Where to Begin When Switching to LED Lightbulbs


The lightbulb has advanced considerably since the days of Thomas Edison, and today these simple devices boast features that even he couldn’t have possibly dreamed of. One of the most popular technologies available today are light emitting diode bulbs, otherwise known as LEDs. These devices look and function similarly to a traditional lightbulb, but come in a wide array of colors and intensities, all while using a mere fraction of the electricity of their predecessors.

LED bulbs far surpass the popular halogen bulbs and are substantially safer for general use than mercury-containing compact fluorescent bulbs. For years, LEDs were cost-prohibitive, but today that’s far from the case. For a cost that’s just slightly higher than a CFL bulb, you can upgrade to a safe, clean, and extremely efficient LED lamp that will last you up to ten years or more before it needs replaced. Entry-level LED bulbs can be found at your local hardware store starting around $2.50 per bulb, with multi-packs possibly bringing the price down even further. Some of these bulbs can even change colors via smartphone control!

How to Make the Switch

Of course swapping every bulb in your home over to LEDs can be a pretty large expense, and why would you want to swap out a bulb that works perfectly fine in the mean time? So for those who want to take the process step-by-step, let’s look at where to begin.

Start with the rooms you use most.
The bulbs that sustain the most wear and tear from their daily use in your home will likely be the first ones to go out, and they’re also going to burn through the most electricity. Therefore, these are the ones you should focus on replacing first. You’ll notice the largest energy savings from this swap.

Focus on Long-Running Bulbs
Certain lights in your home are turned on and left on for long periods of time. These are things like your porch light, garage light, or security lights that stay on for hours, often overnight. These bulbs will also draw a lot of electricity, and will also wear out fairly quickly, so you should tackle these second.

Grab the Hard Ones Last
Not all bulbs in your home are easily accessible, such as those suspended in a chandelier or high up on a porch light well above the ground. You probably won’t want to immediately break out the ladder and start swapping bulbs in these lights, particularly if you don’t have to. So when one burns out, then you can replace it as necessary.

How to Shop for LED Bulbs

How do you know you’re getting the right bulbs for your home? LED bulbs have a number of additional specifications that prior bulbs never had to deal with, giving you the ultimate level of control over your home. But what one should you get? Let’s look a little closer at some of the terms you should know when it comes to LED lights.

  • Lumens: This is a brightness rating for your bulb. In the past, the wattage of your bulb told you both how much electricity it burned and how bright it was. Now, this is a more accurate measurement based entirely on light intensity. Some brands will give you an equivalency measurement on the box so you can fully understand exactly how bright the bulb is.
  • Color temperature: An LED can imitate all colors of the rainbow from red to blue to orange and everything in between. While some bulbs have the flexibility to emit all of these colors, most bulbs have one static normal light color. However, this light color can vary, and it’s given in a “temperature” rating, measured in Kelvins. The lowest temperatures have a golden, warm white tone, while higher-temperature bulbs produce a cool, almost blue-like light.

Other Factors to Consider

There are a few other things you should take into account when determining whether you should switch over to LED bulbs, and whether one is appropriate in a given lamp. Here are some reasons you might not want to switch a certain bulb.

  • Dimmers: Not all LED bulbs are compatible with dimming switches, and the ones that are usually come at a higher cost. If you have a dimmer switch in your home, you’ll want to make careful sure the bulbs you purchase are compatible, otherwise you’ll probably just see your bulb flicker and go out as you turn the dimmer down.
  • Enclosures: While LED bulbs don’t get quite as hot as their predecessors, they do still emit a fair amount of heat, and that heat needs to go somewhere or else the diodes will be damaged. If you have an enclosed lightbulb, make sure to replace it with a bulb that’s rated for an enclosed space.
  • Outdoor use: LEDs actually work remarkably well in cold weather, unlike lots of other previous technologies. However, they can’t get wet, and they are somewhat heat-sensitive. You’ll want to make sure you get a model that’s specifically rated for outdoor use if you plan on using it as a porch light or other light source that could be subject to the weather.

If you’re having an electrical problem in your home, trust the friendly and experienced Marietta electricians from Lightning Bug Electric to get the job done right! Call us at (404) 471-3847 and schedule your service appointment or receive an estimate for your project today.

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