Expert Advice: LED Lightbulbs

Published on
April 6, 2023

In the second article of our ‘Expert Advice’ series, Timothy Telford, Owner & Electrical Engineer from Telford Electric, shares information on purchasing and the savings with LED lightbulbs.

Incandescent bulbs are what most consumers use in their households. These lightbulbs consume more electricity than LED (light-emitting diodes) bulbs. As LED bulbs use less energy, this means you are saving money on your BELCO bill. In the second installment of our Expert Advice series, Mr. Timothy Telford from Telford Electric gives advice on the usage and savings from using LED lightbulbs.

 Mr. Telford states: “LED lights use around 90% less electricity than conventional incandescent bulbs.”

The process to generate light with incandescent bulbs uses heat to reach a temperature that produces light. LED bulbs are solid-state lighting, the materials used to emit light are encased within a solid material and generate very little heat. This means LED bulbs require much less energy to produce the same amount of brightness as incandescent lights.

Mr. Telford further explains, “The potential saving for LED lights depends on several factors, such as the type of bulb, the hours of use, the electricity price, and the presence of connected controls.”

“People should use a phased priority approach when purchasing LED lightbulbs for their home; starting with rooms you use the most and work your way to the least used areas.

LED lightbulbs are expensive and cost almost double the price of incandescent lightbulbs. These lightbulbs are more of an investment, and it may be cost-effective to transition to LED bulbs in stages.

The table below shows a price comparison of two bulbs of similar brightness.

| Watts | Energy Consumption | Price | | :--- | :--- | :--- | | 60W incandescent bulb | 60 kWH every 1,000 hours | $8.22 | | 12W LED bulb | 12 kWh every 1,000 hours | 1.64 |

Currently the electricity rate for residential consumers is $0.1370 per kWh for Belco’s first consumption block. At this rate, it will cost $8.22 to operate an incandescent bulb for 1,000 hours, while it will cost $1.64 to operate the LED bulb for the same time.  This estimation will change based on the electricity rate you are charged on your Belco bill.

“Incandescent light bulbs have an average life span of 1000 hours. of use, while LED lightbulbs have an average of 30,000 hours.”

One of the significant advantages of LED bulbs is their life span.  The expected lifespan of the bulb depends on how it will be used daily, still an LED bulb will last up to 30 times longer than an incandescent bulb. Consumers should research the brand to purchase LEDs that suit their needs, check power sources and fixtures, and buy quality bulbs to prolong the bulbs’ lifespan.

“The LED bulb also produces more lumens per watt compared to the incandescent bulbs.”

When shopping for lightbulbs, consumers look at the bulb’s wattage to determine which bulb to get. However, the wattage is a measure for how much the electricity the bulb draws and not the bulb’s brightness. The amount of light a bulb generates is measured in lumens and this is what you should consider when buying an LED bulb. The higher the number of lumens, the brighter the lightbulb.

Because LEDS are designed for efficiency, they are low in watts yet produce the same amount of light but with much less electricity. For example, an incandescent 60-watt bulb emits 800 lumens. The LED equivalent in lumens only draws 8-10 watts. Disregard the watts and look at the lumens when buying LED lights.

“Key features that consumers should consider are the type of light fixture they intend to use the LED lightbulb in.”

Typical LED bulbs are not best for fully enclosed fixtures, putting them in there can shorten the lifespan. Look for bulbs that are labeled as being suitable for use in enclosed fixtures. If you have dimmable light fixtures, ensure the LED bulb you are purchasing is dimmable.  

“Smart LED lightbulbs can be useful, they are programmable LEDs that can be turned off and on, dimmed and color adjusted remotely from a laptop, tablet or phone.”

A Smart LED bulb is internet enabled and can be controlled through an app from a smart device. You can remotely adjust the brightness, use voice activation and program timed light changes without having to physically be in the room or home. These are great for dimming because you won’t need a dimmer, and most smart bulbs use built in mechanisms to handle dimming. This is a huge convenience especially if you forgot to turn off a light after leaving the house.

In summary, LED bulbs are the most energy efficient bulbs. They will help to keep your electricity bill down, but you also will buy and replace less bulbs over time. These bulbs offer long-term value because they last longer and cost less to operate. Switching to LED bulbs is one easy step consumers can take today to save.