Energy savings have been all the buzz for some time now and no doubt, light bulbs have been a huge piece. I mean, when I walk into a Home Depot or Lowes and an entire row is dedicated to lights… that’s saying something. It’s also important to note that this row of lights is immediately in your face. In my experience, when you walk in the entrance on the opposite side of lumber and keep walking straight down the first aisle, don’t turn left or right, and the lights will be right there; backs up against the paint aisle. It seems like there are 1000 ft of lights to drown yourself in. Which brand to choose, which wattage, which color, dimmable or not, size, type, etc. If you’ve been there then you know what I’m talking about. Buying a light bulb isn’t as easy as it sounds with all of the options available.

 

After buying my home I went through each and every room, replacing the light bulbs with the color I wanted (daylight is my favorite) and something more energy efficient (CFL or LED). So now that’s all done but I forgot one room. My sanctuary, so to say, where all my tools and “man stuff” are stowed away. My garage. It’s a dim, cold place out there with those fluorescent lights. You know, the kind that flicker as though you are a star on the film “Lights Out”. That’s not the life for me.

 

So what are my choices? Stick with those old Fluorescent bulbs or bite the bullet and spend the extra bit needed to convert to LED?

 

Google is amazing when it comes to finding lots of information fast. Sometimes it can also be an overload with multiple opinions that often times conflict with one another. This time though, there seems to be a clear verdict.

 

LED wins out!

 

Before I go on a rant about my findings, below is a quick comparison of what I uncovered:

LED Fluorescent
·         Longer life (~50,000 hours) ·         Shorter life (~15,000 hours)
·         More efficient ·         Less efficient (require more watts)
·         70% more useable light (110 degree)* ·         Less light (360 degrees of light)*
·         Uses Energy and not heat ·         Heat generates the light
·         No Mercury ·         Contains Mercury
·         No UV or IR light ·         Puts off UV and IR light
·         Gives off less heat ·         Gives off more heat
·         Plastic makes it more durable ·         Shatters/breaks easily
·         No flicker effect ·         Flicker effect

*I know 110 degrees is less than 360, but when 100% of your light is focused over 110 degrees opposed to being spread out over 360 degrees you get to 70% more light where you want. Think about it, 180 degrees of light is facing up and away from you.

 

Quite frankly, I was sold after the flickering effect went away. Aside from my fear of demons and clowns, I live in a climate zone with cold winters that are not friendly towards fluorescent lights. They take a while to fully light up and I’m not one to wait around in the cold. The LEDs come on strong from the get go and consistently perform regardless of temperature. The rest of the list is just an added bonus in my opinion.

 

1 for the price of 2 OR 2 for the price of 1?

 

While Fluorescent typically carries a lower upfront cost, the fact that LED both outlasts (nearly 3.5 times over) and its more efficient on your bill (requires less wattage for same or better performance) means the long term cost of ownership isn’t as pretty for fluorescent. Easy choice for me, pay a little more upfront to offset that difference and then continue saving. To me it’s like a diesel engine lasting longer than a gas engine, pay for a $60k diesel that may very well last as long as 2-$50k gassers ($100k) with better efficiency.

 

Fluorescent bulbs aren’t so “Bright” of an idea

 

I didn’t think about it until looking into these two bulbs but now I’m left scratching my head. An LED bulb has a plastic backing that butts up against the fixture creating a 110 degree angle of light, so all of the light is going in its intended direction (Down and Out). A fluorescent bulb on the other hand is 360 degrees of glass so in essence, I am paying money to light the ceiling and fixture. Run on words, but whose “bright” idea was that? Another piece of the energy savings for LED that won’t apply to your garage but fun fact, your rooms may feel cooler since the bulbs put off less heat which means you’re A/C can now run less. I can’t speak from experience but just wanted to share.

 

Some things for the health or safety driven consumers: LEDs don’t contain mercury, don’t put off Ultraviolet (UV) or Infrared (IR) light, and they do not shatter nearly as easily as a Fluorescent bulb.

 

All in all, LEDs seem to be the easy decision. Fluorescent bulbs have been around for a while and thrived because of their price advantage but as LED ages and technology makes it cheaper, we may see the Fluorescent bulb burn out. I won’t judge any of you that still use fluorescent, it’s still a perfectly suitable product but I didn’t want you left in the dark; LED is lighting the way. Ok, I am done with all of my pun nonsense. Have a great weekend!