DEAR SUN SPOTS: My wife wants to know where a person can find small colored lights, the size that fits in a nightlight. She decorates every year, and all she can find are the frosted white or clear ones. She tried Walmart, Target, the Dollar Store, etc. No computer, so can’t go there. — Greg, Rumford Point
ANSWER: For some reason, white lights have become more popular than multicolored. When Sun Spots was a child, everyone had colored lights on their houses. Now it often seems that more than half are white only.
Another factor in the declining use of these bulbs is that the old light strings wear out over the years and have to be thrown away for safety reasons. Often they are replaced with the new LED lights, which last for years, saving the hassle of replacing bulbs.
Now could be a good time to look for deals. Sun Spots just bought a couple of strings of LEDs on a clearance at Ace Hardware for just a little over $3, which is cheaper than buying new bulbs for an old string, albeit wasteful.
As for your bulbs, Sun Spots found some that might fit at acehardware.com, so you should be able to order them from your local Ace even if they don’t have them in stock. Actually, they may still have Christmas leftovers at a good price. You might also try other hardware stores or places like Reny’s or Marden’s that sell some older stock.
A really inexpensive source could be yard or estate sales as families upgrade to the newer technology. If your transfer station has a “swap shop,” that could be a good place to look, too.
Finally, readers might have some spare bulbs to share.
The next letter writer recommends a Christmas store to a previous inquirer. Sun Spots went to that website to see if they had what you seek, but the site’s search function is not up to snuff. You might want to call them at 800-962-6180 to see if they have your bulbs.
DEAR SUN SPOTS: During Christmas week, someone was looking for bubble lights. The only place I’ve found them is at the Christmas Loft in North Conway, N.H. (www.christmasloft.com).
The store is about 1 mile down from Settlers Green on the left side of the road.
Sorry to be so late in writing. I think Sun Spots is the best part of the paper. — Jacqueline Hutchings, Auburn
DEAR SUN SPOTS: I am writing to see if you or any of your readers can help me find a special light bulb.
Several years ago I bought a tart warmer, and the bulb burned out. About three or four months ago I bought another tart warmer at Walmart. Again, the bulb burned out.
The bulb is very small like a night light bulb but a lot stronger. I have been to the places that I thought might carry them, but to no avail.
I even copied the information from an identical box at Walmart, and my son went online to search with no satisfaction.
I hope you can find these bulbs for me. The device is from Rimports in Provo, Utah, and has a Facebook page, Sensational Wickless.
I would think if Walmart is going to sell these tart warmers, they would also sell the replacement bulbs.
I enjoy your column so much. It is a priority read after the front-page headlines. Keep up the excellent work. Thank you in advance for any help you can give me. — No Name, Oxford
ANSWER: Walmart and other big box stores often sell items for which they do not offer parts. This is where your good old-fashioned hardware store comes in, but you may need the numbers off the old bulb.
You gave Sun Spots all the numbers off the box and product tag in your letter, but the numbers Sun Spots really needs are the ones off the old bulb. It is often difficult to find a bulb (or other things, such as a lithium battery) without the defunct item.
Many different devices use the same bulbs, so the identification is by bulb not device. This makes sense if you think about how expensive it would be for the manufacturer to have to make a bulb just for that tart warmer.
In this case, Sun Spots suspects you are looking for an appliance bulb. These come in various sizes and wattage to fit everything from your fridge to your vacuum cleaner. The specs you sent indicate the tart warmer is rated to 15W. Go to your local hardware store (take the old bulb if you have it) and see if you can find an appliance bulb of the right size, then look for 15 watts.
Ask for help if you need it. The benefits of a local store is that often there are personnel available to serve customers!
This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to email@example.com.