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Things you should know before switching to LED lightsBy Smitha Jose
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The old and obsolete always makes way for the new and efficient. Our joy knew no bounds when Sir Edison came up with the incandascent bulb when we were burning the oil (not just at midnight!). Then came the fluoroscent tubelights, CFL and now we have the most efficient of them all - The LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights.
LED lights are remarkable improvisation over the decades-old incandascent lights. These are cost efficient lights,burning well for more than a quarter of a century. That means, instead of 20 - 22 bulbs/ tubelights you would use in these 25 years, you just have to fix one LED light and they are going to light your rooms for a lifetime!
So, if you are thinking of gettting smarter and more efficient with LED lights, here are a few facts and tips that will come handy while picking the right one.
Know them - types of LED Lights
Just like any other lights, LED lights need to be carefully chosen to give the perfect ambience to the room. For many of us, LED lights are synonymous to a small bulb emitting bright light similar to a fluoroscent tube. But, in reality, there are as many varieties of lights as you can probably think of - in terms of shapes, sizes, colour and brightness.
Broadly, LED lights are classified into 3 categories in terms of brightness:
Warm/soft white lights- These are warm lights, brightness of which resemble that of an incandasent yellow light. These soft lights are suitable for bedrooms where high brightness is usually not needed.
Neurtral white- Neutral white lights are good options as task lights (in kitchen )and spot lights(to highlight wall arts), which are neither too dim or soft nor too bright.
Cool white- These are cool white lights that bring the brightness of a day light to the interiors. These are the ones perfect for reading and can be installed as study lights or lights at nightstand in bedroom.
What measures the brightness of an LED
"A 100 watt incandascent bulb .will be too bright"- we have heard people say similar things or we ourselves might have said that. But, Watt is infact, a unit of power - that is, energy consumption. Though we may still co-relate that with the brightness of an incandascent bulb, for an LED light, watts does not matter ( since a 9 or 12 watt LED light can be as bright as a 100W bulb !). Its Lumen ( unit of measurement of brightness) that you should look for in an LED light. To know how cost efficient and eco friendly ( in terms of carbon footprint) look for Lumen/ watt. More lumens per watt suggests more efficiency.
The chart below will give you a better picture
Knowing the temperature of LED lights
There is a relation between the colour of the LED light and the temperature. This is really easy to understand. The more bright white or bluish the light, the more the temperature. Temperature of an LED light is measured in Kelvin. The warm light that glows like a fire and is comfortable and warm enough to look at is around 2700K where as the bright ones perfect for reading is around 5000K. This brings us to another point.
LED lights do not heat up, do they?
Many of us have heard and realised that LED lights do not get hot even after hours of continous usage while a bulb glowing for a few minutes becomes too hot to touch. Does that mean LED lights don't generate heat? Not exactly. These lights too get hot (although not as much as a bulb). But the heat so produced is smartly transferred to a ' heat sink ' at the bottom of the light which in turn is given out to the surrounding helping the light to stay cool. It is hence recommended not to use LED lights in an enclosed light fixture that traps the let-out heat. This can affect the smooth functioning of the light, often creating a buzzing sound.
Are all LED lights compatible with the dimmer switches we have at home?
We may be using dimmer switches for our fluoroscent light to adjust the brightness of the light. But, since LED lights are different from the conventional ones, these dimmers may not be able to do the job. You will, in most of the cases, need a specialised dimmer switch for LED lights. Make sure to learn more from the salesman while buying the light.
Look for Colour Rendering Index
Simply put, Colour Rendering Index is the ability to reproduce the colours of the objects accurately. This is probably the only point where LED lights lag behind the fluoroscent lights. Measured on a scale of 1 to 100, CRI of fluoroscent lights is 100 while that of most of the LED lights is about 80 to 85. Since, a very few brands mention CRI on their products, there isn't much you can do about it.
Hope this article has helped you to get smarter while choosing the right LED light. We appreciate the shift you are making from those energy guzzling traditional lights to smarter, cost efficient and eco friendly LED lights. Be rest assured that the price you are paying for it is totally worth every penny.
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