CFL to LED Bulbs When to Switch


Introduction: CFL to LED Bulbs When to Switch

Switching from Incandescent to CFL is a no brainer but from CFL to LED is a bit of a trap for most consumers. What is the maximum price you should pay for an LED light bulb to save on total cost?

I recommend to not pay more than $4 per bulb or else you will end up paying more in total costs than staying with a CFL. Of course, the cheaper you can find it the better.

Here's a somewhat reasonable price from TCP 60W equivalent LED light bulb 6-pack in soft white: (Don't buy it if it's more than $24, I trust the 10,000 rated hours reported by Philips more than the 20,000 hours reported by TCP)

What's even better is if you can find deals for a 6 or 12 pack of non-dimmable 60W equivalent LED for $2.50 or less each.



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    I switched all of my old incandescents and the few CFLs I had in house to LEDs several years ago. The price for 100W LED bulbs hasn't changed in that time period, it is still $20 CDN per bulb. The total cost for inside my house was approximately $493 for all the 100Ws replaced, (2 floors), and another $47 for the 6 40W bulbs in my dining area. Then an additional $392 for the outside floods. I now need to replace all my 4 foot old style CFL tubes with LED light strips in my shop, of which there are 20. The costs here include the 12% taxes. The cost of doing this was absolutely worth the savings that I gained in one year on my power bill. IF all my lights were on at the same time for the old incandescents the power usage would be 3760 watts. For the LEDs it would be 598 watts.

    I just made the switch to LEDs, the Ace hardware store where my wife works has then on special 2/$3.99. With her 15% employee discount it was a no-brainer.

    1 reply

    That's an awesome deal. Time to switch them all!

    Hi BeatBush. Good video. Just want to say that before you spend your money on efficient light bulbs, please consider that it's not worth it if these particular bulbs aren't on very long. Change only the ones that stay on for hours a day. 60W for half an hour is only .03kwhr, which is peanuts. The real energy gobblers are the appliances, heaters, pumps, etc. Those are the ones worth finding efficient alternatives for. So many people want to do the right thing and become anal about light bulbs.

    1 reply

    All true. I was trying to imply that by the 3hour a day estimate and I guess I missed driving the point home. You'll have to adjust the calculation if the average usage is less. It might be most effective in replacing the longest running lights in the house with LEDs first before going after the other ones. Yeah, the other energy gobblers are also important. Like getting a more energy efficient fridge, etc. I'd say you gotta do all of them but then this vid was just on switching light bulbs.

    since the bulb has two circuits, it's really hard to estimate power consumption unless you have the proper instruments. energy usage spikes when the high voltage starting circuit turns the bulb on, then consumption lowers after ignition since lower voltage is used after the arc is created. the cycles also determines the expected life as well. The bulbs you would want to replace first, are the ones which are cycled the most.. such as a closet light, entry light etc. you can find simple bulb designs online that would work fine for lower light applications. these bulbs use a non isolation mains circuit, but what is nice, Is that the bulbs will usually not get warm since they are running on ac current.

    1 reply

    Why would it be hard to estimate power consumption? It's the amount shown on the light bulb. The initial spike adds very little to the constant on power. True about the cycles. I'm not too sure about the cycle life of incan vs cfl vs led. It would be an interesting aspect to look at. For example, if LED has 2x longer cycle life, then that would make it more effective in high switching applications. Wait, are you talking about making your own light bulb? I don't think I would want to go that far. Also, how does running on AC making a bulb not as warm? To me, AC or DC, it really doesn't matter; its the amount of energy that gets converted to heat so it's a matter of light conversion efficiency rather than the type of input electricity type.

    I found my CFL bulbs lasting no longer than the normal incandescent bulbs. After doing some research I found out that the quotation numbers of hors of operation (which was frequently used in cost saving analysis ) is irrelevant for the typical home user. It is the total number of on-off cycles that causes these bulbs to fail.
    Nevertheless, I am constantly on the lookout for LED bulbs on discount, and am gradually converting to them.
    In our Northern temperate climate, house heating is required for 6 months of the year, and no houses have a/c for summer use. So once again the apparent cost gains are overstated. When I change from a 60 watt incandescent bulb to a 6 watt LED, I have not saved 90% of my costs...that 56 watts of "wasted energy" was heating the house. But I am trying to heat my house with local timber as much as possible, so therefore the LED conversion.
    Different economics for different climates of course, and also the source of your electricity supply is environmentally relevant - we have a lot of hydroelectric supply.

    3 replies

    Awesome points! So the math falls apart slightly for temperate climates. So it seems this will work for outside lighting still. Also, what type of energy do you use for heating? If you use gas then the cost to heat the house the same amount is about 1/3 the cost of electricity.

    And to throw another dent in the bell curve of expected economy, I'm replacing all incandescent fixtures with LED types, at my age not climbing ladders to change a burnt out one is a very significant injury prevention tactic that has a higher value to me than squeezing a few dollars over lamp life.

    I know about this danger of ladders too well from people I know. When I turn that age, I'll be strapping myself to mounting posts everywhere I go. Either that or I'll never elevate myself higher than 1 ft off the ground by using mechanical hand extensions.

    Thanks for the tip! I have considered it before and am in the process of adding them as I go.

    Cool! Can't wait to see what you post next. Cheers! :)