LED lightbulbs

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Valuethinker
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LED lightbulbs

Post by Valuethinker »

I've waxed on before about LEDs as a replacement for halogen spots (-90% or so power consumption, less heat etc-- payback in my case 18m- 3 years depending on fitting). Replaced all the lights in kitchen and bathroom.

And now I have my first LED lightbulb-- 40 watt equivalent Toshiba (a Green Building trade fair was ending and the distributor was dismantling the stand, so I got one freebie).

The light is indistinguishable ('warm white' ie 2700K colour temperature) from a glass incandescent bulb. Time to warmup absolutely instantaneous. And my spouse likes it-- most importantly ;-).

I don't know if the 60 watt equivalent is out there yet. Payback times will be long except for heavily used lights (I pay c. USD 22 cents/ kwhr for electricity). Note you will also save a bit on air conditioning (but lose on winter heating).

But the revolution has begun.

http://www.toshiba.co.uk/newlighting/en ... p-line-up/
magneto
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by magneto »

Not being keen on the high frequency flicker of fluorescents, look forward to readily available LED bulbs which I assume are steady DC operation and therefore flicker free.

Thanks
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Valuethinker
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by Valuethinker »

magneto wrote:Not being keen on the high frequency flicker of fluorescents, look forward to readily available LED bulbs which I assume are steady DC operation and therefore flicker free.

Thanks
AFAIK the flicker of fluorescents is exactly that of incandescents, ie 50 HZ (cycles per second) in the UK-- but I'd have to check. In any case, the UK won't have incandescents within 2 years (they are no longer sold, generally, with special exceptions-- you can get halogens that will fit the sockets).

Because LEDs are always going to be expensive bulbs (but lasting 5 times+ as long) you are going to have to search them out.

The important thing is that at 14.5 pence/ kwhr, every 16 hours one of these bulbs run, you are saving yourself basically c. 13p. (1000 hours/ 60 watts = 16 2/3rds hours to burn 1 kwhr-- LED runs about 5 watts ie 200 hours).

There are 8760 hours in a year, so you can figure out the breakeven.
whomever
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by whomever »

AFAIK the flicker of fluorescents is exactly that of incandescents,...

Incandescents don't flicker much at all; the hot filament continues to emit light even when the waveform crosses zero volts; it doesn't cool off enough to make a difference.

Fluorescent tubes don't do that, so they do stop emitting light when the waveform passes zero. Older magnetic ballasts ran at line frequency, so there was a 60 Hz flicker (in the U.S.) which bothered some people. More recent electronic ballasts run at much higher frequencies and bother fewer people.

I dunno about LEDs. They run DC, so the light can be uniform, or not. Some LED flashlights use PWM (pulse width modulation) for current control which results in a flicker some people can notice. There are even schemes afoot to use them for data transmission - the office LED lights would flicker at data rates and transmit to PCs, for example. So for LEDs, I think, it will depend on the details of the power supply.
The Wizard
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by The Wizard »

I switched over many of my lights to dimmable LED bulbs over a year ago, using the ones available in my local Home Depot.
I still use existing CFLs in certain places where I don't need dimming and/or where the light isn't on very long.
I've been happy with them so far and may buy a few more to give away for the holidays...
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by daytona084 »

Valuethinker wrote:
AFAIK the flicker of fluorescents is exactly that of incandescents, ie 50 HZ (cycles per second) in the UK-- but I'd have to check.
Practically speaking, Incandescents do not flicker. Incandescents work by heating the filament. In order for there to be any flicker, the filament would have to cool down to such a low temperature that it would not emit light, within 1/60 or 1/50 second (depending on whether the power is 60 or 50 Hz). That does not happen, because the filament has enough thermal inertia to maintain (for practical purposes) a constant temperature.

If could reduce the frequency of the AC power to a very low value, at some point (maybe 5-10 Hz?) you would see perceptible flicker

On the other hand, the flicker of fluorescent bulbs is real.
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by HongKonger »

Ive been 95% LED (5% solar) for over 2 years and super happy. I can't believe everyone hasn't switched yet. yes, they cost US$ 12 each but well worth it - especially the lack of heat they generate!
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by smathew005 »

Also, I would consider looking http://www.hitlights.com. From a value perspective...I think they can't be beat!
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by Boglenaut »

I have been nearly 100% CFL for almost 8 years now. I am really hoping the price on LED drops some more by the time I am ready for replacements. LED is the future... CFLs are the stepping stone.

By the way, my kids have an on-going joke "let's go look at light bulbs for an hour.. NO!" based on a true incident. But my $36 electric bill for 2500 sq ft is pretty good I think.
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by Levett »

We have recessed lighting throughout our home and it's all LED.

We are delighted with the result. :D

Lev
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nisiprius
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by nisiprius »

The local Home Depot has a pretty good selection of various LED lights from several manufacturers, notably including Philips. We own a Philips 8-Watt (40W) LED A19 Soft White (2700K) Light Bulb, 470 lumens. It was the smallest size available, and they definitely had larger ones, but I don't remember the exact selection. It has a very odd appearance and it looks as if it basically has an orange filter (hence must be wasting some light).

I have a number of reservations. One is that LED bulbs aren't actually much more efficient than CFL's. As is so often the case--capitalism at its best--by the time the "better" technologies hit the market the old technologies have been improved so much that it's a horserace. (This was true for gaslight versus electric light for a surprisingly long period of time--explains why the house I grew up in had a number of electric light fixtures that had been converted from gas, long before my parents bought it, of course).

Our current favorite all-purpose light bulb happens to be a Sylvania 60-watt CFL micro-mini, 2700 deg K warm white, 13 watts, 825 lumens, "60 watt replacement." 5 bucks. It fits wherever a 60-watt incandescent fits and comes on essentially instantly. So, that's 60 lumens per watt.

The Philips Ambient 12-watt (60-watt replacement) LED, 25 bucks each, is listed as 2700 deg K, 12 watts, 800 lumens, "71.7 lumens per watt" (doesn't match my math). It is about the same efficiency as the CFL.

And while I don't have one of those at hand, the "40-watt replacement" bulb I have is actually much bigger, particularly in length, than the "60-watt replacement" CFL.

So it boils down to other factors. Heaven only knows what the environmental footprints are like. I'm sure people do toss their mercury-laden CFLs in the trash and cut themselves on broken ones, etc.

The LED bulbs might have a more pleasant spectral composition visually, despite having the same color temperature.

Lifetime and lifetime costs are unknown. One of the things that drives me bananas is that people are always citing very long life for both LED's and CFL's and all I can say is, not in my house they don't. One absolutely universal phenomenon is that any lighting device that has an electronics doohickey in it is subject to sudden, inexplicable failure long before the claimed lifespan. I don't think it's any problem with our power, for a number of reasons. It's just electronic junk that has to handle power and also has to be very, very cheap, and the quality control isn't that great.

I've had a very disappointing appearance with decline in light output from LEDs. I don't know if the bulbs are better. I wanted to light our cellar stairs, and Sylvania had some rather neat LED strip-lights, almost like rope lights but solid, that were just exactly right for the job--fastened them underneath the handrail and they gave a perfect, even illumination and only consumed maybe four watts, so I just left them on. Within a year they were visibly dim. Within two they were basically useless. I don't remember what the claimed life was, but based on our experience, old LEDs never die, they just fade away.

LEDs will undoubtedly expand the range of places where incandescents can be replaced, and are probably enough better than CFLs that they will supersede them when the costs come down, but I don't think they're the quantum step over CFLs that CFLs are over incandescents.

Isn't it amazing/depressing that we really haven't progressed much beyond the most efficient lighting technology of 1930s? I don't want to undervalue the revolutionary changes represented by CFL's over the four-foot-long-tubes-and-ballasts, but still. And the LEDs appear at the moment to be no more than an evolutionary step.

The only remaining places we have incandescents are outdoors. I was very annoyed with an "outdoor CFL" I tried; it was made to be weatherproof, or weather-resistant anyway, and in cold weather it eventually came up to full brightness, but it took minutes to do so. This might be a place for LEDs, but they're not on often enough or long enough for it to be remotely cost-effective-yet.
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by nisiprius »

wjwhitney wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:
AFAIK the flicker of fluorescents is exactly that of incandescents, ie 50 HZ (cycles per second) in the UK-- but I'd have to check.
Practically speaking, Incandescents do not flicker. Incandescents work by heating the filament. In order for there to be any flicker, the filament would have to cool down to such a low temperature that it would not emit light, within 1/60 or 1/50 second (depending on whether the power is 60 or 50 Hz). That does not happen, because the filament has enough thermal inertia to maintain (for practical purposes) a constant temperature.

If could reduce the frequency of the AC power to a very low value, at some point (maybe 5-10 Hz?) you would see perceptible flicker

On the other hand, the flicker of fluorescent bulbs is real.
I don't agree. It's all a matter of degree. Even at 60 Hz, you can connect a photocell to an oscilloscope and there is a noticeable ripple, although it's much less than with fluorescents. I'm fairly sensitive to flicker--not a problem with new flat computer screens, but I can NOT tolerate an old-style CRT monitor set for 60 Hz refresh, when I have to sit in front of someone else's the first thing I do is reset it to 72 Hz. I would not swear that I can see flicker in an incandescent bulb at 60 Hz. But in 50 Hz countries, I'm quite sure I can see it, although it doesn't bother me.

The New York Central commuter trains of my youth had stations powered by the same electricity used to power the rails, which was 25 Hz, and anyone can see flicker in an incandescent bulb at 25 Hz.

The flicker of fluorescents depends a good deal on the design of the luminaire. One of the things the ballast does is to power the bulbs so that they are out of phase with each other. I'm afraid I'm not sure of the details, but the light from a decent two or four-bulb full-sized fixture is less flickery than one from a cheap under-counter consumer single-bulb fixture. And for a couple of decades now, most of the fixtures have had "electronic ballasts" that are not only more efficient but somehow produce AC output at a higher frequency than the line current. They also produces a megaboatload of RFI, but that's another issue.
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IS0LD0UT
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by IS0LD0UT »

Levett wrote:We have recessed lighting throughout our home and it's all LED.

We are delighted with the result. :D

Lev
We have quite a few recessed as well. I had been using the dimable CFLs the light was not as good as the incandescent bulbs but tolerable for the energy savings. HD dropped the price on the ecosmart LED to $24 so I experimented with a few. I am very impressed so far and planning to switch all of ours over to LED.
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by Levett »

Yes to ecosmart--as I write with the LED above my study desk. 8-)

Lev
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by Valuethinker »

HongKonger wrote:Ive been 95% LED (5% solar) for over 2 years and super happy. I can't believe everyone hasn't switched yet. yes, they cost US$ 12 each but well worth it - especially the lack of heat they generate!
UK they cost c. 3x as much as that. And I do not know if they do a 60 watt lightbulb equivalent-- yet.

A 'solar' light? You mean an LED with a solar cell?
whomever
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by whomever »

One of the things that drives me bananas is that people are always citing very long life for both LED's and CFL's and all I can say is, not in my house they don't. One absolutely universal phenomenon is that any lighting device that has an electronics doohickey in it is subject to sudden, inexplicable failure long before the claimed lifespan.

That has been our experience as well. We also had a CFL ballast catch fire once, which certainly doesn't give one the warm fuzzies.

(Not a CFL hater, we were early CFl adopters and use them almost exclusively, except for the recently purchased LED lights - but I wish they would spend the 10% more to make the electronics last 10x as long)
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by dpc »

Just a couple of points:

LED lamps (bulbs) are not all the same. There is a wide range of quality and complexity. At present the best are made by Phillips and are available at Home Depot. I recently paid about $22 for a 60 W equivalent. These bulbs won a contest sponsored by a technical society to provide light output in a color spectrum similar to incandescent bulbs. The cheaper LEDs will not perform as well. There is a reason for the price differential.

LEDs should have a longer life than CFLs. There will be some decay in light output as the bulb ages - but this is true of every technology. LEDs are only somewhat more efficient than CFL, but life should be longer. I use them as replacements in fixtures that are difficult to access. CFLs also present serious issues if one is broken, due to hazardous material inside. The cheap CFL bulbs can have high infant mortality, so don't live up to the claims for longer life.

The "war" between CFL and LED is essentially over and the LED has won. CFL will soon go the way of eight-track tapes and floppy disks as the price of LEDs comes down. I would expect to see extremely low prices on CFLs in the near future as manufacturers dump their CFLs to transition to LEDs.

Just my $0.02.
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by Valuethinker »

dpc wrote:Just a couple of points:

LED lamps (bulbs) are not all the same. There is a wide range of quality and complexity. At present the best are made by Phillips and are available at Home Depot. I recently paid about $22 for a 60 W equivalent. These bulbs won a contest sponsored by a technical society to provide light output in a color spectrum similar to incandescent bulbs. The cheaper LEDs will not perform as well. There is a reason for the price differential.

LEDs should have a longer life than CFLs. There will be some decay in light output as the bulb ages - but this is true of every technology. LEDs are only somewhat more efficient than CFL, but life should be longer. I use them as replacements in fixtures that are difficult to access. CFLs also present serious issues if one is broken, due to hazardous material inside. The cheap CFL bulbs can have high infant mortality, so don't live up to the claims for longer life.

The "war" between CFL and LED is essentially over and the LED has won. CFL will soon go the way of eight-track tapes and floppy disks as the price of LEDs comes down. I would expect to see extremely low prices on CFLs in the near future as manufacturers dump their CFLs to transition to LEDs.

Just my $0.02.
On the downlights (GU10 and MR16 fittings-- I know you have GU10 in North America) I can second the motion re the quality of Phillips.

I have noticed no diminution of light (so far) in the 35 watt halogen spot substitutes (after a year).

I haven't tested LEDs on dimmer switches, I was warned that none of them had great reliability (this was about a year ago). Those lights I have on dimmers I do not use that much.

I wasn't aware that 60w bulb substitutes were available.

I agree that CFLs are basically a transition technology. Prices here are already low (incandescents are basically illegal, with low wattage and commercial exceptions, as of September 2012) c. USD 5.00 for a CFL bulb.

It's also going to be a different world-- one in which we don't replace light bulbs very often. I take Nisi's point about advertised v. actual, but nonetheless the lifetimes appear to be much longer.
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Valuethinker
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by Valuethinker »

nisiprius wrote: I have a number of reservations. One is that LED bulbs aren't actually much more efficient than CFL's. As is so often the case--capitalism at its best--by the time the "better" technologies hit the market the old technologies have been improved so much that it's a horserace..
The Boston Ice Merchants, who exported ice by ship to countries all over the Atlantic, fought a long rear guard action against the freezer.

Sailing ships were around a long time, commercially, after steam ships came out. The SS Great Britain (in Bristol Harbour), an early iron steam ship (the first transatlantic one in fact, I think), was converted *back* to sail to be competitive as a coal shipping vessel.

On LEDs I think my LEDs burn about half the watts of comparable CFLs.

However going from 50 watts, to 11 watts, to 6 watts, the drop from 11 to 6 obviously isn't as significant. But it's still -40-50%?
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by hand »

dpc wrote: LED lamps (bulbs) are not all the same. There is a wide range of quality and complexity. At present the best are made by Phillips and are available at Home Depot. I recently paid about $22 for a 60 W equivalent. These bulbs won a contest sponsored by a technical society to provide light output in a color spectrum similar to incandescent bulbs. The cheaper LEDs will not perform as well. There is a reason for the price differential.
Are you perhaps referring to the L-Prize ( http://www.lightingprize.org/)?
If so, this was government sponsored, and bulbs cost roughly $49, however there is a very similar bulb sold by Philips / Home Depot which costs in the $25 range, though with slightly lower efficiency & CRI.

Link showing difference between L-Prize and non- L-Prize LED bulbs from Philips: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L_Prize

I have been happy with the non-L Prize LED bulbs from Philips for specific applications, though they do have a delayed start.
I have been extremely happy with the CREE / Ecosmart can lights sold by Home Depot which are highly recommended replacements / improvements over incandescent cans.
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by Valuethinker »

Boglenaut wrote:I have been nearly 100% CFL for almost 8 years now. I am really hoping the price on LED drops some more by the time I am ready for replacements. LED is the future... CFLs are the stepping stone.

By the way, my kids have an on-going joke "let's go look at light bulbs for an hour.. NO!" based on a true incident. But my $36 electric bill for 2500 sq ft is pretty good I think.
That's very good.

We have an electricity bill of c. USD 60, for a 1500 square foot house with 2 people (gas heat, no air con). Burn 3000-3500 kwhr pa. We are further north than you are (unless you live in Alaska ;-) so we'll burn more light in winter (and I'm not sure we make up for it in summer). Average UK home burns 3500-4000 kwhr.
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Valuethinker
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by Valuethinker »

Watching a technological revolution is such fun.

I struggle to explain to my nieces and nephews life without email and mobile phones.

But something as prosaic as a lightbulb.

I look forward to the (distant no doubt) day when I have to explain what a gas station was. ;-).
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by mmmodem »

I've come up to the same conclusion as Nisiprius on LEDs. They haven't proven to be as long lasting as they claim to be for whatever reason. In fact, CFL's haven't proven as longer lasting than incandescent bulbs on my experience. I've been replacing CFL's in my home in pretty much the same frequency as I did before I upgraded. I've certainly noticed the power savings over bulbs of yore but they still fail fairly often. Caveat, the dimmable CFL one of the first I bought and probably most expensive is still chugging along after some 8 years. Low quality CFL's is definitely the reason for my failure rates. LED's have gotten cheap enough that I will replace with LED bulbs as I go along but the couple watts they save over CFL's isn't worth the expenditure for a complete overhaul.
caseynshan
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by caseynshan »

Does anyone know if these will work with older wiring....

I have tried at least 20 CFLs in about 5 different locations in my home. (3 w/ dimmers, 2 regular)
Not a single bulb lasted longer than 3 months. I assume it is because of the older wiring in my house (1923), but open to other explanations..
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by dpc »

hand,

Thanks for the clarification - my memory was a little faulty.

Regarding dimmers, you can pretty much assume a CFL will not work with dimmers. Many LEDs will - check the info on the package.
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by nisiprius »

Incidentally, one unheralded benefit of LED and CFL bulbs is that I suspect it is making a distinct improvement in the safety of older homes with older wiring.
Valuethinker wrote:Watching a technological revolution is such fun. I struggle to explain to my nieces and nephews life without email and mobile phones. But something as prosaic as a lightbulb. I look forward to the (distant no doubt) day when I have to explain what a gas station was. ;-).
It's the little things that slip by you without much heralding. You tend not to notice them until the change is complete. As long as gas stations still change oil, you don't notice how few of them do; as long as Niblets still come in "tin" cans, you don't notice how few cans there are in the supermarket.

There are still gas stations, but people don't come out and clean the windshield and check the oil. It's quite a change from services bay to convenience stores. I believe the period of rapid changeover occurred circa 1990.

Have you noticed how few things still come packaged in glass containers, for example? "Tin" cans are still so common that one doesn't yet think of the possibility of life without them, yet we are seeing more and more "drink boxes," pouches, things that look like cans with metal tops but cardboard or plastic sides.

This kind of milk carton

Image

was introduced in the late 1950s, and was interesting at the time. Does it have a name? Does anyone know a name for it? People discussed the technique for opening one and getting the "spout" to pop out without using an unsanitary finger to pull it out. Before that, they were made of waxed paper, the top was flat, with a hinged, round paper stopper. And little bits of wax--it was wax, not some plastic laminate--detached from the paper and there would usually be some specks of wax floating in your milk:
Image
These co-existed with glass milk bottles, and I envied our neighbors because we got ours from a dairy that used ordinary milk bottles, while theirs used a wonderful mysterious milk bottle with a bulge near the top. The cream rose into the bulge so it was easy to pour off just the cream. "Homogenized" milk was a modern miracle.

Image

"Cream" of course what is now called heavy cream, if not "whipping cream." You could just shake a half-full bottle of "cream" have it progressively turn into whipped cream and then separate out into butter.

Speaking of saturated fat--nobody worried about saturated fat, it was "starches" that were villainous--I guess there was a sort of orgy of meat-eating in reaction to the shortages of World War II, and of course there was always half an inch of fat around the edge of the steak. I was the good little boy because I always ate everything, fat and all. My finicky brother thought it was gross and cut it off and left it behind on his plate, and while my parents allowed him to do that, they expressed silent disapproval of the waste.

Am I off-topic yet?
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by NHRATA01 »

caseynshan wrote:Does anyone know if these will work with older wiring....

I have tried at least 20 CFLs in about 5 different locations in my home. (3 w/ dimmers, 2 regular)
Not a single bulb lasted longer than 3 months. I assume it is because of the older wiring in my house (1923), but open to other explanations..
Heat kills CFLs (and word is LEDs too), so if it is an enclosed fixture with no ambient ventilation, they won't last long. Also frequent cycling and short run times are not good for CFL lifespan - think bathrooms, closets. The ideal situation for CFL's are open air fixtures such as lamps, overhead non-enclosed fixtures and such with long runtimes. I've had very good luck with CFL's. When I moved into my apartment post-graduation in '01, I bought virtually all CFL's. The fixture in my main room floor lamp lasted 3.5 years in that apartment plus several more in my bedroom at the next residence. Both applications where the light went on in the evening and off at bedtime, so 3-6 hours (depending on time of year) of use. The bedside CFL, which granted only gets used for reading, has been going on about 8 years. In my current house, we have a 5-bulb ceiling fan in the family room that gets 3-5 hours per day, and in the 3.5 years of living there I have only replaced one (however 2 of the 5 bulbs were existing from the previous owner). Both outdoor fixtures by the front door have CFL's still going strong and the lights are turned on at dusk and off at dawn. As well as numerous other CFL fixtures. Even had the kids nightlights as 4W CFL's, though they lasted about 2-2.5 years each. Switched to a 3W LED bulb at roughly the same price, should last longer.

Recently bought an LED for a burnt out bulb in the master bath vanity, seems to work well with fairly good light quality at 2700K, so will replace the other 2 incandescents (original w/current house) when they go. The LED's I know are not as sensitive to short duty cycles as the CFL's (which actually draw more current for the first minute or so until they hit temperature). When the aforementioned ceiling fan CFLs start to go I will try the new L-Prize LED's - though would be nice for a price drop closer to $25 vs. $50 per bulb.

Realistically if you have enclosed fixtures, then I would say to stick with the incandescent bulb. If they are minimal use I don't feel the cost savings will offset and lifetime of the CFL/LED will be compromised. If the fixtures are used regularly, possibly look into changing them out for an open fixture that can accept a CFL/LED.

Of note my mother's house had what could be considered an "old school" type of CFL in her garage, basically a small circular fluorescent (mechanical ballast) with an Edison socket. My father bought it sometime in '85 or '86 for the basement of that house at the time. She's lived in this house since '87 where it was relocated to the garage. I just replaced it a few months ago after it would light off on about 1 out of 5 tries. 26 years out of a bulb, not too shabby ;)

Oh one more thing - I find the arguement about the heat load supporting incandescent use to be silly (ie we'll run the boiler more in the winter). You don't buy a light bulb to heat the house, you buy it to produce light. If you want to add heat in the winter then use an electric space heater, which will be more efficient at BTU/watt then a light bulb. Use the appliance for what it is most efficiently designed for - not because of a byproduct. Particularly in elevated fixtures where your light bulb heat is staying close to the ceiling where you won't much feel it anway!
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by deanbrew »

mmmodem wrote:In fact, CFL's haven't proven as longer lasting than incandescent bulbs on my experience. I've been replacing CFL's in my home in pretty much the same frequency as I did before I upgraded. I've certainly noticed the power savings over bulbs of yore but they still fail fairly often.
That's been my experience, as well. The claim that CFL bulbs last a lot longer than incandescent bulbs is not true, by my experience. I'm hoping the same is not true of LEDs. I haven't bought and installed any LED bulbs yet. The price still scares me away.
Last edited by deanbrew on Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by interplanetjanet »

nisiprius wrote:I have a number of reservations. One is that LED bulbs aren't actually much more efficient than CFL's. As is so often the case--capitalism at its best--by the time the "better" technologies hit the market the old technologies have been improved so much that it's a horserace.
Where LEDs absolutely excel (and are expected to continue doing so) is when either directed light is needed (such as the replacement for a halogen spot or similar) or where colored light is needed. CFL and LED efficiency is fairly close right now, but it's interesting to note that centrally ballasted fluorescent lighting (such as used in most new commercial installations I am aware of) is still significantly more efficient at converting watts to lumens than most LEDs are. Most of the inefficiency of CFLs comes down to the difficulty of making a quite small ballast efficient, though significant strides have been made over the years.

I suspect that LEDs are likely to triumph in the end, but I think that centrally ballasted fluorescent lights will hang on a while in the commercial world. I also expect HID lighting to remain for a while, it has good efficiency and is quite cheap for the lumens you get, and is very good at supplying intense illumination.
The LED bulbs might have a more pleasant spectral composition visually, despite having the same color temperature.
They should be similar if not identical, they use (mainly) the same phosphors.
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by TSR »

If you are having trouble with CFLs and suspect it has to do with your house's wiring, take a look at the fixture into which you're putting the CFL (or LED, for that matter). Lighting fixtures, especially those made in the last 30 years or so, are manufactured so cheaply that they often represent the "weakest link" in the house's electrical system. If you put in a CFL and you see an annoying flicker rather than solid light, there's a good chance you need to change the fixture, not the bulb.
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by epilnk »

We've begun gradually switching to LEDs. Just a few at a time, as we figure out which ones we like (they're too expensive for mistakes). I really like them, and at our high electric rates they should pay for themselves in relatively short order.

We have a cabinet full of compact fluorescents, all new or nearly new. Cheap ones, expensive ones, subsidized ones, warm spectrum, cool spectrum, etc - we've tried them all. Does anyone have any ideas what I should do with them? It seems a pity to discard them unused, especially since they are hazardous waste.
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by nisiprius »

epilnk wrote:It seems a pity to discard them unused, especially since they are hazardous waste.
You should make at least a half-hearted effort to dispose of them "properly." Twice a year our town has a hazardous waste day at which you can bring stuff to the former location of the town dump and drop off various items.

Some places that sell CFLs will accept them for disposal. I had a strange run-in at Walmart, because there was a press release saying that Walmart takes them... but when I got there, nobody knew anything about it and eventually the customer service department told me I was just plain wrong. A few days later I actually got a phone call from a supervisor saying that they do recycle CFLs and apologizing! But by then I had already turned them at the Home Depot, which took them, and which supposedly has a national program--but it couldn't hurt to call ahead!

If it bothers you to dispose of good ones, you might try Freecycle (homebrew web-based free-item-trading program).
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by madbrain »

HongKonger wrote:Ive been 95% LED (5% solar) for over 2 years and super happy. I can't believe everyone hasn't switched yet. yes, they cost US$ 12 each but well worth it - especially the lack of heat they generate!
Sorry, but LEDs are just not ready IMO.
When I bought my new large home 2 years ago, it came with some 236 recessed bulbs. A good chunk of them were halogen bulbs that radiated heat like crazy.
I replaced them all with CFLs at an average cost of $5/bulb. Ie. about $1200 total for all the bulbs. Most of them are in the 65-100 watt equivalent range. I don't remember the lumens but I was keeping track of that when I was buying the bulbs.
As far as I can tell, there are no LEDs yet that can produce a similar amount of light. 40 watt equivalent seems to be where they are at. The price for those two years ago was $30/bulb also.
I think I have a couple of LEDs on my hood and fridge, but that's it.
I hope by the time my CFLs die in about 6-8 years that there will be LEDs that produce enough lumens and at a reasonable cost. So far, only 3 bulbs have died and they have been replaced with other CFLs.
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by madbrain »

nisiprius wrote: This kind of milk carton

Image

was introduced in the late 1950s, and was interesting at the time. Does it have a name? Does anyone know a name for it?
I believe Tetra pak / Tetra brik.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetra_Pak
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by Valuethinker »

NHRATA01 wrote: Oh one more thing - I find the arguement about the heat load supporting incandescent use to be silly (ie we'll run the boiler more in the winter). You don't buy a light bulb to heat the house, you buy it to produce light. If you want to add heat in the winter then use an electric space heater, which will be more efficient at BTU/watt then a light bulb. Use the appliance for what it is most efficiently designed for - not because of a byproduct. Particularly in elevated fixtures where your light bulb heat is staying close to the ceiling where you won't much feel it anway!
Honesty merely compels me to note the symmetry.

An advantage of LEDs is less air conditioning load. Therefore a disadvantage is more heating in winter. Unless you heat with electric bar heat, you'll still come out ahead.

Incandescents are so inefficient that the gap from an electric bar heater in efficiency should be quite small.

I agree that heating the air up the ceiling is not, usually, that great an idea.
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by nisiprius »

In the New England area, when you get wind-driven snow, it can coat vertical surfaces, including traffic lights. Old-style incandescent lamps generated enough heat to melt the snow off. LED traffic lights do not.
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by 6miths »

I've slowly been switching to LED lights starting with high use areas. Definitely liked the Philips bulbs as well. Have been very happy with the light and durability of LEDs as well as their instant on/cold weather/dimmability performance compared to CFL's. I also found that CFL's were quite fragile and with 4 children had a few too many of them shattered for my liking. Still hoping for prices to come down and have taken advantage of rebates offered.
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by LH »

https://www.google.com/search?q=how+lon ... =firefox-a

http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/intelli ... ruths/6328

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/1 ... will-last/


Its great PR. But how long do the bulbs actually last? I have had some CFL bulbs purported to last years and such, burn out less than a year.

I doubt current LED lights will last as long on average, real world, as people think they will from the labeling.

Obviously for some there is great secondary gain from owning them though. Monetarily, I do not see how they have arrived yet currently. Work in progress.

cheers,

LH
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by Epsilon Delta »

Several things:

From personal experience CFL do last much longer than incandescents. When I used incandescence light bulbs were a regular item on my monthly shopping list. Now I replace a few a year, so easily a 5x life extension. I suspect some of you were using never to be sufficiently cursed 40W and 60W light bulbs.

That's a "gable top carton".

Incandescence and fluorescence should flicker at 100Hz or 120Hz. If they flicker at 50Hz or 60Hz you need to remove the diode from the base of the fixture.

I don't think CFL are a transition technology. There is no reason to think LEDs will be superior in all respects so they will coexist forever. Also once you go to LEDs you should stop thinking about light bulbs and start thinking about lamps, i.e. the LEDs should be an integral part of the fixture, just as LED tail lamps are glued to the car.
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by madbrain »

LH wrote:https://www.google.com/search?q=how+lon ... =firefox-a

http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/intelli ... ruths/6328

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/1 ... will-last/


Its great PR. But how long do the bulbs actually last? I have had some CFL bulbs purported to last years and such, burn out less than a year.

I doubt current LED lights will last as long on average, real world, as people think they will from the labeling.

Obviously for some there is great secondary gain from owning them though. Monetarily, I do not see how they have arrived yet currently. Work in progress.

cheers,

LH

There will always be a small percentage of bulbs that will fail early.
I will say that my experience with CFL bulbs has been very good. In my former townhome I switched to all CFLs around 1999. I only had perhaps 40 bulbs total. I moved out in 2010. Many of the bulbs were never replaced, many others were replaced once.

In my new home with 236 CFLs, I have had only 3 failures in 2 years. I will say that they do take a lot longer to come up to full brightness now than they did when new. It used to be in the 10 second range and now the most frequently used bulbs are up to 2 minutes.

None of them are putting huge amounts of hours. There are 97 vacancy sensors - motion which turn the lights off after 30 minutes without motion being detected. So the lights never stay on inadvertedly. The only exception is for the outdoor lights - I did not put the vacancy sensors there, but I hardly use the outdoor bulbs.
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by lightheir »

I'm going to be all-in for LEDs soon. I had no idea their prices were so low now - the last time I checked (last year), a bulb for a regular incandescent replacement was about $45. Looks like half that now.

If anyone could point a link to the size for a standard-type lightbulb LED size, would appreciate it. I see types that look like they should work fine, but I haven't looked into the details of if they're slightly bigger or not. (CFLs I've used have been for sure slightly larger than the incandescent bulbs they've replaced.)
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by Default User BR »

deanbrew wrote:
mmmodem wrote:In fact, CFL's haven't proven as longer lasting than incandescent bulbs on my experience. I've been replacing CFL's in my home in pretty much the same frequency as I did before I upgraded. I've certainly noticed the power savings over bulbs of yore but they still fail fairly often.
That's been my experience, as well. The claim that CFL bulbs last a lot longer than incandescent bulbs is not true, by my experience.
And contrary to my experience. I have some lamps and fixtures that are on for long periods of time that used to need bulb replacement relatively frequently. Since switching to CFL, I haven't had to change out any of those in at least a year, I think even longer than that.


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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by Saving$ »

In 1994, I got a free energy audit by the local utility, and they were giving out Edison socket Florescents. I won't call them CFL because there is nothing compact about them. Apparently alot of people turned the guy down. I was young and poor and thrilled to have them, so he gave me three times the number I was supposed to get just to get rid of them. They don't fit in regular fixtures because they have such a large ballast between the edison socket and where the bulb goes in. Thus, I can't really use them in regular fixtures in the living part of the house. I use them in the basement, attic, storage room, furnace area, etc of my home and my rentals. Since 1994, only one or two of them has burned out (and I suspect one was broken by a tenant), but I've got a lifetime supply, so I just replace them out of the stash I have from 1994.

For the fixtures in the visible part of the house, I have so few fixtures that take Edison bulbs. I recently had to replace a Halogen bulb, and was able to find it's LED replacement online - it burns significantly cooler. My halogen bulbs seem to last a very long time, so once they burn out I will replace with LED.

The current challenge is exterior enclosed fixtures, - not the kind with the large flood lights, but the kind that use standard looking household bulbs. I cannot locate a standard LED rated for outdoor use; the only outdoor use LEDs I find are the large flood lights.

I also learned I had to replace the dusk to dawn sensors - you have to get a different kind of photocell that shuts the current completely off.

My estimation is that very little of my household energy is used by bulbs. As I write there is only one light fixture on in the house - it goes on automatically at around 6 and shuts off at 10. The refrigerator and the "constant on" electronics are the major power suckers. I'd love to figure out a way to limit that. I tried putting the entertainment system on a plug strip so I could shut off the strip and stop all the constant power, but I learned when I did that I had to reprogram every d--- component of the system when I turned it back on, so that is not an option.
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by sport »

I notice that there have been several references to CFL bulbs at prices in excess of $20 per bulb. I have been buying 60w equivelent CFL bulbs at Costco at $5 per 4-pack, or $1.25 per bulb. The brand is Feit. The color temp is 2700K. They have essentially zero delay and I have had little problem with longevity. They are inexpensive and do the job just fine. Costco has other sizes similarly priced.

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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by deanbrew »

Default User BR wrote:I have some lamps and fixtures that are on for long periods of time that used to need bulb replacement relatively frequently. Since switching to CFL, I haven't had to change out any of those in at least a year, I think even longer than that.


Brian
The worst, in my experience, are the flood style CFLs. I have to replace them, installed in recessed "can" lights, nearly as often as I do incandescent floodlights. I suspect retained heat is hard on the CFLs. I've also been extremely disappointed with dimmable CFL bulbs, which don't last long, either.
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by Novine »

We picked up some LED bulbs in our last trip through IKEA. The light color is great and they come on instantly. The delay with some of the CFLs drove the Mrs. crazy. I think they were about $15 each although I see that IKEA now has a bulb listed at $9.99. We replaced the bulbs in the bathroom but in hindsight, I should have started in the kitchen and living areas where we use the lights most frequently.
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by madbrain »

deanbrew wrote:
Default User BR wrote:I have some lamps and fixtures that are on for long periods of time that used to need bulb replacement relatively frequently. Since switching to CFL, I haven't had to change out any of those in at least a year, I think even longer than that.


Brian
The worst, in my experience, are the flood style CFLs. I have to replace them, installed in recessed "can" lights, nearly as often as I do incandescent floodlights.
I have a lot of flood style CFLs, about 100 of them. No problems. Strange that you would have this experience.
The CFLs I bought were FEIT from Costco.
I've also been extremely disappointed with dimmable CFL bulbs, which don't last long, either.
I agree that dimmable CFLs are garbage. They barely dim at all, anyway. And they don't really work with all types of dimmers.
When we bought the house 2 years ago, it had dimmer switches everywhere. We bought several brands of dimmable CFLs, but none of them actually work with the dimmers we had.
We ended up replacing the 97 dimmer switches with 97 vacancy sensors ...
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by hand »

madbrain wrote:
HongKonger wrote:Ive been 95% LED (5% solar) for over 2 years and super happy. I can't believe everyone hasn't switched yet. yes, they cost US$ 12 each but well worth it - especially the lack of heat they generate!
Sorry, but LEDs are just not ready IMO.
When I bought my new large home 2 years ago, it came with some 236 recessed bulbs. A good chunk of them were halogen bulbs that radiated heat like crazy.
I replaced them all with CFLs at an average cost of $5/bulb. Ie. about $1200 total for all the bulbs. Most of them are in the 65-100 watt equivalent range. I don't remember the lumens but I was keeping track of that when I was buying the bulbs.
As far as I can tell, there are no LEDs yet that can produce a similar amount of light. 40 watt equivalent seems to be where they are at. The price for those two years ago was $30/bulb also.
I think I have a couple of LEDs on my hood and fridge, but that's it.
I hope by the time my CFLs die in about 6-8 years that there will be LEDs that produce enough lumens and at a reasonable cost. So far, only 3 bulbs have died and they have been replaced with other CFLs.
Definitely give the EcoSmart branded Cree can lights a try. (http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R ... ogId=10053) Cost is roughly $35/ light, though sometimes subsidized and available for less.

They're rated at 65 watt equivalent, but since all light is focused down they replace a higher rated bulb. Doubtful if there's a payback to replace existing CFLs, but in my experience the light quality is significantly better. I personally have 18 in use and wouldn't go back to halogen.
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by madbrain »

hand wrote: Definitely give the EcoSmart branded Cree can lights a try. (http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R ... ogId=10053) Cost is roughly $35/ light, though sometimes subsidized and available for less.

They're rated at 65 watt equivalent, but since all light is focused down they replace a higher rated bulb. Doubtful if there's a payback to replace existing CFLs, but in my experience the light quality is significantly better. I personally have 18 in use and wouldn't go back to halogen.
Thanks, but $35 is still way too steep. That would be over $8000 to replace all my bulbs !
Even if they do live up to the 32 year life, I can get CFLs for about $5/bulb and in my experience, they last more than 5 years. Closer to 8-10 years on average. These LEDs would need to come down below $15 each to see a payback in bulb price. But I wonder if they will really last 32 years, and what the brightness would be at that age if they survive. Other LED users have already reported that it goes down over time.
I think the energy savings would be fairly small too. Most of my energy usage is not from lighting. And I have PV panels to offset the usage.
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Re: LED lightbulbs

Post by tim1999 »

I like LED's and look forward to them potentially becoming much less expensive in years to home.

However, since I hate CFL's (which the local electric utility and Home Depot/Lowes seem to be pushing heavily), and I only routinely use a few of the many lights in my home (and often for short durations at that, which CFL's are horrible for), I've stockpiled enough of the cheap old school (and soon to be banned) 60w and 100w incandescent bulbs to last me the next 50 years.
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