Why You Should Switch to LED Lightbulbs

We don’t blame you if you’re feeling confused about the best way to save on energy use and lower your impact on the environment. There are so many choices, and depending on your circumstances, some are better than others. But while you ponder whether active or passive solar, geothermal energy or building your own nuclear reactor are the ultimate solution, one choice is becoming clear—LED lighting is a winner.

Practicality and Affordability

Originally developed from crystal diodes in the early 1960s, LED lighting has come a long way. By combining different crystals and steadily increasing their output, engineers have developed lights that are practical in a number of applications. And the prices for LED bulbs are dropping faster than a barrel of oil.

Tungsten Filament Bulb Beginnings

Tungsten filament bulbs changed society when they were introduced over 100 years ago. By replacing candles and oil-burning lamps, they were not only more efficient, but gave a bright, reliable source of lighting around the clock. But that convenience came with a price. Even with manufacturing advances, the best tungsten lights only convert about 10% of the electrical energy they use to visible light. The rest is dissipated in the form of heat.

Energy-Efficient and Environmentally-Friendly

Other more efficient lighting technology has evolved—fluorescent, halide and halogen among them—but none can hold a candle, so to speak, to LEDs. While a typical household compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) uses only about a quarter of the energy of an incandescent tungsten light and lasts much longer, an LED bulb of the same output converts more of its energy (up to 95%) to light, lasts 20 years on average, and doesn’t have an annoying warmup cycle. Unlike fluorescents, LEDs contain no mercury, making them more environmentally friendly when they need to be replaced.

Dimmer Options

While many LED bulbs are dimmable, some work better with one type of dimmer than another. To avoid problems like buzzing or poor low-light operation, try switching to a different manufacturer. You can also check the company’s website for the best dimmers to use with their particular products.

Lumens vs. Watts

Whether you’re buying CFLs or LEDs, you’ll notice their light output is stated in lumens rather than watts. Most packaging will have equivalent wattage shown, but if not, use the following table to convert lumens to watts.

Lumens

Equivalent Watts

450

40

800

60

1,100

75

1,600

100

Color Rendering Index (CRI) and Color Temperature

Two other specifications you may see on LED packaging are Color Rendering Index (CRI) and Color Temperature (expressed in degrees on the Kelvin scale). The CRI measures how accurately the bulb renders colors—are reds really red, blues really blue, etc. The rating is expressed as a number between 0-100. Energy Star ratings require a CRI of 80 or higher. So should you.

Glow and Brightness Quality

Different light technologies create different qualities of light. Incandescent bulbs give off a warm yellow-orange light that can be flattering, but also dulls certain colors. Fluorescents glow to the green side, casting an unpleasant pallor that is often modified by adding phosphors that mitigate the effect—some better than others.

LED light is very pure and controllable depending on the type of crystals used. Energy Star-rated LED bulbs meet standards for both light quality and energy efficiency and can be chosen for the effect you want—warm and flattering or cool and natural. The color temperature tells where light falls on a yellow-blue spectrum. Think of the flame on a gas stove; a blue flame is hotter than a yellow one. Here’s the scale:

Color Temperature (°K)

Light Color

2700K

Warm Yellow

3000K

Warm White

3500 to 4100K

Bright White

5000 to 6500K

Bluish White (like daylight)

Learn More

Want to learn more about LED lighting for your home or business? Let the pros at Allstar Electrical Services show you the many ways LED lighting can be used in your home or business. LED lighting systems operate for a fraction of the cost (up to 1/30 the cost) of traditional lighting systems. LED bulbs last years longer than incandescent, fluorescent, or halogen bulbs. And LED lighting can be used in both interior and exterior settings. Call 303-399-7420 for more.

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