Light Emitting Diode light bulbs, also known as LED, are becoming more and more popular, but do the energy savings make the high price tag worth it?
In addition to providing energy efficiency without the toxic substance found in compact fluorescent light bulbs, LED can do more tricks than compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and incandescent light bulbs. They can be Bluetooth or Wi-Fi enabled to control brightness and color with your smart phone or IPad.
Every light fixture in my home is a CFL. In addition to popular spiral shaped CFLs, I have the globe-shaped CFLs in my bathrooms and CFL floodlights outside. My only complaint so far is that they don’t illuminate to their full brightness immediately, but I can live with that and I haven’t had to replace any bulbs yet.
Although I could have priced LEDs online, I am always looking for an excuse to go to the hardware store. So I made a trip to the local Home Depot to do some comparison shopping.
The price difference between CFL’s and LED’s is substantial. For example, a single LED 90 watt flood light will cost you from about $35 to $70, but a pair of CFL floodlights with the same wattage equivalent will cost you less than $10. However, I only need my floodlight on for a few minutes at a time so the time it takes for a CFL to reach its full brightness is a disappointment. This could also be the reason why they are so inexpensive these days. I paid $20 for them a year ago and have no intention to pay more for a LED. Given the prices of a LED floodlight, I would also beworried about theft because my floodlight can be reached from the ground level and who wants to worry about a floodlight being stolen?
A 40 watt LED is also pretty expensive for a 40 watt bulb. You can expect to pay between $20 and $25 for just one. A value pack of four 40 watt CFLs will cost you less than $10 at Home Depot these days.
While there is a wide price disparity between CFLs and LED bulbs, there isn’t much of a difference in the amount of energy used. The boxes for a 90 watt LED and a CFL floodlight state that they use 17 watts and 23 watts, respectively. The difference in wattage for a 40 watt LED and a CFL is about a watt, at 9 and 8 watts, respectively.
However, over time and by replacing more CFLs with LEDs, those differences can result in significant savings because you will be saving more energy and replacing bulbs less often.
The major advantage for me regarding LED’s is that they will last much longer than a CFL. According to one source, the life of an LED is 50,000 hours and the life of CFL is 8,000 hours. An incandescent bulb will last only 1,200 hours.
How long it takes for an LED to pay for itself in energy savings is an important consideration. This is known as the payback. For example, one manufacturer claims that a $15 40 watt LED bright white bulb will save you $88 dollars over the life of the bulb, which could be as long as 25 years. The same manufacturer claims that their $35 90 watt floodlight will save you $206 over its life.
For me, LED doesn’t make the grade yet as it pertains to energy savings yet. The up front costs are too high and I don’t have a problem using a light switch rather than my smart phone to turn the lights on and off. But according to a recent article in The New York Times, LEDs will be the most popular A-type bulb by 2016. Hopefully they will be less expensive by then. In the meantime, I may start to make the switch gradually. LED is obviously a better technology and I like to support more environmentally friendly technologies as much as I can.
If you are planing on buying or selling a home in the Pioneer Valley, make your first call to Michael Seward at 413-531-7129.