LED Lights at Home Justifiable?
But in fact we see LEDs all over the place – mobile phones, traffic lights, emergency vehicle lights, street lights, LCD TVs and laptops. They’re also used extensively in aircraft cockpits, submarine and ship bridges, astronomical observatories and the military.
“But Clare, LEDs are SO expensive!”
Yes, you’re right. They ARE expensive.
That’s why currently, there aren’t many LED lights at home.
But, as with any new technology, once it becomes more widely used, the price comes down, and I can see that when I look at online stores.
First of all, let’s look at what an LED actually is, and then at its pros and cons.
LED lights at home
LEDs (also known as SSLs or Solid State Lighting) use the same technology as the little indicator light on your mobile phone.
LED is one of the most energy-efficient and rapidly developing technologies today.
LED Lights at Home – Advantages
The main advantages of LEDs are their long life and their energy savings, as well as being safer because they don’t easily break and contain no mercury. A long life means they save on landfill accumulation (and are more convenient for us), and their energy savings mean reduced pollution from electricity generation.
Why a long life is useful
LEDs now last 25 times or more the average lifespan of an incandescent bulb. This means you don’t have to go looking for a light bulb when one fails (always at a most inconvenient moment!), and you don’t have to keep buying new bulbs and carrying them home.
I recently bought some German CFLs which will apparently last for 15,000 hours – that’s amazing. I use these spotlights for about 4 hours per night in my lounge, which equals 1,460 hours per year (4 hours per night x 365 nights per year). That’s over 10 years before I need to replace them!
That’s so great for me because those spotlights are really high up and need a ladder to be able to change the bulb, so to have to change them only once every 10 years is super.
And if you think that’s good (I do) then consider this – LED lights at home can last even longer – wow!
(And businesses take note: some LEDs are rated for 100,000 hours if they’re used continuously).
And because they are so long lived, they generate less waste on landfills.
LED lights at home save you money on electricity because they are so much more efficient than incandescents and even CFLs (LED lights use about 5% of the electricity needed by incandescents). Use this online calculator to see the savings you can make with LED lights at home, even with the relatively high upfront cost.
And of course, with less energy use, you create less pollution, especially if your electricity comes from coal-powered plants.
Safety LEDs are safer because they can survive most knocks and drops, unlike fragile incandescents and even CFLs. Also they don’t contain mercury. There is no infrared lighting or UV radiation from LED lights., which is better for you and the environment.
Light Colour: LEDs, like CFLs, come in colours ranging from cool white to warm and yellow tones. This is important in LED lights at home, where you want a nice light. Warm white colours are also better for eye health.
On / Off Time LEDs light up immediately; there is no waiting time for them to achieve full brilliance. Their use in car brake lights has saved accidents – they switch on so quickly that drivers behind have more time to react.
Spotlights: LEDs are excellent in spotlights, desk lamps and other focussed needs, as their light is very directional.
Of course, nothing is perfect. LEDs have issues with cost, temperature, light type and light pollution.
Cost This is what puts most people off buying LED lights at home. The savings are there, but it takes time before you start saving money due to the relatively high initial cost.
Temperature: LEDs need a cool temperature in which to operate successfully. If the bulb is situated in recessed ceiling or sealed fixtures, LED light is not ideal as it may get too hot and not operate correctly. Thus in those circumstances LED lights in the home may need additional equipment to keep them cool.
Sockets: Some LED types cannot be used in “regular” screw-in sockets, they need a GU10 adapter (which is easy to fit).
Directional Light: Because LED light is directional, it is not ideal for general, broad lighting requirements.
Choice: Although it is improving, there is currently a smaller range of choices of different bulb types and shapes, compared to other lighting types.
Availability: LED lights may be hard to find in smaller towns where demand may be less. (But they are available online).
Do LED Lights at Home Justify their Expense?
I believe that once the technology becomes more widespread and the costs come down, LED lights at home will become much more commonplace, with the benefits of longer life and reduced energy needs benefitting us and the planet.
But, particularly because of the safety aspects, I do think that using certain LED lights at home can be beneficial now – for example, in spotlights and desk lamps.
Next: Bedroom Lighting Ideas
I do hope this discussion of the new lighting standards in the USA has been helpful in determining what your choices are, and the pros and cons of each type (incandescent, CFL, LED).
Please leave a comment, and like, share or tweet the article if you enjoyed it!
And if you want to look at available LED lights for the home, I recommend Amazon:
Other Lighting Articles – you might find these interesting
Example of LEDs (Video)
Photo Credits: Toshiba, Wikipedia