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How To Choose The Right LED For Your Home

Anuj Mudaliar Apr 14, 2019
In the past decade, old-fashioned incandescent bulbs have gradually started to lose their popularity in favor of CFL and LED bulbs. While LEDs are fairly new to the scene, they are the most efficient of the lot, and are gaining popularity rapidly.

Reasons For Switching to LEDs

You should switch to LEDs as they have an extremely long lifespan (5-30 years), very less power consumption (compared to incandescent lights), wide range of colors, various models and functionalities, higher durability, and lesser heat make LEDs a very good lighting option.

Parameters for Selecting Good LEDs

Look for Lumens Not Watts

Unlike incandescent bulbs, the brightness of LEDs is not proportional to its wattage. Instead, LED lights have their brightness measured in lumens (lm). So check for these labels to get the appropriate replacement for your incandescents.

The LED Kelvin Color Spectrum Scale

While all incandescent lights give a warm yellowish color, LEDs come in a wide range of colors, from purple to red. However, the most commonly used types come in the yellow/white spectrum. The color of an LED light is measured in Kelvins. A higher number of Kelvin indicates whiter light, while lower Kelvin indicates yellow light.

The Evolving Light Bulb

LED lights are relatively expensive as compared to incandescents or CFLs. Since they consume lower amount of electricity, and have very long lifespan, they are more environment friendly and cheaper to operate in the long term. A good example of the evolution of technology.

Dimmer Compatible LEDs

Dimmer switches for incandescents may not always work with LED lights. So to make these lights dimmable, you either need to find lights which are compatible with traditional dimmers, or replace the traditional dimming switch, with a LED-compatible dimmer.

LEDs Approved For Enclosed Housing

After purchasing LEDs, make sure that they are not used in an enclosed housing, as this leads to the heating up of the bulbs, and a reduction in their lifespan. If you must use the bulb in a enclosed housing, make sure that you use LEDs that are approved for this purpose by the manufacturer.

LED Color Rendering Index

The CRI (Color Rendering Index) is the measure of the quality of light, which shows how well a light source replicates color in relation to daylight. So one should look for a CRI greater than 80 to get a good daylight color quality.

Warm White vs. Cool White vs. Daylight LED Lights

Living Room LED Lights

For most living rooms, warm white lights are preferred over cool whites, as they lend a comfortable and cozy feel to the area, due to their light red tint (2800 - 3200K). In addition to these, one can also use red, green, and blue bulbs for decorative purposes.

Bedroom LED Lights

For bedrooms, warm white LEDs are commonly used. Bulbs with dimming capabilities provide an added advantage in these areas of the house. Cool white lights (5000 - 6500K) could also be used if you prefer an arctic-like look for the room.

Utility LED Lights

For bathrooms, garages, basements, cabinets, etc., daylight (4000K) or cool white LEDs are good options. To minimize wastage of power, one can even set up sensor-activated light systems in these areas.

LED Lights For Outdoors

Depending on the ambiance and plants in a garden, warm white to daylight LEDs can be used to illuminate the area at night. Recently, solar-powered LEDs are also available in the market, which automatically illuminate at dusk, without the need of an electricity supply; ideal for the outdoors.

Beam Angle For LED Lights

When choosing spotlights and down lights, consider the beam angle of the bulb and the height of the ceiling. Also, always be consistent with the colors of the bulbs in the same area. As mixing LEDs with different Kelvin ratings can create a really unflattering appearance.

Types Of LED Lights

Depending on its placement location in the house, the look of the bulb is also important. LEDs come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, some of which look just like a traditional incandescent bulb, and even provide the same light quality and color.

Other LED Light Tips And Facts

LED Bulbs Do Not Contain Mercury

While CFL bulbs contain small amounts of mercury, and need to be disposed off safely if broken, LEDs do not contain any such toxic materials and hence are perfectly safe for use.

UV-free LEDs

When choosing LED lights, look for UV-free bulbs. They are less harmful, and they do not attract insects either.

UL Compliant Or UL Listed LEDs

Opt for 'UL Listed' LED bulbs and not for 'UL Compliant' bulbs, as the UL Compliant bulbs have only followed guidelines given by the Underwriters Laboratory, whereas the UL Listed bulbs have undergone stringent testing, which guarantees a good performance.

Use Only Bulbs With High-Quality LED Chips

Beware of LED lights made from inferior quality LED chips, it can reduce the lifespan of the bulb and provide inconsistent color performance.