The old light bulb that has lit our lives for more than 100 years on its way out. The inefficient incandescent bulb loses most of its energy as heat. It is economically and ecologically inefficient. Soon, U.S. residents will no longer be able to buy incandescent light bulbs.
Your incandescent light bulbs are being replaced with more energy-efficient compact fluorescent, or CFL. There are some people who worry about problems with the CFL, such as the inclusion of mercury in the design and a strange, color that even gives some people headaches.
The LED, or light-emitting diode could be a solution. LEDs have been around for many years, in digital clocks, flashlights and traffic signals.
An LED is a solid-state lighting technology, or SSL. So, instead of emitting light from a vacuum, like the incandescent bulb or a gas, like a CFL, the SSL emits light from a piece of solid matter. In the case of a traditional LED, that piece of matter is a semiconductor.
Advantages of LED Light Bulbs
Currently, you may not find LED light bulbs in very many household lighting fixtures, but here are a few of good reasons their use will increase.
1. They reduce energy use. The LED light loses far less energy to heat than other light bulbs. It’s much more efficient than the vacuum/filament method used in incandescent bulbs — generally up to 85 % more efficient; and it’s even about 5% more efficient than the CFL’s plasma-tube approach [source: Taub].
2. LED Light Bulbs Last Longer. Energy-efficiency is just the beginning. You could go 20 years without having to change an LED light bulb. A typical incandescent bulb lasts about 750 hours; an LED bulb lasts 30,000 hours [source: Sundance]. Some LED bulbs even last up to 50,000 hours [source: Linden].
The Disadvantages of LED Light Bulbs
Despite the advantages of reduced energy use and longer bulb life, the typical 60-watt LED bulb can cost as much as $100, with some lower output bulbs in the range of $40 and $80.