We've heard it all; the poor quality to not enough lumen output, many people are shrugging off LED lighting. But not all LED bulbs are the same, many products go through different certification processes and use various chip technologies which seperats them into different performance categories. Here is a list of 7 most common myths regarding LED:
1. Only Energy Star Certified Bulbs are Good Quality
While Energy Star testing does distinguish which LED bulbs are high quality, they are not the ONLY certification program that you need to look out for. Energy Star takes a lot of time (up to, and in some cases more than a year) to approve products in testing, which can result in that product`s chip technology to be out-dated by the time it comes out of approval due to such rapid advancement in LED technology. Other certification programs such as cUL, CSA and ETL are all very similar to Energy Star and go through similar testing processes to make sure good quality bulbs are certified. A brief outline of each program:
cUL - Evaluated LED lighting systems and components for a number of different applications from exit signage to general lighting.
CSA - Examined by team of lighting experts for a fast and responsive certification process.
ETL - testing laboratories for various LED lighting systems to ensure a North American standard of quality.
To see the comparison between each click here.
2. Cost Savings
Often the LED vs. Incandescent or Halogen bulbs savings are looked at only through the wattage differences. However, it is important to keep in mind that operational costs, and re-lamping frequencies are also to be considered when calculating money savings with lighting. For example, whenever a T12 or T8 fluorescent tube goes out, an electrician is required to come in and change out the old tube with a new one. Additionally, a ballast may blow out as well requiring complete rewiring when putting in a new tube; significantly increasing re-lamping costs. T8 LED tube on the other hand does not require a ballast and can be easily slipped into existing fixtures just by bypassing the fixture ballast and wiring directly to the LED tube. Traditional tubes also cost more to dispose of due to presence of hazardous mercury material, while LED tubes can be cheaply recycled.
3. LEDs of Same Wattage ≠ Same Performance
It is hard to compare differently manufactured LED lamps because of the technology they use. Some same wattage older products may have out-dated, or underperforming chip technology compared to newer lamps. Be sure to actually test the bulbs before buying them because any cheaply priced bulbs may not live up to their claims. Make sure that the performance of the bulbs is up to current standards.
4. Long Lifespan
Although in theory, many LED lights are designed to have a 30, 000 - 60, 000 hour lifespan many do not live up to expectations due to improper use. LED bulbs need to be properly cased because they do emit a low amount of heat which comes from the back-end of the bulb as opposed to the front end like most traditional halogen and incandescent bulbs. If the casing does not allow for proper casing the LED lamp could last less than promised as a result of improper head dispersion. On the other hand, if LED lighting was to be used in a cold storage room or refrigerated space there is a possibility it could last longer because LEDs thrive in a cool environment.
5. Lower Lumen Output
There have been complaints that the LED lamps have less lumens than they actually claim to output. This is not true for products that have successfully passed one of the certification processes. When you decided to invest in LEDs make sure that they have a cUL, CSA or ETL certification because only these products will live up to the expectations and have a high lumen output.
6. Less Effective Compared to CFLs
CFLs seem to look like the cheaper, brighter and more cost effective options at first sight. While they may be cheaper to purchase initially they do not have the same performance levels as LED lighting. CFLs last only 8, 000 hours while LED equivalents last 30, 000 - 40, 000 hours (a CFL lamp would be replaced up to 5 times of the LED lifespan!), CFLs are not environmentally friendly while LEDs do not contain any mercury, and CFLs lumens are dispersed because of the open construct of the bulb while LEDs have a directional construct that focuses all of the lumens on a specific section where the LED bulb is directed to.
7. Lighting Infrastructure Overhaul
Many bulbs come with multiple plug in or screw in bases that are the same as existing lighting, meaning that there does need to be an entire overhaul of the current lighting system. For T8 tubes only ballasts have to be removed, or just wired around while PAR Style lamps and MR16 LED lamps easily fit into slots where existing bulbs are. This makes retrofits fairly simple and replacing bulbs or tubes in the future a quick and easy process.
Hopefully that clears up some of the myths that have been plaguing LED lighting. Let us know if there is something we left out or anything else you would like to know about LEDs!
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