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LED

LED light bulbs are a highly versatile, electronic lighting technology. LED (light emitting diode) technology changed the lighting landscape as soon as it came on the market. If this is any indicator of the popularity, LED is mentioned in almost every single one of our blog posts.

When LEDs first came out, they were expensive and known for having a distinct color. Now, the cost is much lower, and the color technology is much better.

Better technology has led to an LED replacement for nearly every type of light bulb. You can replace incandescent, halogen, fluorescent, and HID light bulbs with LED alternatives.

But before you buy LED light bulbs, it’s best to know how LEDs work, and the common specs you need to pay attention to.

How LED light bulbs work

LED lighting technology is magic. (Just kidding, kind of.) LED is so different from other lighting technology, it takes a different approach to explain it.

Here is the short definition: LED is a semiconductor device that produces visible light when an electrical currency passes through it.

Here is a longer explanation, divided up into a series of steps:

  1. Before any light is emitted, electricity must pass through a driver.
  2. Drivers convert electricity to direct current and control dimmability and changes in voltage.
  3. The diode, which is the simplest semiconductor, glows when electricity passes through it.
  4. When the electricity gets to the diode, it emits light which passes through a phosphor coating.
  5. That coating improves the light quality coming from the diode and dictates the color temperature of the light.

Common specs to consider for LED lighting

You want to pay close attention to the specifications of an LED light bulb. Because the technology is so versatile, one light bulb can come in different wattages or colors.

Here are a few lighting terms that will come in handy:

  1. Wattage – Wattage is the measure of how much energy a light bulb will need to illuminate. If you’re trying to get the most energy savings, this is a good number to pay attention to.
  2. Lumens – Lumens represent the measurement of how much light the light bulb puts out. This is helpful in maintaining or increasing light levels, but delivered lumens and foot-candles are also critical and may be more helpful readings to consider.
  3. Correlated color temperature (CCT) – Correlated color temperature is a numerical value that indicates the color of light a particular fixture or bulb will emit. This is a critical consideration if atmosphere is important in your building.
  4. Color rendering index (CRI) – CRI measures a light source’s ability to reflect colors accurately. If you’re in a retail store, restaurant space, or hospital, color accuracy is likely very important. CRI is a factor you need to consider.
  5. Dimmability – LEDs don’t always communicate well with dimmers, so if you need to dim your lighting, be sure the lamp you are buying is rated as “dimmable”.

LED light bulbs and dimming

Speaking of LED dimming, overall, the technology is getting better. But that doesn’t mean that you will be problem free.

We have several ways you can make sure your LED bulbs will work with dimmers:

  1. Buy dimmable LED light bulbs
  2. Know how LED light bulbs work with controls
  3. Work with a lighting specialist or perform a mockup

When to use LED light bulbs

Manufacturers started making LED replacements for nearly every application. Switching to LEDs can save you money and maintenance headaches over time.

But here’s where LEDs differ from other light bulbs: the same light bulb can replace several different other types of light bulbs. 

Not quite sure what that means? For example, one LED bulb might be a good replacement for an incandescent, halogen, or CFL (compact fluorescent lamp).

Where to use LED light bulbs

Here a few common applications for LEDs. Click to shop the LED replacement.

  1. LED replacement for linear fluorescent tubes (This is something we’ve talked about a lot. If you’re looking for retrofit options, click here.)
  2. LED replacement for HID high bay fixtures
  3. LED replacement for incandescent or halogen reflector lights

If you’re looking for more resources, you can check these out:

Questions about LED light bulbs

As always, we’re always here to answer your questions. You can send us a message, call us, or use the chat in the bottom right corner of your screen if you have questions. With seven sales and distribution centers across the U.S., Regency Lighting can meet your lighting needs.

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