LED lighting used to be considered for commercial use primarily. But, as the technology has advanced, it has quickly become more popular in residential homes as well. As LEDs continue to gain share of the lighting marketplace over incandescent and fluorescent options, it’s important to know what LED terms mean so you can understand the advantages and select the best LED options for your home.
Let’s Start with the Basics
LED, which stands for “Light Emitting Diode,” is a two-lead semi-conductor light source that, through certain engineering, releases energy in the form of photons. What you need to know is that LEDs use less energy, last much longer, and don’t give off as much heat compared to their incandescent and fluorescent counterparts.
The originally high cost of LED bulbs used to thwart consumers from buying them; but within the last couple of years, consumers have gotten more savvy that although LED bulbs may still cost a bit more than traditional lighting, they’ll save energy and money in the long run.
The second “good to know” basic is that more lighting fixtures are utilizing integrated LEDs. These are LEDs designed into the fixture permanently unlike those with removable LED bulbs. The greatest advantage of integrated LEDs is they allow lighting designers to create a slimmer fixture, enabling very sleek lighting designs. (If you choose this type of light, make sure it has at least a five year warranty.)
How long do LEDs last? LED lighting does not burn out instantly as conventional light sources do; it slowly dims down over time. When shopping for a LED light fixture, you’ll see something like “50,000 hours to L70” or “50,000 hours to 70 percent.” Translation: The LED lighting will last at least 50,000 hours, and by that point will still be running with at least 70 percent of its original output (or a 30 percent reduction of its initial output). This is compared to traditional incandescent’s finite lifetime of 1,000 to 2,000 hours.