Thinking About Switching to LED Light Bulbs? Here’s What You Need to Know.
Although the title is a “what to think” statement, I would like to approach this from a “how to think” approach when it comes to lighting your interior home.
I will talk about not just LED light bulbs but also incandescent and fluorescent lights so you’ll know the difference.
So once you have a good understanding of the three main types of lighting, I can then suggest why LED light bulbs would be a great alternative.In my next article, I will discuss the advantages of using LED light bulbs and that includes money saving ideas that come with using them.
Incandescent Light Bulbs
The mainstay of lighting for over a hundred years, it consists of a resistive filament mounted between two metal stems in a vacuum or inert gas bulb.
The wire filament was heated when electricity passed through. The bulb can be either clear or frosted or even color coated on the interior.
They typically came in 120 VAC with different wattage ratings. The higher the wattage, the brighter and the more energy was consumed.
The efficiency of these bulbs was not very high.
Incandescent is the emission of light by heating an element. A brief description and diagram can be found at Incandescent Bulbs.
To extend the life of some of these types of bulbs, they did come in 130 VAC ratings with three elements. However, they were not as bright for a given wattage compared to the 120 VAC rated bulbs.
Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL)
In the early part of the last decade, these bulbs were the entire craze! The science behind these bulbs is very different than incandescent bulbs.
These bulbs had a tube containing argon and mercury vapor that was coated with phosphor.
As electricity passed through this gaseous tube the invisible ultraviolet light that is produced is converted to visible light through the emissions of the phosphor.
These bulbs have ballast which helps get the process moving and regulates it once it is turned on and stays on.
The amount of electricity needed initially is high; however, once it is emitting light fully, after no more than 3 minutes, they use about 70% less energy than Incandescent Bulbs.
They tended also to have a longer lifespan as well. However, the downside is that they are very poisonous if broken because of the mercury content.
They were not as efficient in temperature variations so they need more air around them, and less enclosure.
LED Light Bulbs
Now comes the so-called LED light bulbs. These bulbs stand for Light Emitting Diode (LED) Bulbs.
Their operation is completely different than either of the two above. A diode is a semiconductor that allows electricity to flow through it in only one direction.
This is known as the “p-n junction”, or positively charged carriers on one side and n-type or electrons on the other.
The LED is a specially modified diode that allows electricity to pass from the top but not the other way around.
The junction when formed emits photons when electricity is passed through it. As electrons change their orbit from higher valence bands to lower valance bands, they lose energy in the form of light.
As the light gets brighter, it is because more energy is lost to create this light.
The color is a matter of the material used in the semiconductor and the amount of current running through it.
They do not get hot and have an average life of about 50,000 hours or more.
LED light bulbs are cost-effective to operate and appear to be much more energy efficient than either of the above solutions.
In addition, there is no need to worry about traces of mercury, as they are not in these bulbs.
So, this brief description of the three types of lighting was designed to educate you to see that possibly the LED light bulbs are the superior lighting source in almost all measurable parameters. To further your research, please see the comparison chart at Light Bulb Comparison Chart.