You have thought about it for months. You have read article after article and blog after blog. You know that there are benefits to LED lighting and you are ready to bite the bullet. You have big plans to switch your home or office over from incandescent lighting to LED lighting. There. You made the decision. Then you wait several more months before you do anything about it, if you do anything at all. But why?
If you are like many people, you know that upgrading to LED lighting makes good financial sense, not to mention its friendliness to the environment, but you simply don’t know where to start. You know that you want to save money on your electric bills, but that is as clear as you can get. It’s all just so confusing. Relax. You aren’t alone. Here are the basics to help you finally get your project started.
Many people worry that they will have to replace their existing fixtures in order to install LED lighting. This is not true. In fact, you won’t have to replace a single feature if you don’t want to. LED light bulbs fit into existing fixtures without an issue. That is, without an issue if you purchase the right bulbs.
Where to Start
In general, you have one of two choices: Replace bulbs in a room immediately or replace bulbs as they burn out. If you want to completely transition to LED lighting without waiting for the incandescents in your home to bite the dust, experts suggest that you start changing over to LED lights in the rooms in your home that have the highest traffic. Typically, this is the living room or dining room.
But wait, isn’t the kitchen the most used room of the home? For many homeowners, the answer is yes. But how often are you in your kitchen with the lights on compared to the living room or dining room? Your family tends to spend the most time with the lights on in common areas of the home.
Not only will your family get the most use out of these lights, but you will realize the greatest energy savings the soonest. This is because these are the lights that are on the most.
Another suggestion is to start with the lights in your home that are the most difficult to reach. These may be in your kitchen or the recessed lights in your family room. You know the lights we are talking about. Those that give you an inward eye roll and grumble when they blow out because they are such a pain to replace. Start with those and you won’t have to think about them again for quite some time.
Matching Old Lights
If you have looked at any LED bulbs, you probably noticed that they aren’t labeled the same as incandescents. This can make it tough to replace the bulbs that are currently lighting up your home with similar ones.
As your incandescent bulb ages, its temperature and lumen value will drop. In laymen’s terms, that means that the light will appear a bit yellower and a bit dimmer. No matter which LED bulb you buy, it will look brighter and whiter. This is normal. Once you get used to the bright, white light, you will be fine with it. You will also notice that the light doesn’t change so drastically when you have to replace your LED bulb because they do not age in the same way.
If you have a 60-watt incandescent bulb in your fixture, you will want to replace it with a 2700K, 800-lumen LED. The color temperature you choose will be up to you. Do a bit more research when it comes to choosing the right bulbs for different rooms in your home.
Because incandescents and LEDs have different light outputs, experts recommend changing them all at once if you have a fixture with multiple bulbs. This is most common in the bathroom. If your vanity has several bulbs, don’t replace them one at a time. Instead, spend the money and buy an LED for each socket.
Ah, but what about dimmers? Depending on what you have read previously, you can use LED bulbs in your current dimmers — or you cannot. Both are true, unfortunately. You have to know what type of dimmer you have. Chances are that you won’t be able to use LEDs in the dimmers that are currently installed in your home. Luckily, all you need to do is upgrade your dimmer switches. It’s an easy fix, to be honest, but a more expensive one. You may want to replace these LEDs last.
On the other hand, you may luck out and be able to use LEDs in your current dimmers. If you don’t know which dimmers you have, try to find out. You can then look for LEDs that are compatible with them. In a pinch, you can put a new LED bulb in and see if it works with your dimmer. If it doesn’t, you know that you need to upgrade the switch.
That’s it. In a nutshell: Start in high-traffic areas, purchase more than one LED if you have a multiple-socket fixture, and switch out your dimmers if you need to. You have been waiting all of this time to get your project underway and it really couldn’t be easier. One last piece of advice: Head to your local home improvement store to check out the bulbs. They often have displays that allow you to see the bulbs in action.
Now that you know what to do, it’s time to get up and get it done. If you have more questions about LED bulbs, energy efficiency or how you can make easy changes that save you money while helping the environment, we are here for you. Visit our website and stay awhile. If you like what you see, sign up for our newsletter and have tips delivered straight to your inbox. You will be happy you did — and so will the environment.