The Labor government in Victoria, Australia has announced that if re-elected, they would boost green energy production target to 50% by 2030. As part of such ambitious promise, they have taken the obvious initiative to phase out CFL, filament, and all sorts of incandescent lamps and replace those with LED lights all over Australia, eventually.
In recent years, LED lighting has become a popular alternative of conventional lighting solutions, as its highly marketed feature of 75% less energy consumption compared to halogen light bulbs is widely supported by the industry. Another striking feature is, the functional life-cycle of LED bulb is 5-10 times longer than halogen ones (yeah, that’s right!).
If data like these have already convinced you to replace the lightning in your residential or commercial space with LEDs, then that is, without any doubt, one of the best decisions you have taken in recent years!
But when it comes to getting it done, many green energy enthusiasts (like you, maybe) rush it, and end up making quite a few fatal mistakes.
- Not checking out the manufacturer
- Not keeping the true purpose of LED light in mind
- Buying LED of the same wattage as the incandescent one
- Using the same dimmer for the LED
- Buying LED without the additional tools
- Not checking the power supply rating
- Not checking any available incentive
- Not checking the CRI of the LED
- Not comparing the prices
- Not doing any estimation of how many lights are actually needed
- Not staying up to date with supplier and government policies
Now, let’s have a detail look at these mistakes.
1. Not checking out the manufacturer
As conventional lamps are being replaced by LEDs at an increasing pace, a huge market for those have emerged. Thus to fulfill this heightened demand, many companies are moving into LED light manufacturing.
But the fact of the matter is, not all of them would be able to manufacture and supply quality LED lamps at competitive price along with maintenance service.
Unfortunately instead of asking around about the LED lighting company of your choice and reviewing their online presence, you might just place the order. This has the potential to turn into a big financial loss for you as the company might disappear the week after purchase.
2. Not keeping the purpose of LED light in mind
This is the most common mistake people make when upgrading to LEDs.
The lights in different rooms of your house or office space have different purposes. Some are there for creating an ambiance while some are for task-intensive activities such as cooking, shaving, crafting a machine etc.
This is something you must keep in mind since LED lights come with focused and omni-directional light. If you want your hallway to be covered in light, a focused light LED would be the wrong choice as it would leave a significant portion in shadow.
3. Buying LED of the same wattage as the incandescent/fluorescent ones
Let’s say you have 100 W filament or CFL lights in your living room and you are going to replace those with LEDs. You would probably go for LEDs of the same wattage.
That would be a grave mistake.
Since LED lights are a lot more efficient, it means for every watt of electricity, they give out a lot more (almost 80%) light compared to traditional lights.
This means LED lights with wattage lower than 100W can probably do the job. This is also important in terms of cost effectiveness as price of LEDs go up with wattage.
4. Using the same dimmer for the LED
The dimmers that are in place for the lights you are currently using have not been designed for LED lamps. So if you simply have those set up, it is highly likely that those costly lights would get damaged leaving your wallet lighter.
5. Buying LED without the additional tools (such as ballast)
Some LED lights can be directly connected to your AC mains supply while some require specialized power converters called ballasts designed to provide optimum power to them.
It has been observed that people in most cases don’t pay attention to this fact. If this happens, either you would receive less light than you are supposed to or those would receive higher voltage and last much less than their service life time.
6. Not checking the power supply rating
Not all LEDs are rated for the 230 V 50 Hz mains supply. Their power rating varies based on intended use and wattage. If this information is not conveyed to the supplier, LEDs with the wrong rating may be delivered to you.
That would lead to inadequate light or worst case scenario, quick damage of them.
7. Not checking any available incentive
To encourage people to opt for greener energy alternatives, Australian Government has introduced some policies to subsidise purchasing to LED lights for small businesses.
Reality is, most people or business owners are not aware of it. Suppliers often times forget to mention this.
Government in your country may have a similar policy. So if you don’t ask around or check online for such incentives, you would deprive yourself from a significant financial relief when transitioning to LEDs.
8. Not checking the CRI of the LED
CRI (Color Rendering Index) tells you how well colors can be perceived by the light from an LED. This has a value range of 0-100.
The higher its value, the truer the perception of colors in your surroundings. What is to be noted is that price of LED lights go up with higher CRI. If you intend to purchase LEDs for a museum, the lobby of your hotel, or your living room, a low CRI may have a negative impact on the aesthetics.
What happens is most people try to cut cost and opt for LEDs with lower CRI even when it doesn’t align with business purpose.
9. Not comparing the prices
As it has already been mentioned, many companies are moving into the LED light industry to fill the demand gap. In order to out-compete rivals, they would tend to lower the price in the short term to gain customers.
This fact is ignored by most people when upgrading to energy saving LED lights. LEDs are expensive compared to incandescent ones and a lower price would obviously help save your hard-earned money.
10. Not doing any estimation of how many lights are actually needed
It has been mentioned before that LEDs are about 80% more efficient than conventional ones. Furthermore, their beam shape can be either omni-directional or focused. When figuring out how many LED lights you need, these facts must be considered.
What happens in these cases is, people just count their current number of lights and order that many LEDs. A proper audit would take time and money but would also help save money for you at the time of purchase.
11. Not staying up to date with supplier and government policies
Let’s say your LEDs have a warranty of 1 year. During this time, government may introduce a higher rebate for LED upgrade. Or your supplier may introduce a more efficient type.
If you stay updated and ask your supplier to replace your old LEDs with their new model, they might agree to a price concession. Or you might be eligible for that government subsidy.
Unfortunately very few people are aware of such crucial info and end up saving less than they could have down the line.
As you already know, being aware of these mistakes would help you make educated decisions at the time of a light upgrade. All these mistakes can be avoided if you care to have an energy audit performed. What you can also do is have an interior designer have a look at your audit. He/she would be able to figure out if the type of LEDs you intend to purchase would accentuate the aesthetics of your environment or suit the purpose. Many companies let you try out a sample as well. That is extremely beneficial as that would let you test the beam shape and CRI yourself.
Advantages of upgrading to LEDs cannot be overstated. Not only do they save money for you but they also have a much beneficial impact on the environment. So if you have already decided to do so, you are not only being smart but also a responsible citizen of your community and country.