There is a lot of stir regarding LED lights and how great they are, with thousands of homeowners opting to switch to LED from regular lights. If you have decided to hop on that bandwagon, bear in mind that it will cost you quite a bit, but that is just the initial stage, because over time LED’s are more pocket-friendly as compared to conventional lighting solutions. Moreover, they are versatile – LED lights can be used as replacements for tube lights, bulbs, and outdoor fixtures too.
But before you go ahead with the purchase, there are a few LED lighting tips that will help you in this regard:
Lumens (not Watts)
A common misconception associated with lighting is that wattage indicates how bright the light will be. But wattage is actually a measurement of the energy drawn by the bulb. For traditional incandescent bulbs, the concepts of watts drawn and brightness are often used interchangeably and somewhat accepted, but the same can’t be said so for LEDs.
For instance, an LED bulb with comparable brightness to a 60W incandescent is only 8 to 12 watts. To be honest, there isn’t any way to convert incandescent watts to LED watts, which is why lumens is used instead. While shopping for an LED light, always look out for the lumens it produces.
You have really lucked out here because LED bulbs can display a fabulous color range from purple to red, to a spectrum of whites and yellows. Color temperatures are measured in Kelvin (K). Homeowners usually choose between warm white, natural white, and cool white. The first two produces yellowish hues, which resemble those from incandescents, while cool or bright white gives a whiter light that is closer to daylight.
The lower the measurement in Kelvin, the yellower the light, so a conventional incandescent is somewhere between 2,700 and 3,500K. A warm yellow light with a color temperature of 3000K is said to be the most comfortable. Cool blue light offers a higher color temperature with a value of around 5000K, which is touted to be more vibrant.
Dimmable and Non-Dimmable LEDs
The circuitry of LEDs is slightly different, so they aren’t always compatible with traditional dimming switches. Most of the dimmers that are installed are designed in a way to work with incandescent bulbs. They operate by cutting off the amount of electricity channeled to the bulb – the lesser the electricity that is drawn, the dimmer is the light.
This concept won’t work for an LED – in fact, they will flicker, buzz, or simply not function properly. There are a couple of solutions to resolve this issue – buy lights that are compatible with conventional dimmers, or remove your present dimming switch and replace it with an LED compatible dimmer. While dimming the lights is done for mood and ambience, it also saves power consumption and extends the lifespan of the LED.
Not Every LED is Same
Beware of this very troubling issue! Ever since the awareness regarding energy efficient lighting solutions have grown, LED companies have practically sprung up overnight. They promise the same thing – replacing incandescent bulbs with lights that provide the same level of brightness while using less power. The performance of an LED bulb depends majorly on LED chip. Needless to say, premium grade chips will last longer and tend to deteriorate less over time, when it comes to light output and quality.
And therein lies the problem – not all LED bulbs are created equal as you might have noticed. There are loads of LED bulb manufacturers on the market that make tall claims and entice with ridiculously cheap prices, so steer clear from them as you are most likely purchasing an inferior quality product. Always buy from a reputed dealer or manufacturer.
Know When to Replace
Just because you wish to get LED lights for your home, doesn’t mean you go on a shopping frenzy and buy haphazard stuff that ends up being a waste of time and money. It is important to know where or when to replace a light with an equivalent LED – it ensures that lighting needs and aesthetic appeal is maintained. For instance, if you exchange a blown downlight in your living room with an LED, ad leave the rest of the lights as incandescent, it would totally spoil the ambience and look odd. If you are upgrading, then don’t do it in parts – it should be completed as a unit. In case you don’t have the budget for an entire upgrade at once, save up and then do it.
Before buying an LED bulb, don’t forget to check the lifespan, which is usually denoted in hours. For instance, if the lifespan is marked at 50,000 hours and you use the bulb regularly for 8 hours, it might last for 17 years.
These LED buying tips will come in handy – keep them close by so you can consult when purchasing LEDs.