One of the choices that can make or break a room’s design and comfort is lighting. Although LED’s have been around for a while now, so many people are still confused about energy-efficient lighting. We all know great lighting when we see it, but its hard to figure it out for our own homes. I often see people give up on LED’s and go back to old bulbs that costs more because they think LED’s are the problem.
I spent several years in marketing for an energy efficiency company and we worked a lot with LED’s. It helped me to learn how to buy them and I’m hoping I can share some shopping tips with you. With these easy tips you can pick out energy-efficient lighting that will not only save you money, but help you create the perfect atmosphere in your own home. Without seeing all of your homes I can’t tell you exactly what kind of lighting you need, but I can give you some tools that will help you understand what to look for.
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Let’s address some LED lighting myths first.
Myth #1 -LED’s Are Always Brighter Than Other Bulbs
LED’s come in varying degrees of brightness including bulbs that are warm and dim, you just have to know what to look for.
Myth #2 – Look At The Watts To Decide How Bright A Bulb Is
Watts have nothing to do with how bright a light bulb is. GASP. This is one of the biggest mistakes I see. I repeat, Watts have nothing to do with how bright a light bulb is. Watts are a measure of power usage. The lower the wattage, the less electricity it uses.
Myth #3-Changing Lighting Doesn’t Save Much Money
The Office of Renewable Energy estimates that changing just five of your most used light bulbs to LED’s can save you $75 a year. I don’t know about you, but I have a lot more than five light bulbs. By changing our home to LED’s my bill has actually decreased over $100 a month. Your savings will be based on how many bulbs you have, how much your use your lighting and other factors. But it’s a no brainer; installing lower wattage bulbs will save you money.
Myth #4-LED’s Are Too Expensive.
LED’s used to be extremely expensive, but the cost has come down significantly. Big box stores have contractor packs that make them more affordable. Plus, you’ll recoup the cost of the bulbs very quickly with the savings on your bill.
Myth #5-You Can’t Dim LED’s
At first LED’s didn’t work with dimmers, but that’s old news. You do have to buy a specific dimmer, like the ones seen here, but it can be done! My dining room chandelier is on a dimmer, and all of the candelabra shaped bulbs are LED’s.
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Now that you know some of the myths about LED’s let’s talk about how to shop for them. (BTW these same shopping tips work for compact fluorescent bulbs, too!)
Stop Looking At The Watts To Decide The Bulb Brightness
Watts are important. They will tell you how much energy you will save. But they will not tell you anything about the color or brightness of the bulb.
Look at Lumens to Decide the Brightness of the Bulb
Lighting packaging has this label on it that tells you everything you need to know about the bulbs. The higher the lumens the brighter the bulb.
Look At Kelvins To Decide The Warmth Or Color Of The Bulb
On the package there is also a number for the Kelvins. Kelvins help you decipher if it’s a warm yellowish light or a cold blue light. 5000 Kelvin is often used in a doctor’s office, and is the color people often complain about being too bright.
Here’s a helpful guide for deciding kelvins
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Lumen and Kelvin choice is all based on your personal opinion. If you have dark rooms you may like brighter lights, if your house is all white you might like to warm it up a little. It may take some trial and error but don’t give up! Once you know what your LED preferences are, you’ll never go back to money draining bulbs again!
In some areas, utilities will send you free LED’s or issue rebates after you purchase them. Check this database and your utility company’s website to see if there are any programs in your area!
That’s everything you need to know about buying the correct LED’s. Just remember Lumens =Light, Kelvins =Kolor. See what I did there? Have questions? Drop them in the comments below!
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