3 Things to Consider when Upgrading to LED Bulbs

LED bulbs can be a great way to save energy and money on your monthly power bills. However, if you’re like most home owners, you know that new home technology usually comes with a catch or two.


I recently dove into the world of LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) with our new home. We had been living in a smaller apartment with only a few ceiling lights and lamps. This new place was different. The former owners were apparently afraid of the dark – the kitchen alone has 7 ceiling can-style lights and every other room had several as well.

I no longer have an excuse for why I cut my fingers when I cook…it’s like an operating room in there.

When we got our first month’s energy bill, I was stunned. It was nearly $100 more than at our old place.

On top of that, the former owners left us one of those ceiling bulb-swapping wands, because “you’ll be changing a lot of bulbs!” We were looking down the barrel at spending up to $100/month, just in lighting. I had to do something, and I figured this was as good of a time as any to check out LED bulbs. But, before making the purchase (read, “investment” – LEDs are notoriously more expensive than traditional incandescent bulbs), there were a few things that John Hucker had shared with me.

Namely, 3 important considerations about purchasing and installing LED lightbulbs in my home.


Standard incandescent lighting is at about 2700K (Kelvin) color temperature – LED lighting caries from 2700K to 5000K – the higher the number, the brighter and harsher the light – with a more blue color (colder). The cooler the light, the more like it is that your home take on the lighting and feel of a hospital or department store. Some LED bulbs sit very close to the warmer 2700K range, but you will still notice that they are a little more “harsh” than standard bulbs. Some companies have released color-changing “smart-bulbs” that you can control from your phone or tablet. The price per bulb of that variety is about what you would expect, but they can really set a great mood in your home.


If your existing lights are on dimmers, you may need to upgrade your dimmers to be LED compatible. If you do not, the LED’s may not work properly. As with all electrical systems, incorrect switches or wiring could increase the fire risk in your home. If you live in Northeast Illinois or Southeast Wisconsin, we recommend getting your dimmer switches inspected by our team first. In the long run, having a professional electrician inspect your home’s lighting will save you a lot of money and hassle. In my case, the bulbs that came with the home were the wrong kind to be on a dimming switch anyway. Switching to LEDs actually made my home safer.


This is the part that makes most people want a dimmer switch for their LED bulbs. The brightness of LED bulbs are rated in lumens, and usually, they have an approximate incandescent value in watts listed on the bulb pack so that you can compare. That being said, LED lighting can be a harsher light and is more focused. The light coming from the diodes is not distributed the same way as a traditional bulb. Many manufacturers have found ways around this issue, but your perception will still be that the LED bulb is much brighter than the bulbs it replaced. Again, they’re that bright, despite typically only using 10% of the power that traditional bulbs use.

Ultimately, when installed properly, LED bulbs are a great investment for your home and will save you hundreds of dollars over the years.

I know you are wondering, “Ok, so you switched. How much did it save you?”

Here is how the math worked out:

  • Power bill from month before LED bulbs: $163
  • Cost of new LED bulbs: $162 <projected to last several years, instead of months
  • Power bill from month after LED bulbs installed: $117 < That is with the air conditioner working harder!

That’s a savings of around $45 per month.

So, for my home, I am looking at having the cost of my LED bulbs recouped after only three and a half months. From that point on, it’s an extra five Benjamins in my pocket every year.

The main thing to remember is that LED bulbs are a great choice if your home is ready for them.