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Do Claims about LED Stack up?

Do claims about LED stack up?

Some boasts about LED are worth looking at.  We chose the three you’re most likely to have heard.

LEDs are the most energy efficient light.

It’s been said many times, but this can’t be denied.  The only light that competes with the excellent conversion of energy to light of LEDs are sodium vapour streetlights that are only good for dispelling darkness and cast a glow so weird some people claim that they can deter undesirables from loitering in their presence.  But all you really need to know is that a 9 watt LED globe is as bright as an old 60 watt bulb and uses roughly 16% of the power to achieve the same outcome.

LEDs don’t get hot.

Although LEDs don’t produce nearly the heat of conventional lighting and can be touched when on, they still need to dissipate heat to keep them operating effectively over their lifetime.  That’s why some lights have elaborate aluminium fins that act as heatsinks.  LEDs do not convert as much energy into heat as other lights, but claims that this helps with keeping your house cool is a bit fanciful.  The heat generated by an old light bulb will burn your fingers but the difference it makes to the ambient room temperature is insignificant and compares to the heat produced by people.  Changing to LED is not going make a noticeable difference to your air conditioning bill.

LEDs contain no mercury.

The mercury free status of LEDs is most often referred to when comparing them with compact fluorescents.  It’s true that LEDs contain no mercury, and fluorescents do, but it’s also true that the amount of mercury in fluorescents is tiny and the risk of hazardous exposure very low.  That said, any amount of mercury exposure is not desirable and it is best kept out of landfill where it can accumulate.  So when a fluoro dies you can’t just toss it in the general waste bin or the recycling.  The mercury contaminates recycling facilities.  The following links have information on where to properly dispose of old fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescents.

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