Shopping for light bulbs used to be straightforward. It seemed we were all on the same page when talking about incandescent wattage, and could easily predict how bright a single 60W would be in that trusty old office lamp. But the tides have turned, and the overwhelming energy benefits of LED bulbs have shoved incandescent models off the shelves for good. If you’re about to make the switch, here is some helpful information you’ll want to know about switching to LED bulbs.
The most prominent benefit is that LED bulbs are incredibly energy efficient. The acronym LED stands for “light-emitting diode,” and the technology behind them results in 95 percent of the incoming energy converting to light, and only 5 percent wasted as heat. Although Thomas Edison’s invention literally enlightened the world from the late 1800s through now, his old incandescent technology loses upwards of 90 percent to heat loss and only 10 percent goes to the useful light. LED bulbs are actually more energy efficient than even CFL bulbs (compact fluorescent lights) which contain toxic mercury.
LED light bulb brands can range in quality and efficiency and should be vetted by independent third parties who are able to provide rigorous testing. Energy Star, a voluntary program established by the EPA, is a well-trusted and recognizable rating provider. Choosing a product with an Energy Star sticker may help you save money and protect the environment in the long run.
Light Direction and Dimming
Incandescent bulbs disperse light in all directions, whereas LED bulbs produce a more efficient focused light. This makes LEDs an ideal fit for applications like under-cabinet lighting, recessed fixtures, and pendants. But because they are flexible, LEDs can also be used for multi-directional ambient lighting as well.
Although dimmable LED bulbs are available, they are not always compatible with every dimmer switch. You should be prepared to try several options until you find the right combination. During your tests, check for buzzing, or the inability to dim at low light levels.
LED lights are durable and long-lasting. Most LED bulbs have a life expectancy of roughly 100,000 hours, approximately 50x longer than other bulb options. That is typically an average of 20 years with typical use! Since they don’t have filaments that are vulnerable to electric fluctuations, they do not need time to warm up, they are more physically robust, and they light instantly, LED lights are definitely the right choice for low maintenance lighting.
LED bulbs provide a crisp, bright color unlike any other form of artificial light. We first saw them as indicator lamps in electronic devices, replacing small incandescents. As the technology improved, LEDs have been included in applications as diverse as aviation and automotive lighting, advertising, traffic signals, camera flashes, and task lighting. Look for a “Color Rendering Index” or CRI number on your LED bulbs. Bulbs with a higher CRI number (between 80-100) show color more accurately and naturally.
At Artisan Crafted Lighting, all of our beautiful lighting pieces are suitable for LED bulb use. Take a look at example Downtown Mesh Semi-Flush Ceiling Light for examples of modern lighting fixtures that accommodate LED bulbs and can bring you additional cost savings in energy efficiency over its lifetime.