LEDs Are not Cheap: Here’s How to Get the Most for Your Money

Led spotlights are no more a no-brainer.So here’s your technique for buying. The inefficient lamp phaseout has started, and CFLs are not your only option. There’s another mainstream option: LEDs if you are ready to pay the price.

Buy LEDs slowly but surely as time passes.

With the average household’s about 40 sockets, that is $800-$1,600 in led spotlights. However, prices will drop given that the inefficient incandescent is restricted and competition rises among LED manufacturers. How fast they willdrop is a topic of theissue — some experts project a 50% price is lowering over another five years, but others think we will see a 75% cut down by the end of 2012.

Buyled spotlights when the purchase price drops below three times that of an equivalent CFL given that they last 3 x as long. For instance, CFL reflector lights — the flat-topped lights you put in floodlights or recessed fittings — typically cost around $10, so look for prices below $30 for similar LEDs. “In Vermont, where I live, I came across LED retrofits for recessed fittings for $20,” says Russ Leslie, associate director of the unbiased Lighting Research Center in Troy, N.Y. “It was a no-brainer.”

We did the math on the payback for swapping incandescents with LEDs.

Keep in mind that these numbers derive from national averages, which means that your results will vary:

Assuming lighting makes up about 6% (or even higher, depending on which national source you seek advice from) of the average $2,200 gross annual energy bill, according to the U.S. Section of Energy, and LEDs are 75% more efficient than incandescents, you’d save about $100 per season by transitioning totally to LEDs.

Combine sales prices you will probably find with rebates from your state or your utilityfor personal savings, says Leslie. The Databases of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency can help.

Replace high-wattage and frequently used incandescent lights with LEDs in:

  • Recessed (can) light. These tend to maintain places where use is high, such as kitchens, which account for the most kilowatt time per season in American homes, based on the Lighting Research Centre. “LED retrofits for recessed light are ready for theprimary time,” Leslie says, “and CFLs in that application are not nearly as good.”
  • Open fixtures. Concentrate on drop-bowl light accessories, lamps, and other accessories where air can circulate readily around the light bulb. LEDs, like CFLs, don’t perform as well in enclosed fittings where heat builds up.
  • Outdoor Lamps. The high wattage of outdoor floodlights makes them a good replacement concentrate on. LED floodlights are improving technology and will likely become cheaper this season, Leslie says, so you may want to put off this purchase until later in 2012.

Problems with led spotlights

Hold off on replacing lights in enclosed accessories, as they tend to burn out faster. More domestic fixtures designed for LEDs begins hitting the marketplace this year, Leslie says, which should address a few of the problems led spotlights to have with high-temperature conditions. As the quality of LEDs ranges widely, be certain to choose one with the power Star label.

Your final thought: Suzanne Shelton, CEO of Shelton Group and an expert on consumer behavior toward energy efficiency, recommends that you start thinking about your lights as an investment. “Save the boxes from your LEDs and take them to you when you move,” she says.

What’s your lamp strategy? Do you use a combo of led spotlights and CFLs, or hoard incandescents while certain wattages remain available?