LED lights

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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
20,058
Philadelphia
BG Mod edit: Moved the off-topic convo to new thread.
I was thinking about this, with regard more to total environmental impact...
Quoting myself, but this subject came up again for me this morning. Shopping for light bulbs, and because LED's still have unacceptable appearance, I've using halogen A17's and A19's. I've been noticing that, like the LED's halogens don't last nearly as long as incandescent. So I started checking the spec's on various bulbs, and was really surprised:

Incandescent: Most name brand bulbs are 3000 or 6000 hours rating
Halogen: Most name brand bulbs are under 1000 hours rating

Just looking at them, the halogen would appear to have a higher environmental impact, due to far more mass and internal parts, before even considering you're throwing away 3x to 6x more of them per installation.

So how's the impact of that balance against their energy savings of roughly 28%?
 
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Quoting myself, but this subject came up again for me this morning. Shopping for light bulbs, and because LED's still have unacceptable appearance for outside lighting, I've using halogen A17's and A19's. I've been noticing that, like the LED's halogens don't last nearly as long as incandescent. So I started checking the spec's on various bulbs, and was really surprised:

Incandescent: Most name brand bulbs are 3000 or 6000 hours rating
Halogen: Most name brand bulbs are under 1000 hours rating

Just looking at them, the halogen would appear to have a higher environmental impact, due to far more mass and internal parts, before even considering you're throwing away 3x to 6x more of them per installation.

So how's the impact of that balance against their energy savings of roughly 28%?
Crappy, which is why BOTH are being phased out.
 
Crappy, which is why BOTH are being phased out.
Do note that the 6000 hours I get from incandescent bulbs is nearly 10x that which I've averaged on LED's in outside applications. My LED's seem to average well below a year in lamp posts and outdoor lanterns.
 
I'm still puzzled by that.
I have dawn-to-dusk LED lights going on for at least 4 years. That's 7 hrs (I guesstimate) per night? Near 18,000 hrs.

I do think something is going on here. Maybe power cleanliness, maybe something else. But your experience is very dissimilar from mine.

Also, I wondered what the aesthetics issue is that you have with outdoor LEDs? While a discussion about taste is not (anytime) useful, what are you looking for?
 
I have LED floods on the driveway for winter snowblowing, plenty of light but it is a harsh light. My solar trailer also had two light towers (one now removed) that were claimed to light up an acre. When I tested them out two towers definitely lit up an acre plus but also with a decidedly harsh light. LEDs come with different phosphor masks on the LED emitters to make white light and my guess is that they go with a mask that optimizes output for outdoors with a trade off for light quality.
 
Hm. My lights are adjustable from 3000 K (warm white) to 5000 K. (No CRI given.) 2350 lumens output.
I like the yellower lights in general (2700 K inside the home), and these are quite nice, not too blue.
 
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I'm still puzzled by that.
I have dawn-to-dusk LED lights going on for at least 4 years. That's 7 hrs (I guesstimate) per night? Near 18,000 hrs.

I do think something is going on here. Maybe power cleanliness, maybe something else. But your experience is very dissimilar from mine.

Also, I wondered what the aesthetics issue is that you have with outdoor LEDs? While a discussion about taste is not (anytime) useful, what are you looking for?
What I said was misleading. My issue with LED color profile is more with indoor than outdoor applications. I should go back and fix what I had said.

For outdoor, I've actually found the faux-filament type doesn't look too awful at a distance, in a clear lantern atop a post or mounted to a wall. However, I tried them again as recently as two years ago, and all of them failed in short order. I will admit our power fluctuates quite a bit, a hazard of being the old farmhouse around which a development is later built, I won't bore you with the details. However, I wouldn't think that dips in power should cause an LED bulb to fail. It's not like we have surges, or see unexpected failure rates on any of our other appliances or electronics, or incandescent bulbs.

Rather than typing it out again, as I just told the story in August, I'll just link to the story of my most recent experiment with LED bulbs outdoors.

 
Ok.

I don't have those filament type bulbs outside (I do inside, but not in clear glass fixtures... wife approval factor...🤷‍♂️).

No frosting here of an outside clear glass fixture near my front door (though unless there's a blowing Nor'Easter, no direct precipitation hitting it either, being under the eve). The other LEDs are fully exposed. Though not a replaceable bulb, but LED integrated in the fixture. I hesitated about that; if it fails, the waste is larger. For now they are doing great.

I wonder if your neighbors experience the same issue. I.e. is it your power or your specific mount.
LEDs inside being okay suggests it's not the power (indeed).

I remain puzzled. :)
 
Yeah, it was disappointing, as I was looking forward to not having to replace bulbs, in addition to seeing a slight drop in monthly energy usage. I should say that I do have at last three LED recessed bulbs in porch soffits, in fact there may be five, I can't remember whether the two R38's are halogen or LED, right now. But all of the candle bulbs and A19's (13 full-time + 3 intermittent) have been switched from LED back to halogen.

My frosting lanterns didn't seem to have anything to do with precipitation, as they frosted on clear nights. I believe it was simply the timing of dropping temperature first hitting dew point and causing condensation on the lantern glass, then shortly thereafter crossing the freezing mark. This would happen daily, even when daytime highs stayed below freezing, as the local greenhouse environment in a clear lantern can cycle up and down thru the dew point, while outside remains cold.

As to the power dips, I really should put some effort into tracking down the source of it. I believe it's a combination of three factors, but haven't put sufficient effort into measuring their ratio. And I'm an EE... so a classic case of the cobbler's children having no shoes. In any case, those three factors are:

1. Very long 220V feed from transformer. Issue common to older houses.
2. Main breaker panel likely has some corrosion and older breakers. Prior owners of this house didn't not bother running dehumidifier in basement, everything was moldy and all copper plumbing was green, when we bought the place.
3. Our one remaining old AC system draws quite a bit of momentary start-up current. The entire house dims, and it's not uncommon to hear a low voltage alarm on some of our UPS systems, when it kicks on. Could be an incorrectly-sized start cap on the compressor motor, I know the cooling fan one is correct.

All these result in some dips, but I believe any corresponding inductive kick is too low to cause any notable spikes.

I never kept an LED light inside long enough, to determine their lifetime, there. Most were installed, lived with for less than 48 hours, and then tossed in the garbage or re-used in places they don't matter (attic, basement utility space, etc.). I did have a bunch of R14's installed in some basement cans in our basement movie/game studio, and they weren't terrible, but they wouldn't dim as well (even with LED dimmers) as incandescents. Since hours of use there is very low (< 10 hours per month?), I just switched them back to incandescent, too.
 
Yeah, it was disappointing, as I was looking forward to not having to replace bulbs, in addition to seeing a slight drop in monthly energy usage. I should say that I do have at last three LED recessed bulbs in porch soffits, in fact there may be five, I can't remember whether the two R38's are halogen or LED, right now. But all of the candle bulbs and A19's (13 full-time + 3 intermittent) have been switched from LED back to halogen.

My frosting lanterns didn't seem to have anything to do with precipitation, as they frosted on clear nights. I believe it was simply the timing of dropping temperature first hitting dew point and causing condensation on the lantern glass, then shortly thereafter crossing the freezing mark. This would happen daily, even when daytime highs stayed below freezing, as the local greenhouse environment in a clear lantern can cycle up and down thru the dew point, while outside remains cold.

As to the power dips, I really should put some effort into tracking down the source of it. I believe it's a combination of three factors, but haven't put sufficient effort into measuring their ratio. And I'm an EE... so a classic case of the cobbler's children having no shoes. In any case, those three factors are:

1. Very long 220V feed from transformer. Issue common to older houses.
2. Main breaker panel likely has some corrosion and older breakers. Prior owners of this house didn't not bother running dehumidifier in basement, everything was moldy and all copper plumbing was green, when we bought the place.
3. Our one remaining old AC system draws quite a bit of momentary start-up current. The entire house dims, and it's not uncommon to hear a low voltage alarm on some of our UPS systems, when it kicks on. Could be an incorrectly-sized start cap on the compressor motor, I know the cooling fan one is correct.

All these result in some dips, but I believe any corresponding inductive kick is too low to cause any notable spikes.

I never kept an LED light inside long enough, to determine their lifetime, there. Most were installed, lived with for less than 48 hours, and then tossed in the garbage or re-used in places they don't matter (attic, basement utility space, etc.). I did have a bunch of R14's installed in some basement cans in our basement movie/game studio, and they weren't terrible, but they wouldn't dim as well (even with LED dimmers) as incandescents. Since hours of use there is very low (< 10 hours per month?), I just switched them back to incandescent, too.

Huh. On the outdoor filament bulbs... I have found filament bulbs to be hit or miss on quality. If I need 4 and want them to 'match' I buy 6 or 8, and then find that between 1-2 will fail after a few months. I replace those and then I'm good to go for YEARS. IOW, infant mortality. I still like Phillips, but I have had bad Phillips bulbs too, so its not just a chinese problem. I have given up on Cree (bulbs) bc I got a bunch that were just useless years ago.

On the indoors, recessed fixtures made for halogen floods are very hard to redo with screw in LEDs to get the same light output and exact quality. You need to match lumens, angular distribution AND CRI, its a PITA.

For other indoor applications, you just need to realize that the Ashful family are what I call 'CRI snobs'. Nothing to be ashamed of, everyone has a thing. But its a condition that means you have to shop for CRI 95+ LED bulbs, and pay a little extra for them. One of my work buddies is the same. Corollary: you need to carefully match Kelvins too or you will have a hodgepodge of visibly different colors. I seem to have settled on 4000K everywhere. On dimmer I love the high CRI phillips that that lower color temp when dimming... but even those flicker a bit on a rated dimmer.

If you try to mix halogens and high CRI LEDS in the same room, the color temp mismatch will be bothersome. You need to go whole hog. room by room. For rooms with recessed halogen, going all halogen might be reasonable. If your whole ouse is recessed halogen, then you are locked in.

Side bene: the high CRI bulbs seem to have much better quality control for 2-3X the price.
 
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Good post, woodgeek. "CRI snobs", lol... that's a new one. ;lol

But yes, I'd be happy to pay more up front, for savings with good CRI. So far, the few bulbs I've tried have fallen short there, but I'll admit I was paying more attention to color temperature, and less to CRI. In fact, I'm not sure CRI was even consistently listed on some of the bulbs I was buying. Since our incandescent and halogens all run in the 2500 - 2900K range at full brightness, I've been shopping LED's in this same color range.

Yes, most of my failed experiments with poor observed CRI have been with R20 thru R38 bulbs in cans, so everything you noted makes perfect sense, there.

Those lamp post bulbs, which all burned out in a year, were bought from Lowes. I can't pretend to recall the brand today, but they look identical to the GE HD's they sell today, advertised to have a 13 year life.
 
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Good post, woodgeek. "CRI snobs", lol... that's a new one. ;lol

But yes, I'd be happy to pay more up front, for savings with good CRI. So far, the few bulbs I've tried have fallen short there, but I'll admit I was paying more attention to color temperature, and less to CRI. In fact, I'm not sure CRI was even consistently listed on some of the bulbs I was buying. Since our incandescent and halogens all run in the 2500 - 2900K range at full brightness, I've been shopping LED's in this same color range.

Yes, most of my failed experiments with poor observed CRI have been with R20 thru R38 bulbs in cans, so everything you noted makes perfect sense, there.

Those lamp post bulbs, which all burned out in a year, were bought from Lowes. I can't pretend to recall the brand today, but they look identical to the GE HD's they sell today, advertised to have a 13 year life.

Bulbs that don't list CRI will not be satisfactory to you. Don't buy them. They are probably CRI 80-ish, not so different from CFL (shudder). 92 is ok in a living room, 95+ will be great everywhere else.

When shopping online for LED bulbs, search for 'high CRI LED Bulbs'. If you then match all the color temps in a room, you should be fine.

Your outdoor fixtures are clearly haunted by the ghost of Thomas Edison. Are they sealed, or ventilated? Condensing humidity conditions are hard on a lot of things.
 
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I guess I'm a snob too. I like the yellow, darker Amsterdam bar atmosphere at home. CRI 95 plus, and dimmers. 2700 K.

In fact, I got some free LEDs from the utility here, but they gave me the blues... I donated them all to a food bank -ish outfit here. Better someone else enjoys cheaper light than me suffer ghostly blue light in my home...

CFL s never made it into my home for the same reason.
 
I have had good luck with the FEIT bulbs. At 90+ their CRI is pretty decent. Good enough that I replaced all the recessed can lights with their retrofit LEDs in the kitchen. No complaints and I am fussy about color. (Used to correct color professionally back in the photolab days.)
 
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Do note that the 6000 hours I get from incandescent bulbs is nearly 10x that which I've averaged on LED's in outside applications. My LED's seem to average well below a year in lamp posts and outdoor lanterns.
Ashful, by chance do the LED bulbs in your outdoor applications point down? If so, it could be that the heat rises into the power supply at the base of the bulb, causing early failure.
 
Bulbs that don't list CRI will not be satisfactory to you. Don't buy them. They are probably CRI 80-ish, not so different from CFL (shudder). 92 is ok in a living room, 95+ will be great everywhere else.

When shopping online for LED bulbs, search for 'high CRI LED Bulbs'. If you then match all the color temps in a room, you should be fine.
Thanks. I guess I'm due to give it another try, sometime soon. In rough order of hours, the indoor lights getting most usage here are:

1. (25x) MR16 12V 50W halogen (Lutron system)
2. (20x) BR30 45W incandescent (390 lumen)
3. (19x) A19 29W clear halogen (various lamps and ceiling lights)

Which would you target first?

Your outdoor fixtures are clearly haunted by the ghost of Thomas Edison. Are they sealed, or ventilated? Condensing humidity conditions are hard on a lot of things.
The bulbs that failed quickly outdoors were in lamp posts with brass and glass toppers. These have vent holes in the bottom plate for drainage, but the top is sealed. It's likely ground moisture comes up thru the wiring holes in the post and the lamp assembly, and condenses and/or freezes inside the glass.

In fact, I got some free LEDs from the utility here, but they gave me the blues...
I didn't want to say it, but that's my issue, as well. I find all of the LED lights I've tried indoors left me feeling that failure to remove them would set me into a deep depression. The old flickering T12 bulbs featured in the basement mail room scene in Elf were more cheery than some R20 LED's I've tried.
 
Thanks. I guess I'm due to give it another try, sometime soon. In rough order of hours, the indoor lights getting most usage here are:

1. (25x) MR16 12V 50W halogen (Lutron system)
2. (20x) BR30 45W incandescent (390 lumen)
3. (19x) A19 29W clear halogen (various lamps and ceiling lights)

Which would you target first?

I'd do 3 first, bc its the easiest. A19 is edison bulbs IIRC. I'd shop for high-CRI (at least 90 or 92) bulbs. I'd get filament or frosted filament and match the lumens and color temp to the existing bulbs. I'd buy 25 bulbs from Amazon, and plan on returning all of them within 30 days if they don't work out. This assumes they are not in recessed fixtures or globes.... with ventilation they will be aok. Even otherwise, a 29W halogen is probably a 4W filament bulb, so the heat will not be that bad. Anything less than 100 lumens/W is junk these days, with lower CRI bulbs getting to 150-200 lumens/W (versus 20 for incandescent). In open fixtures, I'd probably go a little brighter, like a 6W, for a lumen upgrade.

Then swap them all out and see if you get the sadz. They'll be fine.

I'd tackle #1 next, also pretty easy. Same as 3, you will want high CRI, and halogen color temp (closer to 3000 IIRC). The extra wrinkles are the angular spread (flood or spot, in degrees) and the appearance of the bulbs. Look up the angular spread of your existing bulbs. You probably want flood. I might buy a few different kinds from Amazon in small numbers. and pick the one I like best. Then order 30+ of them, and return the ones you don't like. The power supply MIGHT not like the low load, and could then flicker. If so, you can replace the supply with an LED rated one, or leave in a halogen bulb or two to stabilize it.

I'd do 2 last if at all, and research screw in solutions as BG discussed.
 
Cool. Will give it a try again, soon. Agreed that the A19's are the easy target. Figured that the BR30's would be next, but I can try the MR16's. I'm a little nervous about the MR16's, as cost of replacing older Lutron system components would almost certainly drive the conversion cost higher than any potential savings, and I really do like the color spectrum I get out of the bulbs we've been using there.
 
My dad is a CRI and Kelvin snob also. He comes to my house and it drives him bananas because I can care less what goes where. Whatever they sell at Costco is what I use. My garage still has halogens in it from 10 or so years ago. He keeps telling me I need to change them out to LED corn cob lights like I have in my barn.
 
I do think that replacing ones that are not broken is of questionable benefit, when viewed from resource consumption.
And while I have given LED lights away so people with less means have a cheaper way to light their homes, giving away (relative) energy hog bulbs goes contrary to that.
So, when I bought this place, there were all LEDs. I have changed out most of them for higher CRI versions that were dimmable. The older ones were donated for further use. But in my previous home, I did not throw out non-LED bulbs I had due to the waste that would be. I just replaced them as they broke (and moved some to keep an even appearance in one room).

So, as long as those halogens in your garage are still working, I'd leave them be.
 
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I do think that replacing ones that are not broken is of questionable benefit, when viewed from resource consumption.
...so, as long as those halogens in your garage are still working, I'd leave them be.
Good point, a factor I'm considering, as I just re-stocked my cupboard on spare halogens a week prior to starting this conversation. I did an inventory when I moved in, and ignoring the many dozens of small low-volt outdoor stuff (which is ironically mostly LED now), I came up with something very close to 200 light bulbs in this house, as roughly half of them were dead when I bought the place. Lots of opportunity for waste if just converting everything at once, but with a staged approach I can continue to use most of the old bulbs up in rooms or areas not yet converted.
 
The people across the way from us just spent a year and a half restoring an old farmhouse. It is meticulously done, with all the original trim work reproduced, etc and it looks beautiful except they put friggin 5000K daylight bulbs in all their outdoor fixtures! It drives me nuts.
 
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The people across the way from us just spent a year and a half restoring an old farmhouse. It is meticulously done, with all the original trim work reproduced, etc and it looks beautiful except they put friggin 5000K daylight bulbs in all their outdoor fixtures! It drives me nuts.
I have a few surrounding me, and it literally hurts my eyes. In this case, I'm the 300 year old farm house, with a newer development sprouted up around me.

Too many people care too little about how things look, IMO. Good lighting or good aesthetics are as important to the enjoyment of life, as good beer, wine, spirits or food. You owe it to yourself and neighbors to enjoy best version of each, that life has to offer.

The trouble is, we need to make stuff for folks with bad taste, too. ;lol
 
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The people across the way from us just spent a year and a half restoring an old farmhouse. It is meticulously done, with all the original trim work reproduced, etc and it looks beautiful except they put friggin 5000K daylight bulbs in all their outdoor fixtures! It drives me nuts.

Good for them!! I always like to give kudos to those who do what they like vs what society deems as acceptable. If you don't like it, buy a pair of yellow tinted sunglasses for when you look over....or just don't look over. I prefer white light vs yellow light. Always have. We have white light LED bulbs in our house.

What do you do on your autos? Do you drive older vehicles that have yellow halogens or do you replace the whiter lights with aftermarket yellow bulbs? :p ;lol
 
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I do think that replacing ones that are not broken is of questionable benefit, when viewed from resource consumption.
And while I have given LED lights away so people with less means have a cheaper way to light their homes, giving away (relative) energy hog bulbs goes contrary to that.
So, when I bought this place, there were all LEDs. I have changed out most of them for higher CRI versions that were dimmable. The older ones were donated for further use. But in my previous home, I did not throw out non-LED bulbs I had due to the waste that would be. I just replaced them as they broke (and moved some to keep an even appearance in one room).

So, as long as those halogens in your garage are still working, I'd leave them be.
My dad donated all of the free bulbs he got from the electric company a number of years ago to me because he didn't like the Kelvin number on them. ;lol

My German frugality gets the best of me so I generally don't change any light bulbs until they die. I currently have a mix of LED, incandescent, and halogen. When I thought that lighting used a lot ( <> ) of energy I replaced a bunch of incandescent bulbs with halogen bulbs. The old incandescent bulbs are still in my laundry room in a box waiting to be used again on lights that doesn't get much usage.