Author Topic: LED replacement recessed lights - worth it?  (Read 19003 times)

ZiziPB

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LED replacement recessed lights - worth it?
« on: October 10, 2013, 12:19:18 PM »
I have a number of recessed lights in my house but rarely use any except for 4 of them in the kitchen.  They currently have standard flood light bulbs in them.  I'm thinking of replacing them with LED flood bulbs ($75 for 4 at Costco).  However, I am planning to sell this house at FIRE in about 5 years, so I'm not sure if I will realize any savings in that period of time.  Thoughts? 

BTW, I have already replaced most of regular lighbulbs with CFLs, generally in places where I use them most like bathrooms, hallways, table lamps, etc.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2013, 12:32:56 PM by Izeve »

Spork

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Re: LED replacement recessed lights - worth it?
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2013, 12:37:33 PM »
I am right there with you.  I have about 20-something recessed cans with BR40 floods in them.

The options I see:
a) buy BR40 60watt equivalent CFLs at about $10 each
b) buy BR40 60watt equivalent LEDs at about $20 each
c) buy new trim kits for them and use the cheaper "round bulb replacement" CFL/LED at $5 - $10 each for the bulb and $10-15 for the trim kit.

Currently I have done option (a) and I have only done it in the high usage areas.

Any other reasonable options out there?  I know the net gain is there* but it's hard to get over the whole "$400 worth of light bulbs" stigma, especially for the areas that just don't get much usage.


*net gain is based on lab estimates for bulb life and my power is really dirty.  I have this queasy feeling in my gut that says 120v LEDs might not last 20,000+ hours in my environment.

ZiziPB

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Re: LED replacement recessed lights - worth it?
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2013, 12:43:30 PM »
Thanks Spork.  I could get CFLs for a lot less (Lowes has a 6-pack for $22) but I tried CFLs in the kitchen in my prior house and really hated the color of the light while prepping food.  I don't mind it in other areas but the CFLs make food, esp. fruits and veggies, look very unappetizing in the the kitchen.  I swapped them back after just a couple of days because I just couldn't stand it.

seattlecyclone

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Re: LED replacement recessed lights - worth it?
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2013, 12:47:10 PM »
This is a pretty simple question to answer, given enough data. You need to know the following things:
1) How much power (in watts) do your current bulbs use?
2) How much power (in watts) do the replacement bulbs use?
3) How many bulbs are there?
4) How many hours per day do you use the lights, on average?
5) How much does one kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity cost in your area?

Let's suppose that your old CFL bulbs use 30 W of power, and the new LEDs use 15 W. There are four of them in the room, and you use the lights for four hours every day. Also suppose that your electric company charges 10 cents per kWh.

The power differential between the old and new is (30 W/bulb - 15 W/bulb) * 4 bulbs = 60 W.
Per day, you have 60 W * 4 hours/day of usage = 240 Wh/day = 0.24 kWh/day
In five years, the power savings comes out to 0.24 kWh/day * 365 days/year * 5 years = 438 kWh
If you pay 10 cents per kWh, that comes out to a power savings of $43.80.

Also take into account the expected lifetime of the bulbs. In five years you may have to replace the CFLs once or twice (I've just started having to replace some of the CFLs I installed when I bought my house a little over three years ago), while the LEDs should last longer than you plan to live in the home.

Spork

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Re: LED replacement recessed lights - worth it?
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2013, 12:48:27 PM »
Thanks Spork.  I could get CFLs for a lot less (Lowes has a 6-pack for $22) but I tried CFLs in the kitchen in my prior house and really hated the color of the light while prepping food.  I don't mind it in other areas but the CFLs make food, esp. fruits and veggies, look very unappetizing in the the kitchen.  I swapped them back after just a couple of days because I just couldn't stand it.

I know what you mean... but there are usually 2 colors of CFLs.  I suspect you're using the cooler color.  I personally have the same reaction as you do to that one.  The warm color is not perfect, but it is much closer to incandescent. 

ZiziPB

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Re: LED replacement recessed lights - worth it?
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2013, 12:56:52 PM »
Ha! maybe that was it.  It was a few years ago, so I don't remember there being a choice of color, like there is now.  I know I have the "warm" CFLs in the bathroom so I will bring a couple of tomatoes in there and see what they look like.

Seattlecyclone, thanks for the formula.  The bulbs I have now are 65W incandescent and I would be going down to either 13W or 17W LEDs.  I have to see what the power co charges me per kWh these days as I don't remember that off the top of my head.

keepingmobens

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Re: LED replacement recessed lights - worth it?
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2013, 01:52:06 PM »
Keep in mind there are several different types of LED replacement recessed lights. My local costco has ones that use 18W. I don't remember the exact price, but I think they are about $20 each. Home Depot sells ones that use only 9.5W, but they are $34.95 each, however the quality of light from them is very good. To me, it would be worth it to pay more in order to consume half the wattage, especially if they are in a kitchen or other place that sees lots of usage. 

Spork

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Re: LED replacement recessed lights - worth it?
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2013, 03:10:11 PM »
Keep in mind there are several different types of LED replacement recessed lights. My local costco has ones that use 18W. I don't remember the exact price, but I think they are about $20 each. Home Depot sells ones that use only 9.5W, but they are $34.95 each, however the quality of light from them is very good. To me, it would be worth it to pay more in order to consume half the wattage, especially if they are in a kitchen or other place that sees lots of usage.

And (implied above) there are really only a handful of sizes of recessed cans and *TONS* of different trim kits.  Trim kits vary wildly in price... but you can replace the trim and put a lens on it... thus not needing the high dollar flood light bulb (BR40's and R30's).  You might be able to find a "contractor pack" of trim kits to get the price per fixture down pretty low.

I think the main reason the floodlight cans are so popular is that the trim kit is about $4. 

ZiziPB

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Re: LED replacement recessed lights - worth it?
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2013, 06:25:47 PM »
Thanks everyone for their input.  It turns out that I need BR40 bulbs as I have 6 in. recessed lights.  The best match seems to be Home Depot retrofit 9.5W LED light with trim at $25 each.  So it would cost me $106 for four of them (sales tax!).  My overall electricity rate appears to be $0.193 - lots of various charges but all based on kWh used.  Based on 2 hours a day, I would save about $145 after 5 years, minus the cost of the bulbs, so less than $1 per month difference in my electric bill....
Probably not worth it.

Oh, and did the tomato experiment with my "warm light" CFLs.  Not horrible but definitely noticeable difference in color that would probably put me off cooking ;-)

Dicey

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Re: LED replacement recessed lights - worth it?
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2013, 07:00:27 PM »
Darn it! I was hoping this thread would lead to info on where/how to get deals on LEDs. Our new house has about 75 can lights, ALL on dimmers. CFL's are not a great option in this situation. In addition, part of the house has 14' ceilings, so CFLs lose there too. Does anyone have any good info on LED floods? Twenty dollars each is not going to cut it. Does anyone have any experience in this area? Will prices drop as they become more readily available? Should I look for them overseas? Help!

Financial Threedom

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Re: LED replacement recessed lights - worth it?
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2013, 07:33:44 PM »
I will be finishing my basement in the next few months and I am leaning towards putting in LED pot lights.  I have experience with pot lights, but not LED pot lights, so Im not quite 100% set on them yet, since I havent seen them in action.   

SnackDog

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Re: LED replacement recessed lights - worth it?
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2013, 02:45:30 AM »
LED bulbs, even the cheaper non-dimmable type, are still sold in such tiny quantities that the prices are too high for most of us (if up you have Hawaiian electric rates or run your lights 24/7, YMMV).  There are reports of less than advertised bulb life as well. Wait 5-10 years and the economics might make sense.

Spork

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Re: LED replacement recessed lights - worth it?
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2013, 07:58:47 AM »
Thanks everyone for their input.  It turns out that I need BR40 bulbs as I have 6 in. recessed lights.  The best match seems to be Home Depot retrofit 9.5W LED light with trim at $25 each.  So it would cost me $106 for four of them (sales tax!).  My overall electricity rate appears to be $0.193 - lots of various charges but all based on kWh used.  Based on 2 hours a day, I would save about $145 after 5 years, minus the cost of the bulbs, so less than $1 per month difference in my electric bill....
Probably not worth it.

Oh, and did the tomato experiment with my "warm light" CFLs.  Not horrible but definitely noticeable difference in color that would probably put me off cooking ;-)

I've considered your BR40 drop in (or similar).  I've also considered re-trimming with something like this:


...then buying cheaper round general service LED bulbs which can be found for about $5-10.  I think the latter would be cheaper, but I am not sure about the quality of the lighting as it won't have the reflector that the R40 bulbs have.

(I stole that image from CPSC and it is a recall, so ignore THAT specific one... there are tons of very similar look trim kits out there for $10 or less.)