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Our experiences with LED light bulb replacements

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So I have begun experimenting with LED light bulbs to replace my incandescents, and I thought we could use a thread to share thoughts.


First, let me say something about my motivations.  A big appeal of LED light bulbs is their lifespan and low cost of usage.  Those are not primary motivations for me -- mostly because I think with technology changing, a 20+ lifespan in theory is unlikely to be a reality -- new models will be out in 5 years that will demand upgrading.

However, I am motivated by the decrease in heat output -- in the summer my incandescents can generate a large amount of heat and i'm very keen to reduce that.
Additionally, i would like the ability to run brighter bulbs in my existing light fixtures that are currently limited to 60w.

Concerns and Issues:

There are several concerns and issues with using LED bulbs in some light fixtures:

1. Large size of bulbs.  You can get common LED bulbs equivelent to 75w in standard A19 size; brighter than that they get bigger (A21) and may not fit in fixtures.
2. Weight of bulbs.  These LED bulbs can get heavy -- I have one light fixture where I will have to jerry rig some supports for it.
3. Spotlight effect.  The LED bulbs are more directional -- which can be especially troublesome for fixtures where the bulb is pointing up.
4. Color temperature.  There are two main temperatures you see (2700k soft yellow, 5000k daylight blue); The blue LEDS seem like they are closer to flourescent than any incandescent.
5. Candelabra sizes.  I have a couple of chandelier type light fixtures that use candelabra bulbs; there are some candelabra LEDS but it's unclear if they are bright enough.
6. Dimming ability, noise, flickering -- all have been mentioned in various places as potential problem areas for LEDs.

Observations and Recommendations:

I will be posting some initial observations soon -- I hope some of you other early adopters will too -- what have your experiences with LED bulbs been?

Observations and Recommendations:

I installed some CREE 100w LED bulbs (A21 size, somewhat bigger than normal) in two ceiling fan lights (4 bulbs each).
I tried soft white (2700k) and bright white (5000k); the bright white was much too blue.
The soft white was an excellent replacement for incandescents -- very bright, look just like incandescents.

Size was not a problem with one set of my ceiling fan light shades but another set is too narrow and the bulbs don't fit.  Phillips makes a more tubular 100W LED that might.

Dimming was ok but cannot dim to very low light.  Shouldn't be a problem in most cases but if you like to be coy in the bedroom it could be an issue.

Observations and Recommendations:

I did find one very expensive brand of LED bulb that is: 100W bright, suitable for installation in an enclosed fixture, and standard A19 size.
That's a very tricky combination, and you pay for it -- but i do have one kitchen fixture where those features are important.

[though for that price, perhaps the smarter thing to do is replace the light fixture]

However, I am motivated by the decrease in heat output -- in the summer my incandescents can generate a large amount of heat and i'm very keen to reduce that.
Additionally, i would like the ability to run brighter bulbs in my existing light fixtures that are currently limited to 60w.
-mouser (May 16, 2014, 01:30 PM)
--- End quote ---

Those are two considerations I can get behind. :Thmbsup: Especially the heat reduction part since our AC operation costs did a financial number on us last summer. So anything to reduce BTUs is welcome.

I think if LED does become the dominant home lighting technology we'll see fixtures designed to use them with a far less expensive and kludgey form factor than squeezing them into an Edison style bulb.

When it comes to dimming, I think there will always be a loss of smoothness and subtlety since very few LEDs have variable brightness capabilities. Most dimming will probably be done by switching off elements to reduce overall brightness which is more like a 3-way bulb works with it's fixed brightness levels. Dimmers seem to have largely gone out of vogue anyway.

So yes...please keep us posted on what you discover. Right now I have two LED lamps - both with 60W light levels. I can't say I care for either although the rock solid absolutely flicker-free illumination is nice. And they don't seem to be bothered by the crappy fluctuating voltage levels our local utility company furnishes. Unlike our standard lights which have a tendency to need replacement about every three months because of it.

Been using CF and LED bulbs for ~two (2) years.  Garage light is a CF equivalent to a 200W incandescent, but uses between 1/3-1/2 the power.  Several desk lamps with multiple small LEDs, usually ~thirty-six (36) have been working just fine to illuminate various keyboards and desktops.  Not super bright, but adequate.  Have a couple of torchiere floor lamps with variable controls for light levels.  Cannot get super dim, but dim enough, I suppose.  Significant power bill reductions, although I cannot quote values, as this has been happening over time.  Now looking for 100W ceiling fan replacement lights with variable capability.  Also looking for 40W equivalent bulbs for a spider light with five (5) elements and variable lighting, but I suspect that may take a while.  Biggest gripe I have is converting watts to lumens  :-\ ;D.

Considering that I'm pretty much planning on dying here, the costs are not significant, since I'll prolly never have to replace a bulb - except for experimental purposes, of course.  Only other LED I need to find is a weather-proof variant for the front porch.  Not difficult to find, but too many choices, so the choices can get confusing pretty quickly.

I wish now that I had kept better track of power and billing as the project grew, but that didn't seem significant at the time  :-\, as that was not a major purpose - I just got tired of replacing incandescents  :P.


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