Wednesday, March 27, 2013

LED Bulbs

I ordered nine LED flood lamps equivalent to 65W incandescent bulbs a week or so ago from Amazon (actually, Clearance Outlet, an Amazon merchant).  These are made by Feit Electric (never heard of them).  The reviews were quite positive, and they were very reasonably priced -- $160 including shipping.  (If that does not seem reasonable -- you have not priced LED bulbs yet.)

There were three reasons for LED lights:

1. Reduce energy consumption, both to save money, and to simplify perhaps going self-sufficient in the future.  These consume 13W of energy.  I figure that we are going to save about $22 a year by having these instead of incandescent bulbs, which will require about eight years to pay for themselves.  (What to do with the old bulbs that are still good?  We'll find a place at some point for them -- a museum?)

2. These flood lamps were to replace lights in our kitchen, which has a very high ceiling.  To give you some idea of how high, we had to roll the warehouse ladder we use for Big Bertha into the house -- a very involved process.  These are the original bulbs from when the house was built in 2005, and while we have replaced one or two of them in the last several years, the rest were beginning to fail.  If I have to bring in the rolling warehouse ladder to replace them, I don't want to do it again for a long time.  LED bulbs are supposed to be good for 25,000 hours of use.  In a kitchen that gets perhaps two hours of use a day (more in winter, less in summer), that's more than 30 years.

3. They consume less energy than the equivalent CFL bulbs, and while not instant on, like an incandescent bulb, the LED bulbs are on, and full output, in less than a second.  You can see it takes a moment for the bulb to light up, but it is really not an issue -- unlike CFLs, which can a couple of minutes to reach full intensity.

I am pleased to report that these LED flood lamps are very noticeably brighter and whiter than the 60W incandescent and equivalent CFL bulbs.  My wife kids that we can do surgery on the island in the kitchen now.  I suppose that we could have bought 11W (60W equivalent) bulbs instead, and saved a small amount of money at purchase and use, but too bright of a kitchen is seldom a problem--even if a bulb or two fails some years from now, it won't be a problem.


  1. There's a problem with fluorescent lighting that doesn't get much attention:

    "Blue light wavelengths and part of the blue spectrum are focused in front of the retina, while green and yellow are focused on the retina, and some red spectrum is focused behind. Thus blue light contributes little to visual acuity and visual perception loses sharpness as the blue light component adds significantly to the eye's energy expenditure for focusing, and if reduced can greatly reduce eyestrain without loss of acuity."

    This is why reading under CFLs is more difficult than reading under other light sources.

    There are commercial fluorescent tubes that block blue light, but to the best of my knowledge there aren't CFLs that follow suit.

  2. I had never heard of Feit before, either, but our local public electric utility was pushing CFL's from them, and my friend who works as their "sustainability manager" said they were pretty good. So far they have worked pretty well and had decent reliability.

  3. I was looking at the LED bulbs at Costco the other day, and still have a tough time justifying $16 per bulb in price. I have a few lights we leave on nearly constantly that it might be worthwhile to replace for the energy savings, if ever I feel bold enough to buy some.

  4. Hope for the best, but my experience with CFL lamps in recessed ceiling fixtures is that heat buildup leads to premature failure.
    I've also read several reports from others that this is not a great application for LED lamps, for the same reason -- the heat sink on the lamps you link to is at the rear of the bulb, and in a recessed fixture (especially one rated for insulation contact) there will be no air-flow to speak of there.

    The "correct" option is to replace the can with an LED fixture, as has been done here:

  5. Feit is a manufacturer of CFL's for sale in my local hardware store, it's either them or (IIRC) Sylvania, but Feit for some reason works on my X-10 system.
    As for the LED's lasting for years, about 7 years ago, I bought an LED night light that just plugged into the outlet, for use in my bathroom. They were supposed to last 7 years, but the LED lights in the two-pack I bought were both completely non-functional within a year of first installation.

  6. Costco has carried Feit CFL's. I've had mixed experiences with them. Some have burned out fairly soon. With CFL's you quickly learn to leave them on for a while (30 minutes or more is probably best). And don't flip them on and off frequently---never use them in bathrooms for that reason. Otherwise they will definitely fail early.

    Still waiting for the LED's to get cheap enough for me. I agree that it especially makes sense to use them in locations where you don't want to replace them often like hard to reach locations.

  7. One of the local area power companies is subsidizing the sale of LED bulbs. I bought some at Costco and I think they were about $9.00 each.

    That's a great price and they do a much better than the CFL lights that they replaced. Unlike the CFLs, they are really dimable and they come right on.