So you have heard LED lights save money on electricity bills, but they are expensive to buy up front. Hmm so youre thinking this means you do nothing because the purchase price of the bulb will take away any savings? Anyone in his or her right mind would need a serious reason to start paying ten or twenty times more for a light bulb. Well guess what? There is an incredible reason why LED lights are a more expensive upfront spend, its called the total cost of ownership. The take home is spending a little bit now is going to save you a massive amount later so stop wasting money on inefficient lighting and start going on holiday instead!
We are going to hit you with some maths here, don't worry its not complicated because we are going to break it down with a simple table below. You can access our google spread sheet here to check how we have worked it out too because we love a bit of transparency at whichledlight.com
The important bits we need to know about to understand if this is worth doing:
- Up-front cost of the lights
- Costs to run LED and incandescent Bulbs. How energy efficient is each option?
- Typical lifetime of the bulb
- Manufacturer claims and warranty
So there is a clear winner here, LED lights cannot compete with incandescent from an up-front cost perspective. Traditional incandescent bulbs such as a 50w halogen are in the range of £1.55 give or take a few pennies depending on where you shop. LED lights are anywhere from five to eighty times as much depending on the features you need your want your bulb to have. For arguments sake we will assume your looking for a replacement for a traditional screw in light bulb that can dim and estimating your willing to pay around £8.55 for the privilege of a 4 watt LED GU10 down light replacement.
Costs To Run
Ok so now this is where things get interesting. LED lights are up to 90% more efficient than traditional incandescent equivalent bulbs. What does that mean to you humble bill payer and incandescent bulb user? Basically this means compared to Johnny the LED adopter youre losing a lot of money each month on your electricity bill but your both getting the same amount of light. And guess what the light quality from LED bulbs can be the same quality as an incandescent bulb (if you pick the right one) plus you wont need to make a cup of tea whilst you wait for the light to warm up like CFLs. Low energy LED lights switch on straight away. If your running a 40 50w halogens for 3 hours per day that means your using 6 killer watt-hours of power at an average price of £0.75 per day. You can light up your life for the same amount of time with LED lights and using less than half a Killer watt-hour of power or just 5 pence per day. Over a year that works out at £273.24 for incandescents vs £21.86 for LED.
LED light lifetime
Typical LED light lifetimes range drastically and common lifetimes range from 15000 up to 40,000 hours depending on the manufacturer and bulb type. We will assume your humble 4-watt GU10 halogen replacement lasts around 25,000 or 22 years. Your familiar incandescent 50-watt halogen bulb is going to blow every 2000 hours meaning a trip to the shops and another journey up the ladders so swap it every 18 months.
Manufacturer Claims and Warranty
Hold up another hurdle here. Manufacturer claims are a bit of a nightmare. If this bulb is supposed to last 25-years, how could you ever know?! Manufacturers enter their own specifications that the claimed specs might not be what your bulb delivers when you get it home in lifetime and performance. The best thing to do here is ask to see an independent lab test supporting the manufacturers claims. Again remember cheaper isnt better because part of the payback on the upfront spend is that the bulb is going to last much longer than an incandescent bulb. With that in mind you also want to check what your manufacturers policy is.
The good news is all the products listed on our site have passed our quality tests so you can rest assured regarding quality and lifetime claims.
In summary to understand the total cost of ownership remember to consider the cost of the light bulb, how much it will cost to power it, and how long its going to last (especially compared to traditional incandescent lights).
Longer term over ten years when you factor in an average halogen light will need replacing every 2000 hours where as an LED light can easily last 40,000 hours it means that the total costs of ownership for incandescents could set you back £3117.80 v.s. £558.88 for LEDs. Thats a huge difference of £2558.92, or 141 nights out 10 city breaks with your partner. Not bad result just for changing a lightbulb!
Obviously this is just once example and the figures will vary depending on your usage, proportionately though the savings will always stack up.
With LED lighting 'fit and forget' really is the motto - once the switch is done, its done for years so you can forget about the step ladders for a few year.
You can follow us on twitter @whichledlight - we promise we make lightbulbs beautiful not boring and if your not sure what to buy you can use our bulb finder :)