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At S W Bishop Electrical, we are firm fans of Light Emitting Diodes, commonly known as LEDs, not only from an economical point of view but the latest ones have a much warmer light than the cold white light of their predecessors.
Even us electricians are still learning about LEDs, the technology is new to everyone and advancing quickly. But LEDs are here to stay and experts say that by 2016 they will make up half of the lighting and power supplies market.
An LED lamp uses just 10% of the amount of energy an incandescent lamp uses to produce the same amount of light. So if you changed all your lighting to LEDs from incandescents you would cut your energy consumption by 90%. Imagine a 90% saving on your lighting bill.
Maintenance is also minimal - LED’s usually have an average life of anywhere from 35,000 to 200,000 hours. With average usage, LED's will last 15 to 20 years. Imagine not changing a lamp for over 15 years! Compare this to the measly 1,000 hours that an incandescent will burn. The upfront cost of purchasing LEDs is high compared with other less efficient lighting technology but they’ve usually paid for themselves within a few years thanks to energy savings.
Quality of light
LEDs give out their light quickly at start-up, so you don't have to put up with a few moments of dim light when you flick the light switch. They burn cool and emit a clean, colourless light that is similar to natural daylight.
Not everyone likes the quality of light given out by LEDs, as they tend to produce a cooler bluish light so do take this into consideration when choosing the best ones for your home. While this is true, it is now possible to get warm white or cool white LEDs as I mentioned before. Virtually all white LEDs are actually blue LEDs with a special phosphor coating which converts the blue light to white, hence the cold light from white LEDs. Warm white LEDs have a slightly different phosphor coating and produce a light that is more like a conventional lamp. I think that these days, standard warm white LED lamps are pretty good.
What to look for
When you're shopping for LEDs, it's important to find one that provides the amount of light you need. You'll also want to consider how the light emits from the lamp, and the dimension of the lamp and base.
Another thing to consider is the colour of the light. Depending on where the lamp lands on the colour temperature spectrum, lights can be all colours: red, yellow, green, blue and shades of white. The shades of white range from warm to cool white. The lower the colour temperature, the more yellow your white light will appear. If the light is higher on the colour temperature scale, it will appear to cast a cool, bluish hue. Another aspect of the colour is the colour rendering index (CRI). The higher the CRI number, the greater the number of objects lit by the lamp that will appear natural.
A standard 60-watt incandescent lamp puts off about 800 lumens. The more lumens, the brighter the light is. LED lamps provide many lumens for few watts compared to incandescent lamp. Since this is the case, it's better to find a lamp that has low wattage but high lumens because it will save you on your energy bill.
You also want to find LEDs that offer a long lifespan. Most offer between 35,000 and 50,000 hours of light (although, as mentioned before, they can go on for 200,000 hours!). When you look at a Lighting Facts label on the lamps, they typically list the lifespan in years. This is based on a standard of using the light for three hours per day each day of the year.
Because LEDs are expensive, one option is to change each lamp over to an LED when it needs replacing. We at S W Bishop Electrical would advise changing all the lamps in any one room or fitting at the same time to benefit economically as every non-LED lamp is consuming up to 90% more energy. You may feel a little confused when it comes to LEDs (me too and I’m the electrician!) but remember, LEDs will save you money.
LEDs are available from all reputable electrical wholesalers but please contact me if you would like any advice before purchasing.
For information about light bulbs in general, please click here