Have you been in the light bulb aisle recently and noticed some changes to the selection? Or have you been curious about LED lighting in general? Lately more and more of our customers are interested in the new LED technology but, are lacking the understanding to make an informed purchase.
Here is a basic introduction to help you understand this new technology better and to hopefully help you save on those costly energy bills. (courtesy of the energystar.gov)
What is an LED?
LEDs, or light–emitting diodes, are semiconductor devices that produce visible light when an electrical current is passed through them. The light emitting diode (LED) is one of today’s most energy-efficient and rapidly developing technologies. This type of light bulb is more than five times more energy-efficient and can last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. While LEDs are more expensive, they still save money because they last a long time and use a low amount of energy.
What are the differences between LED lighting and other light sources (CFL or Incandescent)?
LED lighting can be more efficient, durable, versatile and longer lasting and differs from incandescent and compact fluorescent in several ways. A directional light source emitting light in a specific direction unlike incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs which emit light – and heat – in all directions. For this reason, LED lighting is able to use light and energy more efficiently in many applications.
Common LED colors include amber, red, green, and blue. LEDs are small and provide unique design opportunities.
LED lighting products use light emitting diodes to produce light very efficiently. An electrical current passed through semiconductor material illuminates the tiny light sources we call LEDs. The heat produced is absorbed into a heat sink.
Incandescent bulbs produce light using electricity to heat a metal filament until it becomes “white” hot or is said to incandesce. As a result, incandescent bulbs release 90% of their energy as heat.
In a CFL, an electric current flows between electrodes at each end of a tube containing gases. This reaction produces ultraviolet (UV) light and heat. The UV light is transformed into visible light when it strikes a phosphor coating on the inside of the bulb.
LEDs typically do not “burn out” or fail such as incandescent or CFL. Instead, lumen depreciation occurs, which is where the amount of light produced decreases and light color appearance can shift over time. LED product “lifetime” is set based on a prediction of when the light output decreases 30 percent.
LEDs & Heat
LED lighting systems radiate heat differently than incandescent and halogen bulbs. A heat sink draws away the heat produced from the power going into the product. The heat sink device then absorbs the heat and dissipates it into the surrounding environment. This keeps LEDs from overheating and burning out.