Monday, February 1, 2016

LED Light Bulbs Review Continued

Here's some advice on purchasing LED light bulbs.

1. Shop wisely. The technology, manufacturing costs, and retail prices are all changing rapidly. Bulbs that used to be $10 each are now $2.50 each, and soon we will likely see $1 for those same items.

2. Dimmable LED bulbs require a bit more circuitry than nondimmable bulbs, so as a consequence you (a) pay more for them and (b) get less light from them at the same rating. That is,  a nondimmable bulb rated at a 60 or 65-watt "equivalent" will put out 800 lumens and use 8.5 or 9 watts. The dimmable version will put out 650 lumens and use 10 or 11 watts.

3. Life span of the bulb is given in hours. If years are listed, that's usually based on 3 hours per day. So a bulb claiming 22,000 hours of life might also claim that it will last 20 years (365 days per year times 3 hours a day is 1095 hours per year. 22,000 divided by 1095 is 20.) Today I noticed some nondimmable 60-watt equivalent bulbs claiming a life of only 10,000 hours. It's difficult to say how this compares to what you will actually experience. I know that with CFL fluorescent bulbs I've never gotten the seven years claimed from them.

4. Should you replace most or all of  your incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs? Yes. The energy savings will be well worth it. Lower electric bills. And you'll feel comfortable leaving a bright porch light on all night because it uses only 9 watts.

5. Should you replace most or all of your CFL bulbs with LED bulbs? That's a more difficult question. CFL bulbs already are well down the scale on energy use and they likely cost a couple of dollars each. So you might use  LEDs as your replacements when the CFLs go out. The exception is that most CFL bulbs create radio interference. (When I drive into my garage containing CFLs on the garage door opener motor box) my AM radio goes to a loud buzz.)

6. You might want to avoid yesterday's and the awkward new LED bulbs. Some of those are flat, some are too directional. Just buy the bulbs that look like traditional incandescent bulbs.

7. Once again, you have your choice of color temperature. The 2700K are the soft-white equivalents. I've noticed that they seem to run whiter than incandescents. (Some are labeled 3000K, which might be more accurate.) Daylight bulbs are about 5000K and up.

8. You can put brighter bulbs in sockets that were limited before. That is, you might  have a lamp that is labeled, "Do not exceed maximum bulb wattage of 60 watts." That was because of the heat created by incandescent bulbs. But LEDs of 85-watt equivalence (1100 lumens), use only about 14 watts. So feel free to go large.

1 comment:

  1. My favorites tend to be on the lower end of the scale 2300~2700k. I cutover to LEDS several years back. My own thoughts -- the 25000 to 40000 hours claimed seems to me as ludicrous. The actual LED die may last that timeframe given a standard room temperature and a controlled AC source. However, many of the bulbs are in fixtures where the control circuitry is subjected to elevated temperatures due to the fixture itself. Bingo, they become unstable and will shutdown. I've had a couple of Cree bulbs (from the Home Depot) that failed within 12 months of typical usage. I learned from Home Depot's return dept that LED bulbs are not that bullet proof as to claim MTBF figures in the tens of thousands. Too many failures. With the majority of the bulbs being from China. I think that the numbers are high. Way too high...