LED bulbs gaining in cost efficiency

LED light bulbs

An LED offers 15 000 to 30 000 hours of light, more than any other type of bulb can offer.

Most consumers are aware that LED (light emitting diode) lamps have a dramatically longer lifespan in comparison to their incandescent counterparts. An LED offers 15 000 to 30 000 hours of light while an incandescent will only give you up to 2 000 hours, which is roughly ten times less the amount of light. This argument alone makes a strong statement but isn’t necessarily enough to sell a LED bulb over any of the other available options.

A large amount of light bulbs sold today are LED bulbs. Old-fashioned incandescents have all but vanished from store shelves, and the popularity of CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs is on a negative slope. That’s because, although they’re more energy efficient than incandescents, CFL’s just can’t compete with the energy efficiency and light quality of LED bulbs.

It is more cost effective to buy one LED bulb at a higher price than to replace an incandescent bulb ten times. It is now just up to sales staff on floor level to persuade the consumer.

The average household lamp uses 42W of electricity while an LED uses just 6W to emit the same light and brightness. This example applies to one lamp. If consumers were to replace every socket in their home with an LED, the saving on electricity becomes substantial.

LEDs don’t merely serve a functional role though. They offer multiple lighting possibilities for an array of applications. They come in various styles, sizes and major shape types, and are even available in different colours and some even offer dimming capabilities.

Environmental benefit

Apart from being energy efficient and cost-effective in terms of replacement, LED’s are also notably better for the environment. When using LED’s the number of light bulbs you’ll need to dispose of is less. For every ten regular bulbs you’ll have to throw away, you’ll only need to dispose of one LED. The majority of LED bulbs can be recycled safely because they are made mostly from plastic and contain minimal hazardous substances. What’s more, because LEDs use less power per unit, the overall carbon emissions from power plants is proportionately reduced.

In CFL bulb manufacturing, harmful chemicals such as mercury are often used. LEDs are free of toxic materials. It is also important to note that because they don’t waste power generating heat, they are less of a fire hazard. Conventional bulbs release 80% of its energy as heat, while LEDs release only 5% heat.

Shopping for LED light bulbs

Read the packaging

Most of the information you need to choose the right LED light bulb is printed on the packaging. It should explain the brightness and light appearance of the specific bulb.

* Brightness

Thinking of brightness in Watts is not entirely accurate in this day and age. Start thinking in Lumens. When shopping for an LED bulb, look for the number of lumens. Wattage equivalents, usually on the front of the package, are only meant to be a ballpark figure. If you’re replacing a 100Watt incandescent bulb, you’ll want an LED that produces about 1 600 lumens. A replacement for a 40Watt incandescent bulb should produce about 450 lumens.

* Light appearance – Choose between Warm or Cool white

Light Appearance on the lighting facts label refers to colour temperature, which is measured as Kelvin (K). For table lamps or living room light fixtures, choose a bulb of about 2 700 to 3 000K. This will give a warm light, similar to the light from older incandescent light bulbs. For task lighting in places like workshops and laundry rooms, pick a bulb of about 5 000K for cooler light that looks more like natural daylight. True daylight is around 6 500K.

Did you know?

Colour temperature is actually what makes light feel warm or cool. A lower colour temperature produces a warmer, more relaxing light and a higher colour temperature emits a cooler, more energising light.

Dimmer bulbs

Older dimmer switches were not designed for LED bulb use, but rather for incandescent bulbs. Many LED bulbs are dimmable though. Look for compatibility with dimmer switches. The positive of using LED dimming switched is it doesn’t buzz or hum and the colours appear richer, true and natural.

Where won’t LED bulbs work

LED bulb will not work in an oven. Heat from an oven will destroy an LED bulb. You can get LED appliance bulbs, but they’re made for refrigerators and freezers.