Chances are, you won’t be the first homeowner to be found scratching your head in the lighting aisle of your local home improvement store pondering over the added expense of LED bulbs. Rapidly replacing incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescents, are LED bulbs worth the cost?
In it for the Long Haul
Homeowners searching for ways to save energy with inexpensive home improvements often find themselves looking to lighting when it’s time for an upgrade. And though LED light bulbs are not the magic bullet for ending your energy cost woes, they do make sense in certain situations. LED bulbs should be purchased for the long run. If you’re staying in your house for the next few years, investing in LED bulbs makes wise financial sense. If you’re an apartment hopper, making annual or more frequent moves, however, they probably aren’t worth the investment.
In What Cases are LED Bulbs Worth It?
The longer bulb life and reduced energy consumption might be worth it in the following scenarios…
- You run the lights 24/7: For those areas that see frequent foot traffic (and those parents tired of chasing down light switches after kids) LED bulbs to offer far more efficient operation, using 75% less energy than incandescents and 50% less than CFLs, and making them a good choice for rooms that see frequent lighting use. Which places in your home offer the most bang for the buck when it comes to LED upgrades? Frequent use areas of the home such as:
- Living/Family Room
- Porch/Outdoor Lighting
- You have a light fixture that is hard to access: Cathedral ceilings. Spider-infested outdoor lighting. Every home has a fixture or two where homeowners dread changing the bulb. Since LED bulbs last 25-times longer than incandescents and about 3-times longer than CFLs, they can be a sanity saver here
- You’re feeling green: Those looking to reduce their carbon footprint and help Mother Earth no matter how infinitesimal the contribution may prefer switching to LED bulbs despite the added cost. However, if this is you, you should know earth metals and other components of LED bulbs can offset this ‘green’ factor
When to Say ‘Pass’
The key to a smart LED purchase lies in understanding that to recoup your investment, you have to think long term. The typical payback period of LED bulbs ranges from about 12-18-months on your run-of-the-mill incandescent/CFL replacement. However pricier speciality bulbs, such as those for bathroom vanities and ceiling fan fixtures can cost quite a bit more, taking as many as four years to payback.