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Important Questions to Ask about LED Lighting

As traditional incandescent lighting sources begin to be phased out by law, advances in technology and increased consumer awareness of LED lighting has made it a more popular choice for lighting our homes and businesses.  More and more products enter the marketplace every few months as the cost of this technology continues to drop, but consumers should be aware that not all LED’s are created alike, according to Tyson Neal, co-owner and manager of Legend Lighting in North Austin.

“The benefits of LED are hard to ignore.  They can last up to 50 times longer than old fashioned incandescent light bulbs, use 85% less electricity, are more durable, smaller, and have a significantly smaller environmental impact,” Neal said.

LED’s, or Light Emitting Diodes, are solid-state semiconductor chips that illuminate when electricity passes through them.  Think of a computer chip that literally glows.  LED light fixtures have LED modules incorporated into their design, and are already common in such lighting applications as landscape lighting, under-cabinet lighting, track lighting, and even pendants and chandeliers.

When shopping for LED lighting, there are a few things you should keep in mind, Neal said.  “You want to make sure the LED fixtures or light source has a consistent color temperature, which is measured in degrees Kelvin,” Neal said.  Color temperature measures how “warm” or “cool” the light appears.

“LED manufactures must literally test and sort all the chips to ensure consistent color temperatures.  The more rigorous the sorting process—called “binning”—the  more expensive the fixture, but also the color of the light will be more consistent from fixture to fixture,” Neal explained.  “This is especially important if you will have multiple fixtures in close proximity in your home, such as recessed lighting or under cabinet lighting.  You don’t want some to appear a soft yellow and others to appear a cold blue,” Neal added.

The warmer the color temperature, the closer the light will appear to a traditional incandescent light bulb.  At Legend Lighting consumers can compare LED, incandescent, and compact fluorescent lighting in a recessed lighting lab to see the differences in color temperature first hand.  “It’s important to know that LED lighting will not always directly mimic more traditional light sources.  Seeing is believing, which is why we encourage anyone considering these products to see examples in our showroom,” Neal said.

Another important consideration is the warranty.  Neal explains that because LED technology is still relatively new, it’s important to look for a brand that offers a robust warranty on the product.  “You must remember that the warranty is not the same as the rated lifetime.  Fixtures may be designed to last 50,000 hours, but you might be left high and dry if the warranty is only one year.”

Legend Lighting carries many LED products that have five year warranties, Neal said.  One of their premier brands, WAC Lighting, not only offers a five year warranty, but also designs many of its fixtures with replaceable LED modules, which allows you to replace just the LED’s rather than the entire fixture should they malfunction.

Finally, Neal encourages shoppers to be aware that the ability to use dimming devices on LED fixtures is not necessarily the same as with older incandescent fixtures.  “Pay attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations for compatible dimming switches.  For example, most of WAC Lighting’s LED products are dimmable using electronic low voltage dimmers, but other manufacturers may recommend different dimmers for their products,” Neal said.  Many LED products are not dimmable at all, and those that are dimmable may only be so down to about 5% due to minimum electrical load requirements of the actual dimmer.

To learn more about LED lighting products, contact Tyson Neal or any lighting specialist at Legend Lighting, (512) 251-0000, or visit the Legend Lighting showroom at 15342 North Interstate 35, Austin, Texas 78728.

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Traditional & Contemporary Lighting & Ceiling Fans | Custom Lighting Designs | Energy Efficient Solutions | Landscape Lighting
Architectural Downlighting | Cabinet Lighting | Turn-key Installation Services | Table & Floor Lamps | Home Décor | Light Bulbs