Time to switch to LED light bulbs?

By | April 4, 2013

Switching to CFLs or LEDs?

We’ve tried several different brands of CFLs & LEDs over the years. My own conclusion: currently LEDs work well in specific lighting situations such as spots, or places where you only need a lower level of light like corners or lobbies. But for main illumination, the sweet spot has not been reached. True the lumen/watt ratio is improving, but even on the more powerful LEDs, you’re still only getting about 1/2 to 2/3rds of the total lumen output per bulb.

Therefore you need to install additional bulbs at greater expense. The other issue with LEDs is that you really pay for what you get. There is a huge variation in quality of the components: but typically the ICs burn out much faster if there is inadequate airflow.

For CFLs, the only brands we buy now for home & business are Philips & GE. Most of the local brands, esp. the mid2low priced CFLs, and B&Q have poor to terrible life expectancy. I know this because our community replaced all their strips lighting with these (to save money), but ended up having to replace the CFLs frequently. Traditional tubes last for ages, but not the cheap CFLs. I also know that after switching to more expensive bulbs, I don’t have to replace them nearly as often. oh, and the 32-w CFLs are apparently prone to heating issues, too. We spent a bit of money installing 32w, but found half of them burned out fast. So now it’s all 27w units.

Either way, if you are concerned about the amount of light output, and replacing halogen spots or incandescent bulbs, DON’T follow the manufacturers recommendations. 1 8w CFL is not the equivalent of 40w. And one 5w LED isn’t either. Measure the light output, not the energy input. And if necessary, double up the CFLs, you’ll still save money on the electricity, just not as much.