7 Ways to Get Free Light Bulbs

Every household has a continuously growing expenses list, which is why receiving all kinds of freebies from free light bulbs to free tissue paper and other essentials that we use on a day-to-day basis can be such a welcome gift.

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Light bulbs cost $1 to $5 each (depending on the type of light bulb you use at home), multiply this amount by the number of light fixtures you have and they definitely add up real quick.

Of course, you don’t really change them on a weekly basis, but the money can always go to other things.

7 Ways to Get Free Light Bulbs

Here are 7 tried-and-tested ways you can get light bulbs completely free.

Note that not all methods below will be available all year-round.

1. Free Light Bulbs from Power and Gas Companies

  • Columbia Gas of Virginia (Virginia) – Columbia Gas of Virginia customers will receive a free energy efficiency kit, or a $50 rebate if you apply.
  • Wisconsin Focus on Energy  (Wisconsin)– Customers can request a free energy-saving pack that includes LED lamps, aerators, showerheads and more.
  • AES Indiana (Indiana) – Use the online Home Energy Inspector to analyze your energy use and find ways to save, and receive a FREE energy efficiency kit.
  • Idaho Power (Idaho)– Sign up with your account number (one per household) and the company will mail you FREE 9 LED bulbs and other energy-efficient products.
  • Hawaii Energy (Hawaii) – Hawaii Energy gives its residential customers free and low-cost home energy-saving kits.
  • San Diego Gas and Electric (California) –  If you’re a customer, request your free kit (one kit per household every 10 years) that includes a handheld showerhead, kitchen and bath faucet aerators, and a LED night light. It takes 15 days to deliver the Water & Energy Savings Kit.
  • Energy Trust (Oregon & Washington) – Qualified customers can request a free Energy Saver Kit to help them reduce utility costs. Delivery takes 4 to 6 weeks.
  • DTE Energy (Michigan) – Customers can get a FREE Energy Efficiency Kit that comes with energy-saving products like LED light bulbs, nightlights, pipe wrap, showerheads, outlet safety covers, and water-saving faucet aerators for the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Potomac Edison (Maryland)– Residential customers of Potomac Edison has several programs to bring down their electricity costs, such as:
    • Discounts and rebates on the purchase of ENERGY STAR®-certified LED bulbs.
    • FREE Home Energy checkup where an auditor could install energy-saving products for FREE. These items could include up to 14 LED bulbs, faucet aerators, water-saving showerheads, and electric water heater pipe insulation – all valued to be over $75.
  • Duke Energy (Kentucky, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Indiana) – Sign up for a FREE Energy Kit and receive FREE LED Bulbs, LED Night Light, glow ring toy, faucet aerators, energy-efficient showerhead and other items.

In Pennsylvania, any residential customers of Penn Power, West Penn Power, Penelec and Met-Ed are eligible to receive an energy conservation kit.

This kit, which is absolutely FREE, comes with 5 LED light bulbs, 3 LED night lights, a furnace filter whistle, and 3 compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) in various wattages.

2.  Government and Non-Profit Org Projects

In April 2022, the Biden administration adopted two new rules that set stricter energy efficiency standards for light bulbs.

These updates will effectively phase out the sale of incandescent bulbs by 2023 and make the switch in favor of LED lights, which the Department of Energy estimates “last as much as 50 times as long as incandescent bulbs and use a fraction of the electricity.”

Rebates and Incentives for Businesses

If you have a business and you’re making a switch to LED lights, your company will be entitled to rebates and incentives.

The Climate Action Collaborative partners with local businesses and non-profits in Colorado to host FREE LED Swaps for the community.

Homeowners incentives

Homeowners making the switch to LED lighting could also claim these benefits, but like businesses, they must apply lighting rebates to the right departments.

These include the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (where info on all types of rebate programs are listed per state) and the US Department of Energy.

If you’re unsure, you can visit your local utility office to confirm the type of rebate request to submit and if other programs exist for homeowners. Ask about free “energy efficiency kits.”

Incentives from Local governments

New York’s North Salem Climate Smart Community Leadership Committee also had a similar lightbulb swapping program back in 2021.

Utah Clean Energy’s ENERGY Hub has a LED lightbulb swap program that lets members of the Utah community exchange up to 15 old incandescent lights for energy-saving LEDs.

Even smaller cities like City of Oberlin (in Ohio) has come up with its own lightbulb swapping event. They’re even generous with the freebie, letting residents exchange up to 5 incandescent or CFL bulbs for FREE energy-efficient LEDs.

The City of Cambridge, Massachusetts has been hosting the Free Light Bulb Swap since 2016. As of July 2023, you can still bring up to 3 of your old light bulbs to the Cambridge Winter Farmer’s Market and swap them for free LED replacements.

3. LED Light Companies

Before the government took charge of phasing out CFLs and incandescent bulbs, LED light companies lured customers to switch to LED lighting by swapping their old bulbs for free LED light bulbs.

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It’s actually how many people decided to make the upgrade, even if they cost a bit higher than traditional lighting at the time.

These days, some LED light companies still continue this kind of program, but partner up with appliance stores, hardware stores, and power companies.

4. Schools

Some high schools and universities could also adopt their own energy-efficiency programs and encourage people to change their conventional bulbs into LED bulbs.

Here’s a good example from the Office of Sustainability at Washington University in St. Louis where they encourage people to bring their working or non-working CFL and incandescent bulbs to the office and exchange it for a LED bulb at NO CHARGE.

The program caps each swap to 10 free light bulbs per person, which is pretty generous compared to similar swap events.

Just recently, Hawaiian Electric partnered with Hawaii Energy and the County of Maui Department of Water and hosted an event at Kaunakakai, Maunaloa, and Kilohana elementary schools, where they gave away a free kit containing energy-saving items (like free light bulbs) to help reduce energy use at home.

5. Appliance and Hardware Stores

Conventional bulbs are an important promotional item for hardware stores, especially during fall and winter when people flock to get their light bulbs replaced.

This time of the year is called “light bulb season” in appliance and hardware stores for a reason. It is also why they give away free light bulbs around this time to attract new customers.

Of course, some appliance and hardware stores would also host other lighting promotions throughout the year, so check out your local hardware regularly, or subscribe to their online newsletter.

6. Free Light Bulbs Samples by Mail

Some companies offer free light bulb samples to customers. Fill out sample request forms of companies like Keystone Tech and Got it Wholesale.

Make sure to follow US-based LED light companies (such as Mouser,  Brilled Lighting, GE Lighting, or Acuity Brands) on social media, so you can join any promotions, freebies, and contests.

7. Lighting Stores

If you’re buying a lamp, pendant light, ceiling light, or any kind of lighting from the store, you can usually get a free bulb to go with your purchase.

This is particularly true if the lighting fixture you bought requires specialty bulbs, or if they have an existing promotion when you shopped for one.

This method usually works when you shop face-to-face and rarely when online shopping, so take note.

Want More Freebies for Your Household?

If you weren’t able to get a free light bulb from the methods above, you can always save up some points and exchange them for visa gift cards, which you can use toward your purchase of light bulb supply.

For other freebies, check out how you can get a free computer and free electronics.

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