The last time you bought a light bulb for your home – do you remember what kind it was? Chances are it was a CFL – the compact fluorescent light bulb. Those are the squiggly light bulbs that have taken the place of incandescent light bulbs.
Just try to keep up with what’s going on with light bulbs – it’s not easy. For example, I was amazed to discover upon moving into our newly constructed town home several years that we were using over 90 light bulbs: can lights, kitchen pendant lights, chandelier bulbs, security lighting, porch lights, closet lights, low voltage track lighting, and so on. The price of enhanced lighting was dozens of different styles of light bulbs. Plus, each bulb comes in different wattages. To avoid confusion, I made an excel spreadsheet just to know what to buy when I went to Lowe’s (I do love a useful spreadsheet!). We then had to install timers on many of the light switches so the lights would not be on 24/7 when we’d forget to turn them off. Very useful when you have three flights of stairs in your home.The LED Bulb
I came to especially loathe the CFL bulbs. They seemed to not last as long as advertised. You had to be careful to get CFLs that gave off more of a warm color instead of a sterile blue light. They have bits of mercury on them so you can’t just throw them in the trash – you should take them to a recycling center for proper disposal. You can’t put them on a dimmer. Plus they look awful – you want them shaded so you don’t look at them. What a hassle!The Hated CFL Bulb
Now, LEDs – Light Emitting Diodes – are emerging as a popular “green” lighting alternative. LED bulbs were only 3% of the residential lighting sales last year, but the rate of growth of LEDs is really taking off and the prices are coming down fairly rapidly. So the $20-$30 you pay per bulb is actually a money saver. How can that be? First, LEDs last a long time: more than 10 years. So you aren’t buying replacement bulbs. Second, LEDs use a fraction of the energy of an incandescent or CFL bulb so you’ll see a decrease in your electric bill. Third, the price of LED bulbs is falling and is expected to be around $10 per bulb in the near future.
Other cool things about LEDs: With a software app (see the video above for Philips “hue” – available at Apple stores) you can create any color of light in a room with LEDs. Use your iPhone or iPad to create a red room for instance or gradually turn on the lights in the morning to simulate sunrise or at bedtime to simulate nightfall. It can respond to your voice or music. Fun stuff!
So, a good strategy would be to buy say 4 to 6 LED bulbs at a time and gradually convert your light fixtures over to LEDs over the next few years. Replace incandescents and CFLs as they burn out with LEDs. Put LEDs in hard to reach light fixtures and you’ll never have to get your ladder out to change a light bulb for another 10 years.
If you have questions about LEDs, ask us. As designers, we feel lighting is an important part of your home and good lighting enhances how you live. Now, you can also save money.
As a Des Moines interior designer, Patrick Van Nice has more than 17 years’ experience providing a full range of interior design service throughout Iowa and across the nation. He lives in Des Moines, Iowa with his wife and their two children.
If you are in need of good interior design ideas for your home, contact Patrick at: 515-577-5562, or email@example.com
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