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Posted by Doug Root on 22nd Oct 2020

A Short Guide to LED Replacement Bulbs

If you’re looking for some creative ways to cut your energy costs but you don’t want to lose out on the superior mood lighting that is currently at play in your living quarters or you are worried about the color temperature and light output that replacements can provide, your concerns are valid.

Valid, though, they may be, whatever lighting you are currently using can probably be switching out painlessly and easily with the proper LED replacement bulbs. Among other things, LED replacements are very energy efficient so you may be able to cut your other energy costs - but they offer a lot more than just energy savings.

Of course, there’s no reason to make a replacement if everything is working out for you at present, so let’s take a step back and learn more about how LEDs work and why they are valuable before proceeding.

How an LED Works

LEDs are vastly different from pretty much all other forms of lighting technology on the market today. Whereas effectively every other type of light bulb available today produces light via the excitation of certain gases contained within the bulb, LEDs contain no such gases. In fact, an LED light bulb isn’t really even a bulb. LEDs are instead considered SSLs or solid-state lights.

Incandescent bulbs, fluorescent bulbs, HID lamps and others require gases contained within the bulb either to produce light or to moderate the light that is produced via some other method, such as electroluminescence. In the case of solid-state lights like LEDs, there are no gases, and the bulb itself is just a hard plastic cover protecting the light-emitting diode - for which the LED is named - within.

The diode itself is a semiconductor material that contains a P-N junction; to divest ourselves of the technical talk, and to keep things as simple as possible, here is how it works. One side of the diode has more electrons than the other. The side that contains an imbalance of electrons is negatively charged, so it is called the N-material or the N-region.

The other side of the diode is called a P-material or the P-region because it contains fewer electrons than the other side, and so is more positively charged than the other region by comparison. Electrons naturally want to flow from a region of higher density to a region of lower density, and they can only pass toward a more positively charged region - that is, they will not willingly build up together.

To get from the N-material over to the P-material, the electrons must pass a region known as the P-N junction, across which they can only flow one way. When electrons cross over the P-N junction, they become excited; when they reach the P-region, they become less excited and release that energy as - you guessed it - light.

In essence, this is a high-level view of how LEDs produce light, although a lot more could be said on a more granular, scientific level. As you can see, no gases are required, and that explains why the bulb is called a solid-state light, which is one of the chief benefits of LED replacement bulbs but something we will get to a little bit later in this article.

LED Drivers: Required for Success

While LED replacement bulbs will bring along a lot of benefits that we will explain a little further along in this article, they will need a component called a driver in order to work. LED drivers, somewhat like the ballast of a fluorescent bulb, help to regulate the voltage and current to an LED light so that it will work as intended. Without a driver, the light will not work. Additionally, sometimes when it seems like an LED light or circuit needs to be replaced, really the only thing that needs to be replaced is an aging driver in the system.

This matters because without the right driver, no LED will work at all, and if you are going to replace a given light with an LED you will need to ensure that the proper driver is in place beforehand. Some LEDs, however, come with an integrated driver which means you won’t need to get a separate system, but if you have any questions you can always reach out to us about the replacement and we’ll shed some light on the matter.

That leaves you with the matter of why you might want to replace your current lighting infrastructure with LEDs in the first place and to understand that, you’ll need to have a better understanding of the many advantages of LED bulbs.

Why You Should Switch to LEDs

There are a lot of reasons why you might want to switch to LED bulbs, but check out some of these really compelling reasons that you can read more about via the blog above.

1.Use Less Energy

The first and most obvious reason that most people want to switch to LED lights is that LED lights use so much less power than any other form of light. Compare this with incandescent lights and halogen lights which are veritable energy guzzlers; LEDs are enormously efficient by contrast. Not only are they more efficient than incandescents-they are also more efficient than HID lamps and fluorescent lamps, which for a long time were touted for their energy efficiency.

That means in simple terms that you will end up spending less on your energy bill with LEDs than you would with alternatives. In addition, LEDs produce very little heat energy as a by-product, which means that they can help you keep cooling costs down in the summer as well.

2.Make Replacements Less Often

Another reason to switch to LEDs is the fact that they just last so much longer than all other lighting forms. On the higher end, some LEDs are predicted to last nearly 100,000 hours, to which nothing else can even come close.

Even fluorescent lights, which are well known for their longevity, don’t last nearly this long. On the upper end, some fluorescents are said to last about 50,000 hours, and that is rare.

So, on the one hand, you will save on your energy bill, but you will also save because you won’t need to make replacements as often. Right there, that’s like quadrupling your ability to save, but it gets better.

3.The Bulbs Are Tougher

LEDs, being SSLs as described above, are significantly tougher than other light bulbs that are made of glass and have gases trapped inside. These can break easily and in some cases, the slightest stress can damage the filament.

LEDs, on the other hand, are way tougher. In many cases, they are not only resistant to moisture and corrosion but also to vibration and shock. There’s actually not much that can break on them. Opening the circuit is one thing, but even if the lens were to crack, theoretically the LED would still work.

4.They Offer Great Color temperature

Some of you reading this might be leery about whether or not LEDs really could make an effective replacement for the lights that you already have. Fluorescent lights are beloved for their soft white color temperature and halogen lights are preferred in some special situations because of the excellent quality of their light output.

However, there are LEDs out there right now that can match those colors temperatures and there are many more than that. There are even LEDs that can effectively replace vintage bulbs, which are renowned for their warm - very warm - white light and ambiance.

5.They’re the Green Option

Finally, LEDs are the green option in lighting, and we don’t just mean because they will cut back on your energy consumption. They will do that, but they are also made without harmful materials like heavy metals and other chemicals.

Fluorescent lights, for example, have been called green because they cut back on energy use - but, fluorescent lights also contain phosphor powder and mercury, both of which are harmful to the environment. HID lamps like mercury vapor lamps are very efficient and very bright, but they contain (unsurprisingly) mercury.

LEDs contain no such harmful chemicals, and they save energy.

These are some of the most convincing reasons that LED replacement bulbs may be worth it, but there are many more. If you want to learn more about why you should make a switch, check out that blog above, or read our recent blog on some FAQs on LED light bulbs.

Good News: You May Be Able to Switch

So you’re sold on the savings you can reap in energy consumption and you want to learn more about LED replacement bulbs. The good news is you can probably make the switch more easily than you think. Check out some of the following types of lights for which we offer LED replacements here at Atlanta Light Bulbs, and if you have further questions, get in touch with us.

Types of Replacements

As you are looking through some of the different types of bulbs below that you might want to replace, keep in mind that not all LED replacements are plug and play options, which means you might need a special component like a driver or a ballast bypass, where applicable. You might need to know a little bit about more than just the bulb shape. Read on below, and call our team if you have any questions.

Incandescent Replacements

Incandescent light bulbs guzzle electricity like it’s nobody’s business, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that these are some of the light bulbs for which LED replacements are most often sought. As a lot of lights in homes are incandescent, homeowners are frequently seeking out ways to save on energy and a lot of LEDs can be plugged right into the socket where an incandescent bulb would go.

Often, incandescent LED replacements are plug and play options that not only fit right into the socket but which contain a driver that makes them compatible with the circuit. That means whether you’re looking for a replacement for an Edison light bulb, a chandelier light bulb, LED wafer lights, or just some LED replacement for a lamp in your home, you’ll find it here and can probably make the switch relatively efficiently and painlessly.

Fluorescent Replacements

As stated, even though fluorescent light bulbs are relatively energy-efficient and will last a long time, LED replacements for them will last longer and are more energy-efficient.

While we offer a number of LED replacements for linear fluorescent bulbs like T5s and T8s, you will need to ensure that you get a replacement that will work with your current lighting infrastructure. For example, some of our linear replacements are plug and play options, whereas others have a ballast bypass so they can work with your system. Check out the options we offer on our website, and if you have questions, make sure you get in touch with us.

HID Replacements

HID bulbs are relatively efficient and have great light output and color temperature, but as we have explained in this article, they don’t come near the efficiency of LED replacements. In addition, HID bulbs often contain mercury and produce a lot of heat. If this weren’t enough to convince you, consider also that advancements in technology have produced some LED replacements that are every bit as powerful as the HID lamps they were designed to replace.

Many of our high wattage retrofits - AKA corn cob LED bulbs - can be used to replace the HID bulbs that you currently use, only in most instances you will need to bypass the ballast and directly wire the light.

Get in Touch with Us to Learn More

We covered a lot of information in this article, but there is still a lot more relevant information out there regarding LED replacement bulbs that you might want to know or need to know before you can proceed with actually replacing anything.

Check out our category pages above where you can learn a little more about where and how our replacements can be used as well as what be used alongside them to guarantee they work.

If you can’t find what you need there, give us a call at 1-888-988-2852 and let us know what you need. We have nearly 40 years in business and we would be more than glad to get you in touch with the information or the products you need.