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Thread: Residential LED lighting

  1. #1
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    Default Residential LED lighting

    In our new house, I would like to make the switch to entirely LED lighting. I know it's expensive, but if the bulbs are bought right from new, one can just consider the high bulb cost as part of the fixture cost. In theory, these bulbs should last 5-20 years, so they almost become a replacement cost like a new appliance, rather than a consumable.

    I am looking for opinions/reviews on the high end LED bulbs, likely not the ones you would buy at the big box stores. Specifically the high CRI bulbs. Any one brand seem better than others? Can one use any LED in a recessed light fixture or does it have to be a bulb specifically designed for recessed applications? Is there somewhere local where one can buy these high CRI bulbs? I would like to purchase a few brands/types and try out to see the light quality/colour/spread, etc. I have no problem paying $25-40/bulb as long as it lasts a long time and has excellent light quality. The colour temperature (3000K or warmish white) is only a small component of the light quality.

    Is there a bulb type (like PAR30 or PAR40, GU10) that has the best selection in high end LED bulbs?

    It seems that the mass market residential LED bulbs still suffer from poor quality, a bit of flickering, large disparities in light quality between manufacturer and even bulb to bulb from the same manufacturer. However, the commercial/retail LED bulbs seem to be a generation ahead in terms of quality (with the associated cost).

  2. #2

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    http://www.connect2edmonton.ca/forum...light=phillips

    Its hard to search LED, so I searched phillips lol.

  3. #3

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    I know these are not high end LEDs.. but i like the Ikea brand LED bulbs. relatively cheap and decent lighting. ive been slowly replacing my outside/storage room lights with them over the last year. ( i like white/clear light for indoors and Ikea doesn't carry those type yet that ive seen)

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    For outside, I'm not as concerned. A simple warm white LED bulb will probably do. But inside, it's got to be nearly identical to halogen in terms of light colour, colour rendition, spread, specularity, and general feel. I'm a photographer, so colour and quality of light is very important, and once you know about it, it's impossible to neglect.

  5. #5

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    If you are really picky about your colour quality to that point, you're gonna have a bad time with most LEDs, as regardless of their colour temperature they're (generally) not full-spectrum bulbs (outside of specialized applications like grow & aquarium lighting)
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    The Phillips ones produce 830 lumens and are dimmable (I do notice some flickering though)
    http://www.newscenter.philips.com/us...d#.VCHZCWOjRpt

    I do have a GU10 potlight and I'm using a Phillips LED "bulb" in it, it is dimmer than the old halogen but is acceptable.

  7. #7

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    Tech Report seems to prefer Cree bulbs. You can get them in various lumen ratings and soft and daylight variants From Home Depot. They're not rated for enclosed fixtures; any LED bulb not rated for an enclosed fixture will eventually cook itself, severely shortening the bulb life span and negating your investment, so be careful.

    You may want to hold of, though, as a startup called Finally Bulbs is releasing yet another technology, called acandescent bulbs, a miniaturized induction bulb, that is supposed to be released some time this fall, as referenced in the above Tech Report article. The spin is they are as efficient as LEDs while being less expensive and having a form factor almost identical to an incandescent. We'll see if this is true.
    Last edited by Ustauk; 23-09-2014 at 04:25 PM.

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    ^hmmm, I'm thinking that wouldn't last as long as an LED though (although I've had a few LED's get flicker problems). The warm light sounds nice though.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    ^hmmm, I'm thinking that wouldn't last as long as an LED though (although I've had a few LED's get flicker problems). The warm light sounds nice though.
    According to their FAQ, the bulbs will be rated for 15,000 hours. The Cree bulbs are rated for 25,000 hours. Given the Acandescent bulbs are probably going to be about half the price, it should balance out. The Acandesbent bulbs are also rated for enclosed fixture use, which gives them a further advantage over many LED bulbs.

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    When I talk about high CRI bulbs, I'm talking above 94 or 95. There are certainly some LED's that meet that spec, even in the tough red category.

  11. #11

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    I've tried the 93-rated Cree bulbs. They'd do fine for most residential uses but I didn't dig 'em thanks to their 2700k temp.
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    Been using Cree bulbs from Home Depot for a while.. I just had one die on me after 10 months of use. Other bulbs have been present for over 18 months.. Other than the one in my office that died, I haven't had any issues with these CREE bulbs.

    I initially bought a pair of these to use over the kitchen island because CFLs were burning out from the vibration from the second floor hallway above the kitchen. I bought into these when they were getting really good reviews in the states because I wanted something dimmable and had a long lifetime.

    They're available in 5000k and 2700k temps.

  13. #13

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    It's pretty obvious, if you buy online one could save a pile of money on a whole home replacement. My neighbour made the switch over a 1.5 year ago and sings praises, I believe he got his bulbs from china payed 25% the cost.

  14. #14

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    We tried the Cree bulbs, both of them failed within a year and the spectrum was not appealing at least for our home decor/design.

    Invented by Tesla induction is the way to go, it's been proven in commercial applications for decades, nice to see a start-up adaptation for residential, I hope they do well and hope to purchase as few to try out.

    The city ought to have installed induction for the street lamps: far easier conversion, almost double the lifespan, very easy to swap the tubes, much better spectrum, almost double the lumens and lumens per watt, higher lux too, not as power hungry (LED's become quite inefficient with warmer temperatures), lower failure rate too (chips burning-up long before the diodes).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Legacy View Post
    Been using Cree bulbs from Home Depot for a while..
    They're available in 5000k and 2700k temps.
    In other words, incandescent orange and moonlight blue. Something in the middle would be nice - I have mostly 3000K and 4100K CFLs in my house.

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    The best LED bulb I've found for dimmers is just the regular Philips 60w replacement bulb. Not their slim style one, just the "normal bulb" shaped one that I think is also their cheapest. It works perfectly with all the dimmers in our house, with no buzzing or flickering like some bulbs I tried did.

    One thing to note if a high CRI is important to you, is often the high CRI bulbs use more energy. Their lumen / watt rating will be a fair amount lower; just something to keep in mind. There's no real direct link I can give you, but CNET does some great reviews of residential LED bulbs on youtube. (Just search CNET LED bulb). Although they're an American site, most of the brands and bulbs they review can be found here.

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    I'd be looking for the PAR or BR style of bulb, not the plain jane style, well maybe a few.

    Earthled seems to have the best selection of brands and bulbs.
    http://www.earthled.com/
    They even have those antique Edison style bulbs in full LED.

    The acandescents sound interesting, but I imagine it will be 5 year before they're readily available in the shapes and sizes I'm looking for.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Wilson View Post
    We tried the Cree bulbs, both of them failed within a year and the spectrum was not appealing at least for our home decor/design.

    Invented by Tesla induction is the way to go, it's been proven in commercial applications for decades, nice to see a start-up adaptation for residential, I hope they do well and hope to purchase as few to try out.

    The city ought to have installed induction for the street lamps: far easier conversion, almost double the lifespan, very easy to swap the tubes, much better spectrum, almost double the lumens and lumens per watt, higher lux too, not as power hungry (LED's become quite inefficient with warmer temperatures), lower failure rate too (chips burning-up long before the diodes).
    And the early failure of LED or CF bulbs represent a huge capital loss and relatively massive environmental impact compared to the cheap environmentally minimalist (near zero materials footprint) incandescent bulbs.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    And the early failure of LED or CF bulbs represent a huge capital loss and relatively massive environmental impact compared to the cheap environmentally minimalist (near zero materials footprint) incandescent bulbs.
    That's for sure, I've no problems with incandescent in the home especially when our furnaces and fireplaces are running 9 months of the year, although the heat is minimal it's certainly not a waste indoors.

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    Electricity costs 4 times as much as natural gas, give or take. And just about any semi modern furnace is going to be significant more efficient than a power plant, not to mention that most of our power comes from coal.

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    ^^^ Depends how early. Even if a 10W LED only lasts for 1000 hours (1/25 of rated lifetime, about 8 months at 4 h a day), it will still have used 50 kW-h less the equivalent 60 W incandescent. That's worth about $7, and prevents the emission of about 50 kg of CO2 and about 1 mg of mercury from a powerplant.

    ^ Exactly. Heating with electricity in Alberta makes neither financial nor environmental sense.

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    Electricity costs 4 times as much as natural gas, give or take. And just about any semi modern furnace is going to be significant more efficient than a power plant, not to mention that most of our power comes from coal.
    Without doubt a gas-fired furnace is more efficient, the heat from incandescent is tertiary.

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Wilson View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    Electricity costs 4 times as much as natural gas, give or take. And just about any semi modern furnace is going to be significant more efficient than a power plant, not to mention that most of our power comes from coal.
    Without doubt a gas-fired furnace is more efficient, the heat from incandescent is tertiary.
    When I'm feeling cool and turn up the heat, I'm pretty much heating up 10 to 15 times the space I'm usually occupying.

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    Electricity costs 4 times as much as natural gas, give or take. And just about any semi modern furnace is going to be significant more efficient than a power plant, not to mention that most of our power comes from coal.
    ... Really? i think its about 30% more.. if you don't include the less efficiency of a furnace and forced air. ive even thinking about cutting gas off completely due to all the administration charges i get and going straight to electric heating.

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    ^ Over the last few years, the RRO electricity cost has varied between about $0.10 and $0.15 / kW-h, including variable distribution and transmission charges but not including any fixed charges. For natural gas, the corresponding range has been about $4 to $7 / GJ, with a brief excursion to nearly $11 last March. 1 kW = 1 kJ/s, so a kW-h = 3600 kJ, or 3.6 MJ, or 0.0036 GJ. The electricity price range per GJ is thus about $28 to $42.

    I use approximately 160 GJ of gas a year for space and water heating, cooking and drying clothes, costing about $900 at the average price of about $5.50 / GJ. My furnace uses most of that (I estimate about 120 GJ) at an efficiency of 94%, so I am sending ~7 GJ out the vent pipe. My water heater uses most of the rest (~25 GJ) at an efficiency of ~60%, so there goes another 10 GJ.
    Replacing my gas consumption with 140 GJ of electricity would cost over $4900 at average prices. Using a ground source heat pump for space and water heating would cut the 125 GJ heating load to about 50 GJ and total extra electricity demand to 65 GJ, but that would still cost $2300.

    The fixed charges for natural gas are atrocious (close to $400 / year), but unless you have a very well insulated house you are still saving money by using gas for heating. Even using the maximum price for gas and the minimum price for electricity I barely get to breakeven on energy costs, and the $400 a year savings from disconnecting the gas service are not going to pay for a ground source heat pump before the end of its service life.

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    Time for the Devils advocate... Here, our electricity is quite environmentally friendly. We haven't flooded many highly sensitive, biologically rich ecosystems to generate hydroelectricity, instead drilling small holes in the ground for gas or strip mining coal, thus avoiding the rich sensitive valley ecosystems.

    Our furnaces run on the same clean gas coming out of little holes in the ground that many of our electric plants run on. So switching to all electric adds some combustion efficiencies while subtracting losses from by way of line losses. Then there's the overhead issues (air pollution)

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    ^ The best combined cycle gas powerplants achieve a thermal efficiency of about 60%, so you need to burn 166 GJ worth of gas to generate 100 GJ of electricity. Add in 5% transmission losses and you are up to 175 GJ. A minimum-standard 90% furnace only requires 111 GJ worth of gas to deliver 100 GJ of heat, so electric resistance heating (including inefficient light bulbs) is still an environmental as well as an economic loser.

    The ground source heat pump that gives you 250 GJ of heat from that 100 GJ of electricity does cut total gas consumption by about 1/3 compared to burning it in a furnace, but not all of our electricity is generated with 60% efficiency. The gas plants that are used for short periods to meet peak demand have efficiencies closer to 45%, and the majority of Alberta's electricity comes from coal plants which are also only about 45% efficient. With the lower efficiency, that 100 GJ of delivered electricity now requires burning 230 GJ worth of fossil fuel, and if that fuel is coal the CO2 emissions equivalent to about 400 GJ worth of gas.

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    Our coal around here does not have a great BTU content. I hope future generating plants will come using biomass industrial hemp pellets, low ash content, and similar BTU's to wood.

  29. #29

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    Had another Cree LED bulb failure.. their advertised life time may be great if their electronics stood up to that.

    Disappointed.. probably won't be buying any more.

  30. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Legacy View Post
    Had another Cree LED bulb failure.. their advertised life time may be great if their electronics stood up to that.

    Disappointed.. probably won't be buying any more.
    Cree are supposedly the best around (robust chips and proper cooling) we had three, two failed, the third is still working. Phillips are total garbage in my books didn't even last two months before it failed, likely the chip again.

  31. #31

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    ^its funny, when LEDs came out they were supposed to last much longer, but I have also had quite a few LED spotlights fail, basically, they started flickering after 6 months or so. Not sure if it's a case of a few bad lights in the batch, or if fundamentally LEDs aren't as reliable as claimed.

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    LED`s have come a long way but they are still not nearly as reliable as manufacturers claim

    Most of the time it`s the heat. Manufacturers are building them smaller with smaller heat sinks. And people aren`t using them in the right applications. A lot of the retrofit lamps for potlights, for example, will fail prematurely as they can`t vent properly in a recessed fixture.
    Over promise and under deliver. It’s the most Edmonton thing you can do.

  33. #33

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    I just hope that they don't ban the sale of incandescent bulbs like they did in Ontario. They still have their purpose and are far mor economical than LED manufacturers claim depending on the use.
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  34. #34

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    It's not Ontario, it's federal.

    Why is the Government of Canada phasing out traditional incandescent light bulbs?

    The Government of Canada is introducing standards to improve the efficiency of typical residential light bulbs being sold in Canada. Improving energy efficiency reduces the amount of energy used and thus reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

    http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/regula...andards/7281#a

  35. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by kkozoriz View Post
    It's not Ontario, it's federal.

    Why is the Government of Canada phasing out traditional incandescent light bulbs?

    The Government of Canada is introducing standards to improve the efficiency of typical residential light bulbs being sold in Canada. Improving energy efficiency reduces the amount of energy used and thus reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

    http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/regula...andards/7281#a
    I guess long term greenhouse gas emissions trump all the other immediate pollutants and environmental destruction that likely occurs in mining and manufacturing the material that go into CFs and LEDs. Then any early failure puts that material into landfills and causes the same amount to be mined again for its replacement.

    It used to be called digging ditches and filling them in again.

    Then there's the matter of the upfront capital allocation, capital that won't be used elsewhere.
    Last edited by KC; 30-11-2014 at 05:27 PM.

  36. #36

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    Lighting corporations would rather sell you a bulb for $19.99 rather than $0.99

    They are not the ones who have to pay for the safe disposal of the hazardous materials used in CFL's and LED's.

    The Dark Side of LED Lightbulbs
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...bulb-concerns/

    http://greenopedia.com/article/how-r...se-light-bulbs
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  37. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmonton PRT View Post
    Lighting corporations would rather sell you a bulb for $19.99 rather than $0.99

    They are not the ones who have to pay for the safe disposal of the hazardous materials used in CFL's and LED's.

    The Dark Side of LED Lightbulbs
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...bulb-concerns/

    http://greenopedia.com/article/how-r...se-light-bulbs
    Just on weight alone, the newest lightest LEDs weigh about 330% more than the old incandescent bulbs. So are the air pollution benefits outweighing the issue of mining 3X more materials. Maybe mining far, far more resources, since some of the circuit board materials might be trace elements.

    Note: That Scientific American article is really weird. The health risks would be at the mine sites, their local communities and in the LED manufacturing plants. I don't know how this compares with incandescents and their composition. The use of lead should be worrying no matter where it is used but not so much to end users of LEDs. Read on to the comment section for a more intelligent discussion.
    Last edited by KC; 30-11-2014 at 08:45 PM.

  38. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmonton PRT View Post
    I just hope that they don't ban the sale of incandescent bulbs like they did in Ontario. They still have their purpose and are far mor economical than LED manufacturers claim depending on the use.
    Super-incandescents are just around the corner and the cost would not be huge, unlike LED. Based on our LED (failure) experiment we'll be using incandescents for awhile.

    http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/...fficient/?_r=0

  39. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Wilson View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Edmonton PRT View Post
    I just hope that they don't ban the sale of incandescent bulbs like they did in Ontario. They still have their purpose and are far mor economical than LED manufacturers claim depending on the use.
    Super-incandescents are just around the corner and the cost would not be huge, unlike LED. Based on our LED (failure) experiment we'll be using incandescents for awhile.

    http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/...fficient/?_r=0
    Excellent. ...but that article dates back to 2009.

    I put 12 CFs in my garage, so usage is minimal, yet a large proportion of them have failed well short of any reasonable expected lifespan.

    The environmentalist that pushed for the adoption of CFs should be hanging their heads in shame at the environment damage they've done.
    Last edited by KC; 01-12-2014 at 09:11 AM.

  40. #40

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    From a quick google search...
    Final results of a three-part Energy Department-funded study reveal the most comprehensive comparison to date. The study – which evaluated not only the use but also the manufacturing, transport, and disposal of LED, CFL, and incandescent lamps throughout each product lifecycle – found that LEDs have less negative environmental impacts than incandescent bulbs and a slight edge over CFLs.
    http://energy.gov/eere/articles/stud...s-greater-cfls

  41. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    Excellent. ...but that article dates back to 2009.

    I put 12 CFs in my garage, so usage is minimal, yet a large proportion of them have failed well short of any reasonable expected lifespan.

    The environmentalist that pushed for the adoption of CFs should be hanging their heads in shame at the environment damage they've done.
    Bear in mind this was at the university level in 2009 which is often a decade or more until on-the-shelf, or maybe never. We had tried a few CF's in our quonset one of them damn near set the place on fire, good thing I was working in there at the time. We removed the remaining.

  42. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    The environmentalist that pushed for the adoption of CFs should be hanging their heads in shame at the environment damage they've done.
    My experience with failures so far is that LED's aren't much better, maybe they won't cause a fire, but many of them, far more than with incandescent, will fail. And it sucks when they do (as cost so much more).

  43. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by lat View Post
    From a quick google search...
    Final results of a three-part Energy Department-funded study reveal the most comprehensive comparison to date. The study – which evaluated not only the use but also the manufacturing, transport, and disposal of LED, CFL, and incandescent lamps throughout each product lifecycle – found that LEDs have less negative environmental impacts than incandescent bulbs and a slight edge over CFLs.
    http://energy.gov/eere/articles/stud...s-greater-cfls
    Very interesting. Thanks for digging that up. The quote below makes me wonder about the value giving to each impact but nonetheless, very comprehensive. I still wonder about the mining impacts but maybe they are unavoidable since many of the materials are going to be required in other electronics. The premature failure issue though is a big one that probably wasn't addressed.


    "LEDs use less energy than CFLS, which is a primary factor in determining the overall environmental impact."
    Last edited by KC; 01-12-2014 at 05:44 PM.

  44. #44

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    It's Lights Out For LED Startup Switch
    http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/techn...tch/ar-BBggpbc

  45. #45

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    This guy is creating some very interesting short videos on LEDs. I'm finding them quite fascinating actually!

    Try watching a couple...

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vbt2ojkXPuo

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NjKgPLeJ79Q
    Last edited by KC; 08-01-2016 at 11:14 AM.

  46. #46

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    These CREE bulbs from Home Depot are failing too fast for my liking...

  47. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Legacy View Post
    These CREE bulbs from Home Depot are failing too fast for my liking...
    I'd have thought that Cree would be the best. What's the warranty period on them? Any problems when you return them!


    Those videos above sure lowered my opinion on the no name wafer style bulbs and units eBay is selling.

  48. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by Legacy View Post
    These CREE bulbs from Home Depot are failing too fast for my liking...
    Are you using them in enclosed fixtures? I recall the CREE ones not being rated for enclosed fixtures, as the lack of heat dissipation can fry the circuits on the bulb.

  49. #49

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    I just had some more LEDs fail on me in kitchen (spotlights). I've decided, despite the supposed environmental benefits, its not worth the premium for the lights that just start flickering after a couple of years. Very annoying technology.

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    Well, we're going to have LED everywhere. I think there is a big difference in reliability of bulbs when comparing brand-new purpose built LED trims and integrated lights vs retrofit or putting LED bulbs in an ex-incandescent. I did find a pot light trim with integrated LED that matches halogen very well (in terms of brightness, throw, and 'shininess'), though maybe a tad cooler/whiter) than the standard halogen. Brighter than a 50W halogen too and only 11.7W. It's the outside ones I worry about. Mounted in the soffits, they'll be up to 35' off the ground so I hope I don't have to replace them.

    It will be interesting to see how long they all last, and also how our power bill compares with out current house. I'll probably pick up a few spare bulbs/trim kits just to be sure I have matching ones if one ever fails.

    I've used LED's and CFL's on our current house and find the LED's far more reliable (longer lasting than the incandescents so far).

  51. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    I just had some more LEDs fail on me in kitchen (spotlights). I've decided, despite the supposed environmental benefits, its not worth the premium for the lights that just start flickering after a couple of years. Very annoying technology.
    I just had a Phillips LED spotlight fail after two days. Three of the box of six I'd bought have had extensive use however for two years now.

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    I just made the jump to LED lamps because they had some Philips ones on clearance at Home Depot. They're warm white and I like the light they emit, but I guess I'll see how they last. I've specified lots of commercial LED fixtures and have seen hardly any failures over the last ~5 years.

    Interestingly, one of the first instances of "planned obsolescence" comes from light bulb manufacturers. I realize it's almost 80 years ago, but. . .

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoebus_cartel

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