Switching to LEDs
Five things to consider before switching to LEDs
As your current lamps burn out, it’s a good time to consider switching to LED bulbs. By now, you probably know that LEDs have an impressive Lifespan (20-something years! with normal hours of operation) and are very cost-effective.
You probably also know that they’re a pricey investment that can run five times more expensive than replacing your current lamps. Despite the cost, now’s the right time to switch to LEDs, with the Amerikana Green Lease program.
With no money out of pocket, you are CASH FLOW POSITIVE from day one. LED technology has made significant advances over the last few years, finally delivering the exact color and light level you need for your business.
When shopping for replacement lamps, you’re probably accustomed to looking for watts, an indication of how bright the lamp will be. The brightness of LEDs, however, is determined a little differently. Contrary to common belief, wattage isn’t an indication of brightness, but a measurement of how much energy the bulb draws.
For old lighting technology (e.g. incandescent, fluorescent ,metal Halide, High pressure sodium), , there is an accepted correlation between the watts drawn and the brightness, but for LEDs, watts aren’t a great predictor of how bright the bulb will be. (The point, after all, is that they draw less energy.)
For example, an LED lamp with comparable brightness to a 60-watt incandescent is only 8 to 12 watts. But don’t bother doing the math — there isn’t a uniform way to covert incandescent watts to LED watts. Instead, a different form of measurement should be used: lumens. The lumen (lm) is the real measurement of brightness provided by a lamp, and is the number you should look for when shopping for LEDs. For reference, here’s a chart that shows the watt-lumen conversion for incandescents and LEDs.
As you can see in the chart above, an incandescent can draw up to five times as many watts for the same number of lumens. Get a sense of the brightness (in lumens) you need before heading to the store, and throw away your affinity for watts.
LED lamps are capable of displaying an impressive color range, from purple to red, to a spectrum of whites and yellows. For your operation, however, you’re likely looking for a color similar to the light your current lighting system produces.
The popular colors available for LEDs are “warm white” or “soft white” and “bright white.” Warm white and soft white will produce a yellow hue, close to incandescents, while bulbs labeled as bright white will produce a whiter light, closer to daylight and similar to what you see in retail stores.
If you want to get technical, light color (color temperature) is measured in kelvins. The lower the number, the warmer (yellow) the light. So, your typical incandescent is somewhere between 2,700 and 3,500K. If that’s the color you’re going for, look for this range with LED lamps.
When switching to LED lamps, expect to save lots of cash in lower electric bills, maintenance, labor and bulb replacement cost . LEDs are an investment and will pay off from day one, You’ll also enjoy less heat production, longer bulb life, and other LED-exclusive benefits.
Most dimmers, which were likely designed to work with incandescents, work by cutting off the amount of electricity sent to the bulb. The less electricity drawn, the dimmer the light. But with your newly acquired knowledge of LED lingo, you know that there is no direct correlation between LED brightness and energy drawn.
If you’d like your LED to be dimmable, LED lamps are compatible with traditional dimmers, or your current incandescent dimmers can be replaced with a leading-edge (LED-compatible) dimmer.
You probably know that LED lamps run dramatically cooler than old technology lamps, but that doesn’t mean they don’t produce heat. LED bulbs do get hot, but the heat is pulled away by a heat sink in the base of the lamp.
From there, the heat dissipates into the air and the LED bulb stays cool, helping to keep its promise of a very long life. And therein lies the problem: the bulb needs a way to dissipate the heat. If an LED bulb is placed in an enclosed housing, the heat won’t have anywhere to go, sending it right back to the bulb, and sentencing it to a slow and painful death.
Consider where you’d like to place your LED bulbs. If you have fully or semi-enclosed fixtures you need to light up, you will need a LED approved for recessed or enclosed spaces.