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So, there's a lot of excitement of late--and rightly so--about the incredible pace at which electric cars, from extended range vehicles like the Chevy Volt to pure electrics like the Tesla Model S and even entry-level models like the Chevy Spark EV are finally starting to hit their stride. Another couple of years at this rate and they should be going mainstream.

However, there's another mass-market consumer product that's finally entering the mainstream, which I've been keeping my eye on for awhile: The LED lightbulb.

These have been available for years, but until recently, like the Tesla, the price was simply far too high to be practical for most people. A typical, standard bulb (the equivalent of an incandescent 60-100 watt bulb with a regular socket, etc) was running at around $40-$50 apiece just a couple of years ago. At that price, all the "total cost of ownership" arguments in the world simply weren't enough to get over that initial sticker shock, especially with traditional incandescents only costing around $1-$2 apiece (and equivalent CFLs only costing $2-$4).

However, this situation has quietly changed under the radar. I walked into CostCo the other day and noticed a big display of Feit Electric 75-Watt Replacement, Dimmable LED track/recessed-style lightbulbs for a mere $20 apiece.

I decided to buy one--just one, for the moment--to experiment with swapping out a light in our basement, and it's beautiful. Far brighter than the 75-watt equivalent CFLs that are in the rest of the sockets, and even brighter than the actual 75-watt incandescent floods that were there originally. Dimmable, which was a problem for both CFLs and LEDs until recently. It's a warm, soft light which has also been a problem in the past, and so on.

Sure enough, this isn't just a fluke or a one-time dump by CostCo:

Light Switch: Why You’ll Start Using LED Bulbs This Year

This is the year that could change. Manufacturer Cree came out with a $10 LED bulb last month that replaces a 40-watt incandescent bulb, and one equivalent to a 60-watt bulb that costs $14. Philips says it will have a $10 LED bulb on the market by year-end, and it started selling a $15 one last month. (In Europe, German manufacturer Osram just started selling a 40-watt equivalent LED bulb for about $13).

These LEDs look and act like incandescent bulbs, and experts say the price point is low enough that people will be persuaded to give them a shot.

So, just how much better are the new generation of LEDs compared with the ancient incandescents and even CFLs? Well, consider this:
Incandescent: 75 Watt
Cost: appx. $1.50 (range from around $0.50 - $2.00)
Lifespan: 750 hours (varies)
Avg. Annual Cost (assumes around 3 hours/day at about 11¢/KWh): $9.00

CFL: 75 Watt equivalent (18 Watt)
Cost: appx. $2.50 (range from $1.00 - $4.00)
Lifespan: 10,000 hrs (varies)
Avg. Annual Cost (11¢/KWh): $2.20

LED: 75 Watt equivalent (15 Watt)
Cost: $20.00 (varies)
Lifespan: 25,000 hours / 22 years (varies)
Avg. Annual Cost (11¢/KWh):  $1.80

Total Cost for 25,000 Hours (figure around 20 years or so)

Inc: $50 (for 33 bulbs) + $225 ($9/1,000 hrs x 25) = $275

CFL: $6.25 (for 3 bulbs) + $55 ($2.20/1,000 hrs x 25) = $61.25 (has mercury)

LED: $20 (for 1 bulb) + $45 ($1.80/1,000 hrs x 25) = $65 (no mercury or lead)

As you can see, in terms of total cost, LEDs are still roughly equal to CFLs in terms of total cost over a 20-plus year period. However, they're far better in terms of durability, reliability and recyclability. Plus, while CFLs seem to have hit a plateau in terms of cost and efficiency, LED technology is just getting started...just like electric vehicle technology with the Volt and Tesla.

And compare either one of them to an incandescent, both in terms of cost savings (up to $210 or more PER BULB), electricity used (about 1/5th as much) and replacement headaches (one LED lasts as long as over 30 regular bulbs!)

So, they've just now hit total price parity with CFLs, and from the article above it looks like those prices--which have dropped 50% in just the past 2 years or so--are likely to drop down another 30% or so over the next year. Assume that the $20 bulb I mentioned earlier drops down to $13 or so by the end of this year, possibly below $10 by next summer, and the possibilities are fantastic.

I've seen the future, and it's pretty bright :)

Update: Wow, didn't figure this one would hit the top of the Rec list, but glad to see it did--I'm very much an Eco-Tech Geek and appreciate that so many others are as well!

To answer a few questions in the comments below (some are my own answers, some are from other people that I'm just putting here to make them easier to find):

--Regarding 3-Way Switch LEDs: The first of these JUST entered the market last month!
--Regarding heat radiation: Typical incandescents produce about 5% visible light, 83% infrared radiation (the type of heat that actually makes them hot to the touch) and 12% "conductive" heat (which doesn't get radiated outward, but is instead conducted into a built-in heat sink within the bulb itself). LEDs produce about 15% visible light and 85% conductive heat (that is, they produce no Infrared Radiation (IR)), and are therefore cool to the touch as well as being a good 3x more efficient.
--The CREE lighting company, mentioned in the Time article linked to above, is apparently U.S.-based (North Carolina) and employs American workers.
--Several folks have pointed out that LEDs aren't just a little more durable, they're EXTREMELY durable, very solid, very difficult to break, which means that if you knock over or drop something onto a lamp with an LED, it's very unlikely that you'll break it, which also means not having thousands of tiny shards of glass & filaments all over the place, and no mercury problem (note: as many have pointed out, it's really only a very tiny amount of mercury, but it's still annoying)
--Several folks have also noted that LEDs are excellent for aquariums and other marine/water-based situations and environments, since there's no heat to cause problems with algae, breeding cycles etc etc. The same holds true with interior gardening (grow-lamps).
--CFLs, which were touted as the Next Big Thing about a decade ago, have in practice proven to fall somewhat short in a few areas; their advertised lifespans and quality in the real world hasn't really lived up to the hype in both my (and many commenters) experience. In addition, they have the negatives of being difficult to recycle (mercury, etc) and so forth. By contrast, LEDs seem to, so far, be performing better than conventional wisdom had a few years back.
Update x2: OK, here's some more interesting stuff I've found out about LEDs:

--Regarding use in enclosed fixtures:

If LEDs are at least as energy-efficient as CFLs, why then is there so much concern over their heat and ventilation? Higher efficiency should mean less waste heat.
LEDs and heat

The answer is that LEDs do indeed make less heat; however, they themselves are more sensitive to heat than their incandescent and fluorescent brethren. (Fluorescents work the opposite way; they are sensitive to cold.) As a result of this sensitivity, a major focus of the design of LEDs has been on heat dissipation. That’s why you’ll often see lots of little metal fins on LED replacement bulbs. Those fins help cool the LEDs.
But LEDs are still a developing technology. Lumen outputs are increasing, prices are decreasing and, yep, the heat issue is being addressed.

While you are correct to observe that many LED bulbs will have the warning about enclosed fixtures, there are some newer ones that do not have that restriction.

--More info about the CREE LED bulbs mentioned above and several times throughout the comments:

THIS is probably a more reasonable "generic all-purpose lightbulb" to use as a benchmark for LED technology & pricing...the CREE 60-watt equivalent Warm White LED Bulb. (The one I bought from CostCo is a 75-watt equivalent and is directional recessed/flood style).

The CREE is only 9.5 watts, is full-directional (bulb-style), the same size as a traditional incandescent, gives off 800 Lumens, costs about $1.14/year (again, avg. 3 hrs/day), dimmable, etc. It costs $12.97 at Home Depot, or $13.97 for a more neutral/daylight version. they also sell a 6-watt (40-watt equivalent) version for $9.97.

You can also buy a 6-pack of the 60-watt version for $74.82, or $12.47 apiece.

--YES, you can indeed use LEDs in standard track lighting units.

--YES, you can indeed use LEDs with ceiling fan units (this is sometimes an issue with CFLs because of the vibration factor)

Update x3: Since this is still on the Rec list, here's a few more issues addressed (thanks to folks in the comments for bringing these up as well)

--Another big advantage over CFLs: CFLs are very sensitive to cold, which means that they're problematic to use outdoors in the winter, etc., and even when you can use them in those situations, they can take up to a minute or two to brighten up in the cold. Plus, CFLs tend to lose a lot of their life from frequent switching on & off.
--As cynndara (and others) in the comments have noted: When comparing lightbulb specs, it's important to note the LUMENS that they give off, not just the actual wattage (or wattage-equivalent). Lumens = the actual light output; this can vary from bulb to bulb regardless of wattage, depending on quality of components/production and so on.

For example,in my own CostCo example above (the $20 75-watt equivalent floodlight), the brightness is rated at 790 Lumens. The $13 CREE 60-watt bulb linked to in my last update is rated at 800 Lumens, even though it's a lower wattage equivalent and costs 1/3 less! I assume some of the price difference is more about the recessed design than the actual light output.

--One person in the comments notes that while newer LEDs are dimmable, the way that they achieve this is by using a technique called pulse-width modulation (PWM), which supposedly can cause issues for people with migraines in certain situations (and depending on the quality of the bulb). I haven't confirmed this, but it's worth looking into.
--Depending on what state you live in and what store you frequent, there may be instant or mail-in rebates which can drop the up-front costs even further (either the standard promos from the stores/manufacturers, or legally-mandated rebates from the utility).

Originally posted to Brainwrap on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:38 AM PDT.

Also republished by SciTech, Climate Change SOS, DK GreenRoots, and Good News.

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  •  Tip Jar (246+ / 0-)
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  •  I love LEDS (64+ / 0-)

    I have a track in the kitchen that used to take halogen 75's. It now takes LED 10's. The LEDs were cheaper and will last 20-30k hours, the halogens burnt out fast. the halogens were hot too, LEDs are cool. Where I had 450 watts, I now have 60 watts.

    I have been slowly replacing all the bulbs as they burn out. I have one or two CFLs and few fluorescent tubes, but they have LED tubes now.

  •  Had one for years (21+ / 0-)

    I noticed a Phillips brand bulb at Home Depot some years ago and bought it.  For around $25 or so (I don't remember exactly), I get around 40 watts equivalent.  It's an 8 watt bulb.  Dimmable.

    That's perfect for my home office where I use a low-powered bulb in the light that's in my visual field to my left.  The color temperature is excellent as well!

    There's another Pharox bulb used as standby in the den.  I think that's also 8 watts.  The color temperature is rather more blue than I like, but tolerable.

    (-6.38, -7.03) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

    by Lonely Liberal in PA on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:56:01 AM PDT

  •  I've been embracing LEDs for a while (27+ / 0-)

    I don't think the most effective argument is any kind of direct "initial cost/operating expense/service life" comparison. All that generally does is cause glazing of eyes, which lets rethuglicans in.

    From my own experience, popping the $$$ to change out a couple of bulbs and living with them for a while will be a more dramatic argument. First, try removing an LED bulb after it's been on for a week. Warm, yes, but it's certainly do-able. Not so with an incandescent.

    That leads to argument #2—turning off lights behind you when you leave a room. My wife used to yell at me because I wanted to leave the small R-16 flood over the toilet burning as a night light (and reading lamp…). The energy cost of the LED R-16 is almost negligible.

    I replaced two 100W incandescents on my drill press with LEDs. Now I don't have to feel wasteful if I don't turn them off right away. Same thing with a "mood"/night light in our library. Much like the toilet flood, no harm in leaving it on.

    In a powder bath remodel I recently concluded, I used LEDs for both the over sink lighting and the ceiling fixture. Again, energy costs are minimal and we don't have to feel guilty if we inadvertently leave them on.

    I skipped right past the CFLs. Too noisy (RF wise), not dimmable (that I know of), too short a lifespan.

    Eventually I'll have everything LED in the house and I don't care if I have to replace before the 30,000 hours. It's still worth it on a day-to-day basis.

    •  Very doubtful that I will buy any more CFLs (7+ / 0-)

      Plan on LEDs for any light that gets significant use, and a few halogens or small incandescents for fixtures that are rarely used.

      I've put in three LED bulbs so far, and they've gotten no complaints.  I really couldn't put a CFL into any busy part of the house for the complaints.

      I have one CFL in our spare bedroom that makes a noticeable audible hum, and has since it was new.

    •  Some CFLs are dimmable (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radical simplicity

      Google will tell you which.

      Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

      by Dogs are fuzzy on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 03:48:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't need dimmers. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee, Creosote

      I cannot imagine wanting to have LESS light if I want to have light at all.  Darkness is for sleeping.

      I was also exquisitely trained as a child to turn off all lights whenever leaving a room.  I have to literally FORCE myself to leave a light on when I step from one room to another, it's such an ingrained habit.  This could be why I experience very little lifespan benefit from CFLs.

      I use CFLs to get the most light out of my ancient wiring and underrated fixtures.  By putting a 42-watt CFL into fixtures made for 60-watt incandescents, I can get twice as much light.    But in a five-light chandelier, I'll put three CFLs and 2 incandescents, so that I get a better color spectrum and some "instant-on".

      •  I'm the opposite (0+ / 0-)

        Sometimes I just can't take bright lights. I dim my laptop all the way down, and dim my LED lights down too.

        Perhaps my eyes are more sensitive to light than yours are. It runs in my family to be like that.

        Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

        by splashy on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 03:24:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There's lots of variation (0+ / 0-)

          in human perceptive arrays, certainly.  I tend to think of my problem as being connected to the diurnal cycling apparatus.  I'm exquisitely sensitive to light-dark levels in regard to state of consciousness.  I simply cannot focus intellectually without light levels approaching full outdoor daylight.  OTOH, give me enough light and I don't need caffeine; I can't sleep without near-total darkness.

  •  Several years ago, I picked up some LED (21+ / 0-)

    Christmas lights. They were surprisingly cheap, and very bright. I like them better than regular lights. They have a depth that regular lights do not.

    I was initially the first in my neighborhood to get them. Over the next couple years, pretty much everyone has them.  

    I don't really care for compact fluorescent, as they are just as nauseating to me as fluorescent tube lighting.  This will be a great addition, as my CF lights are starting to die off. And no, they don't last the 5+ years they claim. Most of mine burn out within a year.

    I'd like to start a new meme: "No means no" is a misnomer. It should be "Only 'Yes' means yes." Just because someone doesn't say "No" doesn't mean they've given consent. If she didn't say "Yes", there is no consent.

    by second gen on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:59:23 AM PDT

    •  Christmas lights (9+ / 0-)

      I've picked them up at after-holiday sales and keep a string of them plugged in 24/7 in the garage and outside shop. No fumbling for switches and I'm convinced burglars are spooked by how the lights "flash" when viewed through the cracks of the doors and windows.

      Tip: write the month/year on bulbs as you install them.

      ---------------------- Avaritia facit Bardus (greed makes you stupid)

      by Everbody on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:16:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't like CFLs, either (3+ / 0-)

      Supposedly, there's no flicker to them, but I find there's a slight, subliminal one. And when they burn out, they have to be taken to the city recycling place where you turn in old paint and other hazardous waste.

      There is no question that there is an unseen world. The problem is, how far is it from Midtown and how late is it open? -- Woody Allen

      by Mnemosyne on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 03:37:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I got some on clearance a while back (0+ / 0-)

      A couple of caveats: if you use colored lights go for orange as the fifth color (after red, blue, gold, green) instead of purple, because the cooler tones tend to overwhelm the warm colors.  The blue & purple were just stronger and  together created a very blue overall effect.  Also, if you get the kind with diffuser caps, make sure they're securely attached-- if one comes off, the LED beam will project a bright circle onto your wall.

      That said, I gave those away last fall & got some LED holiday lights from Ace Hardware that are almost indistinguishable from conventional lights, which is nice.  I wish more outdoor decorations came in LEDs, and I'm not a fan of the cool-white standard.  Right now I'm looking for affordable solar path lights with warm-white LEDs, and while they're out there, the vast majority are the cool blue/white.

      "Conservative principles" are marketing props used by the Conservative Movement to achieve political power, not actual beliefs. -Glenn Greenwald

      by latts on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 06:03:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There's another value in LEDs (29+ / 0-)

    It's not common that a fire starts as a result of an incandescent llight bulb - but I think there's indirect value from going LED.

    Lower heat produced so lower risk of damage from lights that fall over, and misuse, like young people throwing a towel or piece of clothing over the light.

    Lower heat produced - so small increment down in demand for air conditioning.

    Lower Wattage to achieve the same level of brightness - fewer problems from unintentional electrical overload in older residences.

    They are getting in range, where the general public will start to be interested. Innovation will bring the cost down.

    "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

    by LilithGardener on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:04:26 AM PDT

  •  I just put LED cans in my kitchen (13+ / 0-)

    and I love them. We've had them for about two months. I really like the bright white color and they dim just fine, which was an early problem.

    •  Are all LEDs dimmable, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr Robert, Chinton, Brainwrap

      or only specialized (and presumably pricier) ones? I looked for a dimmable cfl bulb the other day. They exist, but cost around $20 bucks.

      •  Depends on what controls them (4+ / 0-)

        The LED chips themselves are dimmable.   It's up to the built-in electronics that control the LED chips.  That's why they are more pricey.

        The ability to dim has become better and more continuous. At the lower end, it used to be hard to control low light'd dim down slowly, then suddenly have no light.

      •  We got Cree ones at Home Depot (0+ / 0-)

        For about $7, warm white 60 watt equivalent.

        They are dimmable, but do flicker when way down, so there's a limit as to how dim they will go.

        I have others bought a year or so ago that are fulling dimmable.

        Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

        by splashy on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 03:28:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  can you put LEDs in (0+ / 0-)

      conventional can track lighting?

      There is no question that there is an unseen world. The problem is, how far is it from Midtown and how late is it open? -- Woody Allen

      by Mnemosyne on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 03:38:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Growing Plants Indoors LEDs are the way to go (14+ / 0-)

    I have still to research this in practical terms, but seems like indoor growers are having great success.  Low heat, low electricity usage, selective light frequencies to encourage foliage or blooming, and ultimately lower startup costs will allow more and more people to grow their own veggies, herbs, flowers, and/or even coral.  

    Elizabeth Warren 2016!

    by windwardguy46 on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:13:14 AM PDT

    •  Sounds like a sales pitch for (8+ / 0-)

      the professional indoor pot growers.  Might keep police from tracking them down based on high electrical use.

      Low heat, low electricity usage, selective light frequencies to encourage foliage or blooming, and ultimately lower startup costs will allow more and more people to grow their own veggies, herbs, flowers, and/or even coral.  

      My Karma just ran over your Dogma

      by FoundingFatherDAR on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:37:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the police will get reports from the NSA. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        heck they are probably using your cell phones to listen to your conversations.

      •  LOL! There was a very vocal crowd in VT (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Creosote, splashy

        pushing the legislature to ban utilities from installing smart meters. Knowing nothing about their motivation for fighting the meters, I made a wild guess, and suggested they switch to LEDs, which would not only eliminate the "excessive use" issue, it would make their efforts more profitable.

        I haven't seen much complaining since. Heh.

      •  I bought a few LED grow lights 2 years ago to (0+ / 0-)

        help keep my tropical plants thriving in the winter (read papaya trees and plumerias in Washington DC).  Each light contains something like 27 individual LEDs and consumes maybe 90 watts total.  The grow lights do generate heat, and they have fans in order to dissipate it away from the semiconductor chips.

        I suspect that the web site that I bought the lights from was oriented towards pot growers because they also offered various camouflaging and light shielding products.

    •  "or even coral" (5+ / 0-)

      Aquariums are a big target market for LED lighting, and some on the biggest consumer inroads have been made in that application.   As you suggest, LEDs are excellent way to provide the exact light frequencies that aquatic life would  normally receive in the wild.   Plus, you have fewer issues with heat, evaporation, etc.

      •  hah, yes (3+ / 0-)

        I just commented on this above. Shoulda read down further!

        They're AWESOME for reef tanks. We love ours. (well, we did, and will again. We're building a new tank)

        The controls available for LED tank lights are AMAZING. You can program them to mimic the sun's passage during the day, you can have "cloudy days", you can have moonlight - even PHASED moonlight - which is important for fish breeding.

      •  I've got some Coralife Aqualites over my 100 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        gal reef tank, and they are great and already paid for themselves in just 2 years of use.  However, given how bright and concentrated that aquarium lighting needs to be, heat is still a bit of an issue (but not as bad as for halogen lamps).  LEDs are semiconductor chips, and just like CPU chips or RAM chips they heat up in proportion to the electric current coursing through them.  Most definitely not cool to the touch.  So aquarium LEDs still need to be designed with heat sinks and fans, depending on the overall wattage of the system.

  •  There is some junk stuff being sold in both the (12+ / 0-)

    CFL and LED categories, but it sounds like the units you tested were credible. It certainly would be desireable for LED to be rebated for faster market penetration, but I have yet to see that happen.

    There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

    by oldpotsmuggler on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:13:14 AM PDT

    •  Yes, I've Got 2 LED Desk Lights Dying On Me (7+ / 0-)

      right now, bought about a year ago. I stopped buying CFL's altogether because so many of them were dying early.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:31:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  CFLs are really bad at on/off cycles (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mr Robert, Lawrence, pgm 01, cynndara

        I tried them in my bathroom fixture (3 of 6 sockets), and they died faster than regular incandescents. Brand didn't seem to make much difference.

        I've put in two LEDs a couple years ago, and they're still going strong.

        •  I have an incandescent in the bathroom (3+ / 0-)

          because CFL bulbs don't like to be sideways, the don't like heat and humidity and they don't like to be turned on and off frequently.  All of that combines to make a CFL in the bathroom last about as long as an incandescent which makes it too expensive to use there.  I have been looking for a low cost LED that can provide enough light sideways to illuminate the bathroom but the prices have been too high.  

          LED lights are very directional so the original bulbs were very much like a spot light, great if the bulb faces down but bad for what I needed.  Many of the bulbs on the market now do radiate light so I should be able to find a good replacement.  I really don't want to go through the hassle of replacing a light fixture just to get the benefit of modern bulbs.

      •  Agree the life cycle is greatly exaggerated (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I started using LED's 20 years ago, in my business, and found the life of the bulbs very much shorter than promised. The people I bought them from, in Nevada, were very good about replacing them, but finally I called them and discussed the problem. They said there is a problem with fluctuating power sources. Most of us do not have clean, non-fluctuating power, and this can make the LED's burn out early. My latest LED, about 2 years old, has already lost several units.  

        Reality is a good thing to know about, as long as you keep it separate from the Opera we live in

        by greatferm on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 08:33:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Unfortunately, the crooks got in the market first (4+ / 0-)

      I have bought LED lights for home and for car tail lights. They all failed rapidly. The crooks make bulbs with poor heatsinks and little or no electrical protection.

      All I know is if you buy bulbs with the Energy Star label, you should be OK.

      I have some flashlights with lithium ion batteries and CREE LEDs. Those things are very high quality and the envy of my friends.

    •  Some states offer rebates (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      In MA, I think you can get a certain number of bulbs per year for free, or nearly free after the rebate. In NH, I've seen rebate slips attached to the shelf next to the bulbs. VT offers a variety of rebates, depending on the lighting purpose (indoor, outdoor, commercial, residential), as well as rebates on occupancy sensors, daylight sensors, etc.

  •  Bang for buck the cheapest are the spots. (14+ / 0-)

    I point them straight at the ceiling most of the time and have been keeping a weather eye out for heavy duty crane style lamps. The biggest liability LEDs have is that they are much heavier than incandescents.

    My two cents: Only buy 2700K units.


    Home Depot sells some designed to replace  the reflector floods found in canister units. Every one above the ground floor has been replaced and when more powerful one's come out I'll be glad to buy them and put the current units in the downstairs hallway where I still have twisties.

  •  I put cans in new kitchen. (7+ / 0-)

    Planning on using PAR 30, but price is still 45-50 $$$ x 4 cans, waiting for price to come down some plus LED  technology to advance more before I plunk down $200. For 4 bulbs. I have one installed, but it doesn't spread the light enough, I need at least 40 degrees to light the room, and light color in the 3000 range. So far I'm not finding any that fill those needs.

    Severely Socialist

    by ichibon on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:19:40 AM PDT

    •  I hear ya. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radical simplicity

      I've got 9 cans.  

      Someday, though ...

      •  Cree's can dropped to $25 each at Home Depot (5+ / 0-)

        In December here in Central Ohio. The guy at the store said the power company (AEP) was subsidizing.

        So I replaced a bunch of cans and was going to finish up in January, but apparently the subsidy ended on cans and the price is now $35.

        But meanwhile the cost of their screw in 60 watt equivalent LEDs dropped to $15.  So I bough a bunch of those.

        I should have just waited!   The cans are very easy to install, nothing beats just screwing in a light bulb. And at $15, LED is a no brainier.

        "I wonder why Congress again in a new poll out today--11% approval rating. (It's) because they don't work for us. They work for the sons-of-bitches who pay them." Cenk Uygur

        by Dave in Columbus on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 04:50:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Got some recently, love 'em (8+ / 0-)

    I've had some small LED desk lamps for a couple of years, and just lately replaced the incandescents in the overhead fixture in my living room/office space too.  In addition to the lower energy cost, I was just soooo tired of having the room heat up within minutes from incandescents. And the LEDs are wonderful! I got 60w-equivalent bulbs for about $12 each (from Lighting EVER), daylight white, and they proved to be REALLY bright, like stadium lights. So I sent them back and got soft white, and they're perfect--not as yellow as incandescents or CFLs that are sold as soft white, and plenty bright. I'm going to switch out the rest of my bulbs in short order.

    "I believe they talked of me, for they laughed consumedly."--George Farquhar

    by slapshoe on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:26:43 AM PDT

    •  I prefer the less yellow LEDs. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radical simplicity

      The ones I have are not as yellow as incandescent, and I like that.  It feels closer to daylight, but not at all like the old blue-ish CFLs you used to see.

      "I wonder why Congress again in a new poll out today--11% approval rating. (It's) because they don't work for us. They work for the sons-of-bitches who pay them." Cenk Uygur

      by Dave in Columbus on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 05:18:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I keep an incandescent for my cat. (0+ / 0-)

      Since I only have 14 individual lights in the house (16 with porch lights, 18 with the little ones in the refrigerator, all not counting computer), perhaps I can afford to keep one lamp as a cat comforter, especially in the winter.

  •  They mock people (14+ / 0-)

    who embrace "green" and "save-the-earth" technologies. Until we start discussing the matters of relative convenience, and cost. Then they quiet down.

    Thanks for the diary.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:30:39 AM PDT

  •  I switched to LED Christmas lights several years (7+ / 0-)

    ago. The colors, especially blue, are much better, they use less power and you can string a lot more together, so I just need one timer instead of three.

    We have mostly CFLs in our fixtures but I don't really like them because of the mercury. I'll have to keep an eye on LEDs as I need to replace the current ones.

    As a former reef tank enthusiast, I've noticed that LEDs are replacing the boiling hot, current-sucking halides, which could lead to some interesting applications if I can ever set up my tank again.

    •  LED Christmas lights are awesome. I switched the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      tree when I found strings of random twinkle LEDs.  You can put a zillion of them on the tree and people on the moon can see the glow from it, but it still doesn't dry out the tree.  No heat!  

      Slowly, but surely, I'm replacing the outside holiday lights, too.  The best feature for outside is that they are typically solid state.  They don't replace.  You won't have the entire section of a strand go out just because one stupid light is loose.    

      Metaphors be with you.

      by koosah on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 09:07:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My first set of LED strings were non-replaceable. (0+ / 0-)

        I started losing strings after two years. I don't know if they were just poorly made or what. My new ones are replaceable just like incandescents, with a bit less of a turnover.

  •  A couple of questions (3+ / 0-)

    1) I heard on Fox News that Obama had banned incandescant light bulbs, so where are you buying yours from (as hypothetically laid out in the diary)?

    2) and could this be a problem?

    Ogunseitan and other UC-Irvine researchers tested several types of LEDs, including those used as Christmas lights, traffic lights, car headlights and brake lights. What did they find? Some of the worst offenders were low-intensity red LEDs, which were found to contain up to eight times the amount of lead, a known neurotoxin, allowed by California state law and which, according to researchers, “exhibit significant cancer and noncancer potentials due to the high content of arsenic and lead.” Meanwhile, white LEDs contain the least lead, but still harbor large amounts of nickel, another heavy metal that causes allergic reactions in as many as one in five of us upon exposure. And the copper found in some LEDs can pose an environmental threat if it accumulates in rivers and lakes where it can poison aquatic life.
    from Scientific American
    •  The law, phasing out standard incandescent light.. (13+ / 0-)

      .....bulbs................................. was signed by George Bush.

      “I used to be disgusted....Now I try to be amused" --Elvis-- My first attempt at a diary..

      by PlinytheWelder on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:43:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  OK, but that still doesn't help me wrt continuing (0+ / 0-)

        to buy them over the next 25 years . . . .

        •  You're not serious about Fox are you? (4+ / 0-)

          I just bought some incandescent light bulbs in the Internet this past week. 10 watt bulbs for a specific use.   A quick check shows this vendor sells common shapes and types of incandescents.

          I remember the conservative hue and cry about not being able to buy any more incandescents, and all the stockpiling that occurred.  Same thing happened with ammo.

          With the same results.   Just more trumped up hysteria because Obama.

          And as conservatives still buy incandescents and ammo all these years later, memories are non-existent about their previous outrage.   Benghazi. IRS.  etc.

        •  Incandescent bulbs are not being phased out, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cotterperson, Mr Robert, Lawrence

          but if LEDs improve much more, I expect to see manufacturers eventually phase them out as non-saleable.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:19:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There are always suckers. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            enhydra lutris, Calamity Jean

            "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

            by nosleep4u on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 01:18:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yes they are... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            enhydra lutris, KenBee

            75W and 100W A19 (standard light bulbs) were phased out last year. Old stocks can continue to be sold until they are
            exhausted. 60W and 40W A19's are scheduled to be phased out next year.



            Yes, energy efficient halogen A19 bulbs are available that act much like the older ones but are no where near as efficient as LED bulbs or even CFL's.

            Work lights, appliance bulbs, 3way and other specialty bulbs will continue to be sold, but standard A19 light bulbs ARE being phased out.

            And yes, I do sell LED and other bulbs for a living.

            “I used to be disgusted....Now I try to be amused" --Elvis-- My first attempt at a diary..

            by PlinytheWelder on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 05:55:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes and no. What has ahappened is that there (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              are efficiency requirements imposed on A19 bulbs for any given luminosity. Thus the old 60 watt A19 incandescent has been replaced by a 57 watt A 19 incandescent. It is the oppinion of somebody at Wikipedia that the standards will soon become impossible to meet, though at least one manufacturer is claiming to have already hit 50 a percent energy efficiency increase.

              That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

              by enhydra lutris on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 07:36:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  the market for Incandescents is dying. (2+ / 0-)

            CFLs have been killing their market and now LED is really killing them.

            I think Incandescents will remain as a niche product much
            as  Vacuum Tubes lingered as a niche product in the 70's and 80's.  I suspect Flea markets and yard sales will have cases of Incandescents for decades as aging old right wingers head off to the nursing home.

            •  I hope so. (0+ / 0-)

              I stockpiled 100s, but there are still some things they are best used for.  LEDs haven't come down enough to replace them, and CFLs can't be used outdoors in sub-freezing temperatures.  And there are some old-tech hacks which use incandescents deliberately as a good low-level heat source.

              I hope that after the market has effectively changed, they'll be able to relax that law a bit and allow the public to buy what they want for specialized purposes.  The costs of a niche market will ensure that they aren't overused without good reason.

            •  There will always be a need for incandescent (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              bulbs for oven lights, easy bake ovens and egg hatcheries.

    •  Answers (8+ / 0-)

      1.  "Obama" didn't ban incandescent bulbs.  The regulation merely requires a certain efficiency in general purpose bulbs.  There cut ally are incandescent bulbs that meet this requirement.  BTW the regs were formulated un Bush.  So he's your bogey man. Fox "forgot" to tell you hat.

      2.  Note that only certain bulbs have the problem.  This is easily solved by tightening up the regulations.  Hmm. Maybe you could tell your Fox buddies to demand that these regulations be expedited.  Fat chance.  

    •  Your first mistake was watching FOX (9+ / 0-)

      First of all the law was passed in 2007.  Second it didn't ban incandescent bulbs, it just required bulbs be more efficient.  So Obama didn't ban shit and only a FOX viewing moron would seriously buy that right wing bullshit.

      As for heavy metals, it's virtually impossible to manufacture ANY bulb without some metal in it.  Is the technology perfect?  Probably not.  Then again teh incandescent has had over 110 years to be perfected.  The other advantage is that when a LED bulb breaks it doesb't spray the metal out.  If there are some heavy metals in the bulbs in many cases those metals can be replaced by less toxic substitutes.  Finally, unless you break a bulb, that bulb will last 20 or so years so the amount of heavy metals you'll have to properly dispose of is minimal when compared to other bulbs.  I would say that's a small inconvenience considering you're saving over $200 PER BULB over the llifetime of those bulbs.    

      This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

      by DisNoir36 on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:55:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm actually not that worried about the toxicity (0+ / 0-)

        most healthy people are rather robust.

        The bigger issue here is how some people are willing to nitpick some technologies to death why unquestioningly embracing others, even to the point of lying about them in their diaries.

        I just find it puzzling (and intriguing!)

        •  I think you're going too far (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KenBee, greatferm, Rashaverak

          when you suggest that people LIE in their eagerness to promote their favorite tech.  It's really much more of a selective attention to detail.  But they can get FAR too emotional about it (not just here -- one of my best friends in the off-line world came close to screaming at me on this same issue less than a week ago).  I think that the writings of John Michael Greer on The Archdruid Report (LINK) concerning the ideology of Progress and Civil Religions have a lot of relevance if you're really interested.

          The bottom line is that "science" has taken over much of the role of religion in American civil society, and theological discussions can get very intense.  Challenging a "breakthrough" technology on pragmatic grounds isn't a comment on the current state of the technology or its suitability for your purposes; it's a value-laden attack on the soteriology of Progress.

        •  Have you balanced the use of metals in the LED (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          circuits with the reduction in heavy metal pollution (especially mercury) from power plants (especially coal-fired)?  That's not something Fox News would mention, gien they're gung-ho about supporting coal.  Fox blames Obama for a "war on coal", neglecting to mention that coal can't compete with cheaper natural gas from fracking (which Fox also supports, unless it shows Obama in a good light).

          A Fairleigh University study showed that people who watch Fox are LESS well informed than people who watch no news at all.  In short, Fox is unreliable as a news source- they're a far right wing propaganda outlet.  Citing them does not help anyone's case.

    •  Home Depot. It's where I bought my first one in (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, Mr Robert

      years for an external lamp just a week ago.

    •  Thank you for the link! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee, greatferm

      I went to the Scientific American site and read the article and comments. From comments it seems toxicity is problematic not for the home owner, but for the land fill.  They ground up the lights and 'perculated' the grounds to see what would leach--not something we are likely to "try at home."

      And as commenters pointed out, you are unlikely to find any lighting fixtures of any kind without copper involved, and our cell phones raise bigger recycling concerns.

      But they do need to be regulated for lead...and maybe best to "buy American" to avoid unregulated producers.

      "I wonder why Congress again in a new poll out today--11% approval rating. (It's) because they don't work for us. They work for the sons-of-bitches who pay them." Cenk Uygur

      by Dave in Columbus on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 05:04:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Sci Am article doesn't say that about landfill (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brainwrap, JerryNA, Rashaverak

        It says: "LEDs are currently not considered toxic by law and can be disposed of in regular landfills."

        That was the only reference to landfills that I could find.

        The Scientific American article is embarrassingly bad, so people should stop quoting it. The comments on the Sci Am site say things like, "it's not 1st April, is it?" and " I can't think of anything that uses power that does not have copper."

        The one verifiable toxic claim made in the article is that "low-intensity red LEDs, which were found to contain up to eight times the amount of lead, a known neurotoxin, allowed by California state law"

        If that was true, you couldn't bloody well sell the LEDs could you?

        My theory is that they tested decades-old LEDs that were manufactured before current standards were in place.

        Red LEDs were the first that were widely available. The joke was that you could buy LEDs in three colors: Red, redder and reddest.

        I am sure that there are plenty of consumer products in people's homes that were made with decades-old LEDs, but I do not believe that these LED's are currently on sale as electronic parts. First of all, you are legally required to tell the buyer that these parts are full of lead. (Probably not for finished consumer junk in the USA)

        Secondly, the European Union enacted standards in 2006 restricting the hazardous content of electronic products. This was called the RoHS directive. (Pronounced, row hoss) Anyone who designs electronic or electrical devices knows this. It was one of the biggest changes to the industry in my career. What is the first thing on the list that they wanted to reduce? Lead.

        The European Union standard is sort of like Texas standards for textbooks. Who wants to design a product that you can't sell in the EU?

        RoHS allows one part per thousand of lead.

        Most LEDs, just like everything else, are made in China, so there is no reason to exclude them from your search.

        I just went to an electronics part supplier, Digikey, and did a query on the different white LEDs that they have in stock. It doesn't return an exact number but with 25 per page, there were 58 pages. I checked the box to limit this to RoHS compliant devices: again there were 58 pages. I limited it further to lead-free devices: again there were 58 pages.

        So if you see the CE symbol on an LED light bulb, it is guaranteed to be low in toxic metals. Sometimes there is a RoHS mark, too.

        There has been some fear mongering about nickel and copper in this diary's comments. You probably have copper fittings in the pipes that deliver your drinking water. Most silvery metals around you contain nickel. There is no directive to keep these metals out of landfills.

    •  I'm guessing you're not planning (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee, Ender, Brainwrap, JerryNA, Rashaverak

      To disassemble the bulbs and lick the heavy metals in the electronic ballast. We know how to recycle lead and other heavy metals, so work on getting your community to require recycling sometime before 2038, and you should be all set.

      The entire state of VT requires all electronics, CFLs, thermostats, and batteries to be recycled. I'm pretty sure we can get the law updated sometime over the next 25 years to add LEDs to the list.

  •  I've been waiting for Switch LEDs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, Mr Robert

    They have a great design, and are slowly trickling into the market:

    I also got a Phillips LED (the ARPA-E prize one) and it's amazingly bright. - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

    by barath on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:40:38 AM PDT

    •  We really like our Phillips bulbs (0+ / 0-)

      They put out an excellent quality of light.

    •  Bought a pair of Switch LEDs for enclosed fixtures (0+ / 0-)

      Switch Lighting sells LEDs that work pretty much anywhere due to their design. They have pretty big radiator fins around the base, and their bulbs are filled with silicone to absorb the heat and take it away from the actual LED units.

      Switch is coming out this year with LED replacements for 100W incandescent type A bulbs - the first in the race to hit the 100W point with a reliable device. 100W LED bulbs are tough due to a limitation with LED technology - the more you pump through an LED, the less of an increase you get in actual brightness. Pump too much through and you wind up with heat problems that shorten the life of the bulb, too. Switch's bulbs are (almost over-)engineered to work around that limitation.

      I had a pair of fully enclosed fixtures that were located high on a vault ceiling; I didn't want to ever replace the bulbs in those fixtures again. Switch to the rescue!

      Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. - William Pitt

      by Phoenix Rising on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 07:44:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Their winning niche right now dimmable+candelabra. (5+ / 0-)

    Dimmable CFLs are expensive and not as reliable as ordinary CFLs.
    Ditto for candelabra-sized (the smaller, typically 40W ones that have become fashionable in bathrooms etc.).
    Also, for reading lamps (i.e., close to your head) it is not recommended to use CFLs due to their high UV radiation.

    Of course, once the LED price point drops even further, CFLs might gradually be phased out of the main market because they are a headache to get rid of for the responsible consumer, and if they happen to break it's a minor HazMat event, taking place in such cheerful locales as the kids' bedroom. Been there, done that.

    Not to mention, perhaps finally we'll get those energy-hogging incandescents to be really obsolete.

    Looking forward to those affordable LEDs!

  •  That sounds great, and I am thinking of (6+ / 0-)

    replacing some CFLs with LEDs but have a single question as one who lives in the desert.

    How much heat does an LED bulb generate compared to a CFL? It may not seem important to most, but the heat generated by an incandescent bulb was the reason we switched to CFLs when they first came out, in their original inner tube shape.

    The generated heat was why we didn't go with halogens.

  •  LED's are virtually unbreakable, too. (13+ / 0-)

    Whether it's a full-size LED light bulb, or a string of LED Christmas lights, the ruggedness and durability are huge advantages.

    You can literally step on a string of LED Christmas lights without damage while handling them, and - this had never occurred to me until it happened - you can knock over a lamp with an LED bulb and it "keeps on tickin'".

    My pooties have knocked my LED-equipped bedside lamp off the nightstand several times. Regular bulbs would have broken each time, as would CFL's...and there would have been the added (albeit minor) mercury hazard from the broken CFL.

    LED's rock!

    Of course, rightwingers still hate them. Because Freedomz. And because Obama. And because they save energy. Rightwingers are idiots. I just realized that. ;-)

    "Bernie Madoff's mistake was stealing from the rich. If he'd stolen from the poor he'd have a cabinet position." -OPOL

    by blue in NC on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:01:41 PM PDT

    •  Strobe (5+ / 0-)

      This is fun to do if you have a string of LED Christmas lights. Swing a foot or two of the end of the string in a circle. It strobes because they're only on half of the time! So they're only on 30 times a second, when the alternating current swings in the right direction. On their own, without electronic controls, LED bulbs are diodes, passing electricity in only one direction. I have a string of solar powered LED lights that didn't work until the connector was rotated 180 degrees.

      ---------------------- Avaritia facit Bardus (greed makes you stupid)

      by Everbody on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:26:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  .............. gotta wear shades (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, Mr Robert, Brainwrap


    .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:10:35 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for the excellent news, Brainwrap! (5+ / 0-)

    Strongly recommend, "The Lightbulb Conspiracy," which explains that and other ways we're being screwed by the corporations -- up to iPods and computer printers. (Fine site for other documentaries as well!)

    The Light Bulb Conspiracy investigates the history of Planned Obsolescence — the deliberate shortening of product life span to guarantee consumer demand — by charting its beginnings in the 1920s with a cartel set up expressly to limit the life span of light bulbs, right up to present-day products involving cutting edge electronics such as the iPod. The film travels to France, Germany, Spain and the US to find witnesses of a business practice which has become the basis of the modern economy, and brings back graphic pictures from Ghana where discarded electronics are piling up in huge cemeteries for electronic waste, causing intense environmental destruction and health problems…

    "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

    by cotterperson on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:11:47 PM PDT

  •  Yikes, I almost took away my rec of your diary. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, Mr Robert, Brainwrap, Jay C

    I was at the top of the page and hit rec on the small star because I forgot I had already recced at the bottom.  Good thing the do you really want to do this window comes up.  Maybe I need a better light, you think?

    Appreciate the info.  I can't wait for newer cheaper LEDs.

    I have the under the kitchen cabinet ones and love them.

    I really do not like the light put out by CFLs.  Also, I have yet to buy one that lasted more than a year.

    In the time it took Adam Lanza to reload, eleven children escaped. What if...

    by Sixty Something on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:16:24 PM PDT

  •  I use LEDs in several applications. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    spunhard, Mr Robert, Lawrence, patbahn

    I found a milkcrate over half-filled with boxes of new LED christmas lights at a garage sale, all white.  Got 'em for a song.  Put several strands under the eaves between the driveway and the back door.

    I have several 40w equivilent bulbs around the house. And of course several flashlights.

    Presently looking for some not-outrageously priced undercabinet lights and I really want  an LED headlight for my motorcycle.  I see that there are several new car lines are using them, so I am hoping I will be able to find a good unit someday soon.

    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

    by beemerr90s on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:22:46 PM PDT

  •  I'm slowly switching over to LED (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    spunhard, Bronx59

    I've used LED bulbs in a three existing fixtures, several under cabinet lights, plus a desk lamp that I really like.

    Here are some links to products that I've purchased.

    LED Extended Gooseneck Brushed Nickel Desk Lamp

    Long Life 9" Circline Plug-in Replacement LED Light Bulb, Warm White T9 Equivalent

    Bulbrite LED2CTC LED Chandelier Candelabra Base, Clear

    Amerelle LED216HBAM 16-Inch LED Under Cabinet Light, White

    Utilitech 16-Watt (75W) A19 Warm White (3000K) LED Light Bulb

    Note that at this point the Circline replacement bulb is no longer being made, but you can now buy LED ceiling fixtures.

    I've been very happy with the quality of the LED light and do see some savings on my electric bill.

    Sometime later this year I hope to replace the Halogen bulbs in a track light with LED equivalents. I'm just waiting for the price to come down a bit more.

    The only trouble with retirement is...I never get a day off!

    by Mr Robert on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:30:36 PM PDT

  •  No mention of US based CREE company!? (15+ / 0-)

    CREE's are currently the best LED's on the market, in my opinion. They carry several products in Home Depot. I put the recessed cans throughout my home as soon as they came out. Started with just three, but the improvement they made was astounding. It now seemed like sunlight was streaming through my ceiling.

    Then, a month and a half ago, they finally (again through Home Depot) introduced a replacement for a standard 60 Watt bulb. I think the price was $13.00. Looks exactly like standard bulb and it's a beautiful light.

    CREE products are mostly made in North Carolina, employing American workers.

    •  Mentioned in the Time article, added to the diary (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pgm 01, Jay C, Mr Robert

      Thanks for the heads up!

    •  They are excellent (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      They are $15 at the Home Depots here in Columbus.

      I bought my first really good LED (I think it was Cree) years ago.   I had to go to a lighting store across town to buy it, and it was $100.

      Now it’s $15 and down the street at Home Depot.

      I'll be buying LEDs from now on!

      "I wonder why Congress again in a new poll out today--11% approval rating. (It's) because they don't work for us. They work for the sons-of-bitches who pay them." Cenk Uygur

      by Dave in Columbus on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 05:32:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm buying LED's too. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brainwrap, JerryNA

        Now that they have dropped in price and have been perfected, it takes just over a year for them to pay for themselves. That means the second year of use, they start paying you! Investment in them for the home (and office) is a no brainer.

        Investing in the company is also a no brainer. I bought just a few shares, I couldn't afford any more, the first day they said they had introduced the 60 watt bulb replacement. So far, I'm looking like an investment genius. Opportunities this good come along rarely.

        Plus, I am investing in a technology that is good for my planet.

  •  LEDs dimmed by PWM are hell on migraines (9+ / 0-)

    LED light by itself is flicker-free, but most LED light is dimmed using pulse-width modulation (PWM) which, if done carelessly can be absolute hell on those of us that are migraine sensitive (somewhere between 4-10% of the population).  

    PWM basically flashes the light on and off very rapidly, faster than the eye can see, to create the illusion of a dimmer light.  However, if this is done at too slow of a rate, say a frequency of somewhere between 100Hz and 200Hz, it can't be seen but it CAN induce crippling migraines in those that are sensitive to it.

    This same problem exists in many flatscreen computer monitors and televisions.  It isn't a problem specific to LED light, but LED light is worse than other light because it doesn't have as much persistence when you turn it off, meaning it creates a much more definitive strobing effect than other forms of light, even fluorescent.  

    I'm all for the emergence of these green light bulbs, but I fear for my ability to go out in public as people start putting cheap dimmable LEDs into public places that are essentially migraine-induction devices.  

    There is no techincal reason that LEDs HAVE to use PWM at low frequencies.  It's probably the cheapest and laziest way to dim them, but there are other ways to do it that wouldn't cause anyone problems.  All you would have to do it get the duty-cycyle up to a high enough frequency and it wouldn't bother migraine sufferers like myself.  However I'm not sure how to get anyone to seem to care about or even acknowledge this issue.  In the push to greenify our light sources it seems that few people are even aware of the problem.

    •  I get those migraines, too (6+ / 0-)

      Photosensitivity sucks. Bad flourescents will trigger migraines, as will high-pressure sodiums...just coming in from sunlight to a darkened room is dicey. And those goddam blue LED headlights people put on their cars make my life miserable.

      •  Photosensitivity (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KenBee, Roadbed Guy, Mrs M, JerryNA

        Technically I'm not classified as being photosensitive, because bright sunlight doesn't affect me at all.  It is just the damn strobing light sources that kill me.  You're right--bad fluorescent light used to be the main source of this problem.  However, in the last 10 years or so, light sources being dimmed using PWM have become a big big problem.  

        It's so frustrating, because fixing the problem would be as simple as requiring manufacturers to set the frequency of the modulation on the dimming to something like 1KHz.  That would put it above the flicker-fusion threshold of any human brain and render it harmless.  But since most people are completely unaware of the problem (or just don't care about it) we continue to get light sources that cause huge problems for a large number of people.

        I worry that LED lighting is going to end up being even worse in this regard than bad fluorescents ever were.    

    •  maybe you need a supplemental light source. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy

      somesort of helmet with ring lights, would that help?

      or clear wrap around eyewear with some little light sources?

  •  Excellent (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert, KenBee

    I've been waiting for the price to come down on these. When my CFLs need replacement I'll be swapping in LEDs.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:58:37 PM PDT

  •  Question for the experts (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert, KJC MD, pgm 01, Jay C, akeitz

    Why do LED light bulbs have to conform to traditional form factors? Wouldn't it be more fun to have flexible formats? Is that possible?

    •  I think the main issue is... (7+ / 0-)

      the massive existing physical plant. Replacing an incandescent bulb into the same socket designed by the Edison Company for the first light bulb is much easier and less expensive than replacing the supporting fixtures.

      As new construction and retrofitting takes place, new form factors can come to the foreground. But there will always be a need for LED "bulbs" that mimic historical patterns.

      "When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?"--Eleanor Roosevelt

      by KJC MD on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 01:46:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I bought some counter lighting hockey pucks (5+ / 0-)

        a few years ago.

        They were handy and relatively cheap, but three of the four failed within a thousand hours. It was probably the electronics because LEDs themselves are rarely the problem in any LED failure. Quality control on all of this lighting needs to get better.

        Americans can make our country better.

        by freelunch on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 03:29:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Old lamps (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cynndara, KenBee, Roadbed Guy

        are the main reason I have no use for LEDs, that I can tell. Dimmable is a good development, but every LED bulb I've seen casts light in one direction [usually away from the socket], where most of my lamps are designed for a bulb that illuminates in all directions. I've found some halogen bulbs that work, but they're not all dimmable.

        And I'm keeping the lamps. I've but a lot of effort into keeping an old house looking old.

        into the blue again, after the money's gone

        by Prof Haley on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 05:27:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There will be more forms. (6+ / 0-)

      I can see modern homes in the future being built with full low voltage circuits to charge devices directly and power led lights.  Right now most lights were designed around the shape of a standard Edison base bulb.  There are companies today that specialize in custom LED lighting, but the cost of services like that means it is available for commercial applications or the wealthy.  If you are willing to geek out, you can buy the parts for these low voltage systems and build them yourself.

    •  Possible and being done (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      whenwego, JerryNA

      Panels are one of the form factors people are having fun with.

      Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

      by Dogs are fuzzy on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 03:57:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What is the energy cost to manufacture them? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert

    "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

    by nosleep4u on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 01:07:22 PM PDT

  •  I DEMAND conservatives get busy NOW (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert, Ender, Calamity Jean

    creating a conspiracy theory about why these are bad and want to hear verification they refuse to even consider them.

    Because I am entertained by their friggin stupidity.

    •  It is already in the diary comments (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean, JerryNA

      LED lights are made with nickel and copper.

      I am going to go work with some copper metal, now.

      Please, pray for my survival.

      •  Scientific American and Federal Government (0+ / 0-)

        agencies that monitor the health and the environment are part of a conservative conspiracy?


        Now * that * is what sounds like a Conservative Conspiracy Theory!

        •  No government agrees with you! (0+ / 0-)

          You are making that up.

          Copper and nickel are perfectly fine in land fills.

          Please stop your fear mongering!

          LEDs are more environmentally friendly than any other form of lighting.

          •  I am not fearmongering (0+ / 0-)

            and where did I say anything about land fills?

            Now you are just making shit up about me.

            Why don't you stop THAT? (!!)

            •  So old light bulbs end up in martinis? (0+ / 0-)

              What exactly have you been warning us about if it isn't LED light bulbs contaminating the environment with their evil copper and nickel?

              •  For fucks' sake, the problem is in the (0+ / 0-)

                production process.  Not US landfills - WHICH I NEVER FREAKING MENTIONED!

                Did you even read the freaking SA article, which mentions all kinds of toxic metals such as arsenic and lead (while you fixated on two of the less toxic, but still dangerous, ones for some unknown reason).

                These metals - or at least most of them - don't have any clear function in the finished product and were most likely introduced during shoddy manufacturing - of the kind well documented for other forms of clean energy in China.  

                For example seeIn China, the true cost of Britain's clean, green wind power experiment: Pollution on a disastrous scale

                But we are Americans, so gives gives a damn if third worlders suffer to make us feel good about "going green"?  And people are suffering, this is NOT JUST FEARMONGERING!!

                In any event, based on the analysis presented in the Scientific American article of what is in the LEDs, it is certain that similar problems and environmental impacts occur during their production.

                •  Wrong. Stop changing the subject. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  The Scientific American article says nothing about effluent from production. You just threw that out there to distract from all of the nonsense that you have been slinging. The (bad) Sci Am article is only about supposed harmful substances in actual LEDs!

                  There is nothing in the article that even hints that toxic metals are being released in China to produce our LED lighting. In fact the article says nothing about the origin of the LEDs that they tested.

                  What I said about lead contamination applies equally to arsenic. It isn't in today's LEDs!

                  I say again, LEDs are more environmentally friendly than any other form of lighting.

                  Why can't you accept that?

                  PS. Why are you quoting a right-wing newspaper to discredit wind power?

                  •  Then YOU tell me how the toxic metals (0+ / 0-)

                    get in the LEDs.

                    Seriously, why are you deflecting and obscuring from this rather important issue?

                    And about the newspaper, do you doubt the content?  Because if your standard is "rightwing" or "leftwing" wrt to whether a source is reliable, your continually dissing of Scientific American is very very odd.  Not to mention extremely hypocritical!

  •  How long before a three way LED? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, Mr Robert, patbahn

    Even the long lasting 50/100/150 incandescent bulbs in my lamp burn out quickly.

  •  I've replaced several bulbs with LEDs (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, Mr Robert, patbahn, JerryNA

    and love them! Brighter light with far less energy usage, and no delay-to-brightness we got from the CFLs.

    Just yesterday, we received in the mail a torchiere lamp that uses LEDs for both the ceiling light and reading spots. This replaces one that used a CFL for the ceiling and halogen for the reading light which got a short in the dimmer switch. Much lower wattage, much brighter light, and the satisfaction of projected longer life.

    Even as an early adopter, it's the way to go. Well worth the extra up-front cost.

    "When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?"--Eleanor Roosevelt

    by KJC MD on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 01:41:54 PM PDT

  •  Yay. We'll be saving so much in electricity... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert, cynndara

    ...the utilities will be forced to raise their rates to compensate for the revenue losses. You can bet your bippy that will happen.

    •  no Cheap Solar PV is doing that (0+ / 0-)

      If people put 7 KW on the roof of their homes,
      that makes them Grid neutral, it's going to bust the business case for a lot of utilties

      •  7 KW (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roadbed Guy, Ender

        Isn't going to make most people grid neutral outside of California.  It will run your lights, but not much else.  Heating and cooling require a lot more energy.  Not to mention that that 7KW will set you back $7,000 just for the panels, and then you need another $3,000 worth of batteries and $1000 worth of miscellaneous inverters, controllers, and various electrical hodge-podge.  And then the electric company will continue to charge you for being connected up to the point where you go completely off-grid and independent (and in some places, may manage to make that illegal if you were previously connected).

        Costs of capital are going to continue being a problem, considering the economic situation and the financial situations of the vast majority of Americans.  Cheap solar is wonderful, but the migration isn't going to come overnight.

        •  Yes, you need 3 or 4x more than that (0+ / 0-)

          plus the biggest cost is not the gadgets per se, but their installation at least onto an existing house - you know, to install them onto the roof by competent professionals in a way that won't render the roof leaky, etc - for me that would have been in at least $15.

          Over 20 years or so, it's a good investment nonetheless.  But in the here and now it can be tricky coming up with the cash/financing  . . .  .

        •  your data is wrong. (0+ / 0-)

          The average american house needs 7KW of solar to hit grid neutral.

          I never said you want to go offgrid, merely that going grid neutral is destroying the business model of many utiltities.

          BTW, your cost breakdown is wrong.

          The business model from a utility isn't selling grid connect, it's selling electricity.  If your spinning your meter backwards, they aren't selling you power.

          They need to evolve to a grid connect model fast and they
          face real problems because they have a lot of capital costs,
          and they face real challenges.

          As Vehicle to Home technology improves and it's coming fast,
          people don't need big battery and generators, they may just plug their car in, and use that for their small power needs at night.

  •  I swapped out all my PAR30s for LEDs (9+ / 0-)

    A bit steep up front investment, but a fantastic bargain in the long run.

    I have been experimenting w/CFLs and some LEDs for the last couple of years--I try them out in my office, that way if they don't work too well, I leave them there and take the hit for the crappy light.

    But in the last year I have found some winners at Costco and replaced all 15 lamps in my kitchen/family room.

    The only weird thing is that, with a lifespan of 22.8 years for the LEDs, I may be buying light bulbs that will outlive me.

    It actually kind of creeped me out at first.

    America works best when it works for everyone.

    by Azdak on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 02:35:28 PM PDT

  •  When will people like you mention the Ford (4+ / 0-)

    Energi's that are out there?  Ford has 2 very nice cars that do extremely well at miles per gallon.  For instance my C-Max Energi recently was filled up after going over 1,000 miles on 11.9 gallons of gas.  This worked out to be over 84 MPG!  And this car is cheaper than most would think.  That is because of the $3,750 federal tax credit and some states give a $1,000 or more state tax break.  Add in the saving in gas and this car can be bought for well under $30,000!  My C-Max plugs right into a regular 120 volt wall socket and no other expensive plug is needed.  That is another $1,000-$1,500 in saving over other cars like the Volt.

    And please don't buy the Spark as that car is not made in the US and we ALL need to buy cars not only made in the US, but also built by the UAW!

  •  A tip for any out there who still use (4+ / 0-)

    incandescent bulbs: an electrician working on a remodel for me several years ago told me never to buy bulbs anywhere other than a commercial retail lighting store. He said the reason incandescent bulbs burn out so quickly is that those sold at regular retail stores (grocery, $ stores, box stores, etc.) are all 125 volts but what you need are 130 volts. The reason is that 125v bulbs do not handle surges well which shortens their life span; 130v bulbs eliminate that problem.

    He was right; I only bought 130v bulbs from that point on. I'm still using incandescent since I don't like the mercury content of CFL's and can't afford LED's yet, so don't know if either of those bulb types are available in 130v vs 125v or if the same premise would apply. Anyone?

    Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think of you. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

    by Ellen Columbo on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 02:54:05 PM PDT

    •  130 volt bulbs are dimmer than 125 volt.lamps... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      patbahn, cynndara

      Should say on the box XXX lumens.
      Better off switching to LED's. No need to go backwards on energy efficiency.

      •  As soon as LED's get into my price (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        range. I'm on a very limited retirement income and cannot afford LED's yet.

        Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think of you. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

        by Ellen Columbo on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 05:32:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Got it but Diarist prices don't... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          respect deals that come along especially in places like here in Boston with "utility instant rebates." Several commenters also allude to internet specials as well.

          It is important to note the utility doesn't do this because they are good guys. The state regulator requires it just like they requires them to buy a bunch of renewable energy.

          But the sign at joints like costco prominently display the shareholder-owned utility name so, IMO, it's great advertising (albeit false advertising :-))

          My point is I think the MANDATED rebates in a lot states/countries got the (Chinese) manufacturers attention and production went way up and prices went way down.

          I remember when the screw-in fluorescents came out and the regulators made them do the rebate thing for ~ten years.

          Towards the end of the program, screw-in fluorescents were cheap and the state said enough. rebates ended. Cost continued to fall. Critical mass thing. Buy em for $1.
          But fluorescents way not as nice as LED's.

          Same thing could happen with LEDs. Just bought 3 pack of LED's at costco for $16 and am impressed with them. I bought my first LED a year ago for $10 (including rebate) and really liked it but $10 bit pricey!

          So, hopefull you and I will still be buying light bulbs when LEDs cost a $1 :-)

  •  Any idea when they will have LED bulbs that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert, cynndara

    are suitable to replace 150-300 watt bulbs and are suitable for photographic use?  Because there are photographic CFL bulbs which work just fine and for the higher wattage equivalents there are always halogens.

    Also, are there any LED bulbs that plug into a standard light socket and put out near IR rather than visible light (for "night vision") or would I have to make my own?

    You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

    by Throw The Bums Out on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 03:10:13 PM PDT

  •  I buy LEDs and CFL, but the false ads annoy (5+ / 0-)

    The light output of the Feit talked about here (790 lumens) is less than the output of a standard 60W incandescent ~840, a 75W would be over 1000 lumens).

    It's not as if LED marketers were the first to mislead consumers about light output, even CFL folks were just following GE's misleading ads for a line of incandescent bulbs that let you save electricity because they were five watts smaller. Of course you could save electricity by putting a 75W in where a 100W was or a 60W where a 75W was, but the lighting is always less.

    The 3-way bulb discussed above does manage to report its light output comparison more accurately.

    Americans can make our country better.

    by freelunch on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 03:19:28 PM PDT

    •  Yea, they just can't help themselves but still... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      LED's provide ~4 times the lumens/watt compared to incandescents. Lumens/watt will usually be on the box.

      •  It would really help, though (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roadbed Guy, Notreadytobenice

        if they were made at the right brightness.  One problem with the CFL liars was that along with claiming that 1400 lumens was "equivalent" to 1700 lumens, they didn't MAKE a bulb that delivered those 1700 lumens.  I end up using the 42W CFLs that are supposed to be 150W equivalents and are actually about halfway between the old 100W and the old 150W.

        HONESTY would be nice; REAL EQUIVALENCE would be even nicer.  Making the entire world smaller and dimmer may be more "efficient", but it's rather like the chained CPI.  Substituting chicken for beef because you can't afford beef any more isn't the same thing as a steak dinner on Saturday night.

  •  Home Depot has $11.00 LEDs (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert, Notreadytobenice, Jay C

    I was a little leery, but I just ordered (and received) "Philips 10.5-Watt (60-Watt) A19 Bright White (3000K) Household LED Light Bulb" from Home Depot for $10.97 each.  I was happy to read your diary; I feel pretty good now about the purchase.  They seem great in my living room lamps.  I've never even seen one before but the 25,000 hours looked pretty attractive.  

  •  Started on that path (0+ / 0-)

    We went solar on the house and I started investing in LED's. I went with CREE. Outstanding value. I am replacing the most used bulbs first and working down. For example, in the family room we have 2x4 bulb fixtures and two reading lights. All were 75 watt bulbs totaling 750 watts. Replaced with CREE equiv. 40 watts. I need to keep them all dimmed down. I am lighting the same space with probably about 60 watts in total above a 90% reduction in power usage. It shown on my meter and the savings are great. By the end of the summer I will be replacing all the bulbs, except some of the halogens with a weird base.

    Worth the investment.....  


    by profewalt on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 03:39:59 PM PDT

  •  I passed a Volt today! Parked in a house just down (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the street from me.

  •  We're using about 230 kwh per month total after (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    patbahn, KenBee

    shifting to LEDs

    Just emptied and unplugged the deep freeze in the basement. That should bring us down below 200 kwh per month in electricity.

  •  Huge win on replacement hassles (3+ / 0-)

    I've got a track fixture that can't be reached in a place where I can't put a ladder. I bought LED bulbs for it back when they were close to a hundred dollars. It was absolutely worth it.

    For someone with balance or mobility problems who shouldn't be on a ladder? Pure gold.

    Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

    by Dogs are fuzzy on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 04:00:46 PM PDT

  •  I'm renovating my kitchen (0+ / 0-)

    and plan to use only LED lighting.  I did just install a dimmable LED last evening in the light fixture in the hall. I got tired of the dead CFL bulb that had been in there for several years.  Well, I got my husband to install it as I can't reach that high even on a step stool.  It's nice having light in the hall again.

  •  This is good news. I have been wanting LED (0+ / 0-)

    for a long time but could not afford the initial investment on my income. I think that if I can find them locally for $20 each I could buy one ever month or so and slowly replace my CFL. I can give my CFL bulbs away to a neighbor or something. I have a few extra in a drawer waiting for them to burn out but they burn out so infrequently for me that I have moved and left them much more than replacing burnt out ones.

    That passed by; this can, too. - Deor

    by stevie avebury on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 04:06:28 PM PDT

  •  These bulbs shouldn't be $20/pc (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Notreadytobenice, RiveroftheWest

    There must be some sort of incredible markup on them because I stumbled across a sale a few months ago where they were $6 each ! Bought 32 of them on the spot.  Haven't seen that deal since then unfortunately :(

    To you, I'm an atheist. To God, I'm the loyal opposition.” ― Woody Allen

    by soros on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 04:28:03 PM PDT

  •  Just don't tell conservatives they're green (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, Brainwrap, JerryNA

    Just tell them they'll save on their electric bills.

    "And the President of the United States - would be seated right here. I would be here. And he would be here. I would turn - and there he’d be. I could pet ‘im." - Lewis Black

    by libdevil on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 04:32:26 PM PDT

  •  What about low voltage systems? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I have a bunch of MR16 halogens in my house - I've found one option to replace them:

    But the cost is very high. If anyone has some ideas, I'd love to hear them.

    Procrastination is the key to flexibility

    by orchestra guy on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 05:01:15 PM PDT

  •  Can they be used in enclosed fixtures? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My old house has a number of ceiling fixtures that are enclosed in glass covers.  I cannot use CFLs in them because the heat buildup dramatically shortens the life of the bulb, so I've been stuck with incandescents.  Can the LED bulbs be used in enclosed fixtures?

    You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.

    by songsparrow on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 06:55:23 PM PDT

  •  Building new house with all LED lighting (6+ / 0-)

    I have been waiting for a long time for LED lighting to reach this point. Nearly 10 years ago I went (nearly) 100% CFL in my house. I have experienced most of the downsides which others have mentioned, but stuck with them for both energy efficiency and lower heat contribution reasons.

    I am currently just beginning the construction of a new energy efficient (and green building materials) house for which I am going to install 100% LED lighting.

    Exciting times!

  •  Lighting is the #2 electricity consumer nationally (0+ / 0-)

    After air conditioning. So this LED revolution has massive, massive green implications.

    As a former Philips copper and steel lighting engineer who occasionally "borrowed" from the electronics group's test equipment and supplies, let me please beg you to call them



    •  One wonders, however (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      How much of that "lighting" is ordinary household lighting, and how much is industrial lighting that is on 24/7, commercial signage, and the masses of high-intensity "street" lights illuminating the acres of car-dealership parking lots day in, day out, so that no one can drive by without seeing the AWESOME DEALS on display.

      In other words, how much of that light is actually being used by real people to live their lives, and how much is the desperate attempt of somebody with Something To Sell to compete for the limited interest of people with no need to buy?

      •  Fortunately, some of that commercial lighting (0+ / 0-)

        is being changed to LEDs.  I've seen a lot of new LED lights at a local recently-renovated gas station.  There is an excellent business case for switching to more durable bright lights in hard to reach places that use much less energy.

        •  Good point. (0+ / 0-)

          Personally, I think we should just outlaw wasting electricity for frivolous marketing purposes, with those animated big screens that try to flash all their sales events at you WHILE YOU'RE NAVIGATING TRAFFIC with people zipping in and out around you going first.  Hollande's move to turn out the 24-hour lights in Paris is a first step.  150 years ago, lighting up a city so you could see it from twenty miles in the air was a miracle.  Now it's a nuisance that makes it hard to see the stars.

          In the meantime, if I were running a business like those huge car-sales lots, you'd better believe I'd be looking into reducing costs by investing in the best available technology.  One reason I prefer lower tech is that the margins are relatively small compared to the capital on the small scale.  With heavy use and long lifetimes, the numbers change dramatically.

  •  I have an LED floating lamp flashlight. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's awful.  I don't use it anymore.

    The LED flashlights that I have seen to date have the same problem as the early CFL's did (and the way most CFL's still have) i.e., the spectrum they display is unnatural and harsh and unpleasant and can make some things HARDER to see.

  •  Also, about aquarium lighting... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Algae is caused by the red end of the spectrum, not heat.  (That's fortunate, because most aquariums have thermostatic heaters to maintain a constant temperature.)  Those fluorescent lights that were best for growing plants were often the worst promoters of algae, and it was a trade-off decision point.  I don't expect that to change with LEDs.

    •  CREE lamps (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      . . are made in cool white and warm white. Maybe the cool white ones won't promote algae growth. I use those over my workbench.

      •  cool white ones specifically (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        aren't very good for plants.  It doesn't mean that you can't GROW things underneath them.  It just means if you have expensive plants, they won't thrive.

        The best fluorescent aquarium plant light ever made was probably the Sylvania Gro-Lux, which they don't make in 40 watt anymore.  It was very strong in the red and blue ends of the spectrum and weak in the green.  We used to love them.  Fish seemed to glow under them.  Not "true to life," but still rather attractive.  And the plants grew like crazy.  Lots of algae, though.

        •  just to add a note about veggy seedlings (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          If people are raising vegetable starts, tomatoes from seed, etc. or any other plants from seed, cool white bulbs are perfectly adequate and much cheaper.

          I learned in my garden reading that warm-spectrum light bulbs, or 'full-spectrum' bulbs, or 'grow lights' are only needed for plants when they reach the flowering/fruiting stage. For plants in the first developing stage they aren't needed. Or I should say, those spectrums aren't needed.

          I used to grow magnificent vegetables that I started indoors--tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, okra, herbs, etc, etc. all with cheap florescent cool-white bulbs. These plants usually spent just a few weeks indoors until transplanted outside.

          Where in the Constitution does it say: "...on behalf of corporate interests" ???

          by sillia on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 07:54:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  By the way, best way to control algae... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Is to control nitrate levels in the water.

    •  I have a fluorescent light for plants (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I use it to start seedlings. Although that is what it is designed for, I get leggy seedlings which means that it isn't bright enough.

      There aren't many bulbs that fit that socket and if they did, I would need a different ballast for a different wattage.

      So I considered an LED side light as an adjunct to what I have. My friend suggested that I research the marijuana boards. Sure enough, they had suggestions, but they were 300 to 400 dollars!

      That is way too much money for growing a few stupid plants.

      There really aren't any standards. You have to go by word of mouth.

      I'm not growing cash crops so a reasonable price for someone else is a ridiculous price for me.

      •  just get a regular shop light (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JerryNA, Ender

        that takes the 48" tubes and use cool-white bulbs. It's a good idea to swap in new bulbs every year as they can lose brightness after a season's use.

        Put the emerging seedlings closer to the light and move the light away as they grow taller, this will prevent legginess. I have done this two ways: either with the shoplight on adjustable chains or the seedlings sitting up on wood blocks to bring them closer to the light.

        I've always had fabulous garden plants with the cheapest possible setup. The only reason I'd consider LED's for this purpose is if they'd fit in the same fixtures and use less electricity.

        Where in the Constitution does it say: "...on behalf of corporate interests" ???

        by sillia on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 08:01:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sounds good (0+ / 0-)

    But I DO wish that instead of comparing "75 watt equivalents", people trying to prove the superiority of high-efficiency bulbs would clearly state the lumens provided by each bulb.  There has been a notable tendency for the substitutes to be SIGNIFICANTLY DIMMER than the older incandescents, which has been fudged by progressively reducing the lumens produced by incandescents as well.  Whereas a standard 100 watt bulb in produced 1875 lumens when I was in college, the standard when they took them off the market was 1575 lumens, and the CFL "equivalents" often produced as little as 1375 lumens.  The same "efficiency" could have been produced in 1980 by substituting 75-watt bulbs for 100-watt bulbs throughout the house, but that doesn't mean you could see as well with them when doing fine needlework and drawing projects.

    There's also a tendency to calculate the energy costs saved on the basis of higher price per kilowatt-hour than I've paid at any time in the last two decades, so I really don't know where they come up with these "average" electricity costs.  One possibility that came out in a budget discussion with a friend was that they count not only the per-kwh cost of energy use per se, but the fixed costs of distribution and billing as a purely proportional usage charge. This isn't the way that electricity is billed any more, and it means that fixed costs are carried regardless of whether you use 10 kwh per day (my typical use) or a more typical 20-30 kwh per day.  At the lower level, the contribution of your actual power usage to the bill is often less than half of the bill, and thus the maximum amount I would save by completely replacing all lighting comes up to $3 per month, total -- less than the cost differential of switching out one incandescent for a CFL.  Finally, we know that the supposed lifespan of CFLs is over-estimated by a factor of ten; in my real-life use they generally last twice as long as an incandescent, not ten times as long.  The claims for LEDs are stupendous; I'm waiting to see whether they come anywhere close to this in real use.

    My plants and I like LOTS of light, so we really would like some cheap, efficient bulbs that provide high-level lighting and no extraneous heat.  But 75-watt equivalents don't do it for us, let alone wimpy little 40-watt equivalents.  I require roughly 10,000 lumens in my workroom just to stay awake, and that's barely enough light to keep English Ivy happy, let alone anything that blooms.  I'll be watching.  But get back to me when they decide to make an LED bulb for under $20 that will put out 2,000 lumens.  I'm not willing to live in a cave lighted by Christmas-tree twinkles.

    •  You have a point about lumens, less so about rest. (0+ / 0-)

      You don't have to change all of your lights.  In fact, I kept some incandescent bulbs (stairs, closets) when I switched many bulbs to CFLs.  Now, I've switched my highest use, highest wattage fixture to dimmable LED.  It was impossible to find a dimmable CFL to fit that tiny 'chandelier base' fixture, but the LEDs are beautiful and brighter than the incandescents they replaced.

      As far as your comment on bulb lifetime, some makers are a lot better than others.  This is also true for LED bulbs, so look at reviews and e.g. Consumer Reports ratings.  Some locations (high humidity or cold or both) also hurt CFL lifetimes badly.  You should not take your own single bad experience with CFLs and extrapolate it to LEDs.

      The first line of your last paragraph, however, makes me think you're holding out for a tame unicorn to deliver the LED bulbs to you wrapped with a bow.  That may not happen...  :)  But you could switch a few bulbs in higher-use non-plant areas, if any exist in your home, to give LED bulbs a try.

  •  I imagine the energy cost savings (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    will only increase in the future. Over the next 20 years I highly doubt utility companies will be able to maintain their rates at the current levels. Of course, if the need for energy drops faster (due to conservation and efficiency) then the need for new power plants and other power generation technologies will be unnecessary. We will need to find more efficient ways to cool our buildings when global warming and climate change hit. I suspect growing enough food to support the current population will be a more pressing issue, though.

  •  We bought our first LEDs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    from Home Depot several weeks ago. Plan to replace our CFLs as they burn out.

    I'm very happy with them. But even as much as the price has decreased, I think if we unexpectedly needed to move, I would take the lightbulbs with me.

    We live in a very old house and are always looking for ways to make it more energy efficient.

  •  Thanks for "doing the math" on this for us, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, Brainwrap

    Brainwrap!  I am excited to visit Costco now!!

    Metaphors be with you.

    by koosah on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 09:11:07 PM PDT

  •  I have them in my kitchen (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, JerryNA

    Got them fairly cheap off Amazon a few months ago. I was STUNNED by how bright they are. Seriously, if you've never seen one, you're in for a surprise. These things kick a CFL bulb's ass in a big, bad way.
    I'll seriously never buy a CFL again. Damn things are impossible to dispose of, anyway.

    They're brighter, the light is more natural rather than like fluorescent, and they don't get hot. They apparently last longer too.

    My style is impetuous.
    My defense is impregnable.

    by samfish on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:16:51 PM PDT

  •  Shame on you for the HAZMAT comment. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ender, Brainwrap, JerryNA

    You're pushing an old right-wing myth that CFLs contain dangerous amounts of mercury and are difficult to clean up.

    You can cheer the fact that LEDs are mercury-free without pushing anti-green pseudoscience at the same time.

  •  T&R'd, bookmarked for community edu. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ender, Brainwrap
  •  It's still premature to buy LEDs... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Go with CFLs for one more cycle.  By the time they die LEDs will have halved in price again.  

  •  We have bought some Cree LEDs recently (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ender, Brainwrap, JerryNA

    In the last few weeks for about $7.00 each. Dimmable with our old dimmer switches (some need dimmers that are as expensive as the bulbs) and actually brighter than the 60watt incandescent they replaced in one socket.

    I love LED lights. They are so durable, use so much less electricity, and last a very long time.

    My favorite type is the bright white. I'm not fond of the warm white ones, but that's just me. My spouse likes the warm white.

    Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 03:14:33 AM PDT

  •  it doesn't work in a 3-way switch on a timer (0+ / 0-)

    had to stop using mine.  it starts blinking constantly.  will have to get an old fashioned bulb again

  •  Still trying to find an LED (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for my chandelier that is bright enough.  I have found them in the right size, and the cost was decent (about $7) but they don't really give me what I want.  They are not 'candle' shaped, so with the shades off they aren't very attractive and with the shades on, they just aren't bright enough.  I have been waiting, and I will continue to wait because I know they will come in the next year or two at the most.  

    The availability and variety in my local grocery (Kroger) has gone through the roof.  They were the first to carry any LED's in our area, and still have a better variety than home depot.  Lowe's has variety, but their prices are still kind of high compared to Kroger. I am not a Costco member, but my sister is, and she will take me along and buy stuff I want there if I ask. I will definitely check it out.

    Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world--and never will. Mark Twain

    by whoknu on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 06:00:23 AM PDT

  •  CREE bulbs have a useless glass globe. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I managed to drop the bulb on the way out of Home Despot, and I broke it.  Brand new, never been used, and I broke it.  So I took the remains of the glass globe off and screwed it into a socket.  It works just fine.  I'll try not to lick it when it's energized.

    If these things are sensitive to heat, removing the glass globe could simplify keeping them cool.

  •  We don't we call them commie bulbs and be honest? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ender, JerryNA, Rashaverak

    Add one more thing to Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin's list of Things That are Wrong With America. Were small animals at least harmed in making them?

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 06:42:00 AM PDT

  •  Up front costs matter. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, sillia

    That $10 bulb is important. A $5 bulb even moreso.

    Our house isn't very big, but I can think of at least 30 bulbs in our house, just counting attached fixtures and ignoring lamps.

    Those of us in the "not nearly well-to-do zone" must often face a choice that is "fancy light-bulb or dinner", which is a very different dynamic from "low up-front costs but higher total costs vs. higher initial investment vs long-term savings."

    I would expect that to be especially true for renters, who may not expect to receive the full long-term benefit of LED bulbs.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 07:18:17 AM PDT

    •  start with the one you use the most (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I've been there...over 25 years ago my husband and I bought one expensive Panasonic CFL lightbulb and put it in the fixture over the kitchen table. That's where we hang out the most, it's kind of the center of the house, and that light is on many hours each day. Over time we added more, for example the reading lamps in our favorite spots. Hall lights that only come on for brief periods don't need energy-efficient bulbs, really.

      Here's the thing--you want to buy good quality. Many people complain that CFL's don't last as advertised. But the well-made expensive ones did--that first bulb we bought lasted MORE than 20 years and was on many hours each day. It was an amazingly good purchase. The cheapy ones are just not as good.

      Wait until you find a really good quality LED (Cree?) bulb, and when you can afford it, put it in your most-used spot. If EVERY American did that, just replaced one bulb,  they'd have to start shutting down power plants.

      I think your point is well taken, that the average person is not going to buy more expensive bulbs. Most people don't, or can't, because of financial constraints, plan for the long term. But it's not all or nothing. Think number of usage hours per fixture, not number of bulbs in the house.

      Where in the Constitution does it say: "...on behalf of corporate interests" ???

      by sillia on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 08:21:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Renters can always keep the original bulbs, and (0+ / 0-)

      switch them back when they move.  

      Could you start with your highest use, highest wattage fixture, replacing one bulb at a time, instead of a whole set?

      •  It's all a matter of incentives (0+ / 0-)

        $20-40 is a lot of money for a bulb, not matter how much long-term sense it makes.  It's the sort of thing you can do when there's extra money in your pocket.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 10:52:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  McLendon Hardware (Seattle area)... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    has been selling a 60 watt equivalent dimmable LED bulb in four packs for $12. Yes, that's right, $3 per bulb.
    They began selling them last year in two-packs for $5.99.

    Those two-pack originals were a version that looked like and incandescent style but only had a glass dome on the top half of the bulb. They work great anywhere but especially in a can light as they are slightly more directional. The newer version has a much larger heat-sink and has more sideways illumination.

    I have used them in all my lighting throughout my home including cans, lamps, bath fixtures and even the motion detector lighting outside. They work perfectly.

    From what i understand, the low price is from an instant rebate from the original stimulus funds that were applied for by Puget Sound Energy.

    You can continue to serve with

    by rickeagle on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 09:02:05 AM PDT

  •  We really like our LED lights (0+ / 0-)

    We especially chose them for our stairwell, where the lightbulbs are very difficult to access without scaffolding.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 03:38:31 PM PDT

  •  I bought one a few weeks ago ... (0+ / 0-)

    ... and while it was more than I wanted to pay for a lightbulb, it works like a champ and may be the last one I place in that particular lamp.

  •  I saw some at Costco yesterday (0+ / 0-)

    I don't have a membership but a relative was visiting who does and I was piggybacking off their generosity to stock my pantry. I didn't think to pick one up at the time.

    Then today I went and bought a standing lamp and wanted to get one...and sure enough the store didn't have any.

    Oh well...CFL will do for now.

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