Do you know what the advantages of a LED are? Did you know that LEDs can get hot as well? And what actually is a LED bulb? Here you will find practical answers to 11 key questions.
This delicate LED lamp by Steng can be mounted to a wall parallel as well as in an angle.
1. What actually are LEDs, what are they made of and how do they work?
LEDs are light emitting diodes (short LED). They consist of several layers of semiconductors, which lead to electroluminescence when applying DC voltage, therefore they produce light from electricity. Due to their functional principle, LEDs are point-shaped light sources, about one millimeter in length, which emit light and are surrounded by a layer of plastic. In comparison, light bulbs are thermal radiators, in which a filament is heated so much that it produces light as a side effect and sends it in all directions. LEDs can produce light in the colors red, green, yellow, or blue; white light is produced by a blue LED that is coated with a yellow fluorescent layer or by additive mixing of red, green and blue (RGB) LEDs.
2. What are the advantages of an LED?
LEDs are much more energy-efficient and long-lasting bulbs or halogen lamps. Manufacturers specify a lifetime of up to 30,000 hours. This corresponds to about 5-6 years of continuous operation. LEDs are bright without a delay, can be turned on and off very often and can also be dimmed. They are resistant to mechanical stress and already reach higher color rendering properties than fluorescent lamps. The best RA value of a LED is 98, the average is almost 90 – close to the maximum of 100, which sunlight offers. The small and long-lasting LEDs emit hardly any infrared and ultraviolet radiation.
Copernico pendant by Artemide with 384 white LEDs create fascinating light accents
3. Do LEDs get hot as well
Contrary to common assumptions, LEDs do create heat, because their efficiency does not achieve 100 percent. But in comparison to temperature radiators such as light bulbs little infrared radiation is emitted; instead the heat is derived from the semiconductor component on the circuit board and is diverted to cooling elements made of metal or ceramic. LEDs are therefore very suitable for temperature-sensitive lighting. The temperature of the LEDs has a great impact on their lifetime: If the LED gets too hot, the life span decreases rapidly. Some inexpensive products do not keep the advertised promise, especially not in the area of heat dissipation.
4. Why are LEDs currently so important for consumers?
Some years ago LED lighting solutions were deployed mainly in the technical field and in street and traffic lighting, but the technical development of practical work lamps and luminaires for private consumers progressed through the step-by-step light bulb ban: As of September 2012 manufacturer are not allowed to produce any more traditional light bulbs. However, the surplus in storage can still be sold. Therefore the question about the replacement of traditional light sources arises. LED retrofits can be used in existing luminaires and gradually replace light bulbs and help save a large amount of electrical energy.
5. Where are LEDs being used?
The application of diode light evolved from small colored signal lights on electronic devices for LED modules in transport equipment and lighting in the automotive area. LED lamps are now often used in computer screens and lights. The efficient and focused light is especially suitable for shop, road, hotel and living room lighting. LEDS are ideal for orientation and outdoor lighting, because the long service time and the low power consumption will provide an economic payback.
Light fixture and lamp united: this LED-lamp looks very attractive as a pendant as well.
6. Can I easily replace a light bulb with a LED bulb?
There are special LED modules with plug-in or screw base in pear or candle shapes that can replace conventional light bulbs without any problems. These LED lamps with the well-known bases are known as retrofit lamps. They can easily be used in existing luminaires. There is also the whole range of the well-known forms of halogen lamps with the GU 4, GU 5 and MR 16 sockets in addition to the usual E27 and E14 screw bases. Many of the retrofit lamps can be dimmed and are available in different color temperatures: they range from warm white 2700 Kelvin to neutral white 4000 Kelvin to daylight-like cold white 6500 Kelvin.
The relationship between wattage and brightness (measured in lumens as luminous flux), as known from light bulbs, is being readjusted for LEDs, because a performance of 9 watt can correspond to a brightness of 400 lumen or more – depending on the efficiency, which in turn is being expressed in lumen per watt. Purchasing a lamp becomes therefore slightly more technical and offers more choices with regard to the technical characteristics of the lamps.
7. How much energy do LED bulbs save in comparison to conventional light bulbs?
LEDs do not only last 50 times longer than light bulbs, their efficiency is also much higher: the efficiently bundled light from a LED shines only in the desired direction and not all around like it happens with bulbs and consumes about 8 Watts instead of 60 watts light bulbs consume. For general lighting of a hallway with downlights, using LEDs, with a daily operating time of 12 hours, you can assume a payback time of less than four years compared to fluorescent lamps. After this time, the LED lighting saves electricity costs every year. There are no maintenance costs due to the long life of the LED.
8. What is the difference between a LED lamp and a LED light?
A LED lamp is a lamp that can resemble a conventional light bulb and also has the well-known screw socket E27 or E14. LED lights are technical novelties, because people were always searching for long-lasting light sources that are really small and efficient. LEDs have helped to change the current categories of lamp and light. The long life-span of over 30,000 hours has led to the association of lamp and light: it is no longer necessary to provide a device for exchanging the lamp in the light fixture. Lamp and LED grow old together.
Full-featured replacement for the incandescent lamp. This LED Philips lamp can be dimmed and has an E27 socket.
9. Where can I buy LED lamps and luminaires, and how much do they cost?
You can buy LED lamps in stores, via the Internet or at hardware stores. Due to the available advice, retailers are the better choice in comparison to a random purchase. Most likely you are used to buy light fixtures with regards to the wattage of the bulb, but due to the high efficiency of LED lamps you need to consider the required luminous flux in this case, which is measured in lumens. A LED in the form of a pear, like the traditional light bulbs, is available for about 10 Dollar. Brighter models cost 20 Dollar and more. On the other hand you can purchase LEDs, where the bulb is firmly connected and thus is part of the design of the lamp, in special retail shops or online shops. Depending on the design, the material, the technique and the quality of the product, prices range from 10 Dollar for simple recessed luminaires up to several hundred or thousand Dollar for high quality designer lamps.
10. How do I dispose of broken LED lamps?
Even though individual LEDs contain no mercury, they are considered electronic components and must therefore be disposed accordingly. Bring your old LED bulbs to the local electronics waste collection site in your area.
11. Are LEDs a health hazard?
LEDs are mercury-free in contrast to energy-saving light bulbs. However, they can cause blinding due to their great brightness, which is concentrated in small points of light. On the other hand starring into a bright halogen lamp is blinding as well. Very high-power LEDs generate an intense light, and you should not look directly into the LED, especially white and blue LEDs. The retina can be affected in the long by “blue light damages”. High performance LEDs (such as flash lights) do not belong the hands of children.