Sometimes, I think we have searched for LED bulbs for most of my professional career. We saw the potential of LED years ago, but LED rendered bluish in color, was too dim and perceived as too expensive. That perception and quality have greatly changed over the last 7-10 years.
NSTAR / Yale
NSTAR has been a great partner of ours for over 15 years. We have co-sponsored air conditioner and refrigerator buybacks as well as rebates on front load washers. There are now $17 instant rebates per bulb. The prices on LEDs are now below $11 on the two most popular bulbs.
Advantages Of LED
The average LED bulb will last 25,000 hours vs 750-1000 hours for incandescent, so LED will last an eye popping 22.3 years based on 3 hours of use per day. In terms of bulb replacement alone LED is worth the investment.
The lumen output is far greater in a LED bulb. For example, a 40 watt bulb has the output of 400 lumens. A 8 watt LED has 500 lumen output. Conservatively, at 20 cents per kilowatt/hour plus replacement, it is $13.16 per year at 3 hours per day. Energy consumption of the incandescent of a 40 watt bulb is $8.96 versus $1.79 plus the cost of the bulb replacement. Higher wattages have an even greater savings.
The savings does not include the impact on your HVAC system. Incandescent will project 300 degrees (which is why you cannot touch them) and increase the room temperature.
Lumens vs Wattage
Wattage is energy consumption, whereas lumens is visible light. Lumens is a far more effective measure, especially with more efficient bulbs like LED and compact fluorescent.
Kelvin is the measure of light quality. Older fluorescent lighting has a poor, milky white quality of light at 5000K. The best quality is actually the yellowy incandescent at around 2500K. Typically you should look for a bulb at around 2700-3200 for decent light. Please note: There is no regulatory body governing what companies can say about their Kelvin temperature. You have to compare the light for yourself.
$10.99 after $17 in rebates
- Specs: 12 Watt, 820 Lumens, Dimmable
- Replaces: 60-65 Watt regular A19 light bulb
- Yearly cost savings based on 3 hours: $13.44 - $1.79 = $11.65 plus bulb replacement of $1.00
$10.99 after $17 in Rebates
- Specs 8 Watt, 500 Lumens, Dimmable
- Replaces a 45R20 reflector bulbs
- Yearly cost savings based on 3 hours: $7.17 plus bulb replacement of $5.99
$16.99 after $17 in Rebates
- Specs: 11 Watt, 750 Lumens, Dimmable
- Replaces a 60 R-30 Watt Reflector Bulb
- Yearly cost savings based on 3 hours: $13.44 - $2.64 = $10.80 plus bulb replacement of $5.99
$21.99 after $17 in rebates
- Specs: 13 Watt, 850 Lumens, Dimmable
- Replaces a 60-65 Watt R-40 Reflector Bulb
- Yearly cost savings based on 3 hours: $13.44 - $2.91 = $10.59 plus bulb replacement of $5.99
How To Buy LED Bulbs
- Check the Kelvin: You want a LED at 2700K-3200K for optimal lighting. Of course, there is no regulatory Kelvin body, so you have to compare. It's OK to buy a higher Kelvin light bulb, just put it in a closet or outside your house.
- Dimmability: Some can dim, most cannot.
- Dimmers: You need to make sure your dimmable bulbs can be dimmed by your dimmer. Older dimmers cannot recognize the small amount of wattage produced by LEDs. A dimmer just assumes that 8 watts is already dim.
- Always check for Lumens: Lumens dictates how you see the light. Wattage is just a measurement of energy consumption. It is very hard to compare the wattages of two different technologies like LED and incandescent.
Image credit: MSVG