As more people talk and learn about LED light bulbs, you may be wondering if it's worth your while to invest in LEDs for your home or office. The answer depends on your willingness to look at long-term financial results and whether you're trying to "time the market."
Unlike early generations of LED lighting, today's LED lights are plenty bright for replacing traditional incandescent bulbs (the usual A19 shape that many of us imagine when we think of a light bulb). And LEDs now do a very good job of matching the warm yellow that many people want in a home or some office settings. The new designs seen on the market also look similar to the bulbs we're used to, eliminating one of the past reasons to hesitate in making the switch. With the use of compatible dimmer switches, they even dim very well.
Special Note: we recommend being careful about purchasing unknown brands, which can have short lives and short warranties along with inconsistent colors. For those replacing traditional incandescent bulbs with warm LED lights, we offer the known TCP brand with a 5-year warranty at a very low cost:
Yet LED bulbs also offer colors that move away from a warm, yellow toward what we think of as cooler whites – "daylight" style bulbs. Packaging will show this color shift in "Kelvin" -- about 2700K is what most people are accustomed to in their homes. A bulb in the 3000s will be distinctly whiter than what most people expect in that setting; 4100K is typical of many office settings; and 5000K is used where color rendering is very important -- jewelry stores or medical exam areas, for instance.
Because of this flexibility, LEDs can replace more than just your average A19 bulb. You can also find decorative LED bulbs (e.g., candle style bulbs for chandeliers or decorative fixtures, and globe bulbs for bathroom vanities); LED downlights for recessed lighting; LED exit signs; and LED outdoor fixtures. In fact, entire cities are now saving money by replacing their old street lights with LED street lights.
So at this point, unless you're particular about the look of a light bulb or the precise kind of light you get from it, LED bulbs are fantastic replacement lights, and are likely the premier bulb for the next several years, especially as prices continue to fall and they continue to produce more light per watt.
This last point begs the question: when should you invest in LED bulbs? If they're going to keep falling in price, and they're going to keep producing more light per watt as new LED generations are produced, why invest right now?
But this is the same question you might ask when looking at computers. The next generation of computers will always be a little better, and prices on technology always move down. Does that mean you should wait for the last and best computer ever made? No ... because that computer won't be made in your lifetime, and you don't want to keep working on a typewriter in the meantime.
This is pretty much what you're doing if you stick with incandescent bulbs for as long as possible simply to wait for some future LED. The fact is, if you invest in LED bulbs right now, you'll start saving money right away. True, it will take a little time for those savings to pay back the initial investment, but they almost certainly will pay back that investment and much more. Newer bulbs might have a slightly faster payback, but not by much; and if you wait for them, you're delaying the savings.
So what does the payback look like on an LED bulb? As you can imagine, this depends on actual bulb prices, watts used, hours of light bulb usage, and cost of energy where you live or work. But let's take just one example:
Replacing One A19 Incandescent 60-Watt Bulb
For this example, let's say that you run a bulb on average 3 hours a day in a home and 10 hours a day in an office setting. And while energy prices vary from place to place, we'll use a typical rate of 15 cents per kWh as a cost of running this light bulb. (When you include delivery costs of electricity for a true kWh rate, this is a legitimate average in the United States in 2014.)
3 hours x 60 watts x 365 days = 65700 watt-hours, or 65.7 kWh = $9.86 per year to run an incandescent light bulb in the home.
10 hours x 60 watts x 365 days = 219,000 watt-hours or 219 kWh = $32.85 per year to run an incandescent light bulb in the office.
Using a 10-watt LED bulb in the same situations, though, would cost you 1/6 the energy. That's $1.64/year at home ($8.22 in annual savings) and $5.48 at the office ($27.37 in annual savings). So if the bulb cost you $8, it would more than pay for itself in a year at home and in a couple months at the office.
This doesn't even factor in the ongoing cost of buying incandescent bulbs because of their shorter lives. In the home, you'd go through about one incandescent bulb a year, and about 3 a year in the office. Meanwhile, the LED bulb would last you about 23 years at home and 7 years in the office.
So if we expand this example to a small office that's just replacing twenty A19 incandescent bulbs with A19 LED bulbs, that office would save more than $500/year in energy costs. Of course similar savings could be had when replacing other types of incandescent bulbs, and larger businesses could save on a larger scale.
So are LED Light Bulbs Worth the Investment?
Since most people will be happy with the light provided, and since there's no point in trying to time the market, in the instance of replacing incandescent bulbs, there's little reason not to start making the switch. You've heard the old saying, "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance." In a similar way, if you think LED bulbs are expensive, try incandescent bulbs. Sticking with the old technology really does cost you more despite the low initial bulb cost.
There are of course other, more complicated scenarios, especially in commercial settings. Should you replace high bay lighting with LED lighting? Should you replace fluorescent lights with LED lights? Sometimes this calls for an on-site energy audit by local experts (which we provide in the Detroit area).
But if you're simply looking to replace current lighting with the most energy efficient options, feel free to call our friendly experts for guidance and same day shipping: 877-231-2852.