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LED_April_NewsletterLast month I went over how to calculate electrical usage using a basic formula. If you missed the article click HERE to go to last month's article covering the basic calculations.

Now that we all know how to calculate how much it cost to run a piece of equipment, let's move on to the topic of lighting. You all have seen, and probably use, CFL's (Compact Fluorescent Light-bulbs) in your home. But you might not have seen, and probably don't use, the newest technology which are LED's (Light Emitting Diodes).

If you were to replace a traditional 60 watt light bulb with a CFL, it would operate between 13-20 watts. But if you were to replace it with an LED, it would operate between 5-7 watts. There is a huge difference between the three. Even without doing a great deal of math you can see that the cost difference to operate is astronomical, it's almost unfair.

But before you run down to the local hardware store and buy all the LED's, let's breakdown the diffences between the three bulbs.

Life Span:

Incandescent light bulb average out around 1,500 hours of operation before burning out.

CFL's will average around 10,000 hours of operation and some will come with a 30-90 day warranty.

LED's will average around 60,000 hours of operation and most come with a 3-5 year warranty.

Advantage: LED


Let's just use an incandescent light that is rated at 60 watts.

The CFL will be rated between 13-20 watts for the same amount of "Light".

The LED will be rated between 5-7 watts for the same amount of "Light".

Advantage: LED


Most incandescents are dimmable.

Some companies make dimmable CFL's, but I have not been able to get them to work around my house and I have given up on them.

LED's are dimmable but you will have to make sure they are rated for it. The cost will increase for the dimmable LED's.

Advantage: Incandescent


Average cost of a 60 watt incandescent light bulb is $1.30.

CFL average cost will be around $3.00.

LED average cost will be around $50.00 dimmable and $35.00 non-dimmable.

Advantage: Incandescent

After looking at the tables above, you are probably rubbing your eyes a little after seeing the cost of an LED bulb. That's about what they cost on the open market. There are many different manufacturers out there, but make sure you are getting at least a 3 year warranty on them. Also, look on-line before going to your local hardware store.

I have started to invest (slowly) into LED's and here is why:

If my average cost of electricity is $.33 per KWh, the cost difference between the three bulbs over a 60,000 hour life span gets flipped greatly. For the incandescent to run 60,000 hours at $.33 KWh the overall cost (including replacing bulbs every 1,500 hours) comes to $1,241.60. The CFL with the same numbers as above comes to $295.08 and the LED come in at $168.80. That's a huge difference over the life span of the LED light.

I also ran the 60,000 hour calculations with running 30 bulbs 5 hours a day. The incandescent cost is $37,248.00, CFL is $8,852.40 and the LED is 5,064.00. WOW is the word I used when I started putting the calculator to it.

I used a spreadsheet to do all the calculations above. If you would like to run your own numbers, click HERE.

If you have any question on using the spreadsheet, you can use the "contact us" form at the bottom of the page or just add the questions to the comment section below.

News Features - Energy & Tech Blog

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