Are LED light bulbs worth it?

Are LED light bulbs worth it?

I’ve been buying modern forms of light bulbs for almost 15 years now. So when someone asks me, “Are LED light bulbs worth it?” or “Do LED lights really save you money?” I can answer the question. I was more accepting of CFL bulbs than most, but I had some reservations about them. On the other hand, I really like LED bulbs.

LED light bulbs have saved me a lot of money over the years, and they have quite a few advantages besides the money they save you every month on your electric bill. I thought LED light bulbs were worth it five years ago, and I really think so now.

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Fix kitchen light bulb flickering

Fix kitchen light bulb flickering

Flickering lights can be a sign of a serious electrical problem. But kitchen light bulb flickering often is due to other issues because a kitchen provides challenges you usually don’t find elsewhere in the house. Let’s look at things that cause kitchen light bulbs to flicker and burn out more quickly than other rooms and things you can do to prevent it.

And yes, flickering usually does go hand in hand with reduced lifespan.

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LED bulb longevity report

Now that I’ve had a couple of LED bulbs burn out, I can actually give an LED bulb longevity report.

I’ve been buying LED bulbs since 2010, and now I’ve lost three of them. It’s a little disappointing, but two of the bulbs were Philips 420240 bulbs, which are no longer on the market. The first 420240 failed completely within a couple of weeks of getting it, and I exchanged it for a Cree. The second 420240 lasted a shade over two years. Clearly the 420240 just wasn’t a very good bulb, and it accounted for my first LED bulb mortality.

My other failed bulb is one of the early 40W equivalents I bought at either Lowe’s or Home Depot in 2010 or early 2011. So I got about four years out of that one, which is better than Philips at least.

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Compact fluorescent life expectancy

There’s a lot of talk about compact fluorescent life expectancy. I actually tracked my CFL lifespan. Here’s what I found.

I noticed this week that a compact fluorescent bulb in the kitchen had burned out, so this week I bought an LED bulb to replace it. I started writing the dates on bulbs back in 2008 so I could track how long they last. This particular bulb was dated 1-2011. So the bulb lasted 3 years, 8 months. That’s a lot better than a standard incandescent light bulb. I suspect I may have had CFL bulbs last less time than that, but I know I’ve had bulbs last longer, too. The most recent bulb I replaced prior to this one was from 2008.

If your CFL bulbs are burning out early, here are some tips. They work. Remember, my bulbs lasted three years or more.

I have about 16 CFL bulbs left in the house now, and I’ll continue using those until they die. I have around 28 LED bulbs. All in all I prefer LED; they give more lumens per watt, tend to reach full brightness faster, and generally give off a better quality of light, but the biggest advantage–an advantage they have over incandescent bulbs as well–is the complete lack of ultraviolet light so they don’t fade the paint on your walls or the stuff hanging on your walls. Supposedly they don’t attract bugs either, but that seems to not be entirely true. Still, cutting down on ultraviolet light and saving money are good things.

Another month, another go-to LED bulb

LED lighting seems to change constantly. I read about Cree’s LED bulbs a good 12-18 months ago and they sounded too good to be true. In a way, they were, because you couldn’t buy them anywhere. The wait is finally over–they’re finally available, though only at Home Depot. I tried out their 800-lumen (60W equivalent), 2700K, 9.5W bulb, which currently costs about $13. It’s a good bulb that lives up to the hype.

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Review: First Alert PIR725 motion sensing socket

I bought a First Alert PIR725 motion sensing socket, which has the distinction of working with CFLs, as well as incandescent bulbs. The premise is simple. Screw it into a bulb socket, screw the bulb into the socket, and it turns the light on when it sees you, then after it senses there’s no one in the room, it waits four minutes and turns the light off.

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Review: The Lutron MS-OPS2 occupancy sensor switch

I installed a Lutron occupancy sensor switch this weekend. It detects you entering the room, turns the lights on, then turns them off five minutes after it detects nobody is in the room. The timeout period is adjustable. It comes in four models: MS-OPS2-WH (white), -AL (almond), -LA (light almond), and -IV (ivory) and retails for $29.

Installation was surprisingly easy–it took about 15 minutes, which is about how long it takes me to change a regular switch, and unlike most models in its price range it works with modern CFL and LED lighting, but I recommend some prep work ahead of time. Read more

LED is the future, but I don’t think it’s here yet

San Jose Mercury News columnist (and fellow Mizzou alumnus) Troy Wolverton has been testing LED bulbs. His conclusion: The quality of light is good, prices will continue to fall and efficiency will continue to improve, so they’re the future, but the future isn’t here yet. Update: I think it is now.

I’m always trying to wring the last bit of value out of my utility bill dollars, so I’ve been watching this closely. And I agree.
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Of CFLs, LEDs, and modern lighting in general

Compact Fluorescent and LED light bulbs just couldn’t stay out of the news this week, and boy, is there some bad information still out there.

Let’s start with Velvet Underground drummer Moe Tucker, who recently discovered a form of libertarianism after years of voting a straight Democratic ticket. She said three things about CFLs in an interview with Village Voice Media: Read more

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