What is LED and how does it work?
The term “LED” is an acronym for Light Emitting Diode. A diode is something that only allows electrical currents to flow in one direction. LED lights are diodes that emit light when electricity flows through them. LEDs are made with two different types of semiconductor material – one that has too many free electrons (A), and one that doesn’t have enough electrons (B). When electrons jump from A to B, a photon, or light particle, is produced. Different colors of light are produced depending on the semiconductor materials used as well as the energy that is required for electrons to jump from A to B.
LED generates light using the “cold process” mentioned above, which is much different from the way that standard incandescent bulbs generate light. Traditional lighting technology applies power to a filament, which heats up, glows and produces light. So, when compared to standard incandescent lighting, LED technology is extremely efficient, produces little heat, and does not burn out because the bulbs do not contain filaments.
LED lamps or bulbs generally consist of an array, or cluster, of multiple LEDs. In the past, LEDs were used almost exclusively in the electronics industry as indicator lights for things like computers and cell phones because they do not burn out. LED technology has advanced significantly in recent years to allow for use in commercial and residential lighting applications.
What are the benefits of LED?
There are many! Replacing your old lamps with LED will reduce energy consumption, lower your electricity bill, and decrease the amount of heat produced by your light fixtures. LED lamps have a life of up to 100,000 hours and are very durable compared to incandescents. This means less maintenance and therefore less maintenance expenses. LEDs do not contain any hazardous chemicals, and they are easily recyclable. In addition, LEDs offer greater optical control, dimming capability, instant on/off, and a low rate of lumen depreciation.
Additional benefits of LED include:
• Light output is directional
• Lamps are compact and low profile
• No IR or UV emissions
• Resistant to breakage and vibration
• Improved performance in cold temperatures
• Rapid cycling does not affect lamp life
What types of applications are LEDs used for?
LEDs can be used for a variety of applications, including street lighting, area lighting, parking structures, security lighting, architectural highlighting, and general interior lighting.
Are LEDs environmentally friendly?
Yes. LEDs are extremely energy efficient, which means less energy consumption and decreased burning of fossil fuels to produce electricity. The long life span of LEDs is a huge plus for the environment, because bulbs do not need to be replaced very often, meaning less waste in our landfills and less pollution created by performing maintenance tasks and producing replacement lamps. LEDs do not contain mercury or other hazardous chemicals, so even if disposed of improperly they will not leach these chemicals into the soil or groundwater. Don’t forget – LEDs can be recycled – this keeps even more waste out of landfills and allows for reuse of materials.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that switching to LED over the next two decades could reduce the country’s electricity consumption by half, evade 1800 million metric tons of carbon emissions, and decrease energy costs by $250 billion dollars!
How energy efficient are LEDs compared to traditional lighting technology?
LEDs are up to 90% more efficient than incandescent lights, and LED lighting technology and energy performance continues to improve rapidly. The chart below compares wattages necessary to produce equivalent light outputs for LED versus incandescent.
How much money and energy will I save when I use LED?
Contact us for an accurate estimate of energy savings based on your own project!
Is it difficult to install LEDs?
LEDs must be installed correctly or they may be damaged. This is because they are diodes and only allow electrical current to pass in one direction, thus they must not be installed backwards. When installing LEDs yourself, make sure you are well-informed about the installation process.
Can LEDs be used with dimmers?
Many of the bulbs we sell on our site can be used with dimmers. Before purchasing, make sure that your order is correct. Non-dimmable LEDs that are used in dimming fixtures can end up damaging both components.
How many LED bulbs do I need to replace my incandescent or halogen bulbs?
While LEDs are brighter than traditional lighting technology, they are typically not available in very high wattages. For every incandescent or halogen bulb you replace, you may need two LEDs. However, you will still be using less electricity with more bulbs. For help retrofitting your space with LED, please contact us and we will provide you with a custom design quote.
Why are LEDs more expensive than other lighting technologies? Will I still save money?
The initial cost of good quality LEDs tends to be high compared to standard lighting. However, the return on investment is very rapid (generally 1-2 years) due to energy efficiency, and the cost of LED products is expected to continue declining at a fast pace. When comparing price, don’t forget to include costs of electricity, lamp replacement, and maintenance. In the long run, LED will definitely save you money – LEDs are proven to be a smart and cost effective investment.
How long do LEDs last?
Typically, LEDs last between 50,000 and 100,000 hours. These measurements are also known as “useful life”, or the time it takes for light output to decay to 70% of its original capacity. LEDs do not burn out like traditional lighting because they do not contain a filament. Instead, the light output decays gradually over time. In addition, if one LED diode malfunctions, the others within the array are not affected. Thus, a full lamp replacement is unnecessary. Here is what 50,000 and 100,000 hours work out to, based on how long a lamp is turned on per day:
|Hours of Operation
|50,000 hours =
|100,000 hours =
|24 hours per day
|18 hours per day
|12 hours per day
|8 hours per day
Do LEDs require specialized fixtures and/or current converters to operate?
LEDs operate on a non-traditional DC current, but they are designed with built in AC to DC converters, so you don’t have to purchase any extras in order to operate them using your AC power source. Fixtures need not be changed, as LEDs can simply replace incandescent bulbs. However, it must be noted that fluorescent tube lighting is designed differently than incandescent. Fluorescent tubes operate using a specific ballast. When replacing fluorescent tubes with LED, the ballast must by either bypassed or removed in order to connect power to the LED tube.
Have more questions about induction lighting or your own application? Give us a call or email one of our experts by clicking here.