Daylight saving time has ended and winter is on its way. That means you're using your household lighting much more often, and if you're still using incandescent light bulbs, it could also mean a noticeable jump in your electrical bills.
But it doesn't have to be that way -- if you're willing to make an investment now, you can actually lower your energy consumption this winter and lock in those savings for years. And it's as simple as changing a light bulb.
LEDs are the most energy efficient light bulbs on the market, and thanks to increased demand and expanded manufacturing, their prices have dropped considerably in recent years. Most LED bulbs now cost less than $10, and smart shoppers can usually find them for less than $5 each.
That price may still seem steep to someone accustomed to buying incandescent bulbs for $1 each, but LEDs are built to last for more than 20 years!
You've Come a Long Way
The affordability of LEDs isn't the only thing that has changed. The array of colors, styles and features has expanded substantially, giving homeowners more choices than ever in the lighting effects they can achieve in their homes.
Colors like "soft white" and "warm white" are popular because they replicate that warm feeling of an incandescent bulb, which is what many consumers missed most when they switched to CFL bulbs. Some bulbs are even capable of displaying multiple colors and can be controlled with a remote.
The most sophisticated LEDs are equipped with smart technology so that they can be controlled from anywhere with a smartphone or tablet. The apps used to control these lights are also some of the most user-friendly interfaces for setting up detailed lighting schedules.
A Few Differences
Picking out LEDs isn't too different from choosing among incandescent bulbs, but there are some other key differences.
An important one is that while LEDs are labeled in watts to offer an idea of their energy consumption, that rating doesn't correlate directly with brightness as with incandescents. LED brightness is measured in lumens, which will range from about 400 to about 2500 in most bulbs. A 100 watt incandescent is equivalent to about 1600 lumens.
It's also important to make careful decisions when choosing LEDs for use with dimmers. If your dimmer is more than a few years old, it's likely to be incompatible with most LEDs, and you'll need to pick out special dimmer-friendly bulbs. You could also replace your dimmers with modern, LED-friendly versions, which allow you to dim any LEDs.
Long sunny days won't be back for a while, so consider replacing those old bulbs with new, long-lasting, energy efficient bulbs this winter. And if you need help redesigning your lighting scheme, reach out to your trusted local electrician.