Finding the cost of your electricity bills soaring? Changing your bulbs is one way of saving money. But do you really save money with LED lights? The answer is yes, but how much will you really save?
LED bulb money saving
When I was a youngster, I remember the original bulbs. You know the ones, they burned hotter than the sun. And the number of times I would accidentally touch it when turning off my lamp without looking…
The fact is, because these bulbs produced so much heat, they lost a lot of energy and cost more to use.
And then we moved on to energy-saving light bulbs (also known as the rather catchy titled Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs)?
These are the bulbs that you flick the switch and then wonder if it’s actually turned on. Then after 15 minutes they finally start to brighten up.
And did you know that because of the mercury inside these light bulbs, special arrangements should be made for their disposal? In short, they’re not great. There is a good chance that there are still some sat around your home.
What’s the alternative?
Well, try an LED bulb. These are incredibly efficient and no longer expensive as prices have come down drastically over the last couple of years. Plus, no longer do you have to plan in advance when you may want to see something in your room.
What is an LED bulb?
LEDs produce light through the use of a semi-conductor that emits light energy when an electrical current is passed through it.
The reason LED bulbs are so efficient compared to older-style bulbs is that they lose very little heat. Traditional (or incandescent) light bulbs convert less than 5% of their energy to light. The rest is lost in heat.
LEDs also produce light differently compared to regular energy-saving bulbs. They pass energy through mercury vapour to create UV light. A phosphor coating inside the lamp absorbs the energy, causing it to glow.
Because they produce so little in heat, it means you can touch LED bulbs after they have been on without losing your skin and swearing. And this is especially ideal if you have a bedroom with a tall bed and a young son who seems more attracted to bulbs than a moth! You know who you are…
What are the advantages?
The measurement of light output is called Lumens. A standard, old-style 40w bulb will produce 440-460 lumens and a 60w bulb 800-850. LED bulbs that produce the equivalent amount of lumens will have an output of around 6-10w.
So if you had 10 (40w) light bulbs in your house and all turned on at once, they would use 400 watts of energy in one hour. The LED equivalent would use just 60 watts.
As you can see, that means an energy saving of around 90%, which can reduce your electricity bill dramatically.
And if you want to save more money, take a look at this Bulb referral code which will give you £50 credit to your energy account when you switch suppliers.
Another benefit to LED is that they are expected to have a much longer life compared to the older bulbs. Claimed lifespans are between 25,000 – 50,000 hours, depending on the quality and how they are used. Typical incandescent bulbs last 1,000 to 2,000 hours. So you should expect to get at least 15x usage from an LED bulb.
What are the disadvantages of LED?
It can’t be all good, can it? Well, LEDs do tend to be more expensive to buy. However, prices have come down a lot over the last 5 years. And as they last for much longer and reduce your electricity bill, they should soon pay for themselves.
The light emitted from an LED differs slightly from the warmer glow you would see from an incandescent as white most LEDs emit a blue-tinted light. You can opt for “daylight” or “natural light” LED options, although these can differ between manufacturers. If possible, it’s best to purchase bulbs from the same company.
Some bulbs can also give sharper shadows around the house, which means they’re not desirable in certain parts of the house. You’ll also find they don’t work well with some lampshades.
If you have a dimmer switch, you also need to be aware that only certain LED bulbs can be dimmed. Although there’s very little difference in cost, you need to make sure you purchase the right ones.
Is it worth replacing halogen with LED?
I’m glad you asked. Downlights have become increasingly popular over the last 15 years, especially in kitchens and bathrooms and many of us installed halogen bulbs. But just like incandescents, you can also change the halogen bulbs in downlights for more energy-efficient equivalents.
When I moved into my house, the front room had 20 halogen bulbs, all running from one circuit. I was afraid to turn my lights on without sunglasses when I first moved here. In total, it used 700w! But now that have all been changed to LED it uses just 50w – the equivalent to less than two of the original bulbs.
Be warned though downlights aren’t as simple as your normal bayonet or screw cap bulbs.
This is a guide to what needs to be done. If you have bulbs with “pegs” swapping is a very simple job. If they have “pins”, it will take a little more effort, but It’s not particularly complicated. Typically, when I converted my house, my bulbs had pins and I had to swap around 30 throughout my house which took me several hours!
How much will switching to LED lights save?
Now, it’s very difficult to calculate accurate savings as everybody will be on different tariffs and use different amounts of lighting. According to this article though, replacing 10 bulbs could save £239.80 a year! When this article was written (2014) LED bulbs would set you back £8.99 each. Now you can buy a pack of three for the same price from Amazon.
But, I think a more realistic figure is around £100 per year. When I changed all my bulbs to LED, I saved £120 in my first year. However, it cost me around £300 to change all my bulbs (plus a lot of time), so it will take over 3 years before I see a return. Why not take a look over at Amazon to see a range of bulbs you can buy. And if you order and find they aren’t suitable, Amazon has a great returns policy.
What shall I do with my old bulbs?
There’s not much point in helping the environment if you just throw those old bulbs into the bin. You can find out your local recycling point here. And don’t forget as I mentioned above, do not throw CFL bulbs into the bin!
So, is it worth switching to LED bulbs?
Definitely. It will reduce the amount of energy you use, which will save you money and help the environment too. The majority of bulbs around your house can be changed quite easily.
The only possible issue can be from replacing halogen bulbs. If you’re a competent DIYer, this shouldn’t be too much of a challenge. However, if you’re not confident, then contact a local electrician. Even with a room full of 20 lights, it should take just under 2 hours to change them.
And if my how much do LED bulbs save post has interested you, why not find out more about cutting your heating bills.
*Please note that this post contains an affiliate link.