Although LED lighting is more energy efficient and longer lasting than any other lighting technology, upgrading can cause some issues. But, don't let that deter you. We'll go over some common and avoidable mistakes, so you'll know what to look for in upgrading your current lighting to LED technology.
Light distribution is different, and LEDs are directional due to the arrangement of the diodes, so you'll need to pay attention to specifications like beam angle and light distribution type. Area lighting or wall packs benefit more than other fixtures when it comes to the directional nature of LEDs. The HID bulbs typically used in area light fixtures and wall packs are omnidirectional, so much of the light released gets lost inside the fixture. The light lost to "Lumen bounce" is still counted on the bulb's original Lumen rating. However, because of the way LEDs are constructed, all of the light is released outward to where you need it the most. Although the Lumen ratings of similar fixtures may seem very different on paper, the LED fixture will still provide a similarly bright light.
Make sure to compare the Lumens of your current bulb with the new LED replacement. Comparing the wattage to the LED's wattage equivalent should be just the start. Comparing the Lumen output as well will give you a better idea of how bright an LED light bulb or fixture will be.
The color appearance of the light released from a fixture or bulb is measured in Kelvin. If you want to match the color light you currently have when upgrading, knowing the LED's Kelvin color temperature is important. Matching the color temperature of fluorescent tubes is easy since most will have the color temperature stamped on the side of the tube along with the part number. However, incandescent and halogen bulbs typically don’t have their Kelvin color listed because all incandescent bulbs are around 2400-2700 Kelvin, and all halogen bulbs are around 3000-3200 Kelvin. When purchasing LED lighting, make sure you are within these ranges if you want to keep the same appearance.
Not all dimmer switches will work with LED lights. If you're planning on using dimmable LEDs, you will need a compatible LED dimmer switch .
Finally, the color rendering index, or CRI, of a light indicates how accurately it displays color compared to the midday sun. The higher the CRI rating, the more accurate the color. Incandescent and halogens bulbs have a CRI of 100, and while LEDs can't quite match that, they are available CRIs in the 90s.
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