What is LED lighting?
LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. In other words, it is a semiconductor that emits light when electricity is applied to it.
Are LED lights brighter?
Not really. For years we determined how bright a bulb was by looking at wattage (energy used) when using an incandescent bulb. But since LEDs use less energy you have to look at the lumens (measurement of lights brightness). In other words, you can get the same amount of light from an incandescent, the LED just uses less energy to do so.
What does that mean? You can get a brighter light with less wattage. Do you have a fixture that you wish was brighter but it is a 60 watt max? Well, with LEDs you can get a bulb that is a 100W lumen equivalent to an incandescent without hitting your max wattage and ruining your fixture.
Are LEDs blue light?
LEDs have a bad reputation for being "blue", and when they were first introduced to the public they did have a blue tint to them. But LED technology has come a long way in a short amount of time and this is no longer the case.
The color of the light is measured in Kelvin; lower numbers produce a warmer light (like incandescent) and the higher the number the whiter or cooler the light (like blue). LEDs are primarily available in two color temperatures; 2700K which is a warm light, like an incandescent bulb, and 3000K which is a whiter more neutral light, like you see with a halogen bulb. Some companies offer higher color temperatures as well, like 3500K or even 4000K if you want an even whiter light.
Technology is constantly advancing to where some even offer a warm dim option. What this means is that as you dim the light down the color of the light will get warmer, like an incandescent bulb.
What will LEDs do to the color of my room?
This is another bad reputation LEDs have, which was caused by everyone's first impression. When they first came out, they did make colors look different, like blues looked green or reds looked brown. This is because the light coming form the diode was missing sections of the light spectrum.
This has since been addressed by companies producing products according to the Color Rendering Index, or CRI. The CRI measures how accurately a light source renders color on a scale from 0-100, incandescent is 100. Most LEDs today have at least an 80 CRI, but with the constantly improving technology 90 CRI and higher options are becoming available.
Can I put LED in any fixture?
Yes and no. While LED technology has come along way since its beginning, there are still some limitations on what LED bulbs you can get or what bulbs can fit into your existing fixture. Standard sockets such as E26 (medium base) or E12 (candelabra base) are available in many different options. Other bases like small halogen bi-pin bulbs are now available, but many might be too large for your fixture. However, smaller ones are starting to hit the market in the past year.
Unfortunately there are still a few socket sizes out there that do not have a compatible LED bulb, YET.
What does "integrated LED" mean?
Integrated LED lights have the LEDs built into the fixture. They could be on a panel, strip, or disc, which is also called a LED module. The diodes are installed into the fixture, in other words you won't find a socket for a bulb. If there is a malfunction with the LED module, it can usually be replaced.
Is LED dimmable?
While most LED lighting is dimmable, that is not the case with all LED. Lighting plays a very big role in your home, whether you know it or not, so if a fixture is dimmable is very important.
When purchasing an LED fixture check to see if it is dimmable. If it is you will prpbably need a True universal Dimmer, it works with both incandescent and LED bulbs. Most LEDs will work with an ELV dimmer. Some may require a different type so check before you purchase to see if you need a new dimmer.
How long do LEDs really last?
LEDs have a very long life span. LEDs typically have a life span of at least 30,000 hours. But most companies are pushing their technology and extending the life to 50,000 hours or more. A fixture that you use for a few hours a day with an LED bulb can last you 20+ years.
The life of an incandescent is 1,000+ hours, a CFL is 10,000+ hours, and most LEDs are 30,000+ hours.