A few decades ago, LED lighting was unheard of. When it came to lighting fixtures, people were restricted to choosing between incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs. Today, there is a wide range of lighting choices that include CFL lights, halogen lights, and LED lights. But before tackling how to upgrade your home to LED lighting, it is best to know what LED lighting is and its benefits.
LED Lighting and Its Benefits
LED stands for light-emitting diode. Without going into the technicalities, LED light is simply a semiconductor device that emits light by converting energy to light. The main benefit of LED lighting is that it uses significantly less electricity than any traditional lighting in the market. Compared to incandescent lighting, LED light uses around 85% less electricity. Also, LED light bulbs last the longest. Incandescent light bulbs last around 1,000 hours whereas LED ones can last around 30,000 to 50,000 hours — that’s even longer than the lifespan of CFL, halogen, and fluorescent lighting.
The main disadvantage of LED light bulbs is the price. LED light is often compared to hybrid cars: They are cheaper to use and maintain, but their upfront cost is more expensive. So, expect to pay more when buying LED light bulbs — but also expect a lower monthly electric bill.
How to Upgrade Your Home to LED Lighting
If you wish to reduce your electricity consumption (and monthly electric bill as well), replacing incandescent light bulb fixtures with LED light is a good move. However, it is sometimes best to contract a professional to do it because the process of upgrading your home to LED lighting requires a complex understanding of your home’s wiring system.
Here are a few tips on how to upgrade your home to LED lighting:
Ready the materials to be used.
When converting your home to LED lighting, a contractor may use ladders, high chairs, or tables and lifts to reach light bulb fixtures on the ceiling and other high and hard-to-reach areas. Also, prepare wrenches and different sizes of screwdrivers and pliers. These may be used to modify the light fixtures so the conversion kit can fit properly.
Prepare your budget.
Converting your home to LED light fixtures can fetch around US$100 to US$300, depending on the number of conversions made, the scope of the job, and the complexity of the wiring system. Some homes that are older than ten years may require further wiring checkup.
Conversion to LED light does not take a long time. Usually, it takes around 5 to 10 minutes for each light fixture if no serious modifications are made. However, if the wiring system has to be checked and rewired so the conversion kits can be installed properly, then installation can take several hours. Preferably, allot at least 6 hours of your time when the contractor comes. Better yet, have your house assessed first before the actual conversion. Be honest about the history of your house and your personal preferences when it comes to lighting.
Things to Consider When Buying LED Light bulbs
Most people are accustomed to measuring the brightness of lightbulbs using watts, especially if they are used to incandescent lights. But with LED lights, checking out the wattage can be misleading. An 8- to 12-watt LED lightbulb can be as bright as a 60-watt incandescent lightbulb. Although LED light bulbs are more expensive despite their low wattage (not brightness), they are more environment- and budget-friendly in the long run.
In contrast to wattage, lumens (lm) is the real measurement of brightness. A 6- to 9-watt LED light bulb and a 40-watt incandescent light bulb both possess 450 lumens of light.
Colors and Undertones
LED lightbulbs are capable of reproducing a wide range of colors in both warm and cool undertones. When buying LED lights, you may encounter labels such as warm white, bright white, and soft white. Warm white and soft white have yellow undertones, close to what incandescent light bulbs emit; whereas bright white has a cooler white that mimics outdoor lighting or natural daylight.
The dimmer your room has for incandescent lights will not work with LED lights. You should either find LED light bulbs that are compatible with your old dimmer or install a new dimmer that will be compatible with your new LED light bulbs. However, unlike incandescent light bulbs, there is no direct relationship between the brightness of the LED light bulb and the energy used. The only advantage of dimmers with LED light is control over light intensity and brightness.