1. What are LED Lights and do they save energy?
All our LED lights and bulbs are energy saving that are designed to replace incandescent, fluorescent, CFL, metal halide, high pressure sodium and halogen lights in your office, facility or business. They will reduce your energy consumption by at least 50%, and as much as 80%, depending on the light you choose and the light we are replacing. With LEDs lasting up to 100,000 hours, we can also reduce your maintenance on your lighting.
2. How do LEDs Work?
LEDs are comprised of 3 main components: the LED’s (the chip set that produces light), the driver (converts AC to DC) and the heat sink (to keep everything cool). LEDs take DC power from the driver and create light. The heat sink captures heat from the LEDs and the drivers. Although LEDs produce significantly less heat than the light bulbs we have been used to over the past century, the heat they produce must be managed. The better this is done, the longer the life of the product.
LED’s also performs the job of converting electricity to light more efficiently than other light sources, that is why we can replace a 400W metal halide bulb with a LED 100W solution.
3. What are the benefits of replacing your ordinary bulbs with the LED?
There are many benefits. Here is a list of a few:
a. An immediate reduction in your electricity bill.
b. Less heat. LED fixtures are extremely efficient converting electricity into light.
c. LED Bulbs last a very long time, typically 50,000 to 100,000 hours.
d. They are virtually indestructible.
e. They do not contain mercury or other hazardous materials
f. Highly recyclable – with no hazardous parts, you can easily reclaim most of the parts in an environmentally safe way.
4. How much money can you save when you convert to LED?
It all depends what you are converting. Incandescent to LED, fluorescent to LED, Metal Halide to LED. And this answer will change over time as LED Lights become more efficient and their lumens/watt get better. For now, you can expect at least a savings of 50% when you convert fluorescent lights to LED and 70% or more when you convert Metal Halide or High Pressure Sodium to LED.
5. Can LED bulbs be used with dimmer controls?
Yes and No. First, not all LEDs are dimmable. The driver must be designed to allow dimming. Secondly, you must purchase the right type of dimmer. Most retail stores now carry dimmers specifically designed for LED bulbs. Please note, if you purchase a non-dimmable LED bulb and try to dim it, it will cause the bulb to fail and also void the warranty.
Some of our industrial and commercial LED fixtures (high bays, floods, area lighting, retrofits) work with a 0-10V dimming system. 0-10V dimming requires special wiring and a special type of dimmer.
The two most common types of dimming is: 0-10V low voltage and Triac dimming.
6. Do they contain any hazardous or heavy metals like Mercury?
They shouldn’t. LED bulbs should not contain mercury or any other hazardous metals or chemicals. CFL’s and fluorescent do contain a very small amount of mercury that needs to be disposed of correctly. So when your LED bulb eventually stops to work, you don’t have to worry about costly or special disposal procedures.
7. What color temperatures are available with LED bulbs?
Color temperature for light bulbs is measured on the Kelvin scale. LED Bulbs come in a variety of colors, but the most common are in a range from 2700 Kelvin to 7500 Kelvin. The unfortunate thing is that the only consistent measurement is the Kelvin scale, Many manufacturers like to use terms like Day White, Natural White, Warm White and Cool White, but there is not a standard that defines a Kelvin temperature to associate a color temperature with those terms. The warmer the light, the more yellow tones, the cooler the light, there are more blue tones.
In this example, we have used terms to reflect what we believe to be the right relationship to Kelvin color temperatures.
2700 – 3200: Warm White
4000 – 4500: Natural White
5000 – 5500: Day White
6500 – 7500: Cool White
Its important to note: at home we use Warm White bulbs, in the office we use Natural White and in the Warehouse we use Day White. We rarely use or even sell Cool White LEDs.
8. Can LEDs be used in outside lights?
Yes. Some bulbs are designed with water-proof fittings. Others need to be kept in a water-tight fixture. Read all instructions and manuals before using a LED bulb outdoors.
The specification you need to check for is IP Rating. A bulb or fixture IP65 or greater is considered acceptable to work in a wet environment.
9. Will the light levels decrease over the life of the bulb?
Yes. They will fade as the bulb gets near the end of its normal operating life. But it is very gradual and hardly noticeable. This is called Lumen Degradation and is denoted on the website as L70. L70 is the amount of time the light takes to get to 70% of the initial lumen output.
10. How many lumens do I need to replace 400W Metal Halide fixture?
There is a lot that goes into answering this question. DesignLights Consortium has indicated in their specifications that you need at least 10,000 lumens to replace a 400W Metal Halide. Some other factors come into play, like surface reflection, obstructions and other source of light, such as natural light sources coming into the building.
We replace indoor Metal Halide with 15,000 to 21,000 lumens of LED.
We replace outdoor Metal Halide with 12,000 to 21,000 lumens of LED.
LED Lighting Supply designs light solutions. We are product agnostic, we will select the best product that meets your needs. So we have the ability to replace 400W Metal Halide with 10,000 lumens up to 30,000 lumens. We do find that you need more lumens indoors to do a proper replacement than you do outdoors. A lighting photometric analysis will determine how much you need to create the proper foot candles.
11. What are the steps required to replace a fluorescent tube?
There are several steps, but essentially this is no more difficult than a bulb and ballast replacement.
1. Remove the fluorescent tubes, and then remove the ballast.
2. Replace the existing tombstones (only if necessary). This step may be required with single ended powered tubes if you have shunted tombstones.
3. Rewire the fixture to accommodate the LED replacement tubes. Note: there are also ballast compatible tubes that allow you to convert to LED by simply removing the old fluorescent tube and replacing it with the LED replacement tube.
Our LED internal driver Tubes use AC current, and then converts the power to DC within the internal LED driver to light the LED’s. There are some tubes that can be driven from the fluorescent ballast, but we do not supply those tubes as we see fluorescent ballasts as a maintenance item. Ballasts consume about 4+ watts per fluorescent tube installed, so leaving the ballast in place reduces the energy savings as well.
We also can supply LED externally driven tubes. With these tubes, the driver is externally housed outside the tube, and is usually installed where the fluorescent ballast was located. External drivers act the same way as internal drivers; they accept AC power, convert it to DC which is supplied to the LEDs in the tube.
In the case where you have a native DC system (such as solar systems) you are best to look for externally driven tubes and forgo the installation of the driver. You will have to make sure the DC power that is supplied to the fixture is compatible with the DC power requirement of the tubes.
12. When I buy LED, should I buy based on watts or lumens?
Always buy based on lumens, watts is a number that is used to determine how much energy it takes to produce those lumens. It is important to pay attention to lumens per watt, or lm/w. The higher the number, the less energy you will need to produce the light. You will notice that some lights take less energy to produce the same amount of light, and this is something you should watch for. Typically, the higher the ratio, the better.
13. What component of the LED system is typically the first to fail?
Almost always, it is the driver. That is why it is important to know who makes the driver in the LED fixture or retrofit you purchase. Brand names like Meanwell, Inventronics and Philips are great. A LED product with a 1 or 2 year warranty is an indication of how good the driver or product is. Typically a good driver should last more than 50,000 hours.
14. What is the most common reason LEDs fail?
Heat. Heat is the enemy of electronics, the hotter it is, the shorter the light. However, with good design, you can create a light or fixture that can withstand some high heat environments. Typically a fixture or bulb with an external driver will last longer than an integrated fixture that has the LEDs and driver as one unit.
15. What is CRI?
CRI is Color Rendering Index. It is a measurement of the quality of light. Where as lumens is a measurement of the quantity of light, CRI is the measurement of quality. It is a scale between 0 and 100. 0 is bad, 100 is great. LED’s typically are in the 70-95 range. The higher the CRI, the more expensive the LED chip, and therefore the more expensive the product itself.
About the Author
Dwayne Kula is President of LED Lighting Supply. On any given day, Dwayne is writing content for the site and helps manage the marketing initiatives that are on-going. He has a Software Engineering degree and still dabbles in writing software for the company as needed. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his family, working out, playing the occasional game of golf and exploring New England.