Will you save money with LED's?
Part of creating a sustainable homestead is reducing your energy costs. It makes it cheaper to use solar panels (because you will need a smaller system) and you can use the extra money that would be spent on your energy bill on more gardening supplies! Seriously though, why spend money on something that is not “fun”? My energy bill has never made it onto the “fun to pay” list so I would prefer to get it as low as possible.
One of the ways you can save money on your electric bill is by using LED light bulbs. Right now LED bulbs are quite a bit more expensive than incandescent (which are soon to be phased out) or CFL, but when you look at the expected lifespan they usually come out cheaper or the same as the CFL's. In the meantime, you can save a bundle on your electricity. There are ways to get LED bulbs cheaper (look to the bottom of the post for those tips).
On average incandescent light bulbs are rated for 1200 hours of use, CFL's are rated for 8000 hours of use, and LED's are rated for 50000 hours of use, so during the lifespan of 1 LED bulb you will need to buy 6 CFL bulbs or 42 Incandescent bulbs.
I am going to do two energy cost analysis so you can see the difference between a small and large room. I figured 5 hours of use each day and my electricity rate is $0.121.
The formula for figuring out your electric cost:
- (Watts) * (hours used each day) * (electricity rate) /1000
Small Room Example – Bathroom, 4 bulbs above the sink/vanity, 15 watts each
- Incandescent – four 15 watt incandescent bulbs will use 60 watts. The bulbs in this one room will cost $1.10/month to use and will need replaced every 8 months.
- CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light) – four 15 watt equivalent CFL bulbs will use 13 watt. The bulbs in this one room will cost $0.24/month to use and will need replaced every 4 years 5 months.
- LED – four 15 watt equivalent LED bulbs will use 6 watts. The bulbs in this one room will cost $0.11/month to use and will need replaced every 27 years 5 months.
Large Room Example – Kitchen, 6 bulbs in recessed lighting, 60 watts each
- Halogen – six 60 watt halogen bulbs will use 360 watts. The bulbs in this one room will cost $6.62/month to use and will need replaced every 8 months.
- CFL (Compact Florescent Light) – six 60 watt equivalent CFL bulbs will use 78 watts. The bulbs in this one room will cost $1.43/month to use and will need replaced every 4 years 5 months.
- LED – six 60 watt equivalent LED bulbs will use 36 watts. The bulbs in this one room will cost $0.66/month to use and will need replaced every 27 years 5 months.
Whole House Light Bulb Cost
As you can see, the savings can add up. I did this analysis on 10 of the bulbs in my house, but, I have 40 bulbs in my home. Assuming the usage in my house is about the same as these, electricity costs me:
- Incandescent $30.88/month for the lights in the whole house
- CFL $6.68/month for the lights in the whole house
- LED $3.08/month for the lights in the whole house
I have switched over those two rooms and 4 of the bulbs in the master bedroom. For me, the benefits are good enough to purchase the LED bulbs in the future, but I will wait until my CFL bulbs burn out. That should mean that I should be using all LED bulbs in the next 5 years or so.
Not having to replace them as often is another huge benefit to LED bulbs. Especially in recessed lighting and ceiling fans. I do not mind changing a bulb in a lamp, but getting out a ladder to change out a light bulb is a pain. Only having to do that every 27 years is a pretty big plus in my book.
Saving Money when Purchasing LED Bulbs
Unfortunately LED bulbs can be expensive. The lifespan justifies them being 42 times more expensive than incandescent or 6 times more expensive than CFL bulbs, but it can still seem like a lot to spend on a light bulb. There are a few ways you can save when purchasing LED lights:
- Always watch for sales at your local hardware stores and take advantage of them! Sometimes they run energy rebates and that is a good time to pick up a few.
- I earned my 15 watt equivalent bulbs through Swagbucks (8 of them!) so they cost nothing. They do not currently have them as a prize, but they might always bring that prize back or you can redeem your bucks for an Amazon certificate and buy your bulbs using your free Amazon gift cards.
- Amazon has a lot of options that are cheaper. I bought my kitchen bulbs for $8.99 each through Amazon (which isn't much more than the cost of the halogen). You can see the ones I bought here. I am very happy with the color and light they provide. I actually bought 50 watt equivalent instead of the 60 watt halogen and there is still plenty of light.
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