As your incandescent lights burn out, it's a good time to consider switching to LED downlights or bulbs.

LEDs have an effective lifespan of roughly 20 years and are very cost-effective to run.

Now's the right time to switch to LEDs & save on your power bills. LED lighting has made significant gains over the last few years, finally delivering the warm light which has comforted us.

As there are so many LED varieties, picking an LED is entirely different from buying an incandescent. Before you head out to buy your LEDs, find out what you need to know about choosing the right LED bulbs.

Lumens, not watts!

Forget what you know about incandescent as your watts is no longer used.

When buying bulbs, you're probably looking for watts as an indication of how bright the bulb will be. The brightness of LEDs is however determined a little differently.

Wattage isn't an indication of brightness, however, a measurement of how much energy the bulb draws. For incandescent, there is a comparison between the watts used & the brightness, but for LEDs, watts aren't a great predictor of how bright the bulb will be. (This is because they draw a lot less energy.)

For example, a LED bulb with comparable brightness to a 60 W incandescent is only 7 to 11 watts.

But don't bother doing the math as there isn't a uniform way to covert incandescent watts to LED watts. Instead, a different form of measurement called lumens.

The lumen (lm) is the real measurement of brightness provided by a light bulb & is the number you should look for when buying LEDs.

Choosing the right colour LED

You can always count on incandescent providing a warm, yellowish hue. But LEDs come in a wide range of colours.

The popular colours available for LEDs are warm white or soft white, and bright white.

Warm white and soft white will produce a yellow hue, close to incandescent, while bulbs labelled as bright white will produce a whiter light, closer to daylight and similar to what you see in retail stores which can be a little clinical for homes.

If you want to get a little more technical, light colour (colour temperature) is measured in kelvins. The lower the number, the warmer (yellower) the light. So, your typical incandescent is somewhere between 2,700 and 3,500K. If that's the colour you're going for, look for this range while buying you LED bulbs.

You'll pay more for an LED bulb

LED bulbs are like hybrid cars: cheaper to operate but a little pricier upfront.

When switching to LED bulbs, don't expect to save cash up front, instead, think of it as a long term investment. Luckily, competition has increased with LED bulbs and the price has come down (like this $10 LED from Philips), but you should still expect to pay much more than an incandescent.

Eventually, the LED bulbs will definitely pay off and in the meantime, you'll enjoy less heat production, longer bulb life, and even the option of controlling them with your smartphone.

The Bottom line: unless you're replacing many incandescent bulbs in a large house, you won't see significant savings on your electricity bill.

Watch out for non-dimmable LEDs

Because of their circuitry, LEDs are not always compatible with traditional dimming switches so it must be clear on packaging if the LED lights are compatible.

If you'd like your LED to be dimmable, you need to do one of two things: find LED bulbs compatible with traditional dimmers, or replace your current dimming switch with a leading-edge (LED-compatible) dimmer.

When shopping for LEDs, it helps to know what kind of dimming switch you have, but if you don't know (or would rather not go through the trouble), simply search for LED bulbs compatible with standard incandescent dimmers.

Knowing where it's OK to place an LED will ensure that the bulb won't fizzle ahead of its time and save you money and time.

You probably know that LED bulbs run dramatically cooler, but that doesn't mean they don't produce heat. LED bulbs do get hot, but the heat is pulled away by a heat sink in the base of the bulb. From there, the heat dissipates into the air and the LED bulb stays cool, helping to keep its promise of longer life.

Therein lies the problem - the bulb needs a way to dissipate the heat. If an LED bulb is placed in an enclosed housing, the heat won't have anywhere to go, sending it right back to the bulb, so it’s always good to have enough space for the LED to breath!

Hope this helps!

For any more details on your lighting, contact the team at Limelight Electrix on 1300 880 761 or email admin@limelightelectrix.com.au

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