They’re not household staples yet, but light-emitting diodes (LEDs) look like the next generation of lighting for the home.
Here are some of their benefits:
- LEDs use just 10 percent of the energy of a traditional incandescent light bulb.
- They are cool to the touch because they produce very little heat. Unlike LEDs, incandescent light bulbs produce more heat than light.
- LEDs can last or 10 to 15 years, so you’ll probably get tired of your light fixture before you’ll have to change a burned-out bulb.
- LEDs contain no mercury, unlike compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), which contain trace amounts and should not be sent to landfills.
- The color of LEDs is improving at a fast clip as manufacturers rush to perfect the cutting-edge light source so it can become a familiar fixture in every home.
- LEDs are dimmable.
- The lights come in multiple colors, and it’s easy to rig them so that one array changes colors on a timer.
- LEDs are tiny, so you can hide them under cabinets and in crown molding, and tuck them between steps in a staircase for safety lighting.
LEDs have a few drawbacks, too:
- LEDs are expensive. You’ll pay at least $20 for a one array, although you’ll save more than that in energy bills and replacement bulbs over its long life.
- The light from an LED “points” to the surface you aim for rather than flooding your room with light as an incandescent bulb does.
- LEDs come in lots of colors, but none is quite the same as the warm incandescent lights we’re used to. White LED light is often described as “cold” or “blue.”
Rosie’s recommendation: Try them! Arizona summers are hot enough without adding heat to your room by using an inefficient light bulb, which will force your air conditioner to work harder. The more energy efficient your home lighting is, the less of a drain you will put on our natural resources.