The advantages of LED lighting are almost legendary. Is it really as cool (spoiler: yes) as they say it? In this material, we will not strain you with the theory of luminous flux, terminology, complex calculations, but we will tell you simply and on your fingers why LED lighting is so popular and how to choose it correctly.
Why is LED lighting so cool?
Why it was worthwhile to come up with something better than “Ilyich’s light bulbs” is understandable. They are dull, and warm, and beat, and shake. And why are LED lamps better than fluorescent “energy-saving” lamps? LED ones are often more expensive, and economical ones like both.
No, even more economical. The brightness and power of the luminous flux, equivalent to the power consumption, breaks records for LED lamps. When compared with an incandescent lamp, on average, LEDs are 10 times more economical. This means that a 100-watt incandescent lamp consumes 100 watts, shines equivalent to 100 watts, and heats up like a small stove. An LED lamp that will shine at about 100 watts will consume only 10 and will practically not heat up.
If we compare with fluorescent lamps, then the difference is about 5 times in the direction of the benefits of LED lamps. That is, an energy-saving device that will emit light equivalent to 100 W will consume 20 W. And LED – still 10. In this material, we calculated in detail the efficiency of LED lamps and compared the costs of LED and CFL, respectively.
The small power of LED lamps has, in addition to material benefits, also a household advantage. Not every lamp or chandelier is able to withstand the high power of lamps – for chandeliers, sconces, table lamps, on average, there is a limitation of 40-60 W per plafond, depending on the base. But an LED lamp that consumes 40 watts will shine like a 400-watt incandescent lamp. Therefore, here you are not limited in your choice: if it is dark for you, you can safely screw in the lamp more powerfully, without fear that your chandelier or lamp will burn out. This will not work with incandescent lamps: it is dark – bear with it.
Durability is another big plus for LED lamps. While you change a dozen incandescent lamps and a few fluorescent ones, the same LED lamp will still serve you faithfully. On average, their service life is from 5 to 10 years. Plus, many manufacturers and specialist retailers warrant any LED product from one to three years, so your bulbs may end up forever. Cost-effectiveness coupled with durability very quickly pays for the high cost of LED lighting.
Reliability and ease of use. Only LED filament bulbs should not be shaken. Otherwise, from awkward drops, shaking, vibration, rise, and fall of the ambient temperature (within the manufacturer’s limits), LED lamps usually do nothing.
You can also add to this about environmental friendliness. For example, mercury is used in fluorescent spiral lamps. It is dangerous to break them, and after failure, they need to be disposed of at special collection points. If you accidentally break an LED lamp, only fragments of the bulb will be dangerous. During operation, it will not explode, as sometimes happens with incandescent lamps. Halogen lamps for spotlights should not be touched with bare hands – they burn out very quickly from this. LED, as you already understood, makes no difference.
Are there any downsides? LED lamps are not very fond of the presence of a dimmer and indicator light in the switches. For a dimmer (dimmer), you need to purchase special dimmable lamps. With indicators, the situation is simpler – modern switches, as a rule, no longer conflict with LED lamps. In older models, you can easily disconnect the indicator. Otherwise, the lamps will begin to flicker, even when turned off, flash and quickly fail.
Any LED comes in three basic color temperatures with a bunch of midtones: warm, neutral white, and cool white. The description is always indicated by marking in degrees Kelvin.
Warm light. An excellent solution for retro motels who are sure that there is nothing better than the cozy light of an incandescent lamp. The light is noticeably yellow. In some cases, it really adds a pleasant comfort and a sense of warmth, in other situations it can distort the shades in the interior.
Suitable: for interiors in warm colors: green, peach, woody, beige, etc. For bedrooms, offices, recreation areas.
Not suitable: for interiors in cold colors – blue, light blue, gray, white, black, lilac, cold pink, red, violet, etc. Do not use it in rooms where neutrality of lighting is important: dressing rooms, bathrooms, workrooms zones.
Neutral white. Clean lighting with virtually no distortion, perfect for anywhere. Neutral white does not affect the interior in any way and adds nothing but light. In most cases, if you are not sure whether a warm or cold lamp will work for you, take a neutral white and you will not go wrong. This is especially an excellent solution for all rooms where accurate “color rendering” of the space is important – where you most often look in the mirror, work, try on clothes, etc.
Cool white. It is also called “operating room light” because of its characteristic bluish glow. Cool white appears to be visually brighter, but this is only an optical effect. May make the room feel less comfortable. It is generally not recommended to put cold lamps in living quarters, leaving them for bathrooms, hallways, closets. But use with caution in the bathroom – an already not very cozy room can become not at all welcoming.
Suitable: for interiors in cold colors – all shades of blue, gray, black, purple, lilac, cold pink. Non-residential premises.
Not suitable: for bedrooms, children’s rooms, interiors in warm colors. With care in bathrooms and living rooms.
How many bulbs to take?
The simplest formula for calculating the illumination, with which you will definitely not have any problems: 20-30 W of specific power per 1 square meter of the room. That is, for a room of 15 m² you need a total of 450 watts of light. What does it mean? If you take, for example, a chandelier with five shades, each of them should give out about 90 watts. That is, we need five 9-watt LED bulbs and they will be bright and good. There is also a more complex calculation scheme based on illumination standards, luminous flux power, errors in the types of lighting devices, ceiling height, the purpose of the room, etc.
Of course, any of the formulas have errors. First of all, individual preferences. Someone likes the room to be flooded with very bright light, someone likes lamp dimness.
The specifics of the premises also matter. For example, in the bedrooms, some lack of light will be quite appropriate, because this is a relaxation room. In the kitchen, the light should be not just normal, but even better with the zoned distribution. But in the bathroom, you can even take over the norm, since there are many “blind spots” that absorb light, and with a lack of illumination, the bathroom looks extremely uncomfortable.
And finally, the most important thing is the logic of space. You must understand that no chandelier in the amount of one piece is able to qualitatively illuminate a room of 25-30 squares or more or a long corridor. The light rays of the lamps simply do not reach in all directions. And even if you screw in the most powerful lamps you find, you will end up with a torture room rather than a bright and comfortable room, because the light of this chandelier will mercilessly hit your eyes. What to do in this case? Fortunately, not only chandeliers are united. See, for example, how the zonal lighting of a spacious room is distributed in the photo below.
Additional lighting fixtures help illuminate all areas of the room evenly and distribute the light depending on the purpose. Some types – for example, panels or spotlights – can also act as the main light in certain cases.
There are a variety of shapes, power, and color temperature: round, square, elongated “tubes”, with a matte diffuser and without, built-in and overhead. The degree of scattering depends on the case: transparent glasses dissipate poorly, beat pointwise, matte ones dissipate better. But in any case, the lightbar is a concentrated beam of light with low dispersion.
In a living room under such panels, it may not be very convenient – a harsh, hard light will constantly hit your eyes, most likely of quite impressive power. Led panels and overhead lights are good for technical rooms: bathroom, hallway, pantry, dressing room, offices, and public places, etc. Great for additional illumination of work areas.
The disadvantage of any ready-made panels and lamps is that when they burn out, you will either have to re-solder the burned-out diodes on your own or buy a completely new lamp. If the model is an invoice – no problem, but with built-in ones, you will have to select according to the format of the slotted socket.
These babies are good as a support for basic lighting in living rooms. For example, if you have a large living room and one chandelier is not enough, put dots around the perimeter and it will be light and bright. And with separate control, it is also convenient to adjust the amount of light according to your mood. Dots often act as the main light in small rooms – bathrooms, hallways. It is difficult to completely illuminate a large room with dots, therefore, they are calculated on average one lamp per square meter. With LED bulbs, they can shine quite brightly, equivalent to 90W incandescent, the rays along the ceiling will be clear and sparkling, unlike halogen bulbs, which give a blurry and dim glow.
LED Strip Light
This little thing can do a lot and more. From lighting the steps on the stairs to playing the role of a garland on the Christmas tree. Contour lighting of the floor, ceiling, arches, additional highlighting of display and exhibition areas, workplaces: shelves, stands, kitchen sets, etc. LED strip varies in power, color temperature, and capabilities. Colored RGB tapes on the control panel generally play with several colors, they can sparkle, blink – beauty, and that’s all. There are more budget tapes with open diodes, and there are tapes in silicone – it protects the diodes from damage, and softens the glow, adding light scattering. There are tapes with protection against moisture, open splashes, dust.
Floodlights are available for outdoor and indoor use. With street people, everything is clear – a powerful long-range “flashlight” that will help you not to drown in the darkness of the night in your local area or production. It’s more interesting with internal ones. They are usually used either in stores as overhead lighting for showcases and stands, or in rooms with high ceilings, where the range of conventional lamps will not suffice. Most often, the floodlights are swivel and mounted up to several pieces on the rail – you can change their location. Use extreme caution in residential areas with low ceilings or small squares. These babies will be given such concentrated and directional light that you are unlikely to be comfortable under it.