LED bulbs are lighting the way in new residential lighting technology. While LED (light emitting diodes) bulbs are still in the expensive range, more and more homeowners are beginning to choose them because they realize that over time (and not so much of it) the money savings quickly add up. In fact, a 2008 article in the New York Times reports on a company in Wisconsin that made a decision to light its factory with LED bulbs. While the company paid almost double (compared to incandescent bulbs), it quickly saw the return on its money. "By lighting all of the building’s exterior and most of its interior with LEDs, Sentry spent $12,000 more than the $6,000 needed to light the facility with a mixture of incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. But using LEDs, the company is saving $7,000 a year in energy costs, will not need to change a bulbfor 20 years and will recoup its additional investment in less than two years."
Now, just start thinking about potential long-term savings that LED bulbs can provide for you. The only current disadvantage which will surely improve with time is the high initial cost for LED bulbs. A local electrician will be able to help you decide which LED bulb is best for your home.
What is an LED bulb?
LED stands for light emitting diode. The LED can be described as a type of semiconductor which generates light when an electric current is passed through positive and negative materials. Energy is given off in the form of heat and light. Different colors and greater efficiency are created by altering the composition of the material. Typically, a compact fluorescent bulb uses about 20 percent of the energy needed for a standard bulb to create the same amount of light. Today’s LEDs use about 15 percent. This is a major energy savings which will add up to a major money savings. LED bulbs produce a soft, white light without harsh reflection, glare or shadows.
LED Bulb Benefits
- High efficiency – LED light bulbs use only 2-10 watts of electricity (1/3 to 1/30 of incandescent or CFL)
- Small size – provides design flexibility, arranged in rows, rings, clusters or individual points
- High durability – no filament or tube to break
- Life span – LEDs can last 50,000 - 60,000 hours, which means years and years
- Full dimmability –With new technology evolving, full dimmability is now an option for LED bulbs
- Mercury-free – Unlike other energy-saving bulb types, LED bulbs contain no mercury. Although the mercury in CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs is not directly hazardous, even when not broken, many feel safer using a mercury-free bulb like an LED
- Cool – LED bulbs don't cause a heat buildup
LED bulbs are seen in many different forms, including in small electronics such as DVDplayers, tiny flashlights and in traffic lights throughout the country. There are also bulbs for recessed lights, underthe cabinet lights and for many types of lamps. There are LED bulbs available for almost any residential application, even for outdoor accent lighting.