LED Light Bulbs – The Top 10 Things You Need To Know!!!

Osram GU10 LED Bulbs DimmableThis post answers the 10 (now 27 and growing) most need-to-know questions you have about LED light bulbs. Questions about their health benefits, money saving potential and the quality of their light. And, what you should do with your existing dimmer switches, low voltage transformers and light fittings when changing to LED lamps.

I have written it in a ‘questions and answers format’ so you can quickly identify the queries you most want answering. After reading, you will be able to confidently address all the issues generally associated with converting to LED. I have included just about every Q&A I can think of below to help you make a smooth transition.

Q1. What are lumens and how many lumens do I need?

LED GLS Bulb B22 827 2700KLumens are the only accurate way to measure the brightness of a light bulb. Contrary to what you may have thought, watts are a measurement of electrical power and not how bright a lamp will be. Most people simply got used to buying bulbs by wattage believing that was the indicator of brightness. Over time you will get used to ordering your lamps by lumens just as you did by watts.

The question “how many lumens do I need” is one that is being asked by everyone at the moment. It’s probably a good idea to keep one item of packaging for each of the LED bulbs you use. That way, you can replace them with the same brand (which is important if you are dimming) and lumens.

Initially, it can be confusing for those who do not know what the lumens per watt count for their bulbs should be. Fortunately, you don’t have to convert ‘lumens to watts’ or ‘watts to lumens’ to identify which lamp you need. Most brands are including the lumens, LED wattage and the equivalent incandescent wattage on packaging for clarity.

Q2. Should I change all my bulbs to LEDs?

Dimmable LED Candle Bulbs BC, SBC, ES and SESNo, that’s not a good idea. You should only put LEDs in the busiest rooms, the rooms where you spend most of your time. In most cases that will be the living room and the kitchen. Putting them in your other rooms would probably be a waste of money.

Fitting an LED bulb in a small toilet would not be viable. For example, quality branded LED bulbs last about 25,000 hours which is equal to 1.5 million minutes. If the toilet only gets used for 30 minutes per day the LED will last for 50,000 days. As you know 50,000 days means the LED will last for over 136 years. It will take decades just to recover the original expenditure on the LED and that’s before you start saving any money.

By far the best course of action is to keep any incandescent and CFLs you have removed and replaced with LEDs. Then, use them up in toilets, bedrooms, the cellar and any rooms that get very little use. Having said that, there will come a time when standard bulbs are no longer available. Until that time comes continue using them in toilets etc. as that will be your cheapest option.

Q3. Do I have to change my low voltage lighting transformer for LED drivers?

LED GLS Bulb E27 827 2700KFor low voltage downlights, the low voltage lighting transformer should be able to run the LED lamps. However, it’s worth noting they may reduce the life of the bulbs. If the bulbs do not work, the transformer will have to be replaced with the appropriate LED power supply.

You can use either a constant current LED driver or a constant voltage LED driver. You can use a dimmable LED driver if you want to dim them.

With low voltage lighting, it is not always possible to remove the transformer. Some track lighting, for instance, has the transformer attached to the end of the track. In situations like this, if the LEDs do not work the lighting track will usually have to be replaced. Always ask for installation advice from the transformer and LED driver manufacturer and follow their recommendations.

Q4. What is a trailing edge dimmer switch for LED light bulbs?

LED Replacement For G4 Halogen BulbIf you intend to dim your LED lighting, you may have to use a special LED compatible dimmer. The trailing edge dimmer switch for LED bulbs is designed to work with very low wattages. However, if you are using a standard dimmer at the moment, it may work OK. One option is to install dimmable LED bulbs and see what happens.

Using standard dimmer switches could mean reduced light output but this may be minimal. If you are happy with their performance then LED dimmers may not be necessary. But, if there are problems with dimming, flickering or dimmer switch buzzing, they will have to be changed. If you are using standard dimmers, always contact the manufacturer and ask their advice before changing to LED.

Q5. If I have recently changed to CFL bulbs is it worth changing again to LEDs?

LED G9 Capsule BulbsNo, it’s definitely not worth changing, even though when comparing the two – CFL vs LED, LED is the clear winner. However, there would only be a small saving by changing to LEDs because of their slightly lower wattage.

It could take years just to claw back the cost of the perfectly good CFLs you would have made redundant. It will be far more economical to carry on using the CFLs then replace them with LEDs when they expire. As long as you are happy with the quality of light from the CFLs, it is not worth changing.

Q6. What are the best LED light bulbs?

PAR38 LED Bulb ES Reflector Wide FloodWith just about every product, there are both budget and premium brands from which to choose and LEDs are no different. Low-quality LEDs can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few months and sometimes more. Quality branded LEDs may initially cost more but, they last much longer so work out cheaper in the long term.

If you stick with Osram, Venture, GE, Radium and Philips LED light bulbs, you won’t go far wrong. LED lamps from them, usually do exactly what it says on the box. A good policy would be, if you don’t recognise the brand name on the packaging, do not buy it. Remember, established brands have a reputation to protect, budget brands do not.

You can buy LEDs with BC (B22), SBC (B15), ES (E27), and SES (E14) LED bulb caps to replace incandescent lamps. They are available as LED candle, golfball, GLS, Par38, reflector and capsule bulbs. And, there are 25W, 40W, 60W and 100W equivalent LED bulb replacements. That means you can fit LEDs with lower wattages that will match the brightness of these incandescent lamps.

Q7. Are there any IR or UV emissions from LED light bulbs?

AR111 LED Dimmable G53 LampLED lighting produces very little infrared (IR) and virtually no ultraviolet (UV) light. The amounts they do emit are so small that most manufacturers list their LEDs as IR and UV free. The low IR and UV factors virtually eliminate any concerns there were over skin cancer and other health issues. It means they are safe for use in working environments as well as the home.

It’s worth remembering there are other benefits to using LEDs apart from the health issues. For instance, LEDs are far less destructive than standard light bulbs when it comes to fabrics, paintings, ornaments and other exhibits.

Infrared light will heat any object it comes into contact with and cause it to periodically expand and contract. Ultraviolet light can quickly neutralize the chemical bond in colours and bleach them white. IR and UV light can be very destructive to anything sensitive it touches especially when working together. Although incandescent light bulbs are well known for producing IR and UV emissions, LEDs are not.

Q8. Can these lamps be used as an LED light therapy for arthritis and depression?

LED GU10 Light Bulbs With Twist And Lock BaseStudies have shown that LEDs are excellent at relieving pain, especially for those suffering from arthritis. It was found that the body absorbs the light and stimulates bones, joints and muscles. For this reason, many hospitals are now installing LEDs in their patient wards and recovery rooms.

LED light therapy for depression is another benefit for those fighting this condition.

LEDs are also being used to boost the everyday well-being of those who work indoors. The light from LEDs was found to be beneficial at any time but especially during the darker winter months. In the winter there is limited exposure to natural light and that can negatively impact many people.

Q9. Can I replace halogen bulbs with LED bulbs?

LED Candle Bulbs SBC, BC, SES, ESThe new LEDs are made to the same dimensions as the old variety of lamps they were designed to replace. Whether it’s downlights, track lights or wall lights, in most cases the LEDs will fit without any difficulty.

Although installing LEDs into your existing light fittings should not be a problem. If you are using a standard dimmer you may have to change it (see above) for a trailing edge dimmer switch. And, any low voltage lighting transformers may have to be replaced (see above) with LED drivers.

Q10. How will using LED light bulbs save me money?

MR16 LED Bulbs Dimmable 51mmAt home, bathrooms and kitchens often have five, ten or even twenty downlighters. Standard downlighter bulbs can have wattages as high as 20W, 35W or even 50W. In a busy room, that many bulbs can quickly burn a lot of electricity.

The LED equivalent versions of those bulbs are only 4W, 6W and 7W so there are huge savings to be made. When garden lights and living room lights etc. are also taken into consideration, the saving opportunities are substantial.

At work, lighting can consume an enormous amount of energy so electric bills can be horrendous. By installing LEDs, there is a huge potential for savings depending on the size of the business.

It is not generally realized but incandescent and fluorescent lights create a lot of heat in offices, especially in the summer time. At that time of year, air conditioning systems have to work really hard to keep these rooms cool and that can be expensive. Because LEDs generate less heat, changing to them would mean air-con systems playing a greatly reduced role.

And, because LEDs last so long, re-lamping every few years would no longer be necessary. This saves more money and gives maintenance personnel the time to get on with other jobs in and around the building.

Above are the answers to the 10 most commonly asked questions about LED light bulbs. Below are another 17 answers to more questions that will help you confidently change to LED lamps.

Q11. Why are LED bulbs so expensive?

PAR30 LED Lamp Hi-Spot 95When everything is taken into consideration LEDs work out cheaper than other light bulbs. It’s their initial cost that makes them appear more expensive. As with any new product, manufacturers have the cost of research and development to recoup. Once that is achieved, prices tend to drop rapidly and that will make LEDs, even more, cost effective.

LEDs last about twenty-five times longer than incandescent bulbs and use far less electricity. Over time, through your reduced energy costs, the LED bulbs will have paid for themselves and you will then start saving money. However, it’s not just about saving money by burning fewer watts. They will also save you the time and inconvenience of messing about changing bulbs.

Because of their lifespan, lamp replacement is virtually eliminated. Complete re-lamping within business premises will more or less become a thing of the past. All things considered, LED bulbs are very competitively priced.

Q12. Is there a full range of LED light bulbs for home use?

PAR20 LED Bulb ES ReflectorIn the beginning, there were difficulties with LED brightness and wide beam angles. Fortunately, these difficulties were resolved and a wide range was made available. Without compromise, you can now replace almost any incandescent lamp with a new LED bulb.

This new range includes LEDs in the shape of GLS, globes, candles, reflectors and most of the Par range of lamps. The wattage slowly increased and, in many cases, made them as bright as incandescent lamps. What’s more, hey were made with all the usual ES, SES, BC and SBC light bulb caps to fit most lampholders. Now there are energy saving LED light bulbs to replace just about every incandescent, low voltage and fluorescent tube.

Q13. How does LED power consumption compare to other light bulbs?

LED Golfball Bulbs BC, SBC, ES, SESLEDs use less power than other light bulbs and therefore have the potential to save you a great deal of money. They can reduce your lighting costs by as much as 90%, regardless of whether it’s domestic, commercial or industrial lighting.

With lighting representing 20% of your electricity costs, it is easy to see there are savings to be made. And, by using dimmable LED bulbs you can save even more money.

Q14. How long do LED light bulbs last?

LED Golf Ball Bulbs Clear and OpalWhen LEDs were first introduced, one of the main benefits advertised was the long life of the lamp. Nearly all the manufacturers were claiming a lifespan of 50,000 hours. Very quickly people began to doubt they would last that long.

To assess value for money, consumers wanted to know – how long do LED light bulbs last! Today, most agree 50,000 hours was an exaggeration and 25,000 hours would be more realistic. Using LEDs for 5 hours a day means they should last for about 13 years.

Q15. Can you put LED bulbs in halogen fittings?

LED Architectural Lamps S14s S14d Opal ClearLED light bulbs can be used in most if not all halogen fittings. They have been designed to work as a direct replacement in all your existing light fittings and pendants. LEDs will retrofit into light fittings originally designed for most other lamps.

Because converting to LED is so straightforward they strongly appeal to home and business owners. But, any small enclosed light fitting will trap heat and, overheating can shorten the life of any lamp including LEDs. If you can, before you buy your LEDs, quickly check the packaging just to make sure they are suitable for your intended use.

Q16. How bright are LED lights and do they have to warm up to achieve full brightness?

LED Pygmy Bulb SES E14 Opal FrostedAlthough LEDs have greatly reduced wattages, they are every bit as bright as traditional light bulbs. That is because they are much better at turning power (watts) into light.

LEDs are able to convert 80% of their power to light. Incandescent lamps can only convert about 20%.

And, LEDs do not have to warm up like CFLs, they reach full brightness as soon as they are switched on.

Q17. Do LED bulbs get hot?

LED Dusk to Dawn Light BulbYes and No is the quick answer to that question. The LED part of the bulb radiates virtually no heat. However, the electronics within the bulb do get hot and, it is this heat that warms up other parts of the lamp.

Generally, LEDs run a lot cooler than incandescent and CFL bulbs which emit 80% – 90% of their energy as heat. This is ideal during the warmer summer months because rooms fitted with LED lamps will remain cool. It means air conditioning units in shops and offices that have LED lighting will not have to work so hard. It will be much easier for the A/C units to keep the temperature down so, this is another way they can help you save money.

Because LEDs produce less heat they will cause far less damage to your light fittings. That should mean no more brittle cable insulation and lampholders.

Q18. Are LED bulbs suitable for use outside in cold weather?

Dusk Till Dawn LED Light BulbLEDs are ideal for use outdoors as they are unaffected by the cold. They are completely shock resistant and suitable for use in any kind of weather. That includes high wind, rain, frost, sleet and snow.

LEDs have no fragile filaments or components so are not easily broken in stormy weather. These are just some of the reasons why they are perfect for use in garden and other outside lighting.

Q19. Can I put LEDs in my low voltage garden lights?

MR11 LED Bulbs 35mm 12V 827 2700K GU4 BaseLow voltage LEDs are perfect for use in garden lighting. LEDs are excellent for outdoor use because they are unaffected by the cold, wind or rain.

The new LED garden lights are designed to work with LED drivers rather than low voltage transformers. However, both the MR11 LED and MR16 LED should work in conjunction with most low voltage transformers.

Try before you commit is always a good idea. Buy one LED bulb and install it into a garden light to make sure it’s compatible. If it works and you are happy with the performance, you can confidently change all your garden lamps to LED.

Just to be on the safe side, ask the makers of your existing garden lights for their advice before you re-lamp.

Q20. What is LED colour temperature?

R80 LED Bulbs ES ReflectorLED colour temperature is the accurate definition of colour emitted from a light bulb. The temperature is measured in kelvins typically presented as a number followed by the symbol K. For instance, 2700K is a warm white commonly used to light the home.

Depending on the number, the appearance of light is usually between a slight warm yellow and a snow white. A choice of different colours enables you to highlight the decor and furniture of any room in the best possible way.

Q21. What LED light bulb colours are available?

R63 LED Bulbs E27 36 Deg. Wide FloodMost LEDs are available in three colours and they are warm white, cool white and daylight. The popular MR11 LED, MR16 LED and GU10 LED light bulbs are all available in these three colours.

The warm white (2700K to 3000K) is usually reserved for domestic lighting because it best matches the colour of standard household bulbs. Cool white (4000K) is a very bright white often used in hospitals, shop windows and office lighting.

The colour daylight (5000K to 6500K) is a good choice for rooms without windows as it imitates natural light very well. However, daylight bulbs, especially the 6500K (tropical daylight) can be much too blue in appearance for some people.

Q22. Are LED light bulbs safe?

R50 LED Bulb E14 SES ReflectorThe LED bulb is much safer than other lamps. They are free of the toxic heavy metals usually associated with lamps.

They contain no lead, mercury or other dangerous ingredients.

There is also very little glass used in the manufacturing process which makes them difficult to break. So, compared with other lamps, LEDs are very safe.

Q23. Is there an LED fluorescent tube replacement for a standard fluorescent tube?

T8 LED Fluorescent Tube ReplacementSome T8 LED fluorescent tubes will work when substituted in place of standard T8 tubes. They will work without modification to the light fitting but are known to be less efficient. They will work with all the original control gear and wiring in place.

By leaving the existing ballast in place, it will inevitably burn out long before the LED tube. So, the ballast will eventually have to be removed to allow the LED tube to start working again. This can be particularly annoying if you have large quantities of fluorescent fittings that are failing on a regular basis.

If you are converting existing fluorescent fittings to LED, it is usually advisable to remove the ballasts and adjust the wiring. Information on how to wire LED lights after removing the electronic ballasts is available from the manufacturers. It could save you a lot of wasted time and inconvenience at a later date.

The T5 fluorescent tube in conjunction with an electronic ballast is already a very efficient light. Therefore, it is advisable to investigate any additional savings with T5 LED tubes prior to converting.

Q24. Are LED bulbs dimmable?

LED 95mm Large Globe Light BulbsMost LEDs are available in dimmable and non-dimmable versions. The non-dimmable LEDs are much cheaper than the dimmable LEDs so use those if you can.

If you do decide to use dimmable LEDs you may have to change your standard dimmer switches.

You can replace them with trailing edge dimmer switches (see above), which have been designed for use with dimmable LEDs.

Q25. What does LED stand for?

LED Filament Candle Bulb SBC, BC, SES, ESLED stands for Light Emitting Diode and they are nothing like the standard light bulbs in everyday use.

What is a Light Emitting Diode? Light Emitting Diodes started life as indicators. They were first used in calculators and a number of other similar gadgets.

Over time LED technology has developed and they now dominate mainstream lighting.

Q26. Are LEDs, eco-friendly light bulbs?

LED Filament Bulb B22 (BC) GLSLED light bulbs are very eco-friendly and here’s why. Most LED light bulbs have a lifespan of 25,000 hours whereas standard household bulbs will only last about 1,000. Because LEDs last 25 times longer, demand for light bulbs will drop and production will be greatly reduced.

The manufacturing of one LED will not use anywhere near the amount of materials used to make 25 incandescent. Therefore, the use of materials in the production of light bulbs could be cut by as much as 80% or more. When you consider there are tens of millions of bulbs made every year, that’s a huge cutback on the use of raw materials.

Because LEDs use less power, demand for electricity for lighting will fall. That means the need to burn fossil fuels for electricity will fall as well. Because power stations will be burning less oil, coal and natural gas, fewer carbon emissions will be released into the atmosphere. Ultimately, fewer greenhouse gases will help reduce global warming.

One of the main problems with standard light bulbs was the amount of heat they were generating. This was because incandescent lamps are only able to convert about 20% of their power to light, the other 80% is released as heat. This is just one more way that incandescent lamps were heating up the planet. Because LEDs are very good at converting energy to light, hardly any heat is released into the atmosphere.

Also, lead and mercury are a common ingredient in the manufacture of CFL, halogen and incandescent lamps. They are both heavy metals and known to be among the most toxic in the world. LEDs contain none of these dangerous materials and are 100% recyclable.

You can see how LEDs are playing a big part in helping reduce the carbon footprint of the worldwide community.

Q27. Can I use dimmable LEDs from different manufacturers on the same dimmer switch?

GLS Style LED Filament Bulb E27 (ES)To avoid possible complications always use LEDs from the same manufacturer. Every manufacturer will have their own patented electronic circuitry. That means one LED may not be compatible with another and could lead to all kinds of failings.

Near the end of their life, it’s always a good idea to change all the bulbs in one go. Because of the long life of the LED, it’s unlikely that new bulbs will be compatible with the old ones. This is because the new LEDs, even from the same manufacturer, will have improved electronics. Mixing old with new could lead to flickering lights, buzzing dimmers or no light at all.

CONCLUSION
I hope the Cannon Electrical Supplies LED light bulbs review of common questions has increased your knowledge of these new lamps. It should give you a better understanding of what they can do for you at home and at work. It shows that with a little bit of know-how, it’s very easy to change to LED.

Sometimes, converting to LED will mean that some work will have to be carried out by a qualified electrician. However, in many cases, it may involve no more than changing one light bulb for another!

NOTE: This post is subservient to the laws and regulations of your country. It is intended for guidance only and subject to approval by your product manufacturers and qualified electrician.

About Elizabeth McDermott

Elizabeth writes all the posts here on The Home Improvements Blog. Her spare time activities include home decorating and DIY, keep fit, and gardening. Click here to find out more about Elizabeth.

Comments

  1. Such an informative post. I had no idea about using them in garden lights. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Elizabeth,
    This is so informative and timely for me! We’re just now thinking fo switching over and its great to have all the info in one spot! Thanks for sharing!!
    Best,
    Lory

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