Interested in Installing LED Lighting? Confused Already?
So you’re interested in using LED lighting in your own home, maybe because you’re interested in introducing some new lighting effects to lift the appearance or because you want to save money on your electricity bill, or perhaps a bit of both.
But if you’re like most people then your first problem is in figuring out where and how to start. Both bricks and mortar and online retailers of LED bulbs seem pathologically intent on confusing the bejesus out of their would be customers with a mix that’s heavy on hype and jargon and light on straightforward basic information.
So you set off to find a nice new super energy efficient LED light bulb to replace say that 50W halogen lamp that’s blown (yet again) and chucks out an amazing amount of heat (or put another way, quite literally burns your money). How hard can that be?
You find yourself a suitable looking LED replacement – it’s the right size and fitting, rather more expensive but then they use only about one tenth as much electricity and last for absolutely ages.
But information about how it compares to a conventional incandescent light bulb or (and here’s an idea so radical and threatening that no-one has yet dared to implement it) showing it actually lit?
Well that would spoil all the fun and anyway surely you can figure it out: luminous flux of 310 lm at 3200 Kelvin with a power factor of 0.85 and beam angle of 30 degrees (plus some seriously pointless data such as luminous intensity 650 candela and weight 53 grams to further obscure any useful information).
Then you get the online hyperbole merchants who, in addition to spouting as much technical gibberish as possible, like to indulge in wildly exaggerated claims about performance. Now, for reasons relating to differences such as build quality, the source of the chips and a host of other factors, it is indeed possible for an LED described as consuming 3 watts to appear brighter than one consuming 4 watts.
What is not possible though is for any LED rated at 3 watts to deliver light equivalent to a 50 watt conventional lamp. In fact it would struggle to match a 30 watt incandescent. The scaling factor at 3 watts or below is approximately 10:1, but LEDs don’t scale up linearly.
So although a 3W LED might replace a 30W regular bulb, a 6W LED will be quite some way short of a traditional 60W lamp (more like 40-50 watts). So where wattages are concerned, work on an equivalence scale of ten to one and then a bit more for good measure.
What other factors should you consider when evaluating LED light bulbs? Let’s find out…