Eco-friendly home features are quickly becoming the new norm, and LED (light-emitting diode) lighting is a great place to start.

Have you decided to switch from incandescent to LED lighting for your home? Are you wanting to save money and energy so maybe you are thinking about going with fluorescents or CFLs?

LED lighting is quickly becoming more accessible and affordable than ever, and it is a great place to start with your home or business makeover. The technology behind these bulbs, rods, ropes, etc. allows you to replace 100 watts of incandescent lighting with 15 to 20 watts of LED, on average.  Replacing all of the lights in a home with LEDs will be well worth it; they last around 5 times longer and do not have the often-reported “light flicker” of regular fluorescent bulbs.  Since LEDs are longer-lasting, you replace bulbs less often, reduce waste, and spend less on maintenance in the long run.  LEDs also produce significantly less heat, therefore indirectly saving on cooling costs.

So you want to save on your electric bills and get more out of your hard-earned paycheck… but even with newer and cheaper LEDs, they are still more expensive than incandescent, fluorescent and CFL bulbs.  How can you be sure you’re getting the best in upgrade costs?

Check out this recent example of a kitchen we are remodeling – the client has a combination of recessed and custom under-cabinet LED lights that give the room varying effects!

Some ideas of where to start:

  • Hard-to-reach lights:  Any light bulb that’s up high, such as vaulted ceilings or over stairwells, can be difficult to switch out on a regular basis.  Changing these lights to LEDs is useful because they last a lot longer and it will be a while before the next time they burn out, saving you the cost of bulbs and possibly having to hire someone to maintenance that light.
  • Heavily-trafficked areas: The most-used rooms like the living room, dining room and kitchen tend to use more light than other rooms.  When lights are on in the house, they’re usually on in those rooms.  Switching to LEDs in these rooms are going to save you more money in the long run than any other room in the house, by reducing the amount of energy used in your home each day.
  • Replace lights in groups/sets: Because the color temperature changes as incandescent bulbs age (they tend to go dimmer and more ‘orange-y’), it’s a good idea to replace lights in sets.  Any fixture you have which uses multiple lights should all be replaced at once to keep colors and light distribution even.
  • Outdoor / Security Lights:  These lights will more than likely be on all night long, compared to interior lighting only being on part of the day/evening, and are another good starting point to saving on your lighting costs. Many LEDs are compatible with timers, photocells, and motion sensors.

can I use my existing dimmers?

Maybe, but more than likely your dimmer switches will need to be changed out also, since not all dimmers are compatible with LEDs, and conversely, like any other bulb type, not all LEDs are dimmable.  Since dimmer switches can sometimes be more expensive than the bulbs themselves, you might want to change dimmers last if you’re trying to save money on installation costs.

Can I just change the bulbs, or does the whole fixture have to be changed?

It depends on the fixture.  Some recessed lights, chandeliers and lamps can be easily changed with just a bulb swap (like the pendant shown below), while older light fixtures may not be compatible, so it’s best to test it out or have us check it out for you.

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Colors

The color of an LED bulb is usually dictated by its temperature.  It’s a good idea to check how color temperatures change the way room looks.  See the image below to get an idea of how the lighting may appear.

Color Temperature Scale

Color Temperature Scale

For those that are looking for a straight equivalent without changing the look of your current incandescent bulbs, we recommend going with a warmer white color (2700-3000 K) for the closest equivalent to incandescent.

To highlight artwork or certain areas of your home, stay with a neutral color, around 4000 K, so artwork color quality does not clash with the light.  In the kitchen picture above, those are neutral-white LEDs.

If you are planning to replace outside security lighting, such as metal halide (HID), high-pressure sodium or quartz/halogen, whether timed or motion detector, our suggestion is either neutral or a higher, daylight-like temperature.

Want to make the switch?  Give us a call and we can come give you an estimate.