The switch to LED

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The switch to LED

Postposted on Thu Aug 07, 2014 2:38 am

The last 2 years has been crazy, I've moved a total of 3 times due to flooding and other issues. Now that I'm finally going to be staying put in an apartment for the next 2 years I figured it would be worth investing in LEDs. The local cost of electricity is 22kWh, not including taxes, fuel surcharge, ect. After all of that the cost can easily go up to about 28kWh :o . Highway robbery as far as I'm concerned. The local company has no competition and is a "Co-op" non-profit, yet they used to own for a few years a for profit I.T. company....

Anyway, I'm in search of some replacement LEDs to severely lower my lighting cost and wanted some input. So the Cree bulbs (60w) that have been mentioned on TR before and elsewhere seem to be the go to bulb for most. The bulb can be had for anywhere from $7-$10 on Amazon. The other option I've been eying up are Feit bulbs, of which I bought 2 locally to test along side some incandescent to see how they looked, they look better to myself and the wife. These bulbs can be had for around the same cost if not cheaper. I plan to save power with them and obviously when we move in 2 years (to buy a house hopefully), take the bulbs with me leaving the old incandescent or CFLs in their place.

My other thought was to use 40w equivalent LEDs instead of 60w to save slightly more. The difference is going from 9.5w to about 7.5w. The Feit 7.5 (40w equiv) puts out 500 lumen as opposed to about 800 for a 60w equiv. There are also some really nasty dim looking CFLs being used in a few spots in the house that I'm sure a 500 lm bulb would be a huge improvement over.

Cree 60w equiv 9.5w (800lm) - $9 each
http://www.amazon.com/Cree-9-5-Watt-Whi ... uctDetails

Cree 40w equiv 6w (440lm) - $9.666666666 (repeating of course) each
http://www.amazon.com/Cree-6-Watt-White ... merReviews

Feit 40w equiv 7.5w (500lm) - $5.51 each
http://www.amazon.com/Feit-Dimmable-Lig ... pd_cp_hi_2

Feit has 60w equiv but it used 13.5w which just is more than I'd be willing to use considering the Cree ones are so highly rated and use only 9.5w and are only .50 more per bulb. Think it worth using those Feit 40w instead of 60w equivs to save more money on bulbs and power to, especially considering the cost of power here??

By the way, avoid Lights of America brand anything lol. While checking existing lights in my house I found 1 that the landlord put in a fixture that was dead next to a CFL that was probably put there before or the same time. Upon looking at reviews, this company is by far the worst rated brand for LEDs I think possible.
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Re: The switch to LED

Postposted on Thu Aug 07, 2014 6:29 am

Couple of other thoughts...

The difference between 9.5W and 7.5W will make a minuscule difference in the overall power usage. Probably around $2.50/year/bulb, assuming they are left on 24x7 (which I am assuming they are not). So just choose by how much light you need.

The Crees are not rated for use in enclosed fixtures, while the Feits (at least the ones I'm familiar with) are. Since you seem to prefer the Feits anyway, it seems like a no-brainer. I think I'd trust Cree a little more on reliability though, they were one of the pioneers in producing high-intensity white LEDs, and should really know what they are doing. I've had mixed results in the past with Feit's CFLs (their LEDs seem OK so far though).
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Re: The switch to LED

Postposted on Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:49 pm

So what I did was purchase the Cree 60w equiv (6 pack) and the Feit 40w equivs (3 pack). At 500lm for only $5.51 a bulb I'm hoping I can't go wrong. Hell the Feit I liked thus far is only a 4.8w 40w equiv that only puts out 300 lumens.

The thing I notice a lot of calculators don't take into account and it would be hard to is how long certain lights stay on and other get next to no use. They always ask about how many hours a bulb is in use, and its applies that to all bulbs in the formula. Things like laundry rooms and closest obviously are lucky to get 30 minutes of use a day. Perhaps that's part of the reason the packaging for most LEDs claim their lifespan as say 22.8 years based on 3 hours of use a day.

While working at a clients today it blew my mind how many of their lights were on, and high powered incandescent! Being a business I know their rate is closer to .30 a kWh. They also use all of their lights throughout the day, and have almost twice the number of lights as a typical home. Now i'm starting to understand why the government thinks they should force people to use LEDs and get them off of the incandescent.
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Re: The switch to LED

Postposted on Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:29 pm

Welch wrote:While working at a clients today it blew my mind how many of their lights were on, and high powered incandescent! Being a business I know their rate is closer to .30 a kWh. They also use all of their lights throughout the day, and have almost twice the number of lights as a typical home. Now i'm starting to understand why the government thinks they should force people to use LEDs and get them off of the incandescent.

If you're in Alaska, an incandescent bulb merely offsets part of the heating bill.

Since I live in a more temperate climate where incandescent bulbs add to the summer cooling bill, I've been gradually converting the house from a mixture of incandescent and CFL bulbs over to Cree LED bulbs. My one regret is that I didn't buy a truckload of the 60W equivalent units when Home Depot had that promotional firesale back in December.
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Re: The switch to LED

Postposted on Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:43 pm

The Cree soft whites are dimmable and have a 10 year warranty vs the non-dimmable and 2 year warranty for the comparable Feit. I cannot personally tell the difference between Cree soft whites and Incandescents so they are win-win as far as I am concerned. :D
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Re: The switch to LED

Postposted on Wed Aug 13, 2014 11:59 pm

The heating offset is next to nil really. It's an inefficent way to heat something, would be cheaper to have the extra money in pocket for heating fuel. Plus the heat starts near the ceiling so it's never really felt in an otherwise cold house. Also during summer no one really has air conditioning, so that's reason to not want it any hotter in a building by using something cooler like LED.

So here is my preliminary feelings on these bulbs. The Feit 40w equivalent with 500 lumens looks great, the light is so evenly distributed, the size and shape makes it fit things easier than traditional bulbs. The Cree bulbs are slightly larger have a rubber coating on them and are 60 equivalent putting out 800 lumens. The Cree has a very noticeable dark spot on top of them, which I wasn't expecting at all. I'm glad these aren't in fixtures like my ceiling fans where I put the Feit bulbs instead as the dead spot would stick out like a sore thumb. I also noticed one bulb had slight scratches to the soft white glass texture underneath the rubbery coating and something black about the size of a mosquito. Another light had uneven rubber coating near the base of the light and it's mount. None of those "defects" caused issues but it makes me a slight bit worried about the quality of the unit.

So I ordered 2 more 3 packs of the Feit bulbs as they use less power, we're cheaper at about 5.50 a bulb and put out lots of light, had perfectly even light distribution. The Cree bulb though color wise was truly a match to incadescent. While the Feit is also supposed to be a 2700k, there was a slightly noticeable difference in the Feit from an incandscent.

Those are my current findings, I'll update them if I have any failures or other things worth noting.
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Re: The switch to LED

Postposted on Thu Aug 14, 2014 1:24 am

Hmm, interesting about the dark spot on the Cree's-- which exact model (is there a part number? I don't know if B00DLI7TXO is it, or if that's just Amazon's internal reference) did you use?

Also, +1 for any future failure data. My experience with Feit is that their QC is generally best described as lacking... but then my experience is mostly with their CFL's and not their LED's.
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Re: The switch to LED

Postposted on Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:23 am

continuum wrote:Hmm, interesting about the dark spot on the Cree's-- which exact model (is there a part number? I don't know if B00DLI7TXO is it, or if that's just Amazon's internal reference) did you use?

I don't have the part number handy, but they are the ones that Home Depot frequently has on special. I've noticed the dark spot as well, and have been thinking of switching them out for Feits in fixtures where the top of the bulb is visible for exactly this reason.
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Re: The switch to LED

Postposted on Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:05 pm

continuum wrote:Hmm, interesting about the dark spot on the Cree's-- which exact model (is there a part number? I don't know if B00DLI7TXO is it, or if that's just Amazon's internal reference) did you use?

All of the Cree-branded bulbs appear to use a variation of a decagon heatsink structure inside the bulb, with the LEDs arranged in a circular array around it. Here are some tear-downs that show the interior structure and parts layout:

http://www.designingwithleds.com/inside ... lb-family/
http://www.designingwithleds.com/cree-6 ... tear-down/
http://www.designingwithleds.com/cree-l ... nd-review/

The result is that even their floodlight bulb designs have a bit of a dark spot in the middle, although the overall light output is excellent. Some of the competing designs rely on a flat led array a heavily frosted diffuser to scatter the light, and the result is that the bulb acts less like a point-source. Depending on the application, that may or may not matter.
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Re: The switch to LED

Postposted on Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:32 pm

FWIW, the newer Cree "TW series" bulbs are supposed to have better light quality than the plain vanilla Crees that the OP linked to. They do cost a little more though.
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Re: The switch to LED

Postposted on Mon Aug 18, 2014 1:39 pm

I've been reasonably impressed with the Phillips dimmable LED Home Depot sells. I have been using them in architect's-style lamps and they have amazing (1680 lumen) output at max. I noticed, however that one of them likes to hum, but it's likely the dimmer not the bulb.
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Re: The switch to LED

Postposted on Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:03 pm

Ya lighting must cost a bit up in Alaska in the winter when it's dark 18 hrs a day lol

Do you have a forced air furnace? If so, do you let it run continuously to circulate the air? If so a DC ECM motor could save you some cash also, if there is a standard run-of-the-mill PSC motor in there.

I put an emerson ecotech 5532ET in my furnace over a year ago and I think it paid for itself in 6 months. There are others like the evergreen, etc. that might be worth looking into.

http://www.genteqmotors.com/products/ge ... rgreen-im/
http://www.usmotors.com/Our-Products/Ca ... oTech.ashx
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Re: The switch to LED

Postposted on Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:09 pm

I assume these things don't die quite as much as normal bulbs? That's one thing I could definitely live with.
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Re: The switch to LED

Postposted on Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:40 am

I suggest the Cree 60w but it says DAYLIGHT. Cost an extra buck but you'll see a BIG difference. The other 60w has a yellow lettering an is more appropriate in the bedroom so you don't stay awake. I've never had problems with this but others have.
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Re: The switch to LED

Postposted on Fri Aug 22, 2014 3:35 pm

No forced air (heat) in this house. Maybe 3-4% of homes have forced air up here... It's pretty rare and only those who can't afford the right heating system use it. Mainly because of how cold it gets, forced air isn't efficent enough. Baseboard heat is the prefered method as it starts lower, along the walls creating a thermal barrier against the walls. Even though they are insulted out the wazoo some walls can be quite cold to the touch unless they have baseboard heat going.

Yes SavyG, LED are designed to last MUCH longer than incadescent to say the least. The average incadescent is supposed last 1000 hours. It's life heavily effected by on/off cycles, tempature, extreme moisture or any number of other metrics like vibration. Most LED replacement lights are around 30,000 hours and for the most parts effected by any of the above environmental issues. The one thing that will effect LEDs life is exetreme heat. So keep them fairly cool and in an area well ventilated.

I installed 6 more of the Feit 40w equivalents in the house and no issues or DOA bulbs. I found out something Interesting though,l. Lowe's in house brand (name is escaping me) is made by Feit. They have a bulb that looks identical, is a 40w equivalent uses the same 7.5w but says it's only 450 lumens as opposed to the 500 of the feit. I'm curious if this is the same exact bulb slightly toned down so that it doesn't compete with their own bulb. The price here at the brick and mortar store was $9.99 each vs the $5.51 I got the Feit for from Amazon.
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Re: The switch to LED

Postposted on Fri Aug 22, 2014 4:17 pm

My inner cynic says the Lowes bulb is intentionally derated to account for variance in the manufacturing quality of the units, but it could also be that Feit has changed the LED type they use and updated their packaging accordingly, whereas Lowes continues to user older packaging for any number of reasons (not the least of which might be to avoid changing SKUs in their system).
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Re: The switch to LED

Postposted on Sat Aug 23, 2014 10:53 pm

LEDs are binned per-chip by light output at a given power, a lot like CPUs are binned by frequency. The order codes on page 3 of this datasheet are a good example. The Lowe's stuff could be exactly the same design, just using lower-bin LEDs.
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Re: The switch to LED

Postposted on Sun Aug 24, 2014 2:19 pm

22kWh? That's insane, it's literally less than half that here. At that price half the city couldn't afford to use AC's during the triple digit summers we get.

I've already noticed that many LEDs are fooling with the watt equivalent ratings. Many LED bulbs didn't have a high enough Lumen rating to match the given "equivalent" wattage rating, something to watch out for.

I picked up two LED 1600 Lumen bulbs from Lowes, a Slyvania and an UltiTech Pro. The light FOV is pretty drastic between them, one's very similar to an incandescent in light spread while the other is focused as I'd expect from LEDs. Both are good bulbs but would have very different fixture uses, I'm currently using them just to see how long they last in a real light fixture.

Savyg wrote:I assume these things don't die quite as much as normal bulbs? That's one thing I could definitely live with.


I don't remember the exact test, but ConsumerReports bought something around 30 LED and 30 CFL bulbs of various brands, put them all in the same room and left them turned on while they baked in the elevated temps. Every single CFL failed before even one LED bulb did, but unfortunately CR quit testing at that point. Wasted opportunity to test the absurd life expectancy claims unfortunately, because they certainly aren't true. The Texas heat has been killing the LED circuit boards in traffic lights for some time, it's common to see a fourth of the LEDs dark in every few lights.
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Re: The switch to LED

Postposted on Sun Aug 24, 2014 9:45 pm

Yeah and 22 kwh is before taxes or "fuel surcharge" what a crock.

So far so good with both the Cree and Feit bulbs. I'm not going to compare power bills from before to this month as we had mixed led and incadescent lights. The only non led lights now are two T12/34 watt bulbs in the kitchen, and 10 total globe style vanity lights, 2 little low lumen lights for the bathroom fans. The only ones I really want to replace are the vanity as they get used often but can't seem to find a cheap alternative in LED.
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Re: The switch to LED

Postposted on Sun Aug 24, 2014 10:16 pm

Welch wrote:10 total globe style vanity lights...The only ones I really want to replace are the vanity as they get used often but can't seem to find a cheap alternative in LED.

I think you may want these:
http://www.amazon.com/Feit-LED-Dimmable ... it+G25+LED

Local Costco sells this same pack for slightly more ($19.99). I've been contemplating a switch as we have 11 such lamps and four of them (master bath) get used for extended periods of time.
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Re: The switch to LED

Postposted on Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:13 am

ludi wrote:
Welch wrote:10 total globe style vanity lights...The only ones I really want to replace are the vanity as they get used often but can't seem to find a cheap alternative in LED.

I think you may want these:
http://www.amazon.com/Feit-LED-Dimmable ... it+G25+LED

Local Costco sells this same pack for slightly more ($19.99). I've been contemplating a switch as we have 11 such lamps and four of them (master bath) get used for extended periods of time.

Thanks for the link. I was looking for some of those as well. Will have to check out costco. The only downside is they are 3000K and I've resolved to not buy anything less than 4100K (preferably 5000K).
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Re: The switch to LED

Postposted on Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:47 am

Welch wrote:No forced air (heat) in this house. Maybe 3-4% of homes have forced air up here... It's pretty rare and only those who can't afford the right heating system use it. Mainly because of how cold it gets, forced air isn't efficent enough. Baseboard heat is the prefered method as it starts lower, along the walls creating a thermal barrier against the walls. Even though they are insulted out the wazoo some walls can be quite cold to the touch unless they have baseboard heat going.


Not to derail your thread, but not sure I follow what you are trying to say about heating. I'm in Timmins Ontario, and most people here are on forced air natural gas heat, because it is about 1/5 to 1/4 the cost of electric baseboards.

Temperatures are typically -20C(-4F) in the winter here, this past year we had about 6-8 weeks of -30C(-22F) and 2 weeks of -40C (-40F) and my 70,000 btu forced air furnace (92% AFUE) had no issues heating the house (2 story 1800 sq.ft. not including the basement)

If walls are cold to the touch, then something is wrong like no/little/bad insulation. Even at -40C (-40F) here not including any windchill factor, none of my walls are cold to the touch.

edit - electricity here after everything is included runs about 19.8 cents/kW.hr

I figured the preferred method in Alaska wood be a wood stove or forced air Nat. Gas, since I would assume natural gas to be relatively inexpensive there?
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Re: The switch to LED

Postposted on Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:49 pm

Well it's official. I don't like Cree. I suppose it could be a fluke but so far the quality on first impression wasn't great as I noted in my original post. Now I've had my first Cree 60w bulb failure. Let's see if Amazon is willing to send me a replacement bulb when they came in a pack of 6 (individually wrapped for resale)
Image

You can see the lighter spot where it looks like it heated up. Below that spot you'll see a group of black specs, they are some random debris that is encased in the rubber coating on the bulb. There are larger pieces all over the bulb. They didn't affect light output or look so I used it anyway since it wouldn't have caused any issues. It was my first indication that the Cree bulb wasn't up to QC standards imho.

The bulb was used in an in home office that rarely gets used by my wife (once a week maybe for an hour at most).

Really disappointed I'm hoping this one was an off chance as I have 5 more in the house now.
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Re: The switch to LED

Postposted on Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:44 pm

That's unfortunate. The first Cree 60W-equivalent I bought has been used in a desklamp at my office for over a year, typicaly 7-10 hours of uptime every business day. No issues so far, nor have any units I've bought since then shown problems.
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