Bulb-Miser, Inc. Is Out of Business. In 2012 There Will Be a Renewed Demand for Light Bulb Life
Extenders. Here Are a Few Bulb-Miser Alternatives.
What Is a Bulb-Miser?
A Bulb-Miser is the featured product of Bulb Miser,
Inc. Or, it WAS their featured product. Bulb-Miser, Inc. went belly-up some time ago. Their product was a
“temperature compensating thermistor” that served to preserve the life of incandescent light bulbs. You can read
an old advertisement for the Bulb-Miser light bulb life extender here.
It was developed during NASA’s Apollo program so that electrical surges wouldn’t damage the Saturn launch
After the Bulb-Miser was introduced, there were other, similar products introduced. These served the same
function and operated the same way: by being inserted into the socket of a normal incandescent light bulb-using
lamp. Some of these other similar products went by names such as Lite Preserver, Lite-Bulb Saver, and Energy
Why Are People Looking for Bulb-Misers?
People have started looking for Bulb-Misers
due to the coming ban on incandescent bulbs. Amidst all the Global Warming clamor, the United States government
decided to pass the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The result? All 100-watt to 40-watt incandescent
bulbs are to be progressively banned beginning in 2012. The 100-watt bulbs are first to go, and all the rest will
follow by 2014.
But, people resist
change. They particularly resist it when it is forced on them by bureaucrats. The Tea Party movement is gaining
prominence, and it resents the fact that government is going to be denying them the right to use something they
have used for years.
Additionally, there are
many people who have concerns over the “just trust us, they are completely safe” compact fluorescent lamps
(CFL). There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that claims the CFLs
exacerbate migraines and can trigger seizures in people with epilepsy. The EU has denounced these stories saying that there is no scientific evidence
to back up such claims, and the American medical establishment will, no doubt, agree. But, the numbers of individuals who claim to be affected by CFLs is not
CFLs also contain
mercury vapor, a well-known toxic substance. As much as 5 mg may be
present in each bulb. The components in these bulbs are so
hazardous to health that hundreds of Chinese workers who manufacture them have been sickened by
them. Many even to the point of hospitalization. There are lots
of American mothers and fathers who do not desire such dangerous materials lurking inside the same abode where
their young children spend their days.
Lots of folks just don’t
like the incandescent alternatives either. The fluorescent light is
said by many to produce an austere environment. And, the slight hum
they emit can drive those with sensitive ears just as mad as a constant dripping.
The bottom line: a large
number of people are going to want to keep using the incandescent bulbs long after the government decided that
it knew better than anyone else what was best for everyone else.
They will keep using their incandescent bulbs and even buy bulb-saving thermistors, if they are
So, when the ban gets closer, people will start hoarding incandescent bulbs. This happened in the European Union in response to their ban. Without the ability to buy new bulbs, people will clear the shelves of all
remaining bulbs and will want to keep the bulbs they have working as long as possible. Enter Bulb-Miser, Stage Right.
How Does a Bulb-Miser Work to Extend Light Bulb Life?
Electrically speaking, a thermistor is a thermal resistor. When placed
between a light bulb and the electrical source, it must reach a certain temperature to allow the current to fully
flow to the bulb. Most light bulbs “blow” with the initial surge of
current to the cold filament. Bulb-Misers force the current to slow
down and warm the filament slowly. As the thermistor warms, more
electricity passes, and the light emitted from the bulb gains intensity slowly without sustaining an initial
blow-out level surge. This greatly prolongs the life of incandescent
How Do You Find Bulb-Miser Light Bulb Life Extenders?
Evidently, Bulb-Misers are as rare as a Honus Wagner baseball card. And, without the looming discontinuation of
incandescent bulbs, there wouldn’t be much demand for them now. There certainly wasn’t enough demand to keep Bulb
Miser, Inc. in business. Good luck finding them on Amazon.com. You can sometimes find them on Ebay listed under
either “Bulb-Miser” or “thermal button,” but they aren’t cheap (you can also search for Lite Preserver, Lite-Bulb
Saver, or Energy Button and find them occasionally). The last ones I saw were to-the-door for $50 (for two). They are scarce. But, as I’ll mention later, there are some practical Bulb-Miser
What Are the Benefits of Bulb-Misers?
The Benefits of Bulb-Misers are obvious. You keep your incandescent bulbs glowing longer. The American Incandescent
Apocolypse of 2012 (and the hoarding that ensues) will make those who want to keep and use their now-banned bulbs
want methods to extend their life. That is the major benefit of a Bulb-Miser: longer bulb
What Are the Drawbacks of Bulb-Misers?
There are a few drawbacks to using
Bulb-Misers, however. Since the thermistor has to warm up before
allowing the maximum amount of current to the bulb, there is a 30 to 60 second delay before your light gets
bright. Additionally, since there is an added component between the
source and the bulb, it slightly decreases the amount of current that reaches the bulb. Consequently, the bulb’s maximum brightness will be a little less than it would
be without the Bulb-Miser in place. And, most obviously, no one (of
which I am aware) is manufacturing them.
There is also the possibility of electrical shock, an increase in the heat of the bulb casing due to the
thermistor, the cracking of the thermistor disc with torque from the screwed-in light bulb, and a decrease in the
engagement of the threads of the bulb when screwing one into the socket.
Is There a Bulb-Miser Alternative?
Currently, there is not Bulb-Miser
alternative. But there could be soon. All it takes is one individual with The Entrepreneur Mindset to make it happen. There will likely be a surge in demand for Bulb-Misers (or newly-named similar
products) around the time the ban goes into effect. Assuming no
governmental persecution for a device such as a thermistor, there could be a big market for these devices (the
components of which are relatively inexpensive and could provide a good return).
You can also buy a diode
form of an in-socket bulb life extender from Ace Hardware. They
cost about $10. You can buy them here. You do lose about 25% of the light’s
intensity with these.
While there is no exact duplicate of a Bulb-Miser available, there is a practical solution. People wanting to retain the use of incandescent bulbs after the ban can buy (or
hoard) 130-volt bulbs before it begins. Here is why:
The Pros of the 130-Volt Bulb-Miser Alternative?
The standard voltage in use in American homes
is 120 volts. Light bulbs are calibrated to use this
voltage. However, if one buys and uses 130-volt bulbs with 120 volts,
you get Miser-like effect. And, you don’t have to wait while your bulb
reaches its maximum intensity.
You don’t get the slow current to the filament, but you get a stronger filament. These filaments are much less likely to blow with a 120-volt initial
blast. And, it takes much longer for the red-hot tungsten to evaporate
to a degree that compromises the filament. In short, buying (or
hoarding) 130-volt bulbs is a practical solution until a brave entrepreneur begins re-manufacturing thermistor
units for use in standard lighting.
The Cons of the 130-Volt Bulb-Miser Alternative?
Using a 130-volt bulb as a Bulb-Miser alternative is not without flaw.
There is still an initial surge, but the stronger filament does a much better job of dealing with it for a
much longer time than a normal bulb’s. Also, there is approximately a
20% reduction in the overall light given off by the bulb. So, if you
wanted the amount of light given off by a 60-watt bulb, you would have to buy a 75-watt bulb to get the same
Where Do You Get Bulb-Miser Alternatives?
1. You can buy the similar in-socket product from Ace Hardware
2. You can buy
130-volt bulbs from Amazon.com:
SYLVANIA 10489 60-Watt 130-Volt A19 Household Bulb, 24 Pack 60A CVP, 24PK
SYLVANIA 12510 75-Watt 130-Volt A19 Household Bulb, 24 Pack 75A CVP
SYLVANIA 12709 100-Watt 130-Volt A19 Household Bulb, 24 Pack 100A CVP
3. You can check
Ebay for the original Bulb-Miser
4. You can be the
entrepreneur that develops the next generation of light bulb life extenders like Bulb-Misers. Who knows,
you might be a wealthy individual following the bulb hoarding...
Or, if you are planning on buying a truckload of regular bulbs, you can store them in your shed now in preparation
for the American Incandescent Apocolypse of 2012!
Learn more about saving money by clicking this link: Financial Wisdom
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