May 2, 2007

my new lightbulbs

lightbulbs left to right: LED, halogen, halogen, CFL
(you can click on image to see it larger)

My new lightbulb arrived today. After my recent lighbulb moment, I was excited to see how it fared.

I ordered a par 20 LED for the kitchen. I use the kitchen lights more than any in the house, so I thought that would be a good place to switch to "greener" bulbs (plus, the rest of the house is on dimmer switches in a size not available as dimmable CFL).

I have 4 recessed spots in the kitchen ceiling. I have been using halogen spots up until now. The other day I bought a CFL, which didn't seem to project enough light down to the counter. However, the CFL lit the wall above the cabinets very well (it is very dusty up there!)

I was hoping the LED would do a better job of casting the light to the countertop, and it is better at that than the CFL, but the light itself is very dim. The LED is also very blue, more daylight colored.

If you look at the above photo you can see the 4 lights with no other light sources on in the room. LED is on the left, 2 halogens in the middle spots, and CFL on the right above the sink. See the color difference? Notice the light on the cabinet fronts and the countertop. In some places they are well lit and in others they are in the dark. You can also see a difference in how much light is hitting the wall above the cabinets.

I hate to say the halogens really look the best in color, brightness and projection. I am not sure if I prefer the CFL or the LED. I don't expect to keep using halogen, so I guess I'll have to make a decision. I do have under counter lights in addition, so that could help light up that space with task lighting if needed.

Any preferences or other ideas?


Gift of Green said...

Well, yes, the halogen seems to be the best. The LED is too blue for my tastes. But is it just where you happened to put the lights? What if you switched them around to see if the location is what's making the difference. Or, what if you put task lighting underneath the countertops? Cuts down on the countertop headroom but...? And please, dear God, please tell me that you cleaned up for hours and hours and hours before you took that picture of your kitchen. ; )

mom go green said...

HA! Of course I cleaned my kitchen! Well, actually I threw everything in piles out of camera range. I wanted people to see the lighting, not the piles o'crap on the counter.

I'm still on the fence about the bulb choice. I agree the LED is too blue. Today my kids asked me if we could make all our lights blue.


Anonymous said...

I also found LEDs (from C. Crane) too cool, and they also flicker at about 60Hz which is annoying for reading up close.

I have higher hopes for newer LEDs (see Lighting Science or Enlux) but they don't all post Color Rendering Index (CRI) numbers. I'd really like to see a histogram of light output across the visible spectrum for LEDs and CFs compared to halogen lights and sunlight. I suspect many are very spiky.

Anonymous said...

Skip the CFL's, In a smilar plight to save greenhouse gasses, electricity bill money and the like I replaced a bunch of my traditional bulbs with CFLs - then I learned that they ALL contain MERCURY! One of the most potent neurotoxins known to man!

I read an article about a family that had one CFL break in the daughters room and after reading the package decided to call the local government poison control hotline who advised she dispose of her vaccum in a way that it could never be re-used and to seal off her daughters room till they could get a hazmat team to clean up the mercury!

Expensive way to deal with an 'energy saving' nightmare for both health and safety! I take my CFL's to be properly recycled but I don't think I'll be buying anymore till they come out with mercury free versions which is supposedly many years out...

mom go green said...

i was scared of mercury, too. after researching though i found that the amount of mercury in the cfl is less than the amount produced (at a coal generated energy facility?) by using traditional incandescents.

i also found that the story about the mom and expensive cleanup were misleading (the people on the phone possibly misunderstood the spill size). you do have to be really careful though. see my original lightbulb post for instructions on cleanup and disposal:

Anonymous said...

I have been following CFL and LED bulbs for some time and, as the picture shows, LEDs are great for flashlights due to their long runtime, they just are not as bright as CFL, Halogen, Xenon, or incandescent.

However, here is my take on things.

Incandescent - absolutely the cheapest to purchase. Good light and color reproduction. Hard to beat in the attic or basement where usage is low as it would take many years to recover the price difference - But CFL's have dramatically dropped in price. So even then, you are not going to strain a budget with a few CFL attic lights.

Halogen and Xenon - These are fantastic light sources and very difficult to beat for their appearance - especially in accent lighting. Xenon is a bit more efficient, but considerably higher priced. I did find some really nice Xenon under counter task lights at Lowes. If you have any color or woodwork, this type of lighting is beautiful - But VERY Inefficient. Although interesting to look at, Halogen torchiers are very energy expensive (500watts typically) and EXTREMELY HOT. I just totally refuse to have one. I do, however, have recessed lighting in my kitchen like in the picture above and use One Halogen over the sink.

CFL - The field is so wide here that it would be its own blog. The short of it is that many of the CFL's are daylight or high temperature color lights 4000-5500K and produce very "white" looking light, but it is quite monochromatic. If you have white walls and carpet, you may not notice - but it made our living room with cherry wood floors, and fireplace look VERY bad. Take the effort to find bulbs with a 2700-3200 (maybe 3500) temperature and you will very nearly replicate the Incandescant feel and look in the room. The problem I had was that many bulbs don't list the color temp. and they may even have different color bulbs with identical part numbers (such as GE - see below)

As for the kitchen picture above - again - big variation in manufacturers. I have had TERRIBLE reliability problems with anything made by Lights of America. I prefer either GE or Phillips. Again, watch for the color temp. As for GE, I get atleast 8000 hour bulbs in the Green package. The blue package bulbs have a high temp color and poor CRI rating.

When shopping for ANY recessed or reflector type light bulb, watch for the "reflector angle" The CFL shown above would project much more light to the cabinet with a smaller angle. - but you get much less general lighting. I use wider angles in the middle of the room or hallways, with narrower beams over the cabinets.

My other problem was that my house had tons of hallway and ceiling lights with 3 candelebra type bulbs that were 60w each. You can only find 25w and 40w replacements at most stores. - Both GE and Phillips do make a 60w bullet type bulb, but you often have to order them. Just the other day, I found a new bulb from Phillips that used the smaller base AND did not have the annoying white plastic bullet cover.

Finally - The reflector type bulbs are VERY bad about being quite dim when the first come on. It take 5 minutes or so for full light. This can be a bit frustrating if you just want to walk in the kitchen, flip on a light and leave. BUT - I replaced 11 standard 90w lights with 10 25w CFLs and 1 60w halogen over the sink.

Oh - also, avoid the bulbs with the white frosted glass enclosure that make them look like a regular bulb. They have a lot lower light output that an "exposed" CFL. Be aware that there is a new generation of CFL just starting to show up in stores. They are very nearly the same physical size as the incandescants that they replace and have greater output (lumens) than previous CFL's of the same wattage.

Dana Bolter said...

The Canadian company elumanation provides High Brightness, Energy Efficient LED Lighting as direct replacements for any commonly used inefficient lighting. In your comparison the LED is an unlikely option choose and I will agree the LED that you chose is quite blue...

elumanation offers color options of cool white (whitish blue) and warm white (the white that incandescents provide). Their 6 Watt PAR20 is more appropriate in color and has a lumen output greater then a 35 Watt halogen Par20

Anonymous said...

Try CFLs in the ceiling fixtures and LED under-cabinet task lighting! Task lighting is where LEDs are most effective.

Jill said...

I know there is a lot of panic when talking about mercury and if they do or don't give off enough mercury to do any harm, but for the last seven years I have been spending every dime and minute we have recovering our son of mercury poinsoning thanks to the lovely vaccines we gave our son. I am not on the fence at all about wheither or not we should add more mercury into our lives or not. When you place a CFL into the "can light" it shortens its life. Instead of the five years you are suppose to get out of it, it is now closer to three. Now the math on power plant usage and such changes.

If you have no mercury fillings in your mouth and you never eat fish and you have never been vaccinated then the mercury vapors will probably not harm you or your children, but if that is the case, what planet have you been living on? On this planet, unfortunately we have too many toxins already that we didn't buy at Home Depot and bring into our home on purpose.

Sorry if this sounds preachy. I would do anything to take the mercury out of my son's body. Don't put it into your body out of a desire to save money.

Unknown said...

I am happy to see other moms are concerned about mercury. I suppose you all know that Congress is phasing out incandescents permanently in 2012, (I think, it may be sooner), forcing us all to use CFLs. They are doing this in the name of Global Warming. We aleady have medications in our water supply from landfills, so why does anyone think that the general population will dispose of CFLs properly & not send mercury to the same place? I guarantee you that in 7 years time, Americans will be panicking about mercury in the water supply & banning the CFLs. Here we go again...

club penguin cheats said...

I am not on the fence at all about wheither or not we should add more mercury into our lives or not. When you place a CFL into the "can light" it shortens its life. Instead of the five years you are suppose to get out of it, it is now closer to three. Now the math on power plant usage and such changes.