LED Bulbs & Lighting Buying Guide
There’s never been a better time to upgrade your lighting to LED lamps. LED Lightbulbs can: Reduce your electricity energy costs by up to 90%, Enable you to contribute to reducing world CO2 emissions and Give you up to fifteen years between bulb changes.
- How much money can LED lightbulbs save me ?
LED lightbulbs cost you more initially than halogen or CFL bulbs, but understanding the running costs helps you make an informed decision about how much money you'll save by switching to LED bulbs.
A LED GU10 lightbulb is 88% more efficient than a halogen bulb and costs £7.00. If the bulb is lit for 12 hours per day, with an electricity cost £0.12 per KWH, the LED costs you £2.40 per year.
The cost of a 50W GU10 halogen bulb is £1.00 If the bulb is lit for 12 hours per day, with an electricity cost £0.12 per KWH, the halogen costs £20.00 per year!
You'll save £10.60 in your first year! And,more every year the LED bulb is running. Remember, these are the figures for only one lamp - think about the savings in a whole room, house, or office!
- Why are LED lightbulbs so efficient?
Traditional light bulbs are warm to the touch - this means that they are giving off heat energy, rather than light energy. LED lamps are about 800 times more efficient than incandescent bulbs. Almost all of their energy goes in to emitting light. This huge power saving leads to saving in your electricity bill.
- Why do LED Lightbulbs last longer?
LEDs are solid state light sources and so are very robust. An incandescent lamp will last for approximately 1,000 hours, but the lifespan of an LED lamp is between 30,000 and 45,000 hours. To put that in to real terms - 40,000 hours equates to having a lamp on for an average seven hours per day every day for 10 years!
- Are LED lightbulbs safe?
Yes! LEDs don't flicker and so they often eliminate headaches and eye strain. LED lightbulbs also give off negligible heat and so are safer for environments where bulbs are close to people. Finally, LEDs don’t contain the harmful metals found in traditional lamps.
- Basics of an LED lightbulb
An LED lightbulb is made up of a bulb and a cap. Some people call the cap the base – the terms are interchangeable and also sometimes referred to as the “fitting”.
The bulb is the glass envelope containing the filament.
The Cap or Base is the part of the lamp that connects directly to the light fitting. This provides both the electrical contact and the means of holding the lamps securely in the fitting.
- Lumens not Watts
Old style incandescent lamps were measured in Watts – the amount of energy consumed. In contrast , Lumens measures the amount of light, or brightness that is given out in an LED lightbulb.
As a rule of thumb:
- Replace a 75W bulb with an energy-saving bulb that gives you about 1100 lumens
- Replace a 60W bulb with an energy-saving bulb that gives you about 800 lumens
- Replace a 40W bulb with an energy-saving bulb that gives you about 450 lumens
The CRI (Colour Rendering Index) of a LED lightbulb is also important – especially in retail or some industrial applications.
A high CRI means that a lamp is more able to reproduce the colour of objects faithfully. As a rule of thumb, branded LED lightbulbs have better CRIs than cheap bulbs from manufacturers you've never heard of.
- Colour Temperature
LED Bulbs come in multiple shades of white ("colour temperature"). Choose very warm and warm light bulbs for sitting rooms and bedrooms, and cooler or daylight for offices, kitchens and bathrooms.
- Beam Angle
Beam Angle tells you the width that light is emitted from the lightbulb. The beam angle is defined as the angle between two points where the light intensity drops to 50% of maximum.
The beam angle is important when determining, for example, the correct LED lamps to select for a busy corridor. You would want a narrower beam angle than with, say, a family sitting room.
- How do I fit my LED lightbulbs
LED lightbulbs are designed to fit straight in to your existing fittings.
In most cases retrofitting domestic lamps is very simple and quick, and can be done by you - without an electrician. Just pop them straight In!
- How do I dim LED lightbulbs?
First, make sure you choose a dimmable bulb.
Many quality LED lightbulbs will work with your existing dimmers. However, traditional dimmer switches are designed to reduce the voltage of halogen bulbs. LED lightbulbs work differently and this can cause flickering or jerky dimming on some circuits.
The fail-safe option is to use a dedicated LED dimmer switch. You can find them here.
- What's an IP Rating?
IP rating is a classification system for denoting the effectiveness of the seal of electrical equipment. The seal prevents ingress by dirt, dust, water or other foreign matter. Understanding IP Rating is very important when choosing outdoor lighting.
This classification system complies to the following format: the letters "IP" ("Ingress Protection") followed by two or three digits. (A third digit is only occasionally used). An "x" is used for one of the digits if there is only one class of protection for example IPX4 which addresses moisture resistance only.)
The first digit of the IP code indicates the degree that people are protected from contact with moving parts and the degree that equipment is protected against solid foreign bodies intruding into an enclosure. The range is from zero (no special protection) to six (completely dust light).
Again measured in a range from zero to six, the second digit denotes the degree of protection from moisture.
As an example, a common garden light fitting that is IP54 would provide protection from dust and be splash proof. However, areas where water can collect (e.g. LED fittings that are recessed in to pathways and steps) would need to be at least IP67 - meaning that they are completely dust proof and still work if immersed in water occasionally.