LED night lights

With two young kids, we find ourselves fumbling around in the kitchen at night more than just occasionally. At some point, we turned to flipping the microwave’s night light on.Which was fine, except I found that one of its settings uses 30 watts, the other 60, and more often than not, that light stays lit 24/7. That’s more power than I want to leave on full time. LED night lights solve that problem neatly.At Kmart today I spied some LED night lights. It took some poking around, but I managed to find an electrical outlet in the store to try them out. One gave off a blue light, while the other gave off an eerie green. I didn’t like them. Then I spied an LED C7 replacement bulb. So I bought a package of two of those, plus a package of two old-fashioned-looking dusk-to-dawn nightlights. I put those bulbs in, then plugged them into the darkest room in the house to test them. They provide enough glow to guide you, and to cast a shadow, though they come far from providing enough light to read by. They really are bright as a candle, and not much more. Still, it’s enough light to make it easy to find the light switch and to keep from getting disoriented in the dark. Not bad for .35 watts. And, after all, they are a night light. You don’t want them to be too bright.

I put one in the kitchen and one in the hall bathroom. Then I found some identical-looking, Energizer-branded lights at Target that came with LED bulbs. Rats. Not that there was much price difference in the end.

It’s a good use for LEDs. They work well, the bulbs cost about $2.50, and at 10 cents per kW/h, they’ll use 90 cents’ worth of electricity over their 30,000-hour lifespan. A conventional 4-watt incandescent would use $12 worth under the same conditions, so the LED bulbs pay for themselves.

I found the sensor on the lights themselves doesn’t work all that well. It’s high noon right now, the lights are on in the kitchen, and the night light is still glowing. So instead of the LED bulbs lasting me six years, they’ll last three. I guess $2 night lights cut some corners to hit that price point. If I decide I want a couple more lights, I’ll buy the Energizers at Target instead.

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