’s like a resistor that responds to heat. When the fixture gets too hot, instead of catching fire, the thermistor blows. This leaves the fixture with intermittent power so it can’t overheat and start a fire while you figure out by the strobing that something went wrong with the fixture. Nothing has to be initially wrong with the fixture for the thermistor to blow. In the case of canned recessed lighting, sometimes the light is up against insulation where it builds up heat and blows the thermistor. This is where I’ve seen this problem the most. In the case of a street light, all it takes is for the power to get out of phase or surge and something will damage a good light. When every light needs an electrician to change out a fixture during a nationwide worker shortage, it stinks we can’t just swap out a bulb ourselves anymore. I hope more neighborhoods don’t start looking like that one in the video with the strobe light. That’s near the closest city to my home.
 

jtr1962

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L.e.d. lights have a device called a thermistor built into them. Basically, it’s like a resistor that responds to heat. When the fixture gets too hot, instead of catching fire, the thermistor blows. This leaves the fixture with intermittent power so it can’t overheat and start a fire while you figure out by the strobing that something went wrong with the fixture. Nothing has to be initially wrong with the fixture for the thermistor to blow. In the case of canned recessed lighting, sometimes the light is up against insulation where it builds up heat and blows the thermistor. This is where I’ve seen this problem the most. In the case of a street light, all it takes is for the power to get out of phase or surge and something will damage a good light. When every light needs an electrician to change out a fixture during a nationwide worker shortage, it stinks we can’t just swap out a bulb ourselves anymore. I hope more neighborhoods don’t start looking like that one in the video with the strobe light. That’s near the closest city to my home.
That's just a horrible design flaw. I'd be ashamed to put my name to anything designed like that. It sounds more like they used a thermal fuse, not a thermistor. Thermistors change resistance with temperature but they generally rarely fail. I actually made a prototype of a bike light which used a thermistor to keep it from overheating. When the light was stationary, the airflow over the cooling fins was limited. As a result, if the light was on higher output settings eventually it would get too hot, and the thermistor would throttle down the current. Eventually, it reached a steady state where it was very warm, but not hot, and the output stabilized at a lower level. Once the light cooled down by being in airflow again, the output would rise to whatever it was set for. No strobing, just reduced output to keep the light from overheating. I used this chip in case you're interested. See page 29 for thermal control of LED current. There are lots of other ways to do the same thing with different drivers.

There's no reason LED fixtures can't work exactly the way my light worked. They throttle down, or even just shut off completely, if they get too hot. When they cool down, they work normally again. No reason to design a light to intentionally strobe, and require servicing. That's only to pad the pockets of the manufacturers. Someone needs to call them out for these awful designs. Feel free to quote this post if you want to get in touch with the right people over there.
 

JoakimFlorence

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I converted most all of the home to LED. Now, I do only use special higher CRI LED, not the normal LED bulbs most people are buying. (I think the higher CRI bulbs I have are somewhere around 90 to 92 CRI, whereas the normal LED bulbs might be 82 to 85 CRI ) These higher CRI bulbs do seem to be more expensive than the normal LED bulbs.
If these higher CRI bulbs did not exist, then I would mostly not be using LED. The quality of the light from the regular LED bulbs leaves something to be desired, in my opinion.

If it were only me in the home, I would probably prefer and only have the old incandescent bulbs. But there are other people, and they don't turn off lights. And it would just annoy the heck out of me. Some may call it a little OCD (obsessive-compulsive) but if I did not have these LEDs I would just be constantly thinking about how this irresponsible person is wearing out my good light bulbs. Leaving them on causes the bulb to wear out faster and then it has to be replaced. (And with stupid government bans and regulations, these light bulbs may not be so easy to find in the future) And then of course the electric bills, but to be honest that's not really the real issue. (I live in a cold climate) So switching to LED has saved me anxiety. The other people can leave on the lights as long as they want and I don't care.

Outside lighting is all LED, that is a given. The quality of light doesn't really matter when it's outside. The nights are too cold here to spend much time sitting outside after dark anyway.

One of the few places where I haven't switched out to LED is above the dining table but that's because the ceiling lamp fixture there uses a horrible glass cover that is slightly amber-yellow tinted. The combination of using an LED bulb with that glass just makes the light appear too yellowish and sucks the color out of the room. So I have to use halogen bulbs to try to compensate for the effect of that glass cover on the ceiling lamp.
Ironically I suspect the tint of that glass cover was designed to try to filter the harsh light of those horrid CFL bulbs and make the light softer and more tolerable.

I use a mix of 2700K and 3000K. I do wish they made a 2850K color LED bulb in a higher CRI option. That is something I kind of miss about the older light bulbs. I do find 2700K just a bit too orange colored, and 3000K just a tiny bit too harsh and bright.

(And before anyone brings it up, I did find some "higher CRI" LED bulbs that seem to be about 2850K in color but I did not find they were really that great in terms of how they made colors appear in the room. I suspect they are totally just regular LEDs and the light is only improved a little bit by being passed through a neodymium glass bulb cover. The quality of light from my other high CRI bulbs appear to be better. So I'm only using just a few of these bulbs in certain places where the quality of light is less important. Actually there is one ceiling lamp fixture where I combined one of these together with a halogen bulb, which works because the better CRI of the halogen compensates for the slightly less than desirable light quality of the LED, and both are close to the same color temperature)

As of 2022, the higher CRI LED bulbs that I am using cost about 4.50 dollars (3.80 £ for those of you in UK) each. (and there are probably about 50 light sockets in my modestly sized home, including several recessed ceiling fixtures) Let's remember that the old lightbulbs cost less than 0.40 before government started forcing its hand.

I have already had 5 LED bulbs burn out after less than 2 years of use, making me skeptical of how long these LED bulbs will really last or whether the claims of their long lifespan are really true. They were made by three different mainstream brand names.
 
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LEDphile

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As of 2022, the higher CRI LED bulbs that I am using cost about 4.50 dollars (3.80 £ for those of you in UK) each. (and there are probably about 50 light sockets in my modestly sized home, including several recessed ceiling fixtures) Let's remember that the old lightbulbs cost less than 0.40 before government started forcing its hand.

I have already had 5 LED bulbs burn out after less than 2 years of use, making me skeptical of how long these LED bulbs will really last or whether the claims of their long lifespan are really true. They were made by three different mainstream brand names.
As far as cost goes, it is worth remembering that the cost savings in energy use more than pay for the increased cost of the LED lamp. If we consider a typical 800 lumen lamp, that's about 9W for the LED and 60W for the incandescent. At 13 cents per kWh, you're looking at about 700 hours of operation to pay back a $4.60 difference in lamp cost (I assumed a $5 LED lamp and $0.40 incandescent. That's less than the rated life of the incandescent lamp.

As far as lifetime goes, it will be shorter in recessed fixtures and other environments where the ambient temperature around the lamps is high. So if you use the proper style retrofit kits for your recessed cans whenever possible, and keep the bulbs in the better-ventilated fixtures, you should see the rated life of the lamps. And if you stick with lamps that have the Energy Star label, you can have better confidence that the lamp isn't going to be designed for abnormally short life - the Energy Star program includes lifetime testing of the lamps that carry the label.
 

alpg88

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This bothers me not because I'm against the idea. I think using purpose-built LED fixtures makes sense on many levels. For starters, in theory you can have better cooling and overall efficiency. You can also have extremely long lifetime if the LEDs can be kept fairly cool. Perhaps the fixtures can last as long as the building they're installed in.

Now the reason why I might not care for the idea depends upon the type of fixtures installed. Do they at least have variable CCT so you can adjust the lighting to your preference? If I was stuck with built-in warm white fixtures that would be a non-starter for me. I guess someone who prefers warm white would feel the same if stuck with a cool white fixture. So if they're going to mandate built-in LED fixtures that's fine, but they should also be required to have user adjustable CCT from a range of maybe 2700K up to 6500K. They should also mandate at least 90 CRI.
Absolutely, home depot sells those, i have installed them all over my home, set to warm, thou they call it soft, not warm, there are also neutral and cool settings. The ones that i got are 1x4 and 1x1 panels, that are about 3/4in thick, you'll never get such thin surface mount light with incan. bulbs or fluorescent tubes. Another great thing about them, is that even at max brightness they wont blind you, cuz light source area is total area of the light, not a point source as with bulbs, even the tubes have lower light source area. I put 2 1x4 panels in my kitchen, and they were too bright, i had to install a dimmer, but even thou they were too bright, it still did not hurt to look at them.
 

JoakimFlorence

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As far as cost goes, it is worth remembering that the cost savings in energy use more than pay for the increased cost of the LED lamp.
Supposedly, but that's not really true.

Like I explained, I live in a cold climate. Even in the summer most nights are rather cold.
Any of the waste energy that is not producing light is producing heat.
Given that I do use electric space heaters, it doesn't really make sense to be using special lighting for "energy saving" purposes.

In some places the cost of electricity is rather cheap, and it's only in areas that are pushing an environmental agenda and have lots of energy regulations where the price of electricity is expensive.

For example, the cost of electricity in the U.S. state of Louisiana is 7.51 cents per kilowatt hour. The cost is 3 times higher in the U.K.
(and this is talking about before the spike in prices from supply of gas being cut off from the Russian pipeline, in case anyone was going to try to bring that up)

I read that the average household could supposedly save $225 a year from switching to all LED, it was calculated. Okay, to change out all the bulbs in my house, with LED bulbs of decent quality, it would cost $225. What a coincidence, the two numbers happen to be exactly the same. Then the question is how long are those LED bulbs actually going to last. I don't really know, but I've already seen some indications it's probably a lot less than claimed. From what I've seen so far, I really don't think it's unreasonable to assume about 30 percent of them are going to stop working after 1.6 years, if they actually get a large amount of use. Another 20% might stop working after 3 years.
 
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bykfixer

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I'm still pulling new curly fry bulbs from the packages I bought before LED bulbs became mainstream. They have lasted so long I'm just now replacing some. When 4 packs were about $5 I bought about a dozen over time and still have some nip. We have some LED bulbs too but not many. My reading lamp has a krypton bulb in it with 3 waiting to eventually replace it.
 

LEDphile

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Supposedly, but that's not really true.

Like I explained, I live in a cold climate. Even in the summer most nights are rather cold.
Any of the waste energy that is not producing light is producing heat.
Given that I do use electric space heaters, it doesn't really make sense to be using special lighting for "energy saving" purposes.

In some places the cost of electricity is rather cheap, and it's only in areas that are pushing an environmental agenda and have lots of energy regulations where the price of electricity is expensive.

For example, the cost of electricity in the U.S. state of Louisiana is 7.51 cents per kilowatt hour. The cost is 3 times higher in the U.K.
(and this is talking about before the spike in prices from supply of gas being cut off from the Russian pipeline, in case anyone was going to try to bring that up)

I read that the average household could supposedly save $225 a year from switching to all LED, it was calculated. Okay, to change out all the bulbs in my house, with LED bulbs of decent quality, it would cost $225. What a coincidence, the two numbers happen to be exactly the same. Then the question is how long are those LED bulbs actually going to last. I don't really know, but I've already seen some indications it's probably a lot less than claimed. From what I've seen so far, I really don't think it's unreasonable to assume about 30 percent of them are going to stop working after 1.6 years, if they actually get a large amount of use. Another 20% might stop working after 3 years.
If you only ever have a heating load, never have any cooling load, and are using resistance space heaters. than indeed, any energy saved from better efficiency on any electrical device is just made up by the heaters. But there aren't that many places where this is the case.

Looking at the EIA's data ( https://www.eia.gov/electricity/dat...echart&ltype=pin&rtype=s&maptype=0&rse=0&pin= ), I'm not seeing huge variation in the retail cost of electricity across regions, and most of the variation I see is related to the generation mix. But even if you were paying 6.5 cents/kWh, that'd only increase the payback time of the LED lamp to 1400 hours, which is still less than the rated life of a "long life" incandescent.

For Energy Star qualification (see https://www.energystar.gov/sites/default/files/ENERGY STAR Lamps V2.1 Final Specification_1.pdf ), a sample size of 10 units is run to 25% of the rated lifetime claim by the manufacturer, with requirements for ambient temperature and that the output be at least a certain percentage of the initial output. No failures are allowed. Given that the minimum test length for Energy Star is 6k hours (for a 25k hour lifetime rating), none of those lamps should be failing after a year and a half (at 12 hours of operation a day), and all of those lamps would have paid for themselves at 4 cents/kWh.
 

kaichu dento

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Even sadder is that they'll probably eventually ban the sale of incandescent household bulbs altogether. Its nice to have the choice. I like my halogens.
Halogens are my absolute favorite for both household and automotive lighting and if they can ever tweak the LED's into giving us that look I'll be a very happy buyer.

That said, my main car now has HID's which are cooler than my preference and all of my home lighting is done with LED bulbs now.

I've got a couple of friends who won't use LED lighting and I try to help keep them stocked with halogen and incandescent bulbs.
 

kaichu dento

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My last incandescent. Good for 6000 hours or so it says. Inherited a box of these when I bought a house in the 90’s, and it’s survived 5 moves since. Great bulb and used daily in a bath fixture mixed with hi cri leds. View attachment 26868 View attachment 26869
I may have to track a couple of these down. Wouldn't want to replace all the LED's with them, but there are just some lights that really benefit from an old incan.
 
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