LED Light Bulbs Vs. Incandescent

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The LED light bulb is a relatively new form of lighting that has several advantages over the traditional incandescent bulb. However, there are also disadvantages that must be overcome before the LED bulb replaces its incandescent counterpart as the most popular lighting product on the market. Although the two bulb types are very different, their efficiency, efficacy, lifespan, heat and cost can be compared to determine the best option for your lighting needs.

Efficiency

  • LEDs are far more efficient than incandescent bulbs. Very little energy is needed to light an LED and almost no energy is lost to heat. Incandescent bulbs, on the other hand, waste a great deal of electricity by converting a part of the energy to heat. This wasted energy warms a space and must be offset by cooling the space and light fixture.

Efficacy

  • LED light bulbs have a higher efficacy than incandescent bulbs. This means that the bulbs produce more light per unit of energy. However, the number of LEDs required to equal an incandescent is high (around 60 to 150, depending on the incandescent wattage compared). This creates a challenge to design an LED bulb that will fit within a traditional light fixture.

Lifespan

  • The average LED bulb is designed to last 15 to 30 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. This gives LED the clear advantage when a long-lasting bulb is required for difficult-to-install locations or areas where consistent lighting must be relied on for safety.

Heat

  • Much of an incandescent bulb's used energy is lost to heat, so heat build-up is an important issue when determining which type of light bulb to use. Although the warm glow of an incandescent bulb may be comforting in the winter, an LED bulb may be more appropriate for the summer months or in warm climates.

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References

  • "Mechanical and Electrical Equipment for Buildings"; Walter Grondzik; 2009
  • Photo Credit Light bulb image by Mart61 from Fotolia.com
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