(Light Emitting Diodes) are small,
solid light bulbs which are extremely energy-efficient. Until recently, LEDs
were limited to single-bulb use in
applications such as instrument panels, electronics, pen lights and, more
recently, strings of indoor and outdoor Christmas lights.
Manufacturers have expanded the application of LEDs
by "clustering" the small bulbs. The first clustered bulbs bulbs were
used for battery powered items such as flashlights and headlamps.
Today, LED bulbs are made using as many as 180 bulbs
per cluster, and encased in diffuser lenses which spread the light in wider
beams. Now available with standard bases which fit common household light
fixtures, LEDs are the next generation in home lighting.
The high cost of producing LEDs has been a roadblock
to widespread use.
However, researchers at Purdue University
developed a process for using
inexpensive silicon wafers to replace the expensive sapphire-based technology.
This promises to bring LEDs into competitive pricing with CFLs and
incandescents. LEDs may soon become the standard for most lighting needs.
Benefits of LED lightbulbsLong-lasting
- LED bulbs last up to 10 times as long
as compact fluorescents, and far longer than typical incandescents.
Choosing an LED lightbulb Many different models and styles of LED bulbs are
emerging in today's marketplace. When choosing a bulb, keep in mind the following:
• Estimate desired wattage - read the package to
choose desired illumination level. For example, a 3W LED is equivalent in
output to a 45 W incandescent.
• Choose between warm and cool light - new LED bulbs
are available in 'cool' white light, which is ideal for task lighting, and
'warm' light commonly used for accent or small area lighting.
• Standard base or pin base - LEDs are available in
several types of 'pin' sockets or the
standard "screw' (Edison)
bases for recessed or track lighting.
The common styles of LED bulbs include the following:
Available in pin base or standard (Edison)
base, LEDs are ideal for track or recessed lighing. LEDs do not contribute to
heat buildup in a room because no matter how long they remain on, they do not
get hot to the touch. Also, because they are 90% more efficient than
incandescants, the frequency of changing bulbs is
Diffused bulbs In this
style LED bulb, clusters of LEDs are covered
by a dimpled lens which spreads the light out over a wider area. Available in a
range of wattage and sizes, these bulbs have many uses, such as area lighting for
small rooms, porches, reading lamps, accent lamps, hallways and low-light
applications where lights remain on for extended periods.
Spotlight and Floodlight LEDs The spotlight LED lacks a dispersing lens, so it
appears brighter as its light is directed forward. The floodlight model gives a
spread-out dispersed light. Well suited for ceiling lights, outdoor
floodlights. Retail display lighting, landscape lighting and motion sensors.
Red - red is the traditional
color for maintaining night vision.
Green - green is now the
preferred color for pilots and the military. The green color is also great for
retaining night vision, and it doesn’t erase the red markings on maps and
Blue - many people like
the blue because it is very easy on the eyes. Blue appears to be a good reading
light for elderly eyes. Elderly folks report that they can read under the blue
light for hours without eyestrain, compared to severe eyestrain in less than 30
minutes with incandescent lighting.
White - the most popular of the LED colors.
It produces a soft white light, without harsh reflection, glare or shadows.
Amber - LED amber bulbs do
not attract flying insects, as do ordinary white bulbs. Amber LEDs are used
outdoors in areas such as patios and decks where insects flying around lights
are a nuisance.