Thursday 15 September 2016

LED Bulbs - Are They Worth It?

Over the last 10 years we've seen technology advancements in home lighting, specifically in light bulbs.

Currently there are 4 main categories to choose from: 
  • Incandescent
  • Halogen 
  • Compact Fluorescent (CFL)
  • Light Emitting Diode (LED)
Incandescent bulbs still hold a surprising space in many homes. When I moved in to my current house a couple of years ago it was filled with 50W halogen bulbs, and a scattering of other incandescent bulbs throughout.

I made it a priority to source LED bulbs for the whole house for a number of reasons, but the main ones were long term energy savings and reduced annoyance replacing burned out bulbs.

So is it worth going to LED? If you have incandescent or halogen bulbs, absolutely. Here's the math:

Average cost to run one incandescent 60W bulb for 1 year: $7.21
The average house has 50 bulbs, so your average lighting cost is $360.50/yr.  (Based on 3hrs operation per day @ $0.11/kwh)

Now let's switch that to LED.

Average cost to run one LED bulb for 1 year: $1.14
Using our 50 bulb average your annual lighting cost is $57

An average household will save $303.50/yr by making the switch. Obviously there are costs to initially purchasing the bulbs, but given how prices have fallen it shouldn't be much of a roadblock. You can get 40-packs of LED bulbs at Costco to replace 60W incandescents for $84.99 ($2.12/bulb)

In year 1 you fully recover the cost of the 50 bulbs and save $197.50. Subsequently you save $303.50/yr. (or more if electricity rates continue to rise.)

With an average lifespan of 7 years, your potential savings is $2,018.50

There are other incremental benefits. Incandescent and halogen bulbs give off a lot of heat. During the summer when your lights are on your AC unit has to fight both the weather and the heat from your light bulbs. If you have a lot of bulbs in the house, especially halogens, this can drive up your energy costs even more.

It's hard to see downside given the math.

Happy surfing!

-The Home Geek

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