Getting Out of the Dark Ages: Tips on Choosing the Correct LED Bulb For Your Home
Did you ever walk into a big box store to quickly pick up a light bulb, but are intimidated by the hundreds of choices in front of you? If you didn’t bring the old bulb with you or you are buying a light for a new fixture it could be challenging to know what to use. If you are switching to LED bulbs you just added any extra layer of complexity to the equation. Don’t let the challenge of figuring out which LED bulb to use prevent you from switching to the more energy efficient option. To demystify the challenge of choosing the correct LED bulb we have highlighted some key tips below.
Cool vs. Warm
Unlike most traditional or incandescent bulbs, LED lights typically come in a spectrum of hues. LED bulbs for home use typically come in cool or bright white and warm or soft white as indicated in the picture. Picking a color type depends on the room and the mood you would like to set within it. Cool white emits a bright light with a blue undertone and would be good to use in kitchens and bathrooms. Warm white is similar to traditional bulbs and is usually used in bedrooms or living spaces. Color for LED bulbs are measured in Kelvin. You can also use this kelvin chart to get a better idea of the types of light a LED bulb emits.
What is a Lumen?
Lumen measures the output of brightness in a bulb. When buying an incandescent light bulb you may have looked at the Watt number to determine brightness, but Watts don’t measure brightness. Watts measure the amount of energy the bulb uses not the brightness. In incandescent bulbs watts correlated with the brightness because the more energy the bulb used (the higher the watt) the brighter it would be. Since LED bulbs are more energy efficient the Watt number will not correlate with the brightness.
Depending on the room you are using the bulb in depends on the brightness and the number of Lumens you need. For bedrooms and living spaces the LED bulb should be between 1,500 – 4,000 Lumens. LED bulbs for bathrooms, kitchens, and dining rooms should be between 2,200 – 8,000 Lumens. Here is a wattage breakdown chart that can assist as it can get a bit confusing.
What to know about Dimmable LEDs?
If you are replacing a bulb that has a dimmer you need to understand that not all LEDs work with dimmers that were installed to support incandescent bulbs. First, do not use non-dimmable LED bulbs in a dimmable circuit as it may cause damage to the light or the circuit. Placing a dimmable LED bulb in an old dimmer switch could result in the LED not performing as it should, creating a flickering or strobe light effect.
Replacing the dimmer switch out with a new compatible version will allow the LED bulb to perform at its best. Keep in mind all dimmer switches have minimum and maximum load requirements so choose a LED bulb that fits in the parameters of the dimmer switch. Choosing a dimmer that can handle the amount of lights you would like to support will ensure you lights have an illuminating effect that enhances the rooms atmosphere.
In conclusion, note that many lighting isles in home improvement stores have sample lights that you can test before you buy them. Pay attention to the color the light emits as well as the brightness to help make your decision. If all else fails, feel free to contact us. We can help you determine the type of bulb that meets your needs. Switching to LED bulbs will be more cost effect and help make your home energy efficient, enhancing the value of your home in the long run.