In recent years, energy efficiency has become a hot topic, and more and more people are looking for ways to make their homes as efficient as possible. But did you realize that one little change of a lightbulb can dramatically impact your house’s energy efficiency and reduce your overall energy costs? That’s because Americans spend up to 25% of their home electricity budgets on lighting. By switching to CFL lightbulbs, or better yet LEDs, you can save a bundle!
Why Install LED Lights?
There are basically only two reasons to install LEDs for your lighting needs, but they can be powerful motivators. These reasons are long life and energy savings. As a much more energy-efficient lighting source, LEDs can help keep your electricity costs low while still keeping the lights on.
Here’s how the three main types of lightbulbs break down:
Incandescent Bulbs: Popularized by Thomas Edison, this type of lightbulb is what most people think of when the term “lightbulb” is mentioned, and most older lamps are designed to utilize this technology. However, because approximately 98% of the power consumed by an incandescent bulb is wasted as heat rather than light, these lights are extremely inefficient. Many countries have completely phased them out, and in the United States, federal regulations will require incandescent bulbs to be 30% more efficient by 2014. A typical incandescent bulb can last around seven months.
Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs): According to the federal Energy Star program, CFLs last up to 10 times longer than a typical incandescent lightbulb and use around 75% less energy (although they still emit 80% of the power consumed as heat rather than light). Popular because they are more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs, CFLs do have the drawback of being around four times more expensive than a standard incandescent. However, in most applications, these fluorescent lights pay for themselves in reduced energy usage in less than six months. Each CFL bulb can eventually save consumers around $40 over the course of its life. Some environmental activists have expressed concern regarding the mercury content of CFL bulbs, although there is little-to-no health risk associated with unbroken CFL lights.
Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs): LEDs are a type of light called a solid-state light, and they emit almost no heat when in use, making them much more efficient light sources. LED lights can last 60,000 hours or more, resulting in a standard life span of between 10 and 15 years. Compared with the already substantial useful life of a CFL, LEDs last another 10 times longer. However, LED lightbulbs are extremely expensive. Their prices have fallen dramatically in recent years, down to around $40 from $100, but that’s still a lot of money to shell out for just one lightbulb. On the other hand, LED bulbs use just a fraction of the energy of incandescent lightbulbs and CFLs. For example, to get the same amount of light, you’d need a 100 watt incandescent bulb, a 26 watt CFL, or a LED of just 10-15 watts. In terms of energy used, the long-term savings is extraordinary!
The short of it is that LED lights are expensive up front, but with a life span of more than a decade and decreased energy usage of up to 90% over a standard incandescent lightbulb (100 watt), you will enjoy extensive savings over time.
How to Install LED Lighting
Until recently, you only had one option when it came to installing LED lighting: replacing all your light fixtures with models specifically designed to work with LED lights. Because the vast majority of all LED lightbulbs featured a pin, or “plug-in,” base, they could only work with specialty LED lights. However, current attitudes toward energy efficiency have motivated the development of LED bulbs that can fit into traditional light fixtures. That means that upgrading to energy-saving LED lighting for your home is as simple as purchasing LED bulbs equipped with standard screw-in bases. Available in a variety of shapes and sizes ranging from small reading lamps to flood lights, LED lighting now works with many existing light fixtures.
If you’re still interested in switching out some of your old light fixtures to better suit your current needs or to accommodate plug-in LED bulbs, an electrician in your local area should be able to provide assistance. Not all residential electricians provide LED lighting upgrades, so make sure that the electrical contractor you hire is qualified to handle the project!
Ideal for indoors and out, LED lights will cut back on your energy bills without impacting your light output. So whether you install LEDs in your landscape lighting or every room of your house, you’ll be able to enjoy great savings without sacrificing visibility or style.