What is LED?
LED is short for “light emitting diode,” and LEDs are low-energy, low-heat way of generating light. When combined, these LEDs can be arranged into bulbs and fixtures for a wide variety of applications, including computers, televisions, aviation and now, home lighting.
LED lights are up to six times more efficient than the incandescent bulbs that we all grew up with, meaning they are easier on the environment and easier on your utility bills — and they don’t get burning hot like incandescent or halogen bulbs.
However, before you run out and replace every bulb and fixture in your home with LEDs, there are a few things to consider before making the switch.
People have a lot of questions about LED lighting when we speak with them, and our showroom experts try to make this as stress-free as possible when making the decision to switch to LED. Please use this LED lighting guide as a quickstart way to learn the basics, and if you have any questions, call your local showroom for more information.
There is no one type of LED lighting
LEDs are small diodes that emit light. Their configuration and how they are powered varies between their different uses. For example, switching to LED in your existing light fixtures may be as simple as changing from a standard incandescent or CFL bulb to a LED one. They can be used virtually anywhere you use a regular incandescent light bulb, but they last a lot longer and are more energy efficient. Just be sure that if you’re going to be dimming your LED bulbs, you have a compatible dimmer installed (see below).
You can also buy fixtures that have integrated LED lighting already installed, so you do not need to install and maintain any light bulbs. This can be handy, and integrated LED fixtures can have a higher light output than LED light bulbs.
Be careful with dimmers
Since LED lighting does not dim the same way as incandescent or compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs do, there are unique precautions for dimming them.
You’ll usually need a special dimmer switch that can work with LED fixtures or light bulbs, so if you’re building a new home or doing a renovation, you’ll have to coordinate closely with your electrician to make sure. Otherwise, you could find yourself with flickering or non-functioning lights.
There are three basic types of dimmers:
- Regular 120-volt dimmers for use with incandescent or CFL bulbs (compatible with some LEDs)
- Magnetic low-voltage dimmers
- Electronic low-voltage dimmers
Each of these three types is compatible with certain LED light bulbs and fixtures. You don’t need to worry about the technical details, but not all LEDs will work with all dimmers, and vice versa. Always consult a lighting expert before pairing dimmers with LEDs.
Most manufacturers will list the dimmer requirements for each fixture or light bulb, so make sure everyone is on the same page about which dimmer to use.
Light bulbs come in different Kelvin temperatures, also known as colour. Whenever you hear people referring to “warm” or “cool” light, they are referring to the Kelvin temperature. LED lighting now comes in a variety of colour temperatures to match the look and feel you want.
The lower the Kelvin number, the warmer the light is, while a higher Kelvin number will result in cooler light. For example, a 2700K light will be warm and yellow, while 6000K will be more blue and white.
For example, this vanity light from Kuzco Lighting typically comes in 3000K colour temperature for a warmer glow.
Wattage vs. Lumens in LED lighting
We’re all used to looking at the wattage of a light bulb to get a sense of how bright a light is going to be, but LED lighting is largely measured in lumens now. This means that if you’re just looking at wattage, you might not be seeing the whole picture.
The higher the number of lumens, the brighter the light, but these numbers don’t always tell the whole story. There are two ways of measuring lumens — total lumens and delivered lumens. Total lumens measure the total amount of light created by the fixture, but once reflectors, lenses and shades direct the light towards the surface you want lit, you only ever see a portion of that light, called the delivered lumens.
When choosing LED fixtures or bulbs, it is important to check whether the manufacturer is giving you the total lumens or delivered lumens. Read the package carefully, because it can make a big difference when it’s installed in your home. If you’re not sure, it’s better to ask an expert.
Make the informed choice: Beyond the LED lighting guide
The benefits of LED lighting are clear, and they can provide long-lasting, energy-efficient lighting for years to come. However, finding the right product and making sure it functions properly can be a challenge. We hope you’ve found this LED lighting guide helpful.
At Robinson Lighting & Bath Centre, we feel like this process should be easy and stress free. Our experts can walk you through the process and give you the “need to know” information when it comes to LED lighting, without the stress of figuring out the technical side of it.
Call or stop by your local showroom for more information on how LED lighting can benefit your home.