If the term “LED lighting” conjures up an image of a little red light reminding you to fasten the seatbelt in your car, well then, welcome to 2019! LED is all the rage in lighting and is gaining momentum in illuminating everything from fixtures in your home to headlights on your car. LED lighting is versatile, cost efficient and durable. It’s no wonder why so many people are making the move to LED lights.
Not sold on LED bulbs yet? Don’t be in the dark! Check out why making the switch may be the best option for you. We’ll start by exploring what you currently have in your sockets.
Incandescent light bulbs (aka your grandmother’s light bulb) are the quintessential light bulbs that we’ve been using since the late 1800’s. These bulbs produce a warm glow by running an electric current through a metal filament. That filament gets so flaming hot to the point where it produces light. These lights are strong, warm and evenly distributed but up to 90% of the energy released is in the form of heat as opposed to light. Incandescent lights have a short glow life, averaging only a few months. Options are few in regards to shape and color.
The classic spiral Compact Fluorescent Bulb (or CFL Bulb) was introduced to the market in 1995. Compact Fluorescent’s are generally recognized by their coil-like shape but actually, these bulbs can come in the standard round light bulb shape as well. CFL bulbs produce a much “cooler” glow by driving an electric current through a tube that contains argon and mercury. Mercury is a toxic heavy metal that cannot be disposed of in a regular manner. It can also be extremely harmful to ones health as well as to the environment so please use caution when handling these bulbs. A hallmark of the Compact Fluorescent bulb is the wait time it takes for them to reach their full light output. This can be troublesome in areas that may require an instant bright light; think- entering a dark basement alone or trying to find your favorite pair of jeans in your closet. CFL bulbs are phasing out with the rise in popularity of LED lights.
Now that we’ve gone through some “light” history, let’s get familiar with LED lighting.
Here are the ABC’s of LEDs:
L- Long lasting. On average, LED bulbs last 25x longer than Incandescent bulbs. Changing light bulbs as a chore have become a thing of the past for LED consumers. While Incandescent bulbs typically last between 1,000-2,000 hours, CFL bulbs last about 8,000 hours and LEDs can burn for up to 25,000 hours! For a bulb that’s used for 3 hours a day, it wouldn’t need to be replaced in 22 years! Because LED lights are so versatile with many colors, shapes and temperatures, people are choosing LEDs to illuminate practical as well as specialty spaces without having to think twice about replacement bulbs. Fewer bulb changes also means less waste in the form of packaging and disposal. Switching to LEDs is a simple way to reduce your carbon footprint.
E- Energy Efficient. LEDs create light by using light emitting diodes (hence the name LED) to bring together electric currents with a + and – charger to create energy that is directly released as light. During this process, LEDs only lose 5% of their generated energy to heat and the rest is converted to light. That is why LED’s are cool to the touch. Compared to the Incandescent bulb in which 90% of the energy released is heat, LEDs do a far better job at illumination without all the extra emitted energy.
D- Dollar conscience. Not an environmentalist or scientist? The dollar speaks to everyone! Although LED’s may initially cost a few dollars more at the store; when considering the life of the bulb and the savings on your electric bill, LEDs come out on top. Energy Saver, an online resource from the DOE confirms that LED lights use between 75-80% less energy, saving consumers as much as $75 a month! Spending less on lighting can mean having more money to spend on other upgrades to your home.
With all these spectacular reasons to make the switch to LEDs, why are some consumers still not sold on the idea? For one reason, people need to be educated on the subject. LED bulbs are new to the market and consumers will typically reach for a product they’re familiar with or for a product with the lowest price tag not knowing the many short and long term benefits of these bulbs. From a technical standpoint, some people choose incandescent over LED lights because of the light quality. Incandescent lighting spreads out uniformly in all directions while LEDs are directional. Depending on the configuration of the fixtures in a given room, this can cause the light to spread unevenly. Careful planning and placement can eliminate or minimize this concern. Also, if you are not using LED lights manufactured by a reputable brand, light quality can degrade over time so be sure to only buy from a trusted and reliable company.
In short, the LED bulb may be your best option if you’re looking to save time, energy and money. While there are some things to be wary of, with a little bit of planning, LEDs may be the smartest option for your home.