It’s hard to imagine a time when electricity wasn’t a readily available utility, and maybe sometimes we take that for granted. We also may be missing out on energy savings at a time when every dollar can help our household budget.
Understanding how much electricity is used in household lighting, particularly LED lights, can make a big difference in your budget.
The average consumer is receiving a lot of messages about the importance of switching from incandescent or fluorescent light bulbs to LED lights. The primary reasons for the switch are the energy savings and longer light life that LEDs provide.
It can be helpful to do a little research on the actual amount of electricity that LED lights use and, when comparing that to other types of lighting, confirm the savings that LEDs will give you.
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Advancements in LED Lights
In their earliest consumer product versions, LED lights were expensive and produced a light that was more narrow, so the light coverage wasn’t comparable to incandescent or fluorescent bulbs.
If this has deterred you from purchasing LED lights, rest assured that product development has brought down the cost and fixed the issue of light concentration. The truth is that today’s LED lights will help you save money through lower energy usage and less frequent replacement of your light bulbs.
Incandescent bulbs require more power to achieve a similar brightness, so it stands to reason that they use more electricity and will increase your power bill. We’re going to compare the cost of kilowatt hours, or kWh, which is the basic measurement that power companies use for billing.
We’ll be using an average U.S. figure of 10 cents per kWh, but you can find the amount you spend per kWh by looking at your monthly bill or contacting your electrical service provider.
Let’s take a look at how much power is used by LED lights, and incandescent and fluorescent bulbs and how that changes the bottom line of what you’re spending.
A 60-watt incandescent light bulb uses about .06 kWh per hour of operation. Over a period of 5,000 hours of operation, this incandescent bulb will use 300 kilowatt hours.
At our average cost of 10 cents per kWh, its total cost of operation would be $30 for 5,000 hours. That may seem like a bargain, but in reality, it is the most expensive lighting choice.
Also referred to as CFL bulbs, fluorescent lights can significantly reduce the number of kWhs used to around .015 per hour of operation. This means that for a period of 5,000 hours of operation, the average cost for the operation of a fluorescent bulb is reduced to $7.50.
While CFL bulbs have a longer lifespan than incandescent bulbs, which we’ll discuss in a bit, they are also more prone to breakage, which can negate the positive effect of their intended longer lifespan.
LED light products are not only more durable than CFLs, but they also have the longest lifespan of any lighting choice and provide the lowest operating cost. With an energy usage of .01 kWh per hour of operation, the LED light will only cost $5 for a period of 5,000 hours of operation.
Early versions of LED lights were more expensive and provided a more focused light source, which many people didn’t like. Newer versions of LED light products have come down in cost while providing better light coverage.
They are also now available in different light tones, similar to incandescent bulbs, so you don’t have to compromise your lighting design. You can choose from soft light, warm light, daylight, or bright white, depending on your lighting needs and personal preferences.
It’s true that LED lighting products cost more than incandescent bulbs, but that’s only true if you look at a bulb-to-bulb comparison. When you consider the lifespan of a bulb and how often it needs to be replaced, LED lights are still the most economical choice.
An incandescent bulb might only cost around $1 per unit, but its expected lifespan is around 1,200 hours. An LED light’s lifespan is 25,000 hours, so even though that LED might cost around $5 per unit, it will outlast almost 21 incandescent bulbs!
CFL bulbs fall somewhere in between these two extremes. While their operation, usually around 10,000 hours, is better when compared to an incandescent bulb, their more fragile structure means that you might be replacing them more than 2.5 times in a 25,000-hour period.
Small Changes Make Big Sense
The amount of electricity used by LED lights can give you significant savings in your monthly budget. Take the time to inventory the number of lights you use in your home and quantify the savings you can experience if you change any incandescent bulbs to LED lights.
Many electrical service providers have great resources as you seek more energy-efficient solutions. Some companies even offer discounts on LED lights and may have energy-saver incentives that you can take advantage of.
The LED light revolution is here to stay. The more lights you use in your home, the lower the electricity required and the greater the savings.