What are LEDs

How are LEDs different from other light sources, such as incandescent, halogen and fluorescent lights?

LEDs (Light-Emitting Diodes) represent the most profound advancement in lighting technology since the invention of the incandescent bulb and differ from other lighting in several ways:

·         They produce light very efficiently. An electrical current passes through semiconducting material and illuminates the tiny light sources we call LEDs. They are designed to operate with only 2-17 watts of electricity which is between one-third and one-thirtieth of incandescent or CFL light sources.

·         They aredirectional light sources. This means the light is emitted in a specific direction, unlike incandescent and fluorescent bulbs which emit light—and heat—in all directions. For this reason, LED lighting is able to use light and energy more efficiently in many applications.

·         They produce little to no heat. LED lighting systems don’t radiate heat the way incandescent and halogen light bulbs do. The heat produced from the power going into the fixture is drawn away from the bulb, usually with a heat sink. This thermal management contributes to the long lifespans of LEDs because high heats degrade a light faster, shortening its useful life.

·         Lifespan: up to 50,000 hours.

Traditional Incandescent Light

Invented by Thomas Edison nearly 120 years ago, these are the original light bulbs. They contain a filament that is heated up until it emits light and, as a result, release 90% of their energy as heat instead of light. Filaments in incandescent bulbs are fragile and burn out or break relatively easily, and some countries have begun to intentionally phase out the use of incandescent light bulbs.

Lifespan: 750-1,000 hours

Traditional Halogen Light

The standard halogen is a modern, more efficient version of Edison's incandescent bulb. However, they produce four times the amount of heat than the average incandescent bulb. The filament of a 500-watt halogen bulb can reach temperatures of over 1,200°C, creating a fire hazard. Curtains and other combustible materials may ignite if they get too close or are in contact with the bulb.

Lifespan: between 2,250 to 3,500 hours

Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL)

In CFL bulbs, an electric current flows between electrodes at each end of a gas-filled tube. This reaction produces heat and ultraviolet (UV) light. The UV light comes in contact with a phosphor coating on the inside of the tube, converting it into visible light.Fluorescent lighting carries the old negative stigma of providing the institutional, headache-inducing flickering and noisy light. CFLs are more energy efficient than incandescent and halogen lights (they require about a quarter of the energy to produce the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs), but they contain mercury which presents disposal issues and environmental concerns.

Life span: up to 10,000 hours.

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