Saturday, November 10, 2012

Are LED Light Bulbs Worth It?

Over the years, we have installed quite a few pot lights in our house.  All but one take GU10 bulbs.  We installed the GU10 pot lights because the price was right ie cheap.

When we did our basement, I had a guy come in and drywall.  His english isn't great but he made a point of trying to tell me just how lousy the fixtures were that we had bought.  The bulbs in them burn out at a blistering pace and I am often doing laundry in the dark.

Not only are we plagued with constant burned out bulbs, the electricity consumption on 50W GU10 bulbs adds up to somewhat staggering numbers when you have more than a couple on at a time.  I don't think I have mentioned this before on this blog, but I am an environmental science professional by training.  I spent 15 years saving the planet from impending environmental doom yet here I am changing my light bulbs every week.

The final straw in this crazy house of cards came after we got hit with the tail end of Hurricane Sandy.  My youngest son started sleeping with the light on his his room.  A very large tree fell not far from our house and in falling, took out a street light.  The bottom of his school hard is also littered with various large branches from fallen trees.  Who can blame the kid for being scared?

Leaving on pot lights in his room burning 200 watts of dimmed light to keep him asleep pushed me over the edge.  I had to do something before I choked to death on my electricity bill and was swallowed up by the growing pile of burned out GU10 bulbs.

On a scouting trip to my local orange big box store for yet another package of replacement bulbs,  I was shocked and amazed to find GU10 LED pot light bulbs that use a miserly 4W each.  A quick calculation in my head made me realize that replacing the 4 50W bulbs in my son's room with four 4 W bulbs would mean we were only using 16W of power all night instead of 200!

I bought a staggering $70 worth of light bulbs and crossed my fingers.  When I got home, I started googling GU10 bulbs.  A little bit of quick and dirty research revealed that halogen GU10 bulbs are prone to early burn out often in as little as 200 hours.  They tend to run hot and ANY vibration will make them wear out early.  Given how my kids stomp up and down the stairs, I finally had an answer to my burned out bulb problem.

I am enjoying the LED's we have so far.  They are VERY cool to the touch but are not quite as bright or as clear a light as the halogen. They are, however, far superior to the compact florescent bulbs I have used in the past. If I get even half the estimated 25,000 hours of burn time out of the LED's I will be a happy camper.

No comments:

Post a Comment