LEDS Demystified

Moving from incandescents and fluorescents to LEDS is an intelligent decision, according to lighting experts.

The average person, though, still seems a bit confused and distrustful of LEDs.

Think Lumens and Kelvins, not Watts.

No, it’s not a basketball team. Those names are lighting properties.: represent the amount of electricity consumed. For decades, with incandescents, consumers labelled bulbs by the “watts consumed” (60W-100W being average reading/every day lighting); we have trained ourselves to think of a certain brightness as 100-watt, and a softer light as a 60- or 40-watt.

Lumens: represent the brightness of a light. indicate the color of the light. The lower the number, the warmer the light.

To choose your LED lights, says Tracey Nadonley, the showroom consultant at Light and Day Lighting on Buckeystown Pike in Frederick, its important to look at all those properties together.

“People should look at lumens for how powerful a light is, and kelvins for the quality and color of the light,” she says. Watts no longer tell the whose story—unless the story is about how much less electricity is drawn by LED lights.

“A 2700 Kelvin light of 700 lumens that draws only 8 watts is similar to light of a 60-watt incandescent,” she says. The prices of the LEDs are coming down, running between $10 and $15. But compare the LED, lasting more than 25,000 hours, to a $1-$4 incandescent bulb—which lasts 2,000 hours, and the savings begin to mount.

Some people have trouble with the assumption that LEDS only come in harsh white or bluish light, but that also is not true. A 2700 Kelvin light has a warm, yellow light similar to incandescents. “Once people realize that, they’re sold,” she says.

For now, it’s still pretty common to have a choice between incandescents and LEDs, although a few contemporary designs now feature only LED fixtures, she says.

Another advantage you wouldn’t think of is that LEDs are much cooler, especially when they replace halogen lights, which can grow very hot to the touch.

The chart, put together by the US Department of Energy, shows a conversion between incandescent and LEDs.

Some critics still aren’t buying the LED switch and claim that they tend to dim throughout their lifetime. LEDs can take a few moments to “warm up” to their brightest, as well.

Are you doing a Switchout?

Local Home Depot stores will take your spent incandescent bulbs for recycling. Ask at the front when you arrive; they usually have a box set out near the store entrances to collect them.