Save money and reduce your impact on the planet at the same time? Sounds too good to be true, but you do this by changing over to LED light bulbs. Like any new technology, it can be a bit confusing so I’ll try to shed some light on the subject.
The standard incandescent light bulbs we use have remained pretty much unchanged over the past 150 years. The trouble with incandescents is that only 10% of the electricity going into them turns into light. The other 90% is turned into heat. That may sound OK during the cold winter months, but it’s an expensive way to heat your home. And during the summer months, all that waste heat is making your air conditioner work harder.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs or CFLs are fluorescent tubes folded or twisted to fit in ordinary light sockets. They became popular for home use a decade or so ago, and use only a third as much electricity as incandescent bulbs. Being somewhat larger than the bulbs they were replacing, they often didn’t fit into existing light fixtures. They also contain mercury which is a concern when a bulb breaks in your home or when you consider the environmental impact when disposing of them. CFLs need a warm-up time to get to full brightness. In cold temperature applications, such as outdoor lighting, this can take quite a while.
Light-emitting diode bulbs or LEDs, use only 15% as much electricity as an incandescent bulb giving off the same amount of light. They need no warm-up time, can replace any incandescent bulb, and last ten times longer.
The economics of LEDs has made changing over a no-brainer. Just five years ago a single LED bulb cost about ten dollars. Now, you can purchase a pack of twenty-four, 60-watt equivalent bulbs online for 95 cents per bulb. The real savings and environmental benefit happen because LEDs use so much less electricity. Electric rates vary, but a typical cost would be 12 cents per kilowatt-hour. At that rate using a 60-watt bulb for five hours a day would cost $13.14 per year. A comparable LED bulb uses only 9 watts and would cost $1.97 per year. That’s a savings of $11.17 per year. Over the next ten years, you would save $111.70. That’s only one bulb! Think about how many bulbs you use in your home every day. It’s a pretty good bet that electric rates will increase during that time, making your savings even greater. You’re never going to get a better return on your investment than changing over to LEDs! At the same time, fewer fossil fuels will have been burned to light your home, thus reducing the amount of greenhouse gasses produced.
Here is some information that will help you when you shop for LEDs:
Watts are a measure of how much energy the bulb uses. A 60-watt incandescent bulb can be replaced with a 9 watt LED. The package will give you this information.
Lumens are a measure of how much light is given off. A 60-watt incandescent and a 9 watt LED both produce around 800 lumens.
Dimmable / Non-Dimmable Anywhere you will be using a dimmer will require dimmable bulbs. These cost more than non-dimmable bulbs.
Base This refers to the size and style of the base which connects to the lamp fixture. The standard screw-in base is an E-26. The small base you might see on a candle style bulb is an E-12. If you have specialty bulbs with less common bases, you can find specific information online.
Temperature When you heat metal to the point where it glows, it gives off specific colors of light depending on the temperature. The color the LED gives off will be stated on the package using the Kelvin (k) temperature scale. The LED does not get this hot; rather it is a useful scale to measure the color of the light it gives off. Typically this will range from 2,000k to 6,500k. Light produced at 2,000k-3,000k is considered ‘warm white’. It appears more yellow and is warm and cozy. From 3,001k-4,500k is considered ‘cool white’ or ‘bright white’. This is a more brilliant, vibrant light. From 4,501k-6,500k is considered ‘daylight’ and is used for work areas or outdoor lighting.
Consider the win-win of changing over to LED bulbs in your home. Soften your impact on the planet and put some serious coin in your pocket!
Feel free to contact me with any questions you have about LEDs. I’ve done the research for which LEDs to use in my own home. Below is a link to bulbs I found to be a great value! As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.