Thursday, December 23, 2010

LED Light Bulbs

The 75 watt incandescent flood lamp above the shower finally gave up the ghost--not bad, considering that it has been service since early 2006.  I have not been thrilled with either the lifetime or time to full illumination of the CFLs that the government has been strongly encouraging us to buy, so I thought that I would look at one of the LED replacement bulbs. 

Be prepared for some sticker shock.  The 75 watt equivalent LED bulb (18 watts consumption) that I bought at Home Depot cost $44.97 plus sales tax.  On the plus side, it promises a 50,000 hour lifetime--with a warranty.  How long is 50,000 hours?  If I ran it continuously, that would be almost 25 years.  You might therefore assume that since it gets about fifteen minutes use a day in my shower, my grandchildren will be using this bulb.

The fact is that power surges when you turn a bulb on have something to do with how long an incandescent bulb lasts.  I remember an article when I lived the Bay Area about a fire house with a bulb that had been installed early in the 20th century--and was still burning.  But that was a 12 volt bulb, and it was never turned off.  That makes a difference.

Still, I am hoping to get so many years from this bulb that I will have misplaced the warranty information--and the maker is probably hoping that, too.  Still, it is bright, it is white, and uses less electricity than what it replaced.  The only potential gotcha is that it is intended for use in a non-wet environment.  Fortunately, the flood lamp is in a nine-foot high ceiling, so unless some NBA professionals move in, I don't think there's much to worry about in that area.

One other nice thing about this LED light relative to a CFL: time to full illumination.  You can see that it does not turn immediately--there is a perceptible delay of perhaps 1/3 or 1/2 second between power and light, presumably as it charges up a ballast.  But once on, it is full lighting--unlike CFLs, that can take many seconds to reach full brightness.

6 comments:

Rich Rostrom said...

a fire house with a bulb that had been installed early in the 20th century--and was still burning.

That bulb is still going. It had a "cameo" in a recent episode of "Mythbusters".

Jon said...

At that price, I would think one would want to take the light bulbs with them if they ever sold the house. A new negotiating/selling point, perhaps?

ibm said...

That long lived bulb was IIRC installed in the garage of a firehouse in Philadelphia.

bombloader80 said...

Here's a link to the bulb's webite(Yeah it has one):

http://www.centennialbulb.org/

It's in Livermore CA.

Epsilon Given said...

I like the idea of LED's, but they will probably be a bit unaffordable for me the next little while. Other reasons I like the idea of LED's (and incandescents, for that matter) better than fluorescents: they don't buzz, when they get old, they don't flicker, and I don't have to worry about mercury poisoning if they get broken.

I especially don't like the fact that incandescents will be banned, though, because it will be some time before I'll be able to afford LEDs, and it would be very nice to have a more inexpensive alternative to compete with LEDs, and help push the cost down! That, and I'd like to wait to see how LEDs fare over time, and let others "debug" the technology. :-)

(I would add that, if I could afford them, I wouldn't mind doing some of the debugging myself.)

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

The only potential gotcha is that it is intended for use in a non-wet environment. Fortunately, the flood lamp is in a nine-foot high ceiling, so unless some NBA professionals move in, I don't think there's much to worry about in that area.

Probably, but if it's above the shower you might have to worry about condensation getting into it.

Oh, and that firehouse lightbulb? 109 years, and it doesn't just have a website, it has it's own live webcam.