Thinking of switching to LED lights? Excellent idea.
Many Australians are taking advantage of the cost-saving benefits of LED bulbs. But, before you do too, we suggest you consider these 4 important points.
Why switch to LED bulbs?
LED globes are becoming more and more popular. There are two main reasons for this:
- LEDs use much less electricity to run than incandescent, halogen, and even energy-efficient compact fluorescent light (CFLs) bulbs. Considering lighting makes up between 8-15% of an average energy bill, this can seriously save you money.
- LEDs have a much longer lifespan than incandescent, halogen, and CFLs. LEDs generally last over 20,000 hours – rather than 2,000 to 10,000.
4 things to consider before switching to LED lights
If you want to save money, save power, and enjoy years and years of fuss-free lighting, LEDs are definitely the way to go. Before you purchase LED bulbs for your home’s lighting, consider these 4 things.
1. Look for Lumens, Not Watts
When you head to the supermarket or hardware store to buy a new lightbulb, you’re most likely looking for a watt indicator. After all, the higher the watts, the greater the brightness, right? Well, yes. But, watts are actually a measure of how much electricity a bulb consumes.
Because LEDs consume a whole lot less energy than a conventional bulb, you can’t simply make the switch from a 60W incandescent to a 60W LED. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a 60W LED bulb!
Instead, you’ll want to compare lumens. Lumens are a measure of brightness. That means a 400 lumen halogen bulb will provide the same amount of light as a 400 lumen LED bulb, even though the watt rating is different.
Check out the above chart. As an example, a 13W LED bulb produces the same number of lumens as a 75W standard bulb.
The takeaway message – LED bulbs can only be compared to other types of bulbs using the lumen measurement, not the watt measurement.
2. LED bulbs are more expensive
Yes, you can save money by switching to LED, but think of it as a long-term investment rather than an upfront win.
Unlike incandescent bulbs – which you can pick up for $2 or less – LEDs are a little pricey. Expect to pay at least $8, sometimes as much as $20.
3. Find the right colour LED
We all love the warm glow of a traditional incandescent bulb. The idea of switching to a bright, harsh, cool white light can be a bit of a drawback, especially in the bedroom and living room.
The good news is, LED lights are now available in a range of colours. Some common options include:
- Warm white: similar to the yellowish hue emitted by an incandescent bulb
- Soft white: brighter and cooler than warm white, but not overly harsh
- Bright white: a cool-toned, bright light ideal for task lighting
Light colour (which is actually the temperature of the light) is measured in kelvins. The higher the number of kelvins, the brighter and whiter the light. An incandescent bulb sits at about 2,700 to 3,500K. If you’re looking to replicate that, look for an LED in that range.
4. Do you need dimmable LEDs?
LEDs do not operate the same way as other bulbs. You cannot simply screw an LED bulb into a conventional socket. So, if you’d like to use your new LED lights with your existing dimmer switch, proceed with caution.
Dimmers work by limiting the amount of electricity a light can access; the less electricity, the dimmer the light. As we’ve already discussed, the brightness of an LED light is not dependant on the amount of energy it receives. This means traditional dimmers just won’t cut it.
To overcome this issue, you can do one of two things:
- Purchase an LED bulb that is compatible with conventional dimmers.
- Have your current dimming switch replaced. This is a much safer and more reliable option.
Get help with LED lights
Here in Victoria, only licensed contractors are permitted to switch traditional light sockets to LED-compatible light sockets. You must never carry out electrical work without the relevant qualifications – it can be seriously dangerous stuff.
Get in contact with the friendly team at NBL Electrics. Thanks to government rebates, we offer our clients free upgrades to LED downlights. Want to learn more? Call us today on 0430 014 038 or shoot us an email request below.