The Basics of LED Lighting

You may have heard about LED lighting as a new technology being introduced into home remodeling projects that require new lighting sources.  It is being touted as energy efficient, and low profile, which are two things that homeowners will surely be interested in.  LED stands for Light Emitting Diode.  What the heck is that though?  Basically, it is a semiconductor diode which has electrons (electricity) passed through it.  When the electrons hit the diode, they fill tiny holes in the device, and this produces photons, which are released in the form of electroluminescence, or light.  This is probably more information than you need, but now when somebody asks you what an LED light is, you can answer the question with an educated answer, instantly wowing your conversation partner. 

Forms of LED Lights: There are bulbs, flourescent tubes, tape strips, rigid sticks, pucks, and these applications can be used outdoors and indoors. 

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Energy Consumption:  Energy Star rated LED lights consume 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs.  They reduce maintenance costs because they do not have to be changed out as much as normal bulbs.  LED's produce very little heat.  Also, LED lights won't break like incandescent bulbs, so there is no risk of breakage. 

Uses:  LED lights are being used more and more often in home remodels, specifically in the kitchen.  The most widely used applciation is for undercabinet lighting.  Something like THIS makes a great undercabinet task light.  It used very little energy and won't heat up the bottom of your cabinets.  LED lights are also finding their ways inside cabinets.  These LED puck lights produce warm colors, similar to an incandescent bulb, and make great interior cabinet spot lights for glass front cabinets that are used to display items.

Costs: The good news is that you probably won't ever have to change one of these bulbs for 20 years.  The bad news is that the costs are more than a regular incandescent bulb or halogen light.  Figure on paying 50% more for an LED light vs. a regular incandescent.  As the technology progresses and more manufacturers enter the market, these prices will fall dramatically.  However, as the technology is still fairlyl new, expect to pay more for this product, as you would for any premium upgrade. 

Where to find in Denver: Any kitchen and bath designer will have access to hundreds of different LED forms and styles.  However, if you are interested in viewing these lights in person, you can always visit Foothills Lighting or your local Home Depot.  A designer lighting store, such as Foothills, will have many more options and styles to choose from.