It’s hard to change. Innovations in technology often lead to resistance among shoppers, where long-formed habits are concerned. The notion of paying extra for a light bulb can also be a deterrent, but over the course of the lifespan of an LED bulb, mixed with the number of bulbs in your home, making the switch from incandescent to LED bulbs can be one of the best decisions you can make for your bottom line.

Focus on Lumens, not Watts

An often-told myth is how the amount of wattage of a bulb is a direct indicator of a bulb’s brightness. Many of us have made decisions about illumination based solely on this unit of measurement, and when considering making a switch, this factor will lead to confusion if not understood.

Watts Measure Energy, Lumens Measure Brightness

While there is a solid correlation between brightness and wattage of a traditional bulb, this factor doesn’t work well for LED. Contrary to what many of us have been led to believe, wattage output is not an indicator of a bulb’s luminescence, but rather, a measurement of how much energy that the bulb requires. Of course, due to design, this method doesn’t translate well to LED bulbs seeing as how they’re designed to consume less energy while providing equal-to-greater brightness. So how should you measure brightness?

By measuring a bulb’s lumens (lm), you can get a more accurate sense of light output, and this is the true indicator of an LED bulb’s performance. For many bulbs, the amount of energy that an incandescent bulb requires can be upwards of five times the cost that an LED bulb with the same lumens. To see how the conversion works, compare how lumens and watts relate to each other.

Compare Energy Savings Based on Your Needs

The biggest obstacle for many when it comes to making the switch is the upfront cost of the bulbs. While most incandescents tend to cost around $1 for a 60W bulb, a similar LED bulb (at a similar 480 lumens) can run between $4 to $12 depending on color and features.

However, this is where the upfront costs can be misleading. When comparing both bulbs, it’s wise to note the following (courtesy of The Simple Dollar):

  • Based on lumens, the same LED bulb requires one-sixth of the wattage (60W vs 10W)
  • The average lifespan of a 60W incandescent lightbulb is 1,200 hours. For an equivalent LED bulb, the lifespan is up to 25,000 hours.
  • Based on that estimate, you’d need 21 incandescent bulbs for each LED bulb.
  • Factoring in electricity requirements, incandescent bulb energy costs would cost six times as much as an LED bulb of the same lumens over the life of a single LED bulb.

Based on rough math, over the life of a 25,000-hour LED bulb, the costs associated with just purchasing incandescent bulbs will run you close to the total cost of purchasing an LED bulb and electricity costs, combined. By paying extra early, the amount of money saved on just a single bulb can be north of 6 times the costs of the incandescent versions of equal light output.

One LED Bulb Saves Hundreds of Dollars — What About The Rest?

By replacing just one high-usage bulb, you can stand to save hundreds in associated costs over the life of an LED bulb. Now, what if you opted to replace all of your bulbs? Of course, this might not be an ideal move, as many bulbs in one’s home may be rarely used, but by assuming the following, let’s see what kind of savings can be realized:

  • Based on a total electricity cost of 25,000 hours at $0.12 per kWh, you would need 21 incandescent bulbs, compared to one LED bulb.
  • Assuming a cost of a 1,200-hour incandescent bulb runs at $1 and a 25,000 LED bulb at $8, total costs of bulbs would be $21 for incandescents and $8 for an LED bulb.
  • Electricity costs would result in $180 for incandescent, while the single LED bulb would cost $30 over the span of 25,000 hours.
  • This means that operational costs of a single incandescent bulb ($201) would be close to six times as much as an LED bulb ($38).

By looking at it as a lifetime cost, imagine being able to multiply the savings across heavy-use bulbs in your home. By replacing chandelier, ceiling fan, backyard patio, and front-porch lights, the expected savings of replacing 20 incandescent bulbs could easily result in the savings of $3,260 over a 20+ year lifespan!

Reap the Benefits of Smart, Efficient LED Technology

As the costs of LED bulbs continue to drop along with improvements in their technology such as smartphone-enabled control functions, it’s wise to consider making a switch that saves money in the long run while providing a superior look and operation. Take a close look at the bulbs that are used the most and consider making a switch slowly, with the goal of replacing your old incandescent bulbs over the course of the next year. By starting now, you stand to reap the rewards that LED bulbs provides, and you’ll begin to see the benefits immediately.

Design Tech Homes — 100% ENERGY STAR Compliant Home Builder

DTH is proud to be a 100% ENERGY STAR-certified homebuilder, and we finish every home with LED lighting, saving you money in associated costs for the life of your home. Learn more about how we combine timeless designs with leading energy-efficient technologies for Central & Gulf Coast Texas home buyers.