LED Lighting Guide
With the increase in LED Lighting options available along with a steady decline in their overall cost to produce and purchase, there really isn’t a good reason why you haven’t started converting your household/business over to LED lighting.
Light Emitting Diodes (LED)
Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL)
LED are instant-start with an almost instant warm up time. LED Bulbs have become much more durable since they are manufactured out of primarily plastics instead of a predominately glass bulb envelope you find with CFL and Incandescent Bulbs.
LED’s can replicate and improve the quality of lighting produced by incandescent and florescent lighting in most applications. LED bulbs are RoHS compliant and do not contain mercury, unlike florescent lamps. Switching is not just good for you, it is also good for the planet.
Advantages of LED Lighting
- RoHS Compliant – No lead, mercury, or harmful gasses making them a cleaner alternative to fluorescent lamps.
- The lowest energy consumption vs light output of other lighting products.
- Light quality more consistent and superior to CFL lighting products.
- Reliable and long lasting bulb life far exceeding Florescent and Incandescent bulbs with bulb life of 15,000-25,000 on average depending on manufacturer with some bulb life rated closer to 50,000.
- Most all LED manufacturers offer a limited warranty of at least 5 years all the way to 10 years.
- Special Note on Limited Manufacturer Warranty: Warranty usually assumes average of 3 hours a day usage from date of purchase, warranty may not cover color shifting and may require a certain threshold percentage of diode failures to be met to qualify as a failure covered by warranty. If a bulb dies prematurely you should still try to take advantage of these warranties even if you are not entirely sure if you are within warranty. For swiftest resolution for dead on arrival bulbs or bulbs that die within 30-60 days of purchase you should contact the retailer first and if that fails then contact the manufacturer.
- Place Purchase Date on the bottom part of the bulb (above base connector) with a sharpie to quickly identify age of bulb at failure. Estimate the average amount of time you keep that bulb on daily in order to estimate usage against the warranty lifetime of a bulb. Warrantied life is not the total expected life of the bulb.
Limitations of LED Lighting
- Many dimmable LED bulbs will not work with existing dimmer switches designed for higher power incandescent lamps. (A.S. Electric can upgrade existing dimmer switches for LED use). 1000Bulbs.com has a great article on how to identify an incompatible dimmer switch.
- Color rendering is not identical to incandescent lamps which emit close to perfect black-body radiation as that from the sun and for what eyes have evolved. A measurement unit called CRI (Color Rendering Index) is a quantitative measure of the ability of a light source to reveal the colors of various objects faithfully in comparison with an ideal or natural light source. It is measured on a scale of 0 to 100. At lower color rending index ratings colors may appear washed out or dull.
LEDs are limited to a CRI of 90-91 where incandescent lamps can produce a CRI of 100. This will not affect normal applications and is primarily a concern in color critical applications such as art restoration, photography, and neonatal care.
LEDs with CRI below 75 are not recommended for use in indoor lighting.
- LED efficiency and life span drop at higher temperatures, which limits the power that can be used in lamps that physically replace existing filament and compact fluorescent types. Thermal management of high-power LEDs is a significant factor in design of solid state lighting equipment. LED lamps are sensitive to excessive heat, like most solid state electronic components.
LED lamps should be checked for compatibility for use in totally or partially enclosed fixtures before installation as heat build-up could cause lamp failure and/or fire.
What do I need to know if I want to convert to LED lighting?
For this you will need to first focus your attention towards the base or connector of the bulb that is screwed or inserted into the socket.
Standard household bulbs most commonly use an Edison Screw Base. The most commonly used in the United States is the E26 (Medium Base) and this base is used in the vast majority of household light fixtures. some small appliance, chandeliers, and fan bulbs will use a smaller E12 (Candelabra) or E17 (Intermediate) base.
Below is a chart of common household Bulb Bases and what to look for.
This is not a comprehensive list and only includes the most commonly occurring bulb bases.
Bulb Shapes and Sizes
For Flood Lamps or Recessed Fixtures you would look at the R Series (Reflector), BR Series (Bulged Reflector) and PAR series (Parabolic Aluminized Reflector)
R/BR bulbs are lamps with “wide flood” beam angles, which means that they provide more than a 45° (typically 120°) angle when lighting an area. Use BR bulbs when a broad pattern of ambient light is needed such as down a hallway or over a kitchen counter top. BR bulbs also work best in recessed down lights “cans” or “pot lights” as they provide the best wide angle illumination.
PAR bulbs are lamps with “spot light” features, meaning that they provide a beam spread that is typically lower than 45°. Use PAR bulbs when attempting to put a focused beam of light on an object such as in track lighting or illuminating artwork. PAR spot lights also work great as outdoor security lighting.
How much light do I need?
The amount of light output is measured in Lumens (lm) and the energy usage is measured in Watts (w). Most LED bulb manufacturers still list the wattage of original incandescent lamps to provide a basis to compare light output with equivalent LED bulbs. They of also will also list actual wattage used by the bulb and the light output in lumens of the bulb. For the most accurate light comparison you should find out the lumen value of your previous bulbs
Most households use the equivalent of a 40W to 60W Incandescent Bulb (410 to 700 lm). If you need brighter lighting or to light up a large space, then you would want to use a higher wattage Incandescent equivalent of 75w-100w (920 – 1330 lm).
Color temperature is an often overlooked or misunderstood part of lighting. It is incredibly important that you use a bulb with the correct color temperature. Color temperature is measured in Kelvin (K) Color temperatures over 5000 K are called “cool colors” (bluish white), while lower color temperatures (2700–3000 K) are called “warm colors” (yellowish white through red). “Warm” in this context is an analogy to radiated heat flux of traditional incandescent lighting rather than temperature. The fact that “warm” lighting in this sense actually has a “cooler” color temperature often leads to confusion.
Lower/Cooler color temperatures are common in household applications where warmer color temperatures are more common in institutional and commercial applications. Make sure that the color temperature matches for all lamps in the area and they all have the same CRI.
You should avoid using a color temperature of more then 5000K in home applications. The blueish light at or above that color temperature has been shown in some studies to cause sleep/circadian rhythm disturbances.
Dimmable Vs. Non-Dimmable Bulbs?
Some LED bulbs are non dimmable while others are dimmable. Make sure you check for this if you have lights that are on a dimmer switch or would require the same bulb to operate at different brightness levels.
You CAN use dimmable bulbs on non dimmable fixtures.
(Dimmable bulbs can be a more expensive then non dimmable equivalents)
You cannot use non-dimmable bulbs on dimmable fixtures!
Make sure all dimmable bulbs on a circuit (a group of lights controlled by a single control/switch) are the same wattage and type of bulb (All LED, CFL, or Incandescent). Mixing wattage or bulb types will cause issues with the operation of the bulbs.
Contact A.S. Electric, Inc. for assistance with all your lighting or energy efficiency projects.
We are a full service electrical contractor serving South Florida since 2002 and it would be our pleasure to assist you with any and all of your electrical needs.
Please contact our office for more information or to schedule an appointment.
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