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How to switch to LED light bulbs

Practically all the light bulbs you use at home can be replaced with LED light bulbs. However, reviewing everything you need to know to achieve the best results in lighting and savings is worthwhile.

The first thing you need to familiarise yourself with are the changes offered by LED light bulbs compared to other types of light bulbs in the home (incandescent, halogen or fluorescent).

 

Which kind of LED light bulb should you choose for your home?

When we decide to switch to LED light bulbs, which is the right choice, we must consider a series of important features or specifications.

You have to select the tone, the angle and the power to obtain the right type of lighting according to your tastes.

 

Tone is measured in Kelvins

When it comes to LED light bulbs, the colour or tone is measured in Kelvins (K). The range spans from 1500 Kelvins for warmer tones to 9000 Kelvins for natural whites.

We must look very carefully at the value next to the letter "K" to choose the right tone and achieve the shade of light we are looking for:

  • Warm tones between 1500 K and 3000 K: these LED light bulbs have a yellow tone similar to traditional incandescent bulbs.
  • Neutral tones between 3000 K and 5500 K: offers lighting in a neutral white tone very similar to the tone offered by energy-saving bulbs.
  • Cold tones above 5500K: These LED light bulbs offer a natural white tone, which is most similar to daylight.

 

The angle of the light beam

The angle, also known as the solid angle, is the angle at which the light bulb emits light and is indicated in degrees. LED light bulbs tend to emit a more directional beam of light than conventional bulbs, in other words, a lower emission angle.   

If you are looking for a more focused, intense light, then you should choose an LED light bulb with a low solid angle. On the other hand, if we are looking for more ample lighting, choose a larger angle or install several points of light.

 

The power equivalence of light bulbs and LEDs

The amount of light offered by a bulb is measured in lumens (lm) and is directly related to its power in watts (W).

Using traditional bulbs, the approximate calculation of lumens was easy, you simply had to multiply the bulb's watts by 10. As LED light bulbs are more intense, we need to use a table of equivalence.

 

Equivalences between watts and lumens in LED light bulbs and conventional light bulbs.   

LED light bulb Conventional light bulb Lumens
5 W 40 W 400 lm
7 W 50 W 500 lm
10 W 80 W 800 lm
15 W 100 W 1000 lm
30 W 200 W 2000 lm

Switching from traditional light bulbs to LEDs offers us the same amount of light, with much fewer watts of power. This provides important energy savings in terms of lighting in the home.

"LED light bulbs can help you to save more than 80% compared to conventional light bulbs."

How to replace incandescent light bulbs with LEDs

Swapping out incandescent bulbs for LED light bulbs is the easiest change of all. You don't need to change the light sockets that you have installed, as the cap on LED light bulbs are compatible with conventional light sockets.

Furthermore, you will immediately notice your electricity consumption decreases significantly, as you obtain the same intensity of light using much less power.

 

Change in light consumption when switching out incandescent light bulbs for LED light bulbs

For example, take a very common light bulb in the home that illuminates at 800 lumens and runs for 3 hours every day. In this case, we will also assume that you have an electricity tariff with a fixed price, 0.173941 €/kWh at any time of the day. 

Using a conventional light bulb, to obtain 800 lumens you need an 80 W bulb, equivalent to 0.08 kW. Left running for 3 hours, this would spend 0.24 kW, with the electricity used costing us about 4.17 cents.

When switching the conventional light bulb for an LED light bulb, you only need to use a 7W LED light bulb. Performing the same calculations, the cost of electricity for those 3 hours is approximately 0.37 cents, 90% less.

"After one year, you can save up to €14 on a single light bulb."

How to replace energy-efficient light bulbs with LED light bulbs

The same applies to energy-saving light bulbs as conventional or filament light bulbs. You can simply replace them with LED light bulbs without having to change anything about your lighting system.

Although they were once known as energy-saving light bulbs compared to incandescent filament light bulbs, they consume more electricity than LED light bulbs and have a shorter useful life. Therefore, replacing energy-saving light bulbs with LED light bulbs is a great idea.

 

Table of power equivalence between energy-saving light bulbs and LED light bulbs: 

LED light bulb Energy-saving light bulb
10 W 20 W
15 W 30 W
20 W 40 W
60 W 120 W
120 W 240 W
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"Replacing energy-saving light bulbs with LED light bulbs can offer savings of up to 50% in consumption on lighting."

How to replace halogen light bulbs with LED light bulbs

Changing halogen light bulbs for LED light bulbs can be as easy as directly switching out halogen light bulbs for LED light bulbs. However, in certain types of installations, some additional changes may be required.

Let's take a look at the options on a case-by-case basis and see what alternatives are available when switching from halogen light bulbs to LED light bulbs.

 

Replacing double-ended halogens with LEDs

Double-ended halogens can be replaced directly with GU10 LED light bulbs. The bulb socket connectors are the same and operate at the same voltage (220 – 240 V) without the need for a transformer.

This type of halogen is more frequently found in lamps, although they are now being used in some recessed ceilings.

 

Replacing bi-pin halogens with LEDs

Bi-pin halogens have an MR16 connector, also known as GU5.3. They are most commonly used in bathrooms and hallways or living rooms. As part of the electrical installation of these lights, there is a transformer that converts a house's normal voltage (220 - 240 V) to 12 V.

Due to the presence of this transformer, when switching this type of halogen light bulb with LED light bulbs, there are two available options:

  1. Removing the 12 V transformer from the circuit: This is the most recommended option, although you will probably need help from an electrician. When removing the transformer, you can change the fittings to work with double-ended light bulbs (GU10).
  2. Using LED light bulbs that are compatible with 12 V: Bi-pin light bulbs (MR16) are now available on the market to replace halogen light bulbs. This allows you to maintain the transformer and save on your consumption on lighting.

The 12 V current transformer also consumes a little residual power (between 3 and 5 W), in addition to making a light noise.

Therefore, as indicated, the first option is always preferable, replacing halogen light bulbs with double-ended GU10 LED light bulbs.

 

How much can you save by switching from halogen light bulbs to LED light bulbs?

To produce the same amount of light (lumens), LED light bulbs need approximately 20-25% less wattage. In other words, you can save more than 20% of your expenditure on lighting by switching out halogen light bulbs for LED light bulbs.

LED light bulb Energy-saving light bulb Lumens
4 W 18 W 200 lm
6 W 28 W 400 lm
10 W 42 W 800 lm
13 W 53 W 900 lm
18 W 70 W 1300 lm

Replacing a fluorescent tube with an LED tube

Getting a fluorescent tube to work with LED light tubes is the most complicated scenario. If you have fluorescent tubes, you might have realised that sometimes the tube melts, whereas other times you have to change the starter or check the ballast.

LED tubes work without a primer and ballast, meaning that they have to be disconnected from the circuit before using the LED light bulb.

 

Steps for replacing a fluorescent tube with an LED tube:

  1. Turn off the light and cut off the electricity as a precaution.
  2. Remove the fluorescent tube from the lamp.
  3. Cancel the circuit to the starter.
  4. Remove the passage through the ballast from the circuit. 
  5. Install the LED tube and restore the supply of electricity.

For greater safety and to avoid having to change the electrical circuits, it is always more advisable to replace the fluorescent lamp with a lamp model that has already been proven to work with LED tubes.

In addition to savings on your electricity bill, LED light bulbs also provide you with between 3 and 50 times more hours of light compared to other types of light bulbs on the market.

"Lighting with LED light bulbs is the most efficient, as it consumes fewer watts (W) to produce the same amount of light (lumens) as other types of light bulbs."

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