By: Brandon Kuehler, CLVLT, COLD
When you start to look out lighting for you home or landscape it can get a bit overwhelming all the options out there – in-ground light, path light, directional, wash light, etc. But when it comes to lamps there is one 1 real option – LED.
LEDs have come a long way since their early days as the “Blue” light, LEDs have been the go to lamp choice for many professional installers for the past 5 years. LEDs come in a wide variety of color temperatures (warm white all the way to the “blue” light), different wattages, and even beam spreads. LEDs really have opened up the world of lighting to a whole new standard of creativity and art that the old halogen lamps could not provide. Lighting designers can really now step out of the one-color choice and limited beam options and now achieve designs that weren’t possible before.
Not only are LEDs the ONLY way to go when selecting a lighting system and designer (make sure you are get a quote for LED, there are still installers who use halogen and do not tell customers). Sure LEDs do cost more up front, there is no getting around that, these are lamps with computer chips after all so much more goes into making an LED than a halogen bulb, but in the long run LEDs will save you MONEY, and who doesn’t like saving money.
1) Electric Bill
If you have ever tried to change a bulb in your house right when you turned it off you know just how hot those suckers can be, they can burn you, well an LED is cool to the touch when on and takes much less electricity than a halogen to power. Your electric bill may see a slight increase with LEDs (like $1) whereas with halogens you will be able to see the increase and pinpoint that change. Over 10 year’s you could save thousands on your electric bill over an old school halogen system.
2) Replacement Costs
Unlike halogen lamps, LEDs are built to last longer and run for more hours. A typical halogen lamp has about 2500 hours in it under perfect conditions, an LED bulb has about 20x the hour lifespan. Most people will be replacing halogen lamps every year, even if they are not totally out they are dim. Those with an LED system are not replacing them for years, and those that do need be replaced are usually a warranty issue and covered or Act of God damage. So an upfront investment will save you in long run replacement costs.
3) Service Costs
No matter what type of bulb a system has the system will need to be serviced, now what type of service or the depth of service needed is different between the lamp styles. If a system is halogen and a lamp burns out all the others on the system will pick up the excess energy being put off by that dead lamp, it has to go somewhere, which in turn causes the rest of the lamps to go out faster and one after another. When service is done the proper way to change out a halogen would also involve checking the voltage on all other lamps and rebalancing the transformer, and you may be calling your provider soon after as another lamp may have burned out. With halogen it is also key to keep debris away from the fixture – the lamp specifically. Halogen’s do get very hot remember and if dead leaves or mulch pile up on top an oven is created.
LEDs require much less maintenance and are safer. If an LED goes out the service process is much less in depth. LEDs pull such little power that when one does go out there it not a ton on energy that the other lamps would absorb causing their lifespan to decrease. A proper service provider will still check the voltage and transformer when he/she is there but the adjustments are usually very minor, if any at all. Opposite of the halogen, LEDs are cool to the touch, so while we never recommend covering your lights with mulch or debris (why would you want to cover up something so pretty), if it does happen the LEDs will not create on oven and over heat.
So even though you may be shocked or surprised when you get your quote for a new LED outdoor lighting system for your home remember the back-end costs will be worth the up-front investment. Quality LED lighting systems will make your home and outdoor living spaces shine at night and last for many years of enjoyment with less headaches.