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What to Consider Before Buying LEDs

LED technology has come a long way in recent years so it's a good time to start thinking about making the switch to LED light bulbs. However, there are a few things to consider beforehand to make sure you get the right LED lights.

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Learning the Language

Traditional light bulbs use watts to describe how much energy they use and how bright the light will be. For LED light bulbs, the number of watts doesn't tell you how bright the light will be.

Instead of watts, look for the lumen rating (lm) on LED light bulbs; this is the measurement of their brightness. To work out the watt-lumen conversion for traditional incandescent lights and LEDs, check out the chart below.

LUMENS INCANDESCENT LED
2,600 lm 150 watts 25-28 watts
1,600 lm 100 watts 16-20 watts
1,100 lm 75 watts 9-13 watts
800 lm 60 watts 8-12 watts
500 lm 40 watts 6-9 watts
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Brightness Control

LED bulbs don't always work with traditional dimmer switches. If you want dimmable LED lighting, you can do one of two things:

  • Buy LED bulbs that work with traditional dimmers
  • Replace your current dimmer switch with an LED compatible one
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Plan Your Lighting

The right lighting takes planning, so before you buy new lights and lighting fixtures, make a lighting plan. Walk around your house, work out how big each room is, how much natural light it gets and from what direction. Then decide:

  • What is this room be used for? Is the kitchen also used for dining and homework?
  • Are there furniture, features or artwork you want to highlight using accent lighting?
  • Who uses this room? Elderly people need more light than younger people.
  • When is this room used the most?

Next, draw a plan of each room to work out where to put your lights. Mark down where power points and light fixtures are, as well as major decor like sofas, beds and televisions.

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The Cost

LED light bulbs have come down in price, but they still cost more than a traditional incandescent bulb. But with their longer life, cheaper running costs and less heat production, LEDs will pay for themselves in the long run.

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LED Colour

While LED lights are traditionally white, they do come in different colour temperatures. If you're looking for warm lighting, buy a bulb that is close to 2700K (Kelvin). For a more neutral light, look for something closer to 3500K and if you prefer a cooler light, look for 5000K or more.

But if you're looking for some real festive colour, you can also buy LED multi-colour party lights and solar-powered LED string lights to wrap around trees or patios.

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