LED light bulbs for homes are the latest technological rave. “LED” stands for “light-emitting diode,” a semiconductor light source that was discovered as a practical electrical component in 1962. The technology has grown and matured since the initial discovery and is now emerging as a mainstream replacement option for the 100+ year old incandescent bulb. This is happening at the right time. As the 21st Century progresses, a major way to fight back against rising energy costs will be to lower your home’s energy consumption. LEDs are one of the newer products that will help you accomplish this.
LED bulbs use around 85% less electricity than equivalent incandescent bulbs, and 35% less power than comparative compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. For instance, a 9-watt LED delivers the same light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb. Since about 15% of the average power bill is devoted to lighting, reducing this by 85% can result in significant savings.
LEDs offer significant advantages over both older incandescent bulbs and the newer CFL bulbs. We have already discussed the power savings. They are designed to last up to 40,000 hours; about 33 times longer than the average incandescent bulbs. They contain no breakable glass parts, and have sturdily-built aluminum and polycarbonate plastic exterior shells. They also have much lower operating temperatures and will not add much waste heat to a room. They activate instantly when turned on, without flickering or any buzzing ballasts. LEDs are also environmentally safe. They contain no lead, mercury, or other hazardous materials, and emit no harmful radiation.
LEDs come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, all meant to replace the different standard bulbs that you use. Many are designed to supplant the common A19 incandescent bulb shape. Specialty LED bulbs are also made, such as those for candelabra fixtures. There are LED flood lights designed to supplant the PAR series of incandescent and halogen flood lights. You can also buy LED tubes designed to replace the common fluorescent tube.
The only drawback of LEDs to date has been their high price. However, prices are falling rapidly as the technology goes main stream. Whereas a year ago it was common to see them in the $50 per bulb price range, they can now be found priced in the $10-$20 range, with sale prices often falling below $10. Though $10 seems a lot to pay for a light bulb, LEDs eventually pay for themselves, through lowered power consumption and their long service lives.
LED light bulbs have a place in your home. They are appearing on the shelves of your local home improvement store, and there are many vendors selling them online. If you shop around, you can start incorporating this technology into your home at a reasonable price.