Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Replace Your Lights With LEDs

I've recently begun converting the light bulbs in my house to LED. It's a quick, simple upgrade that any prepper could benefit from.

Why LED?
Just a few years ago, LED lighting was expensive, very niche, and tough to find. Even industry professionals were skeptical about LED for residential use, and for good reason, as manufacturers made huge claims that rarely came true.

Intervening years and economy of scale have since righted the course of residential LED lighting, and the cost of screw-in LED light fixtures has fallen almost to the level of a compact fluorescent light (CFL). Power consumption is roughly 10% of a traditional incandescent, or half of a CFL. In addition to the lower energy bills, many electric utilities are offering rebates and other incentives to convert to LED.

There are three other reasons that I am a fan of LED lighting.
  1. Heat: LEDs put out far less heat than the alternatives. This means less general heat in your home, but it also means less heat in your light fixtures and wiring boxes. Heat in these locations can cause damage to wires and fixtures, and sometimes even fire.
  2. Safer Construction: They usually use plastic instead of glass for the globe (something made possible by lower heat). They also don't contain toxic chemicals like mercury that can cause a health hazard when broken.
  3. Overall Quality of Light: Fluorescent lights have a pulsing strobe effect, which gets worse as they age. This is known to be a major headache trigger, even causing migraines in some people. In addition, it can negatively affect mood in people with certain mood or environmental disorders. LED lighting doesn't pulse and is just generally "cleaner."
Shopping for LEDs
There are two ways to convert to LED lighting. The first is to buy dedicated replacement fixtures, which are  painless to install and require little or no maintenance or work after installation. They are also quite a bit more expensive up front. From a prepper standpoint, it's best to look at these fixtures only if you have an existing fixture that needs replacement anyway, and if you have any doubt about your ability to replace a fixture, please call a qualified electrician.

The much easier way is to replace your light bulbs and fluorescent tubes with LED lights that install into your existing fixtures like any other lamp, and last an average of 8-10 years before needing replacement. Replacements are available for almost all lamps made in the past 30 years.

When purchasing LED replacement lamps, there are two unique things on the packaging to pay attention to. The first is if the package is marked as "dimmable." If you have or want a dimming switch in your room, you'll need dimmable lamps. Otherwise, they produce an undesirable flickering light.

The second unique packaging notation is the wattage. LED packaging usually shows two wattage ratings. One will be tiny, usually a single digit; this is the actual wattage that the light uses. The other will look more like the wattage you expect on an incandescent bulb and is called the "wattage equivalent", which is the size of incandescent bulb you would expect to replace and get the same amount of light. Swap these out like you would any other bulb and forget about them for a decade.

Save money, save effort, and possibly improve your health with LED lighting.


No comments:

Post a Comment

The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.