Friday, August 2, 2013

LEDs are Finally Making Sense

I have long been somewhat skeptical of LED lighting. When I have compared the efficiency of LED lights and CFL lights they seemed to be about the same. It was difficult to justify the higher costs of the LED bulbs.

Having just got a home which was filled up with incandescent bulbs I am finally changing my mind though. There are finally cheap LED bulbs, I just bought about 40 of what appears to be a slightly upgraded version of this bulb. It is 800 lumens for 9.8 Watts.

I have a lot of light bulbs in my home. My best guess is 40 recessed bulbs, and another 40 divided among a bunch of lighting fixtures of one type of another. Were they incandescent it would be a good guess that they are averaging 60 Watts a piece. Turning on all my bulbs would be a total of 4800 watts of power.

Since the LEDs average around 10 watts, instead I am using 800 watts of power if I turn on every single bulb in the house.

Assuming an SCE tier three rate of $0.27 cents per kilowatt hour; running all my bulbs for an hour were they conventional bulbs would be 0.27*4.8 = $1.30. So I would be running up a bill of more than thirty dollars a day were I to turn them all on and leave them on!

Now, with the LED bulbs turning them all on is only 0.27*0.8 = 21 cents an hour. So if I turn on all of my bulbs on all day the cost is $5. Still not a completely insignificant amount of money, but at least I would spend less on lighting than lunch.

A more reasonable look is a single room. It is unusual for me to leave on all my lights, but quite often I will leave on all the lights in one room. My master bathroom has 8 of these LED bulbs, so a total power of 80 watts. If I leave on all those lights for a day that will cost me (24hours per day)*(0.27 $ per kilowatt hour)*(0.08 kilowatt hours per hour) = $0.51 If instead those lights were incandescent bulbs, that lapse of judgement would have cost me $3.11! Looking at those numbers, I just have to leave the bulb on for four days straight before the cost of the LEDs pay for themselves. Why would I ever buy an incandescent bulb?

So what though? Fluorescent bulbs have done this for a long time. Fluorescent bulbs have a lot of problem with flicker, short lifespan if turned on and off a lot, odd colors, difficult disposal and lack of compatibility with dimmers though. LED bulbs seem to have no downsides anymore and quite a few upsides.

Two bulbs I bought did have problems though. One was an odd pink color and another made an odd buzzing sound. It may be another year or two before the good bulbs take over.

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