Author Topic: Light Bulbs  (Read 1986 times)

historian

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Light Bulbs
« on: March 19, 2018, 02:54:49 PM »
I want to go full LED, but there are some areas of the house that don't lend themselves to the awful harsh glow and poor design of LED bulbs.  I'm wondering if anyone else has issues with these areas?

Our Bathroom (Two Downturned lights).  The typical "LED" style makes the bottom half really bright and blocks the light from filtering up.

Kitchen fan (Two lights on either side of the fan.  The light is really harsh and makes the room look like an operating room.  Plus, the same issues with the light being blocked backwards due to design.

What strategies do you use to mitigate these problems?

affordablehousing

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Re: Light Bulbs
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2018, 03:04:10 PM »
LED bulbs have come a long way. If you don't mind getting pretty anal, you can get a house fully lit with LED's and have it look nice. Color temperature and lumen output are key. Try a lot and see what works and return those you don't like. Cool temperature lights (anything over 3000K) in my mind should be outlawed. Stick with warm temperature bulbs. Also, while they don't sell silvered LED bulbs that I've been able to find, you can solve some of the issues of harsh downlight by frosting your own bulbs catching the end of the light in the overspray of a silver metallic spray paint can. It gives a decent approximation of a frosted incandescent, which are still the design gold standard of lighting. Otherwise, if the bulb isn't visible, you can create your own color temp customization by cutting and wrapping the bulbs in colored gels. In a total pinch, you can also wrap a bulb in translucent packing tape (crappier and thinner the better for optimal color control). If you don't want to tinker with all this, just put incandescents in and get over the watts draining away.

big_owl

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Re: Light Bulbs
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2018, 04:39:41 PM »
Get the new style "vintage" LED bulbs.  I too used to be annoyed by harsh, poorly dimming LEDs but no more.  I'm buying these by the box load now (installed 24 in the last two months):

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0758K7LRF/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

They're beautiful, have that vintage incandescent look and feel, not to mention the light is a very nice level of yellow, especially when dimmed.  They work great on the three different types of dimmers I have in my house too - no noise or flicker. 


nereo

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Re: Light Bulbs
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2018, 06:02:41 PM »

What strategies do you use to mitigate these problems?
I use better LED bulbs that don't emit an 'awful harsh glow'.

COEE

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Re: Light Bulbs
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2018, 07:33:05 PM »
LED tech has come a LONG way.  The problem with LED's is many of them put out too much light.  Get lower wattage equivalents than what you're used to.  I put 60W equivalents in a fixture a while back (5 total) and there was just WAY too much light in the small room compared to the 60W incandescent bulbs that had been installed previously.  I need to replace them with 45W equivalents - I've just been too lazy.

Certainly get 'soft-white' for any area other than a work space.  The warmer the better in living areas, generally.  People like to have relaxing light at home. 

Get CRI's >= 80 and you will have good quality light, very close to an incandescent. 

I've been buying this bulb in 4 packs at walmart.  I recall paying about ~$1.75/bulb.  3 year warranty
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Sylvania-LED-Light-Bulbs-8-5W-60W-Equivalent-Soft-White-4-count/52195225

Home depot has a 24 pack of the same bulb for ~$1.20/bulb
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Sylvania-60W-Equivalent-Soft-White-A19-Non-Dim-LED-Light-Bulb-24-Pack-74765/303629965

The great thing about LED's is that the light color is spot on.  No more lights with with colors changing as they age.  I can't stand different colored lights.  Florescent lights were the worst about that.

Kyle B

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Re: Light Bulbs
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2018, 07:43:23 PM »
I'd also suggest buying from a place like Home Depot where you can see the bulbs in operation.

It's not the brightness that makes the harsh ones harsh, it's that their color temperature is too blue (too 'high'.) 

The naming conventions also differ (with some brands, the warmer ones are called 'soft white' while with other brands they're called 'warm white' -- so don't buy blindly on name alone -- you want to see them lit.)

For example, Philips calls their warmest bulbs "Warm Glow", and their next-warmest "Soft White":

https://www.usa.philips.com/c-m-li/led-lights/warm-led-light

But I shared your disgust with LEDs for a long time, but the current ones, from major brands for reliabilility, in a truly warm temperature, are just awesome.

I went from swearing 'incandescent forever' to looking for incandescent fixtures I can convert.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 07:53:23 PM by Kyle B »

COEE

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Re: Light Bulbs
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2018, 07:47:01 PM »
Also - I feel you on the light not going evenly around the bulb.  That's a challenge that's not easily won, but is getting better.  The lights I suggested in my last post do a decent job of getting spherical light for the fixture, but still isn't perfect.  The fixture can play a factor in this as well.  The more glazed the glass the better the diffusion.  Also optical physics can come into play.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 07:55:18 PM by COEE »

COEE

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Re: Light Bulbs
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2018, 08:09:10 PM »
It's not the brightness that makes the harsh ones harsh, it's that their color temperature is too blue (too 'high'.)

I guess it just depends on your definition of 'harsh'.  My definition is poor CRI and being overly bright.  Color temp is the color temp.  Everyone has to figure out what color temp works best for them - despite the technology (other than incandescent of course).  Poor CRI is largely solved by LED technology being superior to florescent.  So that leaves me thinking brightness.

YMMV

Kyle B

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Re: Light Bulbs
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2018, 08:40:01 PM »
It's not the brightness that makes the harsh ones harsh, it's that their color temperature is too blue (too 'high'.)

I guess it just depends on your definition of 'harsh'.  My definition is poor CRI and being overly bright.  Color temp is the color temp.  Everyone has to figure out what color temp works best for them - despite the technology (other than incandescent of course).  Poor CRI is largely solved by LED technology being superior to florescent.  So that leaves me thinking brightness.

YMMV

Yeah, for me brightness definitely isn't the issue. I have a 150w equivalent LED in a fixture that needs to cover more area. It's ultra-bright, but it's completely pleasant because it's warm. 

And I have some half-watt cool white LED nightlights that upset me every time I see them, because they're so cold and ugly.  I've replaced half with warm versions of the same dang product (https://www.amazon.com/Maxxima-MLN-50-White-Sensor-Lumens/dp/B00A3F1MZE/) and I completely love them.

And I'll wind up replacing the rest shortly. Yes, I'm anal, but I hate the cold color temp in my home.

wawot1

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Re: Light Bulbs
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2018, 11:00:36 PM »
I've switched out all of the bulbs in my house to LED and learned a lot in the process.  You have to learn some new terms.  I honestly can't tell the difference in my house now after replacing with all LEDs vs with halogens - but use about 80% less energy than I used to on lighting.

Some stuff that was helpful for me:

1)  Brightness - don't think about Watts - that's how much power it uses, not how bright it is.   To figure out how "bright" an LED bulb is, look at the lumens - the more lumens, the brighter the bulb.
2)  Color - this is measured in degrees kelvin.  The lower the degrees kelvin (~2700) the more yellow the light, the higher the degrees kelvin (~5000) the more blue.   Go to Home Depot or Lowes or something and you can see a demo.  In my opinion, for a nice light that I want in my home, go for 2700-3000 kelvin.   Avoid 5000 like the plague.
3)  Quality of the light - measured using the CRI - the higher the number (max 100) the closer it is to an incandescent bulb, with a full spectrum of component colors.  Most LED bulbs are at least 80.  As a rule of thumb, the closer you get to 100, the higher the cost of the bulb.
4)  Direction - it's true that LED light is directional - but it seems that the LED manufacturers have found a bunch of ways around this - and proudly label so on the packaging.

If you need a specialty bulb for recessed can lighting or a fixture or something, you can find pretty good ones on Amazon - but be sure you look at 1-4 as above when shopping.

My guess is that you have seen some 5000kelvin LEDs with a low CRI rating that are unidirectional.  I agree those are terrible - but don't at all represent the great options that are out there.

Good luck

historian

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Re: Light Bulbs
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2018, 06:35:46 AM »
Thank you for the help!

I appreciate all the comments.  I'll have to go bulb shopping soon!

dcozad999

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Re: Light Bulbs
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2018, 08:24:31 AM »
Call me crazy, but I really don't like the warm yellowish 2700k light.

I'm all about the daylight bulbs.

RelaxedGal

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Re: Light Bulbs
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2018, 10:27:33 AM »
On the bathroom lights: look in to the GE Bright Stik
https://www.cnet.com/products/ge-bright-stik-led-3-pack/review/

I'll admit that I don't have any installed at the moment - I bought them and then we had our energy company come out and do an assessment.  They replaced all of our incandescent bulbs with a bunch of TCP brand bulbs which are pretty good.  Waiting for the remaining CFLs to burn out and I'll replace with those the GEs.

Definitely check out the display at Lowes/Home Depot/your local hardware store as other posters have said, to see bulbs in action.