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Lighting your Home


One of the biggest gluttons for electricity in the home is incandescent and fluorescent lights. Click Here to get great deals on LED lights for your home. You will typically use 1/3 to as little as 1/6 the electricity for lighting if you switch out all your vintage bulbs for LEDs.


Stay tuned here to see what we do with LEDs at our home.


Check out the Comparison Chart for LEDs Vs other lighting technologies and you should also read the article: Home Economy


FIRST on the list has to be light bulbs. This is the easiest savings program to implement, and offers the most savings for investment, and the results are instantaneous. Conventional incandescent (filament) type light bulbs have been in use since Thomas Edison invented them in 1879. Compared to more modern lighting alternatives, these bulbs are extremely inefficient and very costly to operate.

Fluorescent Lights
Personally, I hate fluorescent lamps. The following comments apply to any type of florescent lamp, whether it is the standard 40 or 80-Watt straight tube, the round ones used in Art-Deco fixtures, or the curly ones you screw into a standard Edison-base light bulb socket.

They generate lots of heat, and no matter what coating they have in them, the light from fluorescent tubes in unnatural. Fluorescent tubes also create a 60-cycle visual "hum" that some people find disturbing (I'm one of those people). Fluorescent lamps also have a tendency to "run out of gas"; and when they do, the light flickers as the bulb wears out. These bulbs also contain the heavy metal Mercury, and the phosphor coating on the inside of the bulb is also toxic.

Besides all of the above, most fluorescent lamps require step-up transformers, which in addition to creating voltages that are unsafe to work around, generate their own heat. If it's winter, you may welcome the extra BTUs standard light bulbs create; if it's summer and you're running the Air Conditioner, remember that even a few BTUs over time, just like dripping faucets can consume water by the decilitre.

In conclusion, the "efficiency" of florescent lamps over conventional incandescent bulbs is a very poor trade-off compared to what is available today. They contain heavy metals and white phosphorous, which are extremely toxic.

Electro luminescence (or "EL")
This type of lighting, was invented in the 1930s, and introduced into general use around 1990 or so for use as a "backlight" for phones and Laptop PC screens. EL Wire is commonly used as "string lights" on backpacks and as accent trim on cars, but EL lighting is not generally used for everyday home lighting applications. The technology is efficient, but the amount of light that can be produced by this method makes it impractical for home lighting.

LED (Light-Emitting Diode)
LEDs were invented in 1927 by Oleg Losev, and first produced in 1968, as displays for calculators and very expensive digital watches. At the time, LEDs were "in vogue", but proved to be impractical for devices that used small batteries such as watches and calculators, because of the current demand.

LED lighting has come a long way, and is BY FAR, the most efficient lighting system yet. LEDs are solid-state devices that are produced in a variety of colors, and one can obtain "cool" or "warm" light spectrum bulbs from any Home Improvement store (and much cheaper online).


Lose that 600-Watt motion-sensing halogen spotlight in your driveway, and replace it with a 15 to 30 Watt LED lamp.
Get rid of that deck light that consumes 300 Watts and replace it with a 15-Watt LED lamp.


The cost of LED lamps is approximately 5 times what you would pay for an incandescent bulb with the same light output (measured in Lumens). However, LED bulbs last many times longer than incandescent bulbs, produce very small amounts of heat, and typically use 1/6th the power of an incandescent bulb. For example, a 60-Watt LED bulb consumes just 9.9 Watts of electricity to generate 800 Lumens. Based on 11 cents per kilowatt hour and use of 3 hours / day, a Utilitech #0557095 bulb costs $1.19 per year to operate, versus $7.23 for a "standard" 60-Watt incandescent bulb. Multiply those savings by as many bulbs as you have in the house (compensating for as much time as they are "on"), and you can afford something really nice.

The Formula for figuring this out is simple:
Cost To Operate per Year = ( (Bulb Watts x Hours On x 365) / 1000 ) x Cost Per kilowatt Hour

LED fixtures lend themselves to a variety of decorative options as well; in configurations that standard or fluorescent bulbs could not be applied to. For example, decorative wall lighting with LEDs is beautiful, and LEDs are so efficient, that there are a plethora of sun-powered LED (outside) ground marker lights available. These are very inexpensive to buy, do not require any (low-voltage) wiring, require no timers or switches, are easy to install ‒ just push them into the dirt ‒ and best of all, they are FREE to operate.

LED string lamps are a series of LEDs wired in parallel along a flexible conductive "tape". They can be cut with a scissors to any length, and usually operate on 12 Volts DC. These strips are commonly used for dressing up "street cars", but you can find uses for these in the home as well. LED strips are commonly used in dark movie theatres to light up dark stairs, and you can run one of these strips along the underside of a railing or banister to provide light on your home's stairwells. You will need a transformer and a timer to shut the lights off during the daytime.

As with anything, you can take "efficiency" to extremes. A clear "retro" (reproduction) light bulb with the filament glowing red is cool-looking hanging from a fixture over a desk or love seat; it doesn't put out a lot of light for the power it consumes, but it's a conversation piece and a reminder of how far technology has come.



Compare LED Bulbs to other Lighting Technologies

Click anywhere on this chart to go to the supplier we used for LED upgrades i our home. The chart at the left illustrates the enormous difference in energy consumption between LEDs and fluorescent and incandescent lighting. In U.S. stores, these LEDs ‒ even "on sale", cost up to THREE TIMES what the same thing (or an equivalent) will cost you if you bought it here.

We looked high and low for a supplier of high quality LED home lighting fixtures and LED replacements for a house full of energy-hogging "Edison"-style incandescent lights. We finally found one that will get the product to you within your lifetime☺ ‒ or at least before you lose the motivation to unscrew all your old bulbs.

The supplier we used has a mind-boggling selection of LED lights for your car, home, boat, pool, deck, yard, and even solar-powered LEDs that you embed in the surface of your driveway!


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Last modified: 05/29/15


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