Converting to LED lights: everything you need to know
What lights do you use at home?
I’m 100% LED now – even my fridge light is LED. You don’t need to go that far – I’m a little obsessed! It has taken me a couple of years of learning to get it right.
The most important lesson has been light ‘temperature’. This is measured in Kelvin (you’ll find it on the packet of any light bulb). I like a warm white, much like the old-fashioned tungsten bulbs. This is about 2700 Kelvin (K).
It’s interesting that folks from colder climates tend to favour a warm light, while folks from hotter climates prefer something more white or blue. Now I understand the colour I like, I generally get the right bulb each time.
One of the reasons I switched to LED is that I have solar panels on my roof, which contribute to the electricity demand of my house during the day. However after I bought a real-time energy meter I quickly learned that I was using a crazy amount of electricity at night – when my panels don’t help. With a bit of investigation I realised my lighting was drawing a lot of electricity
It depends if they are low-voltage or mains. You can tell this as low voltage bulbs have ‘pins’ (right – see below) to connect them and mains have ‘pegs’ (left). If they are pegs it’s not a problem, but I’d suggest you replace them all anyway. Halogen bulbs use so much electricity for the light they produce – just feel their heat – that it’s a false economy to wait until they blow to replace them.
What does LED stand for?
LED is short for light-emitting diode.
How long do LEDs last?
LEDs are notable for being extremely long-lasting products. Many LEDs have a rated life of up to 50,000 hours. This is approximately 50 times longer than a typical incandescent, 20-25 times longer than a typical halogen, and 8-10 times longer than a typical CFL. Used 12 hours a day, a 50,000 bulb will last more than 11 years. Used 8 hours a day, it will last 17 years
Where can LEDs be used?
They can be used almost anywhere. LED replacements are already available for bulb types such as A-shape, PAR reflectors, MR reflectors, decorative, undercabinet, and more. When used on dimmers, particularly dimming systems that support many bulbs, we suggest testing a few LEDs first to test compatibility.
Should LEDs be used in enclosed fixtures?
Enclosed fixtures are defined as not only air tight, but also are fixtures that are enclosed on the side, rear and open in the front, such as many track heads. LEDs that are used in fixtures where there’s less than 1/2″ around the circumference of the lamp when installed in the fixture are also considered an enclosed application. If you plan to use LEDs in these types of applications you should use an LED that’s rated for enclosed fixtures. Using an LED lamp not rated for enclosed fixtures in this type of application may cause the LED lamp to flicker and will dramatically reduce the life of the lamp.
What are the advantages of switching to LED?
The advantages of switching to LED are numerous. Here are just some of the benefits: LEDs use much less electricity than other bulbs, have extremely long rated lives, produce very little heat, do not emit UV or infrared, contain no mercury, are resistant to shock and vibration, and can operate effectively in extremely cold environments. For more information the advantages of LED
LED Light Bulbs
Benefits of LED Lights
LED light bulbs can save you money not only because they are roughly 80 percent more energy efficient than other bulbs, they also produce far less heat than metal halides, CFLs, and incandescent light bulbs. Upgrading to LED lighting means you won’t spend your summer months cooling down rooms that your light bulbs are busy heating up. While originally a cooler blue tone than incandescent bulbs, LEDs now come in daylight and warm white color temperatures so you can more easily replace your existing bulbs without altering the color of your room.
LED replacement bulbs are durable and ecologically friendly. Did you know you can recycle LED bulbs and reduce your carbon footprint up to one third? LEDs outlast the competition, staying bright for up to 11 years of continuous operation. This means less time climbing ladders trying to replace those hard to reach bulbs in vaulted ceilings.
LEDs are one of today’s most promising technologies.
No mercury, making them a cleaner alternative to fluorescent and CFL lamps.
Life that is 20 times longer than some traditional lighting products.
The lowest energy consumption of any lighting product to date.
Light quality equal or superior to traditional lighting products
LEDs or Fluorescents – Which is More Efficient?
LED light bulbs for the win! When it comes to purchasing energy-efficient lighting, LEDs surpass CFLs by a wide margin. LEDs are instant-start with no warmup time needed. They work well in cold weather, and are substantially more durable since manufactured out of plastic instead of glass. From standard bulbs to fluorescent tubes, LEDs can replicate the same lighting conditions found in fluorescents while lasting longer and using less energy. As an added bonus, all LEDs are RoHS compliant and do not use mercury, a claim that can’t be made by fluorescent bulbs
LED Lighting Options
Standard Shape A19 – Designed to give the appearance and pattern of a standard incandescent bulb. Standard and A-shape LED bulbs fit the same sockets and fixtures as your current household lights.
3-Way LED – A three-way bulb is a light bulb that has three brightness settings instead of the standard on or off. If your lamp or fixture says it requires a three-way bulb, this is the category for you.
Vintage LED Bulbs- Vintage reproduction bulbs are now available with LED filament. They have a warm orange glow with lower light levels to mimic the style of a vintage bulb on a dimmer as it transitions from yellow to orange. These Edison style and Victorian style bulbs make great collector items. Order yours today to make your own steampunk lighting.
Wet Location LED Bulbs – A wet location UL rating means these LED light bulbs can be used in humid indoor areas or outdoors where water may drop or flow against the bulb or fixture.
Decorative LED Bulbs – Browse LED globe lights ranging from 3 in. to 1.5 in. diameters or find LED replacement bulbs for your chandelier light bulbs. The long life of LEDs mean less time on the ladder changing burnt out bulbs. Many LED chandelier lights are dimmer switch compatible and come in a range of color temperature so you can still enjoy the ambiance of traditional bulbs but the energy savings of LEDs.
LED Tubes – LED tubes are the emerging standard for commercial and household lighting. Ranging in size from T5 to T12 and a variety of color temperatures, these LED tubes are an easy way to upgrade to energy efficient lighting. Some of them work with or without an existing ballast, making the transition to LED lighting easier than ever. These LED tubes emit the same amount of light as fluorescent T8s, while using a fraction of the power and lasting up to three times longer. LED tubes are especially effective in cold areas like refrigeration lockers where fluorescent tubes are less efficient at producing light.
LED Tape Lights – For accents, alcove, and backlighting, LED tape light is a fantastic choice. More flexible than rope light and bright enough for accent illumination, a strip of LED tape light can bring any place to life. There are countless uses and applications for this easily installed new light source.
Reflectors – From the powerful flood and spot lights, to home bound recessed or track lights, reflectors find excellent use indoors or out. LED reflector lamps can provide the same brilliance for less energy and will create far less heat than an incandescent or halogen lamp. As a bonus, they have a higher CRI than fluorescent reflectors for better colors.
Best Light Bulbs
Shopping for light bulbs may seem like a simple task, but there are actually a number of factors to consider. There are several primary types of light bulbs: long-lasting, energy-efficient LEDs, budget-friendly but fleeting incandescents, and middle-of-the-road (in terms of both cost and energy efficiency) CFLs.
Regardless of which type of light bulb you’re shopping for, consider what color temperature you want in your home. Soft white, daylight, and bright white are the usual categories that bulbs fall into and will deliver different illumination levels and ambiance. In addition, check the wattage of the bulb to match it to your fixture and ensure that it will provide enough light for the setting or task you have in mind.
If you want to go for the latest technology, opt for LED, which stands for “light emitting diode.” It used to be that these bulbs were only for specialty lamps, but nowadays they can fit into the standard screw-in connector featured in most lamps and light sockets.
While the bulbs are longer-lasting and more energy efficient than your standard incandescent bulb, they focus their light in one direction as opposed to diffusing around a room. This makes them great for lighting up a specific space. They are ideal in reading lamps, under cabinet lighting, and as task lights. Plus, they don’t heat up as much as incandescent bulbs do during operation.
Frosted LED Light Bulbs are available in two different styles: soft light, which gives off a warmer and more cozy vibe that’s perfect for a relaxed mood (great for your living room and bedroom lamps), and daylight, which has the look of natural sunlight. This product is said to have a lifespan of 10+ years, and is estimated to save you about $60 in energy costs over those years compared to traditional incandescent lights. The majority of customers have been happy with the quality of the bulbs, especially with the reasonable price point, although some have reported issues with bulbs flickering over time.
How to Go Green: Lighting
How we light up the places we live and work makes a big impact on how we feel. It also makes a big impact on the environment. The kind of bulbs, the kind of fixtures, the kind of power, and the habits we keep can all add up to a very significant greening. Start with the fact that a conventional incandescent bulb turns only around five to ten percent of its consumed energy into light, the rest goes out as heat. From there, there’s no limit to how green your lighting can be.
CFL: The better bulb
Compact florescent bulbs (CFLs) are those swirley little guys that look like soft-serve ice cream cones. Actually, they come in a myriad of different shapes, sizes, and colors of light. Economically speaking, they’re a great deal, too. CFLs cost a bit more than an incandescent, but use about a quarter as much energy and last many times longer (usually around 10,000 hours). It is estimated that a CFL pays for its higher price after about 500 hours of use. After that, it’s money in your pocket. Also, because CFLs release less heat, not only are they safer, but your cooling load is less in the summer. CFLs aren’t hard to find anymore, and many cities will give them away for free.
Get the LEDs outLEDs are a definite TreeHugger favorite. LEDs, or light emitting diodes, are a technology that allows for extremely energy efficient and extremely long-lasting light bulbs. LEDs are just starting to hit the consumer market in a big (read affordable) way and still cost quite a bit more than even CFLs, but use even less energy and last even longer. An LED light bulb can reduce energy consumption by 80-90% and last around 100,000 hours. They even light up faster than regular bulbs (which could save your life it there are LEDs in the brake lights of your car)
Most LED lamps on the market have the bulbs built into them, so you buy the whole unit. For screw-in bulbs, check out Ledtronics, Mule, and Enlux. For desk lamps
Light isn’t all about the bulbs, though. Having eco-friendly lamps and light fixtures is key to greening your lighting. When scouting for new gear, keep your eyes out for lamps made with natural, recycled, or reused materials. Lights made from recycled materials include metal, glass, or plastic, and natural materials can include felt, cloth or wood. Interesting lamps that use reclaimed materials include these made from traffic signal lenses, and these made from wine bottles. Also, don’t be shy about borrowing ideas for reuse in your own projects (see DIY).