Author Topic: LED light bulbs  (Read 12295 times)

sol

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LED light bulbs
« on: September 11, 2012, 08:58:39 PM »
I purchased a couple of LED bulbs for recessed can lights in my house, shortly after reading this little classic:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/03/05/so-i-bought-you-a-40-light-bulb-today/

This one went over the cooking island and this one went over the sink.

After using them for a few months, I've decided that I like the one over the stove better, mostly because it's a more focused beam.  The sink light technically produces more lumens, but covers a much wider area.  On the plus side, it is a shorter bulb so that it sits further recessed into the fixture, which I like.  I have some old PAR38 CFL bulbs that were dirt cheap but they protrude too far and thus are blinding from all angles.

When MMM wrote this article six months ago, the bulbs were going for about $40 each.  I just bought a few more for $31 including shipping from Amazon (another like my stove light, and this).  If you've been considering making the switch to LEDs, prices have come down significantly.  Now might be a good time to upgrade.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2012, 09:02:26 PM by sol »

happy

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2012, 06:00:47 AM »
My house has a lot of downlights which chew up 50W each... so I've been replacing them gradually. LEDs don't always live up to their ratings, so I suggest to buy one to test before buying many. A year or so ago I  replaced some with 7W Cree LEDs downlights: worked like a charm but not as bright as the halogens.  So we though carefully about  their placement - for example in my childrens rooms then have 4 lights wired in pairs, 1 pair has leds for common use (at 2x7W) and the other pair is used if they really need bright light (2x50W).

My laundry has a Gu10 fitting- a useless light if there ever was one...  expensive , difficult to replace and often prone to short life span...I was delighted to find a GU10  7W led replacement. Its great mate.

The latest release Down Under is thishttp://brightgreen.com/. 10W downlight that will perform regardless of the transformer wired into the downlight - if you didn't have the right wiring/transformer previously you couldn't just replace the regular downlight with an LED. I'm hoping they will get a little cheaper (best price I've found is $57) soon.....and then I will strategically replace a couple more in the kitchen.

tooqk4u22

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2012, 09:00:21 AM »
My house has a lot of downlights which chew up 50W each... so I've been replacing them gradually.

If you have any left in areas that you use regularly replace them ASAP with at least CFLs...do not wait.  The CFLs are cheap enough and the cost will be covered quick. 

happy

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2012, 04:29:55 PM »
Sorry, we don't have CFLs for downlights here, or I would have done. The highest use downlights already have LEDs in them anyway, but we are sacrificing brightness at times and still use the others at times for short periods if we need more light.

Lazyretirementgirl

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2012, 08:14:10 PM »
Sol, I have a problem with LEDs which I hope you or others can help me solve. I have tons of can light fixtures in my house and would like to put LED bulbs in all of them.  Amazon seems to have a good selection and prices; however, I am stumped when I try to figure out which bulb will for which fixture. Is there some secret matrix or coding which will help me figure this out? Thanks!

sol

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2012, 09:40:27 PM »
Most of the LED bulbs are the same standard sizes as the incandescent bulbs they replace.

My canister lights took PAR38 bulbs, so I bought PAR38 led bulbs to replace them.  Same fixture and dimensions.

If you don't have any old regular bulbs to look at to figure out what you need, you can probably just measure the can and then go cruise the bulb isle at your local hardware store to see what looks right.  I'd guess on one, try it out, and return it if it's the wrong size.

igthebold

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2012, 07:23:03 AM »
Thanks for the writeup, sol. We mostly have CFLs, but do have a dimmable chandelier with incandescent, and a need for better task lighting in our kitchen, so I'll definitely consider it.

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2012, 07:57:49 AM »
Every time one of the cannister halogen lights in my kitchen blows out, I think about getting an LED light, get gunshy from the $30-40 price, and end up getting another cheap halogen.

I think that mostly I'm scared about the "color" of the light.  My wife absolutely hates one of the types of CFL's (I can't remember if it's the "warm" or the "bright" color), and I don't want to spend $40 on a light bulb that is supposed to last 20 years, if my wife is going to hate it.

I need an LED light gallery.
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sol

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2012, 08:43:00 AM »
I need an LED light gallery.

Such things do exist.

Even Home Depot had a mini one the last time I was in there.  It was only like four bulbs, but each one was labelled with the color temperature and every bulb of the same K value will produce the same kind of light.

igthebold

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2012, 02:32:58 PM »
I think that mostly I'm scared about the "color" of the light.  My wife absolutely hates one of the types of CFL's (I can't remember if it's the "warm" or the "bright" color), and I don't want to spend $40 on a light bulb that is supposed to last 20 years, if my wife is going to hate it.

My wife used to hate CFL colors, but we moved into a house where the owner had already installed CFLs everywhere. Now she doesn't care at all, as far as I can tell.

"Just do it," would be valid advice in your situation, but you know your wife. Maybe, "Just try it," in a single room. Who knows, they might even have decent resale value.

fiveoh

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2012, 12:57:52 PM »
Question about LEDs.... we have one of those typical holywood vanity style light fixtures in the bathroom, do they make LED bulbs for these?  I dont want to use CFL due to the delay and we go in and out quickly a lot. 

sol

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2012, 03:25:20 PM »
I have yet to find a bulb format that they're not making led bulbs for. You may have to hunt a bit, but they're out there.

velocistar237

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2012, 09:00:49 AM »
Question about LEDs.... we have one of those typical holywood vanity style light fixtures in the bathroom, do they make LED bulbs for these?  I dont want to use CFL due to the delay and we go in and out quickly a lot.

I picked one up and tried it out, and it was awful. Though there was a globe, only the center of the globe was lit, making the bulb much brighter and harder to look at. I switched back to CFL, despite the warm-up problems. Let me know if you find a better one.

Bakari

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2012, 10:51:12 AM »

I picked one up and tried it out, and it was awful. Though there was a globe, only the center of the globe was lit, making the bulb much brighter and harder to look at.

There are a whole lot of options, in more styles and formats and shapes than you can imagine.
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Look for 360degree beam patterns, diffuser lens, and/or multiple LEDs instead of a single cree/luxeon
« Last Edit: October 11, 2012, 10:53:08 AM by Bakari »
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velocistar237

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2012, 11:00:28 AM »
Thanks. For reference, this is the bulb I tried.

igthebold

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2012, 08:46:40 AM »
One benefit of LEDs is not only tested lifespan, but actual lifespan. In my house, I'm training my children to turn off the light if they leave the room. This can reduce the lifespan of a CFL, but I think it's an important habit, since it's hard to get children to leave the light on if they're leaving a room for fewer than 15 minutes, but turn it off otherwise.

I'm *guessing* LED lights won't suffer from this wear-and-tear issue, right? If not, then it fits the bedroom light scenario much better than CFLs do.

TomTX

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2012, 07:49:51 PM »
Every time one of the cannister halogen lights in my kitchen blows out, I think about getting an LED light, get gunshy from the $30-40 price, and end up getting another cheap halogen.

I think that mostly I'm scared about the "color" of the light.  My wife absolutely hates one of the types of CFL's (I can't remember if it's the "warm" or the "bright" color), and I don't want to spend $40 on a light bulb that is supposed to last 20 years, if my wife is going to hate it.

I need an LED light gallery.

It's probably the "bright" ones. Decent packaging should give you the "color temperature" of a CFL or LED light. 2700K* is a nice warm color, pleasant. 5000K is pretty darn blue and harsh. Somehow I think my Mom found some 6000K - those really annoy me. Very harsh.

*The "color temperature" scale is a bit arcane. Technically, it's temperature in degrees in Kelvin (Kelvin is almost the same as Celsius, but "zero" in Kelvin is -273.15C.) It's the color of an object heated to that temperature, if the object is a perfect radiator (or "black body") - if you have ever seen blacksmithing, when the iron is hot it starts to glow dull red, hotter is orange, hotter is yellow, et cetera.

happy

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2012, 04:07:11 AM »
We have some 2700K LEDs, and they are a nice warm colour especially if you are used to tungsten. We now have some 3000k ones which are just that bit less yellow...bright but not harsh. Just right to my eye, but probably depends on where you are using them and personal preference.

Lazyretirementgirl

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2012, 08:44:20 PM »
Sol, thank you so much for the advice and information on fitting the led bulbs. I ordered several from Amazon after checking the PAR numbers, and installed them today. They work like a dream, and were significantly less expensive than the non LED bulbs we had been getting from the specialty store we had been stuck buying from. I really appreciate your help.

Blindsquirrel

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2012, 08:28:57 PM »
  FYI, you can get decent LEDs from Ebay for about 31 bucks for six of them. Really like em
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TomTX

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2012, 07:05:52 AM »
The dropping cost of LED bulbs can contribute a lot in making the world a greener place for us. We often say that we don't buy LED because it is expensive but what we don't know is that we are actually saving by means of buying something more expensive. The traditional incandescent bulb's cost doesn't just count the price you pay on the actual day you purchase it, you must also take into consideration the number of times you have to replace it and the energy that it consumes as part of your electric bill. Incandescent and halogen lights consume around 40-60 watts while LEDs range from 9-13 watts. As for lifespan, incandescent bulbs lasts around 1,000 hours as compared with LED bulbs which can last around 30,000 hours. By switching to LED bulbs we not only save the our own money but we help save the world through lesser energy consumption. - lara

A more fair comparison is a $1-$2 13W CFL lasting years versus a $30-$35 9W LED lasting more years. Comparing incandescent/halogen against LED for long-term power savings is a false basis. CFLs are cheap, good color rendering (if you choose the right color temp) and save you 75% of the power used by an incandescent.

I have almost all CFL lights in this house. We moved in more than 7 years ago. ONE finally burned out this month.

Modern CFL bulbs have very little mercury (only the early ones had much.)

Platypus

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2012, 05:16:29 PM »
Thanks for the reminder about LED bulbs! My local electrical provider does discounts on energy efficient bulbs/appliances/etc in their service area, and I found out from their website that they're doing a killer sale for the holidays. I managed to grab 6 soft white 12w LED (60watt equivalents) that say they give out 810 lumens for a total of $19 after tax. I might pick up more before the sale ends!

We're moving next month, and I'm hoping to equip our new place with mostly LED or CFLs. It looks like the last tenants left a lot of CFLs in the house already, lucky us!

Another quick and inexpensive energy saver = a blanket insulator for the hot water heater...

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2013, 01:26:54 PM »
  FYI, you can get decent LEDs from Ebay for about 31 bucks for six of them. Really like em
Link me? Our place is about to need about half a dozen lightbulbs replaced.


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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2013, 07:20:42 PM »
Thanks! I've got 10 on the way!

Ozstache

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2013, 03:50:31 AM »
I've got a house full of 50W MR16 down lights, most of which are in groups of 4 on a dimmer. I put together a cost break even analysis for all these lights, which took electricity cost, replacement LED light cost and average daily usage rates into account. The break even point was generally decades, and even with my most used lights (kitchen) came out to just over 10 years for a ROE.  As such, I haven't changed any of them for now, as I expect that in a couple of years time the cost of LED lights will come down quite significantly and a sub 5 year ROE will be possible. I'm such a nerd!

Blindsquirrel

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2013, 04:34:37 PM »
 Ozstache? What base price are you using for LEDs?  When you factor in the stunning life of LED lights I came out at much quicker. LED replacement for a 60 watt has a 4.5 watt draw. Cost was 5 bucks an LED. Thanks!
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Ozstache

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #27 on: February 01, 2013, 12:05:05 AM »
For a dimmable MR16, it's around $35 here in the merry merry land of Oz.  Non-dimmable and non-MR-16 are much cheaper, but of course I have none of those.

Blindsquirrel

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #28 on: February 01, 2013, 08:00:40 PM »
 Wow! I just got 8 for $41 off ebay. They are E27 base 60 watt rplacements. Shipped from China. $5 a pop makes them a no brainer.
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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #29 on: February 02, 2013, 06:04:22 AM »
Our LED lightbulbs are in. They're pretty dim and very directional, but the color is nice at least. We're going to put them in fixtures where we have tons of sockets and down in the basement.

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #30 on: February 24, 2013, 08:23:15 PM »
I purchased a couple of LED bulbs for recessed can lights in my house, shortly after reading this little classic:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/03/05/so-i-bought-you-a-40-light-bulb-today/

This one went over the cooking island and this one went over the sink.

After using them for a few months, I've decided that I like the one over the stove better, mostly because it's a more focused beam.  The sink light technically produces more lumens, but covers a much wider area.  On the plus side, it is a shorter bulb so that it sits further recessed into the fixture, which I like.  I have some old PAR38 CFL bulbs that were dirt cheap but they protrude too far and thus are blinding from all angles.

When MMM wrote this article six months ago, the bulbs were going for about $40 each.  I just bought a few more for $31 including shipping from Amazon (another like my stove light, and this).  If you've been considering making the switch to LEDs, prices have come down significantly.  Now might be a good time to upgrade.

I've been buying LED's in 3-packs at Costco for ~$17/pack- Been using these for over a year now as replacements for CFL's when they die.  The local Costco has LED bulbs in various form factors, even the Liberace Candelabra version!

Note: I've found CFLs last a LONG time in a fixture where they are 'always on', but CFLs only last about 6-18 months as closet or bathroom lights that get flicked on or off frequently.
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James

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #31 on: February 24, 2013, 08:34:27 PM »
Our LED lightbulbs are in. They're pretty dim and very directional, but the color is nice at least. We're going to put them in fixtures where we have tons of sockets and down in the basement.


I got a couple LED lightbulbs also, I agree about the directional aspect, makes it a poor fit for a good number of our fixtures.  I also agree about the light quality, and I will continue to add some where appropriate.
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gecko10x

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #32 on: February 25, 2013, 05:50:36 AM »
We purchased a couple of these recently and are very happy with them. Not quite as cheap as what's being discussed above, but I'd happily replace any of our bulbs with them. (Admittedly, I've only tried them in our canister fixtures so far. They may be too directional for all fixtures.)

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #33 on: February 25, 2013, 03:25:43 PM »

I'd like to hear feedback on lifespan.  I've read the lab results, which look really good.  What I'm worried about is real life wear.  We live in the country and our power is sub-optimal -- lots of spikes/dips/dropouts.  My worry is that LEDs are going to be very sensitive to this. 

I'm thinking I need a whole-house surge suppressor -- though that's a different topic entirely.

happy

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #34 on: February 27, 2013, 01:37:02 AM »
I'm a big fan of LEDs and was somewhat upset that one of  my LEDs burnt out after quite a short time: definitely less than 1000 hours, probably just a few hundred.

Since it was allegedly a good quality LED I was not happy: hopefully its just a random dud.

Spork

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #35 on: February 27, 2013, 07:43:05 AM »
I'm a big fan of LEDs and was somewhat upset that one of  my LEDs burnt out after quite a short time: definitely less than 1000 hours, probably just a few hundred.

Since it was allegedly a good quality LED I was not happy: hopefully its just a random dud.

[Danger: Ignorance ahead.]

Does the whole bulb burn out?  Or does it go in bits and pieces?  I.e., does it go out like an LED traffic light were individual cells start going out over time or in one poof?

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #36 on: February 27, 2013, 08:01:41 AM »
I'm a big fan of LEDs and was somewhat upset that one of  my LEDs burnt out after quite a short time: definitely less than 1000 hours, probably just a few hundred.

Since it was allegedly a good quality LED I was not happy: hopefully its just a random dud.

[Danger: Ignorance ahead.]

Does the whole bulb burn out?  Or does it go in bits and pieces?  I.e., does it go out like an LED traffic light were individual cells start going out over time or in one poof?

Driver board failure, usually due to cheap electronics on the power converter end... and this sort of failure is far more common than you think. Technically, the diodes that generate the light are still just fine, but it's hard to impossible to fix because of the way the package is designed.
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Spork

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #37 on: February 27, 2013, 08:56:17 AM »
I'm a big fan of LEDs and was somewhat upset that one of  my LEDs burnt out after quite a short time: definitely less than 1000 hours, probably just a few hundred.

Since it was allegedly a good quality LED I was not happy: hopefully its just a random dud.

[Danger: Ignorance ahead.]

Does the whole bulb burn out?  Or does it go in bits and pieces?  I.e., does it go out like an LED traffic light were individual cells start going out over time or in one poof?

Driver board failure, usually due to cheap electronics on the power converter end... and this sort of failure is far more common than you think. Technically, the diodes that generate the light are still just fine, but it's hard to impossible to fix because of the way the package is designed.

That was my fear.  My utility power sucks and is likely to fry them.  (I just looked at my logs and I see 82 UPS transfers since mid January.)

happy

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #38 on: February 27, 2013, 09:26:03 PM »
It went in one "poof". Well no poof, just failed to light up one day.
Tech minded occupant of the house fiddled and tried various things but to no avail. Thanks IP  for the tip, won't buy that brand anymore.

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #39 on: February 27, 2013, 09:42:55 PM »
It went in one "poof". Well no poof, just failed to light up one day.
Tech minded occupant of the house fiddled and tried various things but to no avail. Thanks IP  for the tip, won't buy that brand anymore.

I think it may have just as much to do with the price point as it does the brand if past history with CFL real world usage versus box labeled lifespan and price points are any indicator.

There's a reason why I still run tungsten in my house.
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Spork

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #40 on: February 28, 2013, 08:17:20 AM »

I have no idea if this relates to LEDs or not, but ... for CFL and traditional incandescent alike -- if you can find 130v bulbs instead of 120v bulbs, you will get a huge difference in lifespan.  Even those that have decent power from the grid get fluctuations above 120v.  Mine sits at 122-125 normally.

Another thing I discovered: Edison screw sockets have a contact at the bottom on a bit of a little spring.  Usually the spring is just a bit of bent metal that flexes.  Often people will take a bulb and screw that puppy down TIGHT.   This deforms that screw and actually will sometimes make a tiny air gap between the bottom of the bulb and the contact.  Every time you turn the light on, you get a tiny little arc for a split second.  If you unscrew the bulb and see the contact smashed flat against the bottom of the socket, take a second to pull that contact up a bit with a screwdriver or a pair of needle nose pliers.  (Turn the damn thing off before you do this, of course).  Then when you screw the bulb in, screw it in just enough to make the bulb come on solid and STOP.

philoneist

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #41 on: March 08, 2013, 06:43:31 PM »
I just came across an article about this.

Home Depot now has a $10 LED bulb by Cree
There are bright white & warm white 40 & 60 watt versions.

There are very few reasons not to get them at that price.

Use it up, wear it out...

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #42 on: March 08, 2013, 08:03:42 PM »
...Make it do or do without!

happy

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #43 on: March 17, 2013, 07:34:20 AM »
Well, except that If IP Daley is correct, maybe the electronics that support the Cree might be poor quality and hence more likely to fail.... The one of mine that failed had Cree LEDs, and was quite expensive.

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #44 on: March 18, 2013, 08:41:06 AM »
I'm curious if anyone has tried this type of globe/vanity bulb?

http://www.amazon.com/Feit-Electric-BPG25-LED-RP/dp/B00317DFRY/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

I need to replace a few bulbs in our bathroom. We've been using CFLs and have had the usual problems with short lifespan. Our Menards has these for about $2 cheaper per bulb...seems worth a try, anyway.

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #45 on: March 24, 2013, 01:57:45 PM »
Thank you all for the great info in this thread. The regular light bulbs in our upstairs Hollywood-style fixture recently ALL blew in the span of about a week. I was sick of buying the bulbs, so I put a lamp in there for now. We're planning to sell our house, and our real estate agent wants us to replace that fixture anyway. I'm keeping an eye on Craigslist and yard sales for a new fixture that doesn't require the globe bulbs.

happy

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #46 on: March 28, 2013, 05:00:42 PM »
PS I see looking at the review that you are talking about lights branded Cree, which we don't seem to get here downunder.....we seem to have less choice and it costs more.

One of the problems I'm having is that we can only get LEDs shaped  like a regular old fashioned incandescent light bulb, but have larger dimensions . The CFCs work well - they are longer but slimmer, but all the LEDs to fit are shaped like the old fashioned incandescents but are longer and wider, so don't fit some of my "oyster" ceiling lights.

ivyhedge

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #47 on: April 29, 2013, 08:10:48 PM »
Maybe, "Just try it," in a single room. Who knows, they might even have decent resale value.
Absolutely. My wife and I are house hunting in Boston. This past weekend we visited a place that had undergone a gut renovation. Between the kitchen and living area (open) there were, perhaps, fifteen pot lamps. All equipped with LEDs. What gorgeous light that we both noticed immediately!
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ivyhedge

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #48 on: April 29, 2013, 08:23:04 PM »
Note: I've found CFLs last a LONG time in a fixture where they are 'always on', but CFLs only last about 6-18 months as closet or bathroom lights that get flicked on or off frequently.

Knock on wood...We've used the same three CFls in two bathrooms of two apartments for just over four years. In fact, some of our other bulbs are positively vintage - mercury-ridden and they take a while when it's cold to start. But they won't die!
Astrophysicist and political scientist by training; investment guru and philanthropist by choice; polymath and futurist by necessity.

robtown

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Re: LED light bulbs
« Reply #49 on: December 17, 2013, 07:41:09 PM »
Marco Arment's review

I prefer LED to CFL because they are instant on.  They also seem to be brighter and are a conventional form factor.  For example, they fit in table top lamps where the shade fits over the bulb.

I bought the Home Depot 6 pack of 9.5w (60w) bulbs for about $72.   They are instant on and seem brighter than the 60w incandescent they replaced.  The bulbs themselves have a interesting plastic / rubbery feel.   They have a dark spot on the top about the size of an older style bulbs wattage label,  maybe dime sized.

I just ordered a 6 pack of 9w bulbs from Asia on Ebay for $19 shipped.  Hopefully they will be close to the Home Depot bulb quality.   Together with a number of LED flood bulbs, LED candelabra bulbs,  and several CFL most of my lights will be high efficiency.    I don't have numbers but our electric bill is lower.