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Is changing bulbs a bright idea? LED bulbs are expensive to buy, but are they cheaper than halogen bulbs in the long run? Electrician Andrew Ridley explains the figures.

Byline: Andrew Ridley

LIGHTING alone adds up to an average of 60% of our electricity bills So looking at the way we light our homes is the obvious place to start if we want to cut our bills.

Yet, with such a wide variety of bulbs to choose from which is going to give us the brightness we want at the price we want? There are a number of factors to consider when choosing which type bulb to go for, including power wattage, lifespan, brightness, and price.

Generally if you replaced all your halogen bulbs with LED bulbs you could reduce your lighting bills by 90% and still receive the same quality of light - but obviously there are upfront costs attached to this. With the great advances in LED technology, are the upfront cost of an LED bulb actually a good investment for the future? Power wattage The power required for an LED bulb to produce 800 lumens is 6.5 watts. So if the average tariff for electricity is 10p/kWh, the running cost for four hours a day for one year is 95p.

For a comparison, a 50 watt halogen bulb works out at PS7.30 for the year. So you could save about PS6.35 per year per bulb, which adds up when you consider the number of bulbs in rest of the house and their lifespan.

Lifespan LED bulbs are sold with a lifespan of more than 25 years and in some cases, up to 50 years.

When you're buying your usual halogen bulbs, you generally see people stocking up and buying more than one, just in case one goes pop and you need a new bulb immediately.

But the next LED bulb may not have to be replaced for another 25 years, which is worth considering.

Price The thing that tends to put people off buying an LED bulb is the upfront cost in comparison to a halogen bulb.

There are a number of factors affecting the price. A pack of two 35 watt halogen bulbs could cost you on average PS3.99, whereas a pack of two 5 watt LED bulbs that produce the same amount of lumens could cost PS14.99.

After the PS11 upfront cost difference, let's look at the difference over the years.

Halogen will cost you PS14.21 per pair per year. After three years they will cost PS42.63, and after 25 years they will set you back a whopping PS355.25.

If we look at LEDs, in year one they cost PS2 more than halogen, which costs PS16.45 in year one, but thereafter they will only cost PS1.46 in electricity each year.

Therefore, after three years they will have only cost you PS19.37, and after 25 years, PS51.49. That's a saving of more than PS300!

Brightness When it comes to the brightness of light bulbs, one thing to consider is the conversion from watts to lumens.

The brightness of a bulb is affected by how many lumens it has, and is a good indication of how the light will appear.

Most have 800 lumens.

However, when switching to LEDs this usually appears as watts and is based on a power consumption.

So it may be fact that a 60 watt bulb would be brighter than a 30 watt bulb, an LED bulb will produce the equivalent lumens for fewer watts - so don't let this put you off if you are thinking of changing.

If in doubt, speak to your electrician. Andrew Ridley is a partner at Ridley Bros, of Gosforth, Newcastle, tel: 0191 285 5221, Timespan Halogen LED Upfront cost PS3.99 PS14.99 One Year PS14.21 PS16.45 Three Years PS42.63 PS19.37 25 Years PS355.25 PS51.49


Changing your lightbulbs to LED bulbs will save you <Bmoney in the long term
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 4, 2015
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