LED lighting has come a long way, and prices are lower than ever. However, there’s still plenty of people who don’t want to switch over to LED all at once. So, if you only had five LED light bulbs, where would you put them? Here’s my top 5 locations, and some of them might not be where you think.
1) Over the Kitchen Sink
Let’s start with the obvious. Current wisdom says that you should put LED bulbs in wherever you use the light the most. That way, you will save the most energy compared to using any other lighting technology. For lots of people, that’s the bulb over the kitchen sink. Alternatively, your most used bulb(s) may be another kitchen light or the one in the living room. Wherever you have that most used light, replace it with LED for maximum energy savings.
2) The Refrigerator
Really? Yes. This one might be counter-intuitive. If we want to replace our MOST-USED bulbs with LED, why the fridge lights? Aren’t those almost NEVER on? It’s true, however, LEDs have another neat advantage – they produce minimal heat. The refrigerator and freezer are locations where you spend energy to create cold (technically, you are moving heat out of the appliance.) An incandescent bulb is basically a small electric heater. Why would you install an electric heater INSIDE a device you are spending money to keep cool? Doesn’t make much sense, does it? With LED lighting, it’s not that you are saving money on the energy used by the bulb, rather, you are saving the extra energy that the fridge would have to use to overcome the heat created by the incandescent bulb. CFLs (compact fluorescent bulbs) aren’t even an option in your fridge, as they have such poor lighting performance in the cold.
3. Front Porch Light
If I leave home in the late afternoon or evening, I’ll leave my front porch light on so that I can see when I get back. Often, I have no idea how long I’ll be gone, and that porch light is left on the whole time, just using electricity. A front porch light (or a yard-light, driveway-light, or security light) is left on for hours, or even overnight. Replacing it with LED can save significant energy. Also, LED lights tend to be directional. That makes it easier to shine the light where you need it. I have a can fixture and use a directional bulb to point straight down. This lights up my front door WITHOUT lighting up the neighbor’s house or the night sky. Also, I’m only using a 4-watt bulb, which is plenty of light, but still saves energy over using a higher-power LED bulb. For any outdoor light, make sure it’s pointed where you want it, and turn it off when you don’t need it, either manually or with a motion detector or timer. The International Dark Sky Association has some great tips for properly using outdoor lighting.
4. Automatic Garage Door Opener
I have a detached, non-heated, two-car garage. When the garage door opens, the light in the opener automatically comes one. It’s great for convenience, but neither incandescent or CFL is the right bulb for the job. Incandescent bulbs are terrible in locations with vibration, as vibration shakes the filament and burns out the bulb prematurely. Every once in a while, I accidentally leave that light on (usually overnight) and incandescent would be the worst offender for power usage. CFL isn’t ideal either. I live in a cold climate and a cold CFL puts out only a tiny amount of its rated light. I couldn’t see a darn thing in my garage with that bulb. When I went to switch out the CFL, I also discovered that the spiral design attracts and hold dusts like CRAZY. If you do any kind of woodworking at all in an area with CFL bulbs, please check the bulbs and dust them as needed. Just recently, I replaced the garage door opener light with an LED bulb. It comes on instantly, it’s BRIGHT, and it doesn’t matter what the weather is or how much vibration the door opener makes.
5. Work Lights
If you are like me, you have some lights in an area where you make things or fix stuff. Maybe it’s a garage, a basement, or just under the hood of a car in your driveway. LED lighting is ideal for these situations. For starters, these are places notorious for breaking bulbs. I once flipped a board end for end on a table-saw and smashed the CFL bulb overhead. Yipes! What a mess! Incandescent bulbs in portable work lights die all the time from all the movement of the fixture. LED bulbs are much more durable, don’t get hot, and don’t break into a zillion shards of glass and mercury dust. I also priced out some LED work lights and was shocked at how expensive they were! So, I just took a few LED bulbs and stuck them in some plain old reflector clamp lights that I already had. Boom! LED work lights for six bucks instead of sixty.
There’s plenty of other places that are great for LED lighting, but I wanted to keep this list short.
What’s your favorite location for LED lighting? Do you have a favorite energy-saving lighting tip or trick, let us know by commenting below!