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LED light bulbs

The 2nd area to address after efficient water heating is lighting. With the prices of high quality LED’s having fallen significantly in the last years, reducing your electricity bills through replacing inefficient old lighting technology is a must-do, with attractive financial returns on the investment.

As an overview:

  • Incandescent light bulbs are very inefficient with the majority of the electricity being wasted as heat and should be avoided.
  • Halogen bulbs are types of incandescent lamps and do not save any energy over incandescent bulbs. These should be replaced where possible.
  • CFL lighting can save up to 70% of the electricity used in an incandescent bulb and enjoy a much longer life.
  • LED lighting can save up to 90% of the energy in an incandescent bulb for the same lumens output. They also enjoy a very long life of up to 15,000 hours.

Before investing in LED lighting technology, consumers need to be aware of some of the potential pitfalls.

  • If LED down lights are not correctly fitted with sufficient space for the heat to be dissipated efficiently, their anticipated life may be reduced.
  • Make sure the lumen output of the current light and the LED retrofit are similar. The lumen output is not always as much as claimed particularly with cheaper products from unknown brands. A 5W LED may for example only produce 4,5W output after a short period, rendering the light output to be inadequate.
  • Most manufacturers now offer a variety of light colors, for example warm white light rather than the harsher cool white, which many people find unattractive. Dimmable LEDs are also available, but these will generally cost more.
  • As the investment can be considerable, it is advisable to buy better known brands with strong warranties and as with all energy efficiency to do the research. There is a lot of information readily available over the Internet.
  • The return on capital expended can provide a payback on the investment of 2 years or less, but only if the LED is good quality, and it is correctly installed.
  • DIY installation on bulbs and down lights is generally simple and straight-forward and should only take about 2 minutes per fitting.

As a rule of thumb for an incandescent or halogen lamps, if it is on for more than 4 hours per day, replacing it directly with a LED will be a good idea. For all other lamps consider installing LEDs when the current bulbs fail. Often the price of standard LED bulbs is comparable to that of CFL and halogen products.

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