Flicking the switch on LED lighting

7th April 2014
Flicking the switch on LED lighting

You've no doubt heard lots on the news about energy-efficient lighting recently. But, when it comes to replacing bulbs, do you walk around the shop looking confused with no idea what type you need?

Lighting can account for as much as seven per cent of a typical household's energy bill, so it's an easy way to save money. 

Various acronyms such as CFL and LED are bandied around, but what do you actually need to know and, more importantly, what will save you the most money from your monthly outgoings?

Putting the light on

The two main types of energy-efficient light bulbs in the UK are compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs). 

CFLs use gas inside a glass tube, which is charged with electricity until it glows and produces light. LEDs are simple solid-state electronic devices, which allow electricity to flow through them in one direction to give off a small amount of light.

While CFLs tend to be cheaper up front and perhaps more well-known, the best savings can be made with LEDs, which are significantly more energy-efficient. 

Some LEDs have a life expectancy of 30,000 hours. This means that, while the upfront cost may be more than others, in the long run, it's definitely a worthwhile investment. In addition, it saves you hassle in that you will have to replace them less frequently. 

It's worth changing your mindset about energy-efficient bulbs. They're now going to be more occasional purchases and, while they'll cost more, it's something you won't want to miss out on in the midst of energy prices rising. 

You can enjoy savings of as much as 85 per cent if you make the switch to LED bulbs. 

LEDs boast an advantage in that they do not contain mercury, meaning they are more environmentally friendly. While CFLs contain small traces of the liquid metal that are not harmful to humans, you do still need to take care when clearing up broken ones. 

One common complaint about energy-saving bulbs is it takes time for them to fully light up a room. While this can be the case with CFLs, LEDs reach full brightness instantly. As long as you buy the correct type, the light produced will be just as bright as the old style. 

You may be wondering what was so wrong with the traditional light bulbs (often known as incandescent or filament ones) that have been phased out. Their main problem was they were very inefficient, as the majority of their electricity was not converted into light, but wasted as heat. As a result, they had a much shorter lifespan, which is why the government has opted for alternatives that have significantly lower heat outputs. 

A recent study conducted by the Energy Saving Trust revealed that, while the majority often or always purchased CFLs, a growing number (33 per cent) were opting for LEDs. Why not jump on the LED bandwagon and enjoy greater savings than others?

Energenie offers a wide range of such bulbs to suit a number of different purposes. Have a look at the variety here and start enjoying cheaper bills. 

General tips

When it comes to installing LED bulbs, think about which lights in your house are on the most and start by replacing those. 

While it's important to make sure you have the most energy-efficient bulbs installed, you need to be disciplined as to when you turn them off and on.

Ensure you always switch the lights off when you leave a room, unless you're going to be back within a couple of minutes. If you're just popping to get a drink then it's generally ok to leave them on, but if you envisage a longer break than that, build it into your routine to turn them off so you're not wasting electricity. 

When you go into a room, your default shouldn't be to turn on the light. Think before you reach for the switch – do you really need to? 

Especially now we're in British Summer Time, make sure the curtains and blinds are open so you make the most of the extended daylight. It might be a case of turning the light on after an hour or so of you being in the room. 

While we're exalting the virtues of energy-efficient bulbs, don't forgot the most efficient source is natural daylight, which is free. 

Alternatively, if you're in a bigger room with multiple sets of lights, consider only switching some of them on so you have sufficient brightness without using energy unnecessarily. 

Try to strategically position light switches so they're in convenient positions to turn off and on. Good examples include at the top and bottom of the stairs, at each end of the hallway and next to each door of a room. If the switch is out of the way, you're more inclined to leave it on out of laziness.

So, embrace energy-saving bulbs and enjoy good quality lighting and cheaper bills!

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