Using Up Your Supply Of Incandescent Bulbs For Extra Heat

Many people embraced the newer lighting technology of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs and halogen lamps, all of which use substantially less energy than the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. Like other consumers, you may have found yourself buying the newer bulbs on sale and gradually converting most of your lighting fixtures to these devices. However, you may still have a supply of incandescent bulbs left. What can you do with the old 75-watt and 100-watt bulbs that are known for using so much more electricity?

One possibility involves swapping the new bulbs for the old ones during the cold months of the year, since incandescent bulbs give off a significant amount of heat. Some 90 percent of their energy production involves heat generation.

Best Strategies

Heat rises, so you'll want the light bulbs as close to the floor as is practical. That means using them in table and desk lamps instead of ceiling fixtures. They also can be helpful when placed in hanging or track fixtures that sit relatively close to a countertop or table. 

In fact, having an incandescent bulb in a desk lamp with a covered shade is an effective way of adding targeted heat to your work space on chilly days. If you're sitting in an easy chair or on the couch reading a book or magazine, a table lamp also will give you a bit of extra warmth.


You can't expect incandescent bulbs to produce enough heat to make a noticeable difference on your heating bills. Nevertheless, they will give off some heat that won't be entirely wasted. Consider that incandescent bulbs have traditionally been used to create heat in reptile terrariums -- and in children's toy ovens. 

Concluding Thoughts

Swapping light bulbs from one season to another may be a little inconvenient, but you'll get your money's worth out of the incandescent bulbs you had already purchased without wasting heat. The longevity of these bulbs is short compared to other options, but you still may be able to use them for several winters, depending on how long you leave them on every day.

Consider this a seasonal project as you do with other activities, such as putting the snow brush and scraper in your car and taking them out come spring. Once you've finished up your supply of incandescent lamps, simply continue using the bulbs you like best, whether that be LEDs, CFLs or halogen lamps -- or a mix. You can also consider talking with electrical supply companies, like Raymar Electrical Sales, if you are searching for more incandescent bulbs or new kinds to use.