I was working in a vacant house the other day and noticed the previous tenants never changed light bulbs. When I went to change them myself, I saw why. Everywhere I saw a dead bulb, it was in a ceiling fan. Stuck hard.
Later this week, Philips will be releasing a new, cheap LED bulb at an introductory rate of $5 for a pack of two. They are 800 lumen bulbs, equivalent to a 60w incandescent in light output, use 8.5 watts to give off an impressive 94 lumens per watt, and have a color temperature of 2700K that’s comparable to a soft white incandescent.
Sound good? It ought to, but there’s a catch. Often there is.
So I took the plunge and bought a package of the Ecosmart 40w equivalent soft white LED bulbs last week. As long as you’re aware that it’s not dimmable–let me repeat that, it’s not dimmable–it’s a really good bulb, especially at $10 for a package of two, assuming no local subsidies.
For $5 each, you get 450 lumens of soft white light while consuming only 6 watts of power.
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.
After talking about LEDs last week, a friend asked what my favorite LED bulbs today are. I’m not sure I would say I dislike any of the bulbs that are widely available today, but I do have two favorites.
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.
I heard this week that the first vulnerability in smart light bulbs has been discovered–they can leak your wifi password.
I suppose I can take comfort in the cost of the bulbs–they cost $129, which means not a lot of people will have them, in a world where people complain about paying $5 for an LED bulb. Then again, for $129, I think it’s reasonable to expect a little bit of security. This isn’t a $15 router with a $2 profit margin. To its credit, the manufacturer immediately issued a patch to fix the vulnerability.
The problem with devices like these with security vulnerabilities is that they will be around a very long time. Read more
I spied a 3-pack of LED globe bulbs at Costco last week, priced at $20. This is a ridiculously good price on LED globe bulbs–typically I see them at $15 apiece at the home improvement stores. After verifying that, I picked up a package to try out on my next Costco run. While they aren’t the best LED bulbs I’ve seen, they’re easily the best deal I’ve seen on LED globes, and I’ll be buying more of them. Read more
While installing a new garage door opener, I found a curious statement in the manual: Don’t use LED bulbs. Why can’t you use LED bulbs in a garage door opener? Six words: LED bulb garage door opener interference. Read more
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.