Wednesday, July 22, 2009

LED, CFL, Halogen, Flourescent Comparison

When considering LED light vs halogen bulbs, it is worth remembering there are now several alternatives available when seeking new lights. These include traditional incandescent bulbs, the normal fluorescent light fixture, LED light bulbs and compact fluorescent lights. There are also variations such as halogen bulbs.
Incandescent lights are what we have been raised with. They produce bright light but give off a great deal of heat and come in a very wide variety of types. There lights are intended for an extremely diverse range of outputs from small night lights to huge floodlights. They have high power usage, low lifespan and are likely to fail as they are switched on and off. They also respond poorly to very cold temperatures. Ordinary incandescent bulbs last perhaps a thousand hours, while the more expensive and capable halogen bulbs can last about twice as long.
Fluorescent lights are somewhat more expensive to purchase than incandescent lights, but are much less expensive to operate. They can produce a relatively unpleasant color of light, and have a flicker effect as the lights flash on and off faster than the eye can detect. This can have effects on some people however, as their subconscious can detect the flicker and grow stressed. The constant hum exacerbates this and some find the lights oppressive as a result. Fluorescent lights also contain small amounts of mercury. This requires, in many jurisdictions, the user to treat old fluorescent lights as hazardous waste, much like you should treat batteries. This normally involves bagging the light, especially larger lights, and taking t hem to designated facilities for disposal. This isn’t terribly onerous, as it is the same as is required of batteries. They also use far less power than incandescent lights.
Compact fluorescent lights are the same technology as the older fluorescents, but are intended to replace conventional screw in incandescent bulbs. They also contain small amounts of mercury, and should be treated the same as the standard fluorescents, that is, bagged and disposed of properly when needed. The amount of mercury is small enough that it is not a danger by EPA standards, but many jurisdictions still require proper disposal. This does not include calling in hazmat teams as some rumors suggest. They cost about 20-25% of the energy cost for an incandescent bulb. The bulbs cost more than an incandescent bulb, but replace many due to the long lifespan. They should last perhaps 10,000 hours.
LED Light Bulbs last longer than even the CFL lights, up to 60,000 hours and considerably longer times are expected soon. LED Light Bulbs are currently expensive, but over a lifespan are comparable with the prices for the CFLs and fluorescents. The high up front costs are compensated for by the low operation costs.

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