New lighting usually refers to LED or Light Emitting Diode lights. LED lights last longer and do not give off much heat. They may cost more upfront, but they provide major savings in energy use and bulb replacement. LED lights with Energy Star ratings can provide up to 6,000 hours of illumination.
The LED semiconductor technology refers to an electrical current moving over a diode that has tiny reflectors. This is a completely different technology from the incandescent bulb with a tungsten filament that has been used for over a century.
Lumens measure the brightness in lighting while wattage refers to the energy required. A LED bulb of 16-20 watts provides 1,600 lumens, the same amount of light as a 100-watt incandescent bulb. This is why LED lighting is cost-effective while saving energy.
Most LED lights will fit into your existing lamps. LED bulbs are available in different sizes and colors for chandeliers and other specialty fixtures. Compatibility with recessed lighting and dimmer switches may be different.
Most buildings, including homes, were designed with standard wiring for alternating current. The LED fixtures work with AC but their circuitry is occasionally incompatible with old wiring.
Although LED lights give off less heat than incandescent bulbs, they still need room to dissipate the heat caused by the electrical current. The heat moves out from a heat sink at the base of the bulb. The light must be installed in an open space.
Special bulbs have been designed for recessed lighting such as the type found in kitchen ceilings or commercial buildings. In some cases, retro-fit kits that are easy to install, are available with the recessed LED lights. The lights come with a retro-fit unit for housing diameters from four to six inches.
LED can lights for recessed lighting can be installed in holes up to nine inches in diameter. The flat can LEDs diffuse the light and they work with dimmer switches.
If you are remodeling a kitchen, you might consider pendant lighting over counters, islands and other work areas. The pendant lights take LED bulbs and your existing wiring will work with the new fixtures.The adjustment is worth the cost in savings on electricity.
LED strips can now be used in tubes that once held florescent lights in ceilings. The strips are compatible with various tube connections.
Dimmers control the brightness of lights and they were designed originally to work with incandescent bulbs. Dimmers are usually placed in dining rooms or even bedrooms to provide low lighting when desired.
It may be wise to change out an old rotary dimmer switch used for incandescent lights with a new one designed for LED lighting. The newer dimmer switches are UL tested to work with LED or the compact florescent light (CFL) bulbs that are an alternative.
The dimmer switches are compatible with the low-energy bulbs that can be dimmed or brightened and they work with your existing wiring.
Flat panel LED lights in round, oval or rectangular shapes work with dimmer switches. The flat panels only 1/2-inch thick can diffuse the light in a room.
Consider changing to LED lights throughout your home and office. Outside LED lights are compatible with your timer or sensor connections that use halogen or incandescent light fixtures. This is the future for saving energy.