If you've been shopping lately for replacement light bulbs for your home you have probably made a somewhat annoying discovery. That old standby, the incandescent light bulb, appears to be going the way of the dinosaur. That opinion is not too far from the truth. Due to a variety of changes in energy legislation in recent years, incandescent lighting is becoming known for what it is - cheap upfront for the consumer and expensive long term for the environment. In an effort to conserve some of the precious energy resources of the planet, the inefficient incandescent light bulbs have been steadily seeing some more energy efficient competition in the way of fluorescent lighting, compact fluorescent lighting and, most recently, LED lighting.
The acronym LED stands for light-emitting diode. It is currently the most energy efficient light source available to the public consumer. Unfortunately, it is also a little pricey. Many consumers have an initial reaction that the LED is simply not suitable to their budget. Still, upon further reflection, there are several reasons why the time may be right to make the switch.
1. LED is efficient. The LED light bulb the typical residential customer would purchase uses at least 75 percent less energy and is rated to last 25 times longer than any incandescent on the market. This high level of efficiency means most of the energy being used is converted to light, not heat, as is the case with incandescents.
2. LEDs run much cooler than incandescents, making them a safer choice in lighting. That means no more burnt fingers when changing bulbs and less risk of combustion. Of course, this may not mean as much when you don't have to change that bulb again until the next decade.
3. The LED has a longer life than any other available lighting source besides the sun. Rated at 50,000 hours or longer, the LED light bulb you install today may still be operational twenty years from now, depending on how many hours a day it burns.
4. LEDs have a solid state construction. They don't have a filament so their life isn't over when the filament breaks. Their durable construction makes them ideal for use in varied environments, both indoors and out, as they can withstand changes in temperature and are resistant to shock and vibration.
5. LEDs can be controlled much better than incandescents. They can be dimmed and their light disbursement can be directed to make better use of their energy output. This eliminates sending light to areas where it is not needed.
6. The smaller size of LEDs makes them ideal for use in tight spaces. They work in under cabinet areas and every type of fixture imaginable.
7. LEDs are friendly to the environment. They produce very little infrared light and contain no mercury. Because of the absence of toxic chemicals they are recyclable. Because of their long life they need to be recycled far less often. Their presence is a huge benefit to the environment.
The switch to LED may be optional, at least at this time, but it is also desirable and advantageous. The payoff may not be visible upfront but, over time, both the consumer and the environment are winners in the long run.