What are LEDs?

What are LEDs? - Image 1


When you think of a light bulb, you probably think of a traditional incandescent bulb. They’re cheap, you can get them in basically any brightness and size, and they get the job done. But they’re also wildly inefficient and don’t last very long in comparison to newer options on the market. One of those options is the LED bulb - let’s talk about it.


LEDs have existed for years, but were often found in small lights such as circuit boards. In recent years they’ve become more popular for everything from decorative and Christmas lights to bulbs for home and office light fixtures. They can provide a similar range of light color and brightness as incandescent bulbs and there are three huge advantages (and one disadvantage) to making the switch.


Advantage 1: Lifespan


Where an incandescent bulb will last 1-616-662-0364 hours on average, LEDs last 50,000-100,000 hours or even more (standards for what qualifies as the end of an LED’s life are a 30% reduction in light output, so you’re not going to experience a traditional burnout so much as a slow fade). For reference, there are 8,760 hours in a year, so you’ll get years out of a single bulb.


Advantage 2: Operating Cost


In addition to lasting far longer, LEDs also use far less energy, making them very economical. An incandescent bulb costs about 5x more to operate than a similar brightness of LED. To do the math, electricity in Michigan costs 17.79 cents/kWh. Operating an incandescent bulb for a year would cost about $93.50, while operating an equivalent will cost $18.70. Now, we hope you aren’t just leaving all of your lights on 24/7 year-round, but even with more normal use the difference adds up, especially when talking about multiple bulbs in a home or business.


Advantage 3: Safety


If you’ve ever tried to change a traditional light bulb that just burned out, you know how hot they get. This excess heat is part of the incandescent bulb’s energy suck and also part of what reduces its lifespan. While LEDs produce a little heat, the same way anything that uses electricity does, it isn’t the same kind of heat and the bulbs don’t actually get hot. Not only does this reduce injury risk, it also all but eliminates fire risk - something that’s always important, but especially vital as we head into the holiday season and cover everything in lights.


Disadvantage: Startup Cost


While the bulbs are cheaper to operate and need to be replaced less often, they are more expensive to purchase - about $5 vs $1 for an incandescent. Now, you’ll make that back and more in the first year of use, but it is definitely an expense to take into account if you’re looking at making the switch throughout your home or business. If you can’t commit the funds for a full upgrade to LEDs but want to get started, consider switching your most used fixtures over first. You can use the savings from your energy bill to buy more as the savings roll in.


Whether you’re worried about your family’s energy use, want to make your business more efficient, or just looking for a way to make it through the holidays without setting the Christmas tree on fire, LEDs are a great option. Call today to schedule an appointment and let’s figure out a plan to make the switch.

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