What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Monday, March 25, 2013

LED Lighting

LED Christmas and nightlights quickly took over more energy inefficient versions and they cost pennies to operate.  Solar LED lights have become very popular because not only do you get the effect you want they only cost the price of the light itself with no further operating costs.  Over the past several years we have seen a move away from energy inefficient incandescent light bulbs CFLs and now LEDs for daily household use.  A 60W incandescent light bulb can be replaced with a 13W CFL bulb effectively saving 47W of power or an 11W LED bulb saving 49W of power.  Unlike CFLs, there is no mercury in LED bulbs and their lifespan is considerably longer (more than double) than CFL bulbs so they really are environmentally friendly.  Currently, the main deterrent to switching to LED bulbs is price at $19 to $24 for incandescent style bulbs and $26 for the prong type to replace halogen bulbs.

Sylvania Utra High Performance Series LED bulb
I bought a Sylvania Ultra High Performance Series LED light bulb to use in our new range hood.  This 8W bulb is the equivalent to an 11W CFL bulb or a 40W incandescent bulb.  It is dimmable, compatible with dimmers.   The bulb lasts 25,000 hours or 23 years based on 3 hours operation per day.  At a cost of 11¢ per kWh the bulb will cost 96¢ per year based on 3 hours operation per day.  If the bulb were left on 24 hours per day, it would last 1,041 days or 2.9 years at a total cost of $22.27 (96¢ x 8 x 2.9) or $7.68 per year making it a frugal if you have a location where a light needs to be on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Under most household applications, an average of 3 hours per day is a reasonable estimate.  I paid $24.99 for the bulb so if the bulb lasts 23 years, it cost just over $1 per year plus the hydro use so in reality about $2 per year.

The new LED bulbs have a few features I really like.  The bulb contains no mercury which is a real plus over CFL bulbs.  Another plus is the base which does not have a transformer so it will fit any standard light fixture just as an incandescent bulb would.  The nice thing is there is no warm up period like there is with a CFL when first turned on.  There is no notation that LED bulbs are best in locations where they won't be turned on and off all the time as there is with CFL.  LED bulbs contain no toxic substances, they can be disposed in normal household waste but since they last so long, even that is of little concern. 

I can't wait for the price to come down on the LED bulbs!  I remember when the CFL first came out.  The transformer base was big and bulky so the bulbs could only be used in certain fixtures, mainly lamps or to replace a bare ceiling bulb.  I think I paid somewhere around $20 for the first CFL.  Now, we can buy an 8 pk of 13W CFL for $9 at Sam's Club.  As the LED bulbs become more popular, the price will go down.  There are less expensive ones already on eBay so I may order a couple of different styles just to try them. 

The LED lights have a lot of potential.  They can be used indoors or outdoors, in damp locations and at temperatures ranging between -20°C and 40°C (-4°F and 104°F).  The energy savings switching from CFL  to LED is not the huge difference it is when switching from incandescent to LED but it is still an energy savings.  Every watt saved reduces our energy usage as well as our hydro bill so the LED lights do look very promising.