Transitioning to LEDs - Knowing What to Look For
LEDs have been around for quite some time now and many companies, including us, have been thoroughly observing their progress. The Possibilities of having LEDs as a widespread substitute to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and incandescent light bulbs are very bright (no pun intended) as more and more information is disseminated this relatively new lighting solution. Just like many people in the lighting industry, the consumer market has also begun looking into the potential of LEDs, becoming more educated about the benefits of making the big switch. With that said, here are some tips on what you should look for when making the transition to this new lighting system.
Benefits of LEDs
First off, you'll need to understand why LEDs are more beneficial compared to the popular lineup of light bulbs. LEDs are known to last significantly longer than their fluorescent cousins, even with constant usage and daily punishment. In addition, LEDs use only a fraction of energy that most bulbs use making it ideal for places that needs light for prolonged periods of time. Unlike incandescent bulbs, LEDs do not burn out but instead become dimmer as time passes. Typically, an LED would last at least 30,000 hours to as much as 50,000 hours; this makes a significantly startling gap when compared to the 1,000 hours worth of usage from incandescent bulbs and the 10,000 hours you get from CFLs.
For the environmentally conscious on the other hand, reduced energy consumption directly translates to reduced emissions of greenhouse gases. Unlike CFLs, LEDs do not contain mercury which also helps in minimizing emissions that may be harmful to humans when generating power. The absence of mercury in LEDs also makes recycling and disposal faster, as you no longer have to worry about the toxic substance polluting the environment.
When talking about commercial applications, the long life of LEDs means lower costs for maintenance. LED durability is also a plus factor when it comes to commercial use as lighting systems are often placed in areas that are prone to stress and vibration. Although setup payments and electricity bills roughly compose the total cost of maintenance for light bulbs, having someone replace bulbs every time one burns out can become costly in no time. For example, most warehouse owners opt for LED bulbs as dock lights since LEDs are durable enough to take the punishment of loading and unloading equipment on a constant basis. The vibrations from this activity alone can cause lights to burn out and even shatter.
Unlike CFLs, LED lights are also dimmable, adding yet another advantage to the LED arsenal. Dimmable lights mean adjustable power consumption, providing even more savings. LEDs also do not emit any UV radiation, making them ideal for retail stores or museums where UV light can cause slow damage.
Concerns Over LEDs
The main concern when using LED lights, at least for the typical consumer, is the initial cost which can be quite intimidating. Even though LED replacement bulb prices have dropped at a consistent rate, they are still higher than the average CFLs or incandescent bulbs. The price alone is enough to drive consumers away from making the transition, at least for now.
Another factor that needs to be considered when purchasing LEDs is quality assurance. Numerous companies want to enter the LED retailing and manufacturing industry due to the high publicity LEDs have been getting. However, most of these companies are only in it to ride the wave of popularity and make a quick buck rather than actually providing a quality product that lives up to the expectations of the customers who purchase them. This has happened before with CFLs and history is bound to repeat itself with LEDs.
The United States Department of Energy has incorporated a new system to help consumers get access to quality products it's a system now emulated across the world, including here in Australia. There are now energy standards in place that all companies have to follow, such as the placement of clear labels to indicate the attributes of a product. For LEDs, this includes information on its lumens or brightness, wattage or level of electricity used, and more. Regulatory bodies have also placed rules that allow customers to test lighting products such as LEDs to find out whether they live up to the claims of manufacturers.
Still, all these rules will only be of help if you purchase LEDs from a reputable vendor and manufacturer. Only a quality company and retailer, after all, can deliver quality assurance. The cheap prices of LEDs of questionable origin may be tempting for the consumer on a budget, but these products are only likely to fail and cause you to waste more money in the end.
More information can be found on the internet, but hopefully this article has helped you get informed on what you should need to look at and consider before purchasing LED lighting systems. Always remember to take the time to do your research to ensure that you attain balance between your investment and its potential benefits.