Incandescent light bulbs are going the way of the dodo bird, so now is the time to start planning for the transition.
By now, you probably know that LEDs are very cost-effective. You probably also know that while they’ve come down in price quite a bit, they remain more expensive than traditional bulbs.
LED bulbs have seen significant advances over the last few years, finally delivering the warm light incandescents have comforted us with for decades. And they have an impressive lifespan (20-something years!)
Here’s a brief update on five things you should know.
Lumens not watts
The days of judging the brightness of your lights by wattage are over.
Contrary to common belief, wattage isn’t an indication of brightness anyway. It is a measurement of how much energy the bulb draws. For incandescents, there is an accepted correlation between the watts drawn and the brightness, but for LEDs, watts won’t work because LEDs draw far less energy.
For example, an LED bulb with comparable brightness to a 60W incandescent is only 8 to 12 watts.
There is no uniform way to covert incandescent watts to LED watts. Instead, a different form of measurement is used: lumens.
The lumen (lm) is the real measurement of brightness provided by a light bulb, and is the number you should look for when thinking about LEDs.
Warm versus cool – how to judge
Incandescents are widely known for their warm, yellowish hue. But LEDs come in a wide range of colors.
The popular colors available for LEDs are “warm white” or “soft white,” and “bright white.” Warm white and soft white will produce a yellow hue, close to incandescents, while bulbs labeled as bright white will produce a whiter light, closer to daylight and similar to what you see in retail stores.
If you want to get technical, light colour (colour temperature) is measured in kelvins. The lower the number, the warmer (yellower) the light. So, your typical incandescent is somewhere between 2,700 and 3,500K. If that’s the colour you’re going for, look for this range in LED bulbs.
An investment in your home
When switching to LED bulbs, think of it as an investment in your home and your comfort.
Eventually, the LED bulbs will pay off through energy savings, and in the meantime, you’ll enjoy less heat production (save on air conditioning costs), longer bulb life (we’re talking years), and even the option of controlling them with your smartphone.
You can maximize your savings with a plan for whole home conversion – think of it as an investment in your home,
‘They don’t dim properly’
We hear this complain a lot, and there’s good reason. Because of their circuitry, LEDs are not always compatible with traditional dimming switches. In some cases, the switch must be replaced.
Most dimmers, which were designed to work with incandescents, work by cutting off the amount of electricity sent to the bulb. The less electricity drawn, the dimmer the light. But with your newly acquired knowledge of LED lingo, you know that there is no direct correlation between LED brightness and energy drawn.
Birnie HOME SAFE works with homeowners to ensure all of the equipment in your home works together.
Don’t lose your cool
Knowing where it’s okay to place an LED will ensure that the bulb won’t fizzle ahead of its time.
LED bulbs run dramatically cooler than incandescents, but that doesn’t mean they don’t produce heat. LED bulbs do get hot, but the heat is pulled away by a heat sink in the base of the bulb. From there, the heat dissipates into the air and the LED bulb stays cool, helping to keep its promise of a very long life.
And therein lies the problem: the bulb needs a way to dissipate the heat. If an LED bulb is placed in an enclosed housing, the heat won’t have anywhere to go, sending it right back to the bulb, and sentencing it to a slow and painful death.
Ask about the Birnie HOME SAFE Home Lighting Audit – our specially trained electricians ensure you have the proper equipment to get the best value from your conversion to LED.
The future looks bright! Let Birnie HOME SAFE make your transition easy.