My LED Saga

For my birthday, I told my wife I want LED light bulbs.  I know, right?  You’re thinking how cool is that!  If you’re thinking anything else, just keep it to yourself.

A bit of history.  I like light.  I hate waiting for CFLs to warm up.  We need floodlight style for recessed lighting, and A bulbs for lots of chandeliers and ceiling fan fixtures.  When we moved in I added 30+ recessed lights in our living room, kitchen, and dining area.  One room on dimmers.    If my whole house was incandescent, I could probably get 5-6 kW of lighting in the sockets for a 2,200 sq ft house, which is an extremely high ratio.  We’ve had a range of incandescent and CFL bulbs, we’ve replaced every one multiple times.   We are getting nowhere near the target hours. Current brands in include EcoSmart.

Ergo, I want LEDs.  Lots of them.  Total price would be a couple of thousand dollars or more to outfit the whole house.  I would need about  50-75 bulbs of varying types.  She has been researching them for two weeks.

As usual, she is looking for the cheapest.  Best price she found was down south of $20/bulb, but the name brands, GE, Philips, Cree etc seem to be almost double the off brand.  I currently have 2 offbrand on test in the living area, both  from Feit Electric, one is 14 and the other 17 watts, a bit below and above 1000 lumens apiece, one with the broad cone footprint, the other the narrow.  So far the light is gorgeous, bright, good color, instant on.

Minor problem, all of the warranties we’ve found say 3 years.  Ok, not so much a big deal, until you get to the fine print.  Apparently while the manufacturer believes these are 3 hours/day, 22 year bulbs, ie 60,000+hours, the warranty is LIMITED to use for 3 hours day.  Mine will be on closer to 14.  That’s why I want the LEDs! Apparently that constitutes misuse.  More details to come as the project progresses.

4 replies
  1. Dragana Mendel (@DraganaMendel)
    Dragana Mendel (@DraganaMendel) says:

    Neal,I understand your frustration. I did work with LED technologies two years ago, and light bulb definitely need to last more than 3hrs/day. I bet that it was an attorney who wrote the warranty, not an engineer. In my experience, CFL bulbs break down at the same rate as old fashioned incandescent lights. My suspicion has been confirmed by founder of Savenia Labs, a Maryland startup that is specializing in measuring accurate electricity usage for over 10,000 different devices. To get traction with is startup, they showcased LED consumer $20/piece bulb as their use case. You can look it up at

  2. Mark Henwood
    Mark Henwood says:

    You schudda been an engineer. Color is also important so check the Kelvin. My wife an I have a standard of sorts for which Kelvin to apply in different settings.

  3. kevin powell
    kevin powell says:

    Gotta love Moore’s Law. Prices are tumbling for “Solid State Lighting”. You can now buy a Philips 60 watt replacment for less than $5 at home depot. And I have had mine burning 9-14 hours a night (outside) for a couple of years, no problem!

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