incandescentbulb

Older incandescent bulbs, such as the one above, throw more heat than energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs.

The age of the incandescent bulb will fade to black starting on Wednesday, as federal rules aimed at improving efficiency come into effect New Year's Day.

The 75-watt and 100-watt incandescent bulbs have been phased out and starting Jan. 1 light bulb manufacturers can no longer supply the Canadian market with the bulbs.

Instead, people will have to buy compact fluorescent or LED lights.

Retailers like Pierre Gascon at HD Supply in Burnside, N.S., will still be able to sell the incandescent bulbs left on the shelf.

“If we still have stock,” he said.

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A medical thermometer contains about 100 times more mercury than a compact fluorescent light bulb.

After that, it's lights out.

The federal government is banning the old bulbs because they are inefficient. Most of the electricity comes out of the bulb as heat, rather than light.

Gascon said he believes homeowners are already a few years ahead.

"Compact fluorescents and LEDs have taken over, basically,” he said.

Alternative light 

While the soon-to-be-discontinued incandescent bulbs run at 60 cents apiece, halogen bulbs cost more than three times that. The curly compact fluorescent lights will cost you from $2.50 to $4 and not everyone appreciates their glow, or the small amount of mercury that exists inside.

The long-lasting LEDs are $20 per bulb, a price homeowner Jeffrey Lansing hopes will change.

"Maybe by getting rid of the incandescent light bulbs in stores it'll make the LEDs more affordable so that would be great,” he said.

There are exemptions for lights that can't be replaced with alternatives, including oven and refrigerator lights.

The 40-watt and 60-watt incandescent bulbs will be phased out after Dec. 31, 2014.