It’s been nearly a decade since the movement began in the US and abroad to phase out the use of incandescent light bulbs. It’s no surprise when you consider that they are based on 19th century technology and are highly energy inefficient, generate excessive heat, require frequent replacement and emit substantial carbon dioxide.
Yet despite the availability of alternative lighting options such as LED (light emitting diode) and CFL (compact fluorescent lamp), many homeowners remain reluctant to make the switch. Some have even hoarded small stockpiles of incandescent bulbs to prepare for a day when they will no longer be available for purchase. Given early experiences with high cost and poor quality next generation lighting, it’s not hard to see why. But with new developments and options for homeowners, the time has come to take a look at the many benefits of LED lights.
With LED lamps, homeowners enjoy immediate benefits:
- LED lighting offers greater levels of brightness and intensity, without emitting excess heat which drives up cooling costs.
- With low voltage and current requirements, LED lights are higher in efficiency. They typically use less than one-sixth as much energy as their incandescent or halogen counterparts, and 2-3 times less than most CFLs.
- LEDs are resistant to shocks and vibrations. No flickering lights
- LEDs usually don’t “burn out” like incandescent bulbs do. Instead, they get progressively dimmer over time, which is useful in critical lighting areas where a sudden blackout can cause a safety hazard.
- They have a long, long life. Top quality LEDs in well-designed fixtures are expected to have a useful life of 30,000 to 50,000 hours, significantly higher than the 1,000 hours for a typical incandescent bulb and 8,000 to 10,000 hours for a comparable CFL.
- Unlike CFLs, LEDs do not contain mercury, which is toxic to humans and animals whose skin comes in contact with it and harmful to the environment when disposed improperly.
Over the past decade as LED technology has advanced, the cost has also come down dramatically. For example, an 8.5 watt soft white LED light bulb (equivalent to a 60 watt incandescent bulb) is available for just $2.44 at Walmart. An equivalent incandescent bulb costs around $1.85, but the LED will last an estimated 20,000 hours and save the equivalent of $113 over the lifetime of the bulb.
These days, LED is available in many different shapes for industrial and household use. The bulbs are available in an array of hues, from soothing whites to a rainbow of vibrant colors. Of course, LED’s are not without their own unique issues. For instance, dimmable LED’s don’t dim down as far as the incandescent bulbs, and they may not work with older dimmer switches. These limitations aside they are worth strong consideration.
For their quality, versatility and economy, LED is our top recommendation for household lighting. Consider LED an investment that will enhance your home’s beauty, comfort and energy-efficiency.