You’re standing in the aisle at the hardware store near your San Diego home staring at the rows upon rows of light bulbs. Should you get the expensive LED lights or the cheaper CFL bulbs? You’ve heard that LEDs are better, but how much do LED lights save if they’re double the price? The truth is that LED lights can save you a ton of money over the course of their lifespan. It’s time to learn more about exactly how much you stand to save by grabbing that pack of LEDs instead.
What are LEDs?
Light-emitting diode bulbs are a much more efficient type of light bulb than the old halogen or compact fluorescent ones. The source of light in an LED bulb is tiny and uses red, green, and blue lights to create a white light effect. They are also completely cool, which is part of why they’re so efficient.
Many of us have images of LED bulbs as bright, bluish lights. While they certainly can be that, they can also provide the warm glow you love from a halogen or CFL bulb. Because they use three light colors to create white light, some LED bulbs can even change colors depending on what you want.
How Long They Last
As we mentioned, LED lights last much longer than CFL or halogen bulbs. This is due in part to the fact that they don’t waste energy putting off heat. CFL bulbs may lose as much as 90 percent of their energy in heat, which is wasted time and money.
LED light bulbs have an estimated life span of between 25,000 and more than 100,000 hours. So, let’s say you run a bulb eight hours a day, 365 days a year. It will still take you more than three decades to burn that bulb out. If you burned the bulb 24 hours a day, every day, it would last more than 11years.
How Long Other Bulbs Last
So, let’s take a look at how compact fluorescent lights, incandescent bulbs and halogen bulbs last. A halogen light bulb has a life span of about 2,500 hours. That means if you ran that light bulb eight hours a day every day, you would have to replace it in less than a year.
Compact fluorescent lights do better than halogen bulbs, coming in with a lifespan of about 15,000 hours. Let’s say you run that bulb for our eight-hour-a-day timespan. The bulb will far outlast a halogen bulb, but you’re still going to be replacing it in a little more than five years.
Costs of Each Bulb Type
You might say, “LEDs are so much more expensive than compact fluorescent or halogen lightbulbs. Surely it must be cheaper to buy the cheaper bulbs, even if it means replacing them more often, right?” Well, let’s take a look at just how much each of these bulb types costs on average, understanding that prices will vary depending on where you buy and where you live.
A standard pack of four LED light bulbs that put off 800 lumens and aren’t dimmable will set you back about $20 at the outside, a price of roughly $5 per bulb. By contrast, you can get a pack of eight standard halogen light bulbs for $15, about $2 per bulb. You can get a four-pack of CFL bulbs for $10, just about $2 a bulb as well.
How Many Bulbs You’ll Go Through in 30 Years
Before we declare that it makes more sense to buy the bulbs that are less than half the price of LED bulbs, let’s take a look at the big picture. How many bulbs will you go through in your San Diego residence in 10 years? We already know how long each of the bulbs last, so let’s look at the overall picture for your whole house over 30 years, the time it takes to pay off most mortgages.
According to some estimates, there is an average of 50 light bulbs in every American home. If you buy all LED bulbs, in those 30 years, you’ll only buy the initial 50 bulbs. However, if you buy halogen lights, you’ll buy more than 1,500 bulbs, and if you buy CFLs, you’ll buy about 300 bulbs.
Total Energy Savings
Before we do our final tally, we have to take into account the different amounts of energy that LED bulbs use compared to CFLs and halogens. An LED bulb uses about 10 watts of energy per hour. CFL bulbs use about 14 watts per hour, and halogen bulbs suck in a whopping 90 watts per hour.
So, let’s go back to our eight hours a day example and look at the costs of powering each bulb, with each kilowatt-hour costing an average of 12 cents. You’ll pay about $250 a year to run 50 CFL bulbs and about $1,600 to run all halogen bulbs. On the other hand, you’ll pay just $175 a year to run 50 LED bulbs in your house every day.
How Much Do LED Lights Save Overall?
Now let’s crunch the numbers and figure out your total savings. If you powered your house entirely on halogen bulbs, you’d have to spend $3,000 on light bulbs over 30 years. Then you’d spend an additional $48,000 powering those bulbs. Your total mortgage lifetime halogen bulb cost would be $51,000.
If you went smarter and got CFLs, you’d pay $600 for all your light bulbs and $7,500 for electricity. This puts you at a total of about $8,000 in lighting costs over the course of your mortgage.
If, at the beginning of 30 years, you bought 50 LED bulbs, you would pay $250 for all of them. Each year, you would pay $175 to run them, for a mortgage lifetime total of $5,250, putting your total light investment for the entire life of your mortgage at $5,500. This means that you would save more than $45,000, compared to using halogen bulbs and more than $2,000 compared to using CFLs.
Learn More About LED Bulbs
Buying LED light bulbs may not seem like it’s worth the expense at first, but the true answer to, “How much do LED lights save?” is enough to buy you a plane ticket to somewhere nice. Also, isn’t it good to know you won’t have to worry about replacing those bulbs again until you’re well into your retirement?
If you’d like to find the perfect lighting solution for your San Diego home, check out the rest of our site. We’re your LED lighting experts, specializing in both interior and landscape lighting. Contact us today for a free consultation and trial of your new lighting solution.