Wondering if you should upgrade your incandescent bulbs to LED?
Let us walk you through it.
While you may not have thought much about your landscape lighting, the truth is that the light bulbs you use matter. The light bulbs you use can vastly influence the performance of your lighting system. Energy use, longevity, and the quality of light produced are directly affected by which bulbs you use. If you’re looking to improve the performance of your landscape lighting system, we’ll give you some reasons why LED bulbs are the way to go and why you should upgrade your incandescent bulbs.
What is an LED bulb?
LED, or light emitting diode, bulbs have a unique design that uses solid-state semiconductors to produce a distinct white light; depending on the type of bulb and lighting system, can be adjusted for brightness. Incandescent bulbs are the traditional form of light bulb that uses a burning filament to produce light. Given the differences in design, LEDs offer several performance advantages relative to incandescent bulbs, particularly when used for landscape lighting.
Incandescent light bulbs can come in a variety of color temperatures that change the quality of light. Examples include soft white, cool white, and daylight which use increasing amounts of power to produce light of increasing intensity, respectively. LED lights can also come in a variety of light color temperatures, from warm yellow to light blue. LED lights can also make great lighting choices for low-light applications such as bistro lights, LED lights can provide an exceptional level of brightness similar to daylight. Relative to light quality, LED bulbs and incandescent bulbs both offer variety and similar light quality relative to the lumen rating of the bulb.
Although the differences in light quality can be subtle and vary based on the type of bulb used respectively to each design, LEDs far outweigh incandescent light bulbs based on the efficiency of light production. The challenge with incandescent bulbs is that 98% of the energy used to power the bulb is wasted as heat. With landscape lighting applications, there is very little use for this heat so even more energy is needed for the same level of light production.
With LED lighting, you gain greater energy efficiency for a variety of reasons. First, almost 100% of the energy that is used to power LED bulbs generates light rather than heat, so less energy is needed to power the bulb and create the same level of light intensity. Secondary, whereas incandescent bulbs offer omnidirectional lighting (lighting in every direction), LED bulbs are designed to project light in a specific plane or omnidirectional. This is less of a concern depending on where outdoor lighting is used but can have a greater impact in certain applications such as walkways, downlighting, or pool decks where lighting is only needed in one direction. You can expect to save up to 80% on energy costs when converting to LED lights.
Another major advantage of LED lights over incandescent is the lifespan of the bulbs. Given the greater light production efficiency and that LED bulbs do not require a semi-combustible filament to produce light, LEDs typically last 30-100 times longer than incandescent bulbs based on the same energy usage. This offers a greater degree of convenience because LED bulbs don’t need to be changed as frequently. For landscape applications, particularly when lighting longer pathways, distant parts of your yard, or hard-to-reach lighting such as downlighting, LED bulbs offer a greater degree of convenience than incandescent bulbs.
Safety is a factor that motivates many homeowners to invest in landscape lighting, and LED bulbs offer distinct advantages because of the safety of using them and the safety they can create. While less of a concern given the application, LED bulbs don’t heat up as much when energized. This attribute is more of a concern with low-level incandescent lighting applications such as incandescent bistro lighting. Of greater concern is the improved durability that LED bulbs offer. LED bulbs don’t require a fragile glass covering that can easily shatter during impact. Most importantly, LED bulbs can provide slightly brighter and clearer light at higher lumen levels compared to incandescent bulbs. This light attribute is valuable for lighting around entrances, windows, or walkways where greater visibility is a security advantage.
Although LED bulbs remain slightly more expensive per bulb than incandescent bulbs, the long-term savings are in favor of LED bulbs. Lower energy usage, longer lifespan, and greater durability mean that you will invest less in each bulb over time and can enjoy the same light quality for much longer than with traditional incandescent bulbs.
The benefits of lowering your lighting system voltage
In addition to converting the bulbs within your lighting system to LED bulbs, lowering the voltage of your landscape lighting also offers various performance advantages.
Safety is of foremost importance in landscape lighting given the greater exposure to electrical components, and lower voltages are inherently safer than higher voltage electrical systems. If a wire is inadvertently struck during further gardening projects, there is a much lower chance of injury from a 12 V system than a 120 V setup. Lower voltages are also safer if exposed to water, safer to install, and don’t require any conduit during installation, making them easier to install properly.
Less energy is used to produce a lower voltage than a higher voltage. If you don’t need a higher voltage, then there’s no need to conduct more energy to a landscape lighting system than it needs. Moreover, LED bulbs tend to be more efficient at lower voltages than incandescent bulbs, meaning that you benefit from the lower voltage used as well as from using more efficient bulbs. It’s a win-win either way!
Contact Mike’s Landscape Lighting today!
If you’re looking to upgrade your landscape lighting system or want to install a state-of-the-art landscape lighting system, LED bulbs to provide a variety of functional and aesthetic benefits compared to incandescent bulbs. If you’re looking for lighting experts who specialize in low voltage landscape lighting installations and LED design, we’d love to be able to create the perfect lighting system for you. When it comes to perfect landscape lighting, LED is the way to go! Contact us today!