LEDs: facts and myths
LED lights are gaining in popularity. They are used in the private, public and industrial sectors. However, Poles still do not know which information about LED lighting is true and which is false. Here we come to the rescue.
- LEDs are expensive and not worth their price.
MYTH: Although we need to spend more money when we replace lighting with the LED technology (still we can do it little by little), we can be in the black in the longer term. The investment pays back many times over, with the first power bill already. That is owed to the lower energy consumption, even by 80%, as well as the longer life span of LEDs (up to 50,000 hours).
- LED lighting works well indoors and outdoors.
FACT: Yet, it all depends on the LED fitting. We can identify its use by the IP marking which shows the protection degree of the lamp. In dry rooms, typically indoors, IP 20 fittings are common; in rooms that are more humid, we should choose those with IP 54 (they are more air-tight). When we want to light up places exposed to water, it is better to buy IP 65 and IP 67 fittings. If we have LEDs, long warm-up time is not a problem any more so we can use them in those rooms where we often turn on the light. LEDs are resistant to turning on and off many times and provide the full power just after being switched on.
- LEDs do not heat up.
MYTH: Compared to other light sources, heat dissipation of LEDs is low. Additionally, they emit the minimum quantity of UV light and IR light, which only lead to faster heating up of the lamps and higher energy consumption. Therefore, not without reason, the majority of scientists confirm that LED-type light sources are safest for the human eye.
- LEDs are resistant to vibrations and shocks.
FACT: The LED does not contain any moving or extremely sensitive parts. Thus, there is no risk of damaging its radiant element or glass. LEDs are currently the most durable solution on the market. If we buy a LED light from a strong manufacturer, we can be sure that it passed a number of tests complying with IEC standards.
- LEDs provide low quality light.
MYTH: It is easy to check it. Note the Colour Rendering Index abbreviated as CRI on the label. It is worth mentioning that the daylight has 100 CRI. If the figure falls below 80, the conveying of colours by light will be worse. High-quality LEDs have from 80 CRI. The technology is advancing, so the indexes will rise. It is not the only characteristic determining the quality of light. The colour temperature is equally important. It is measured in kelvins. The higher the figure, the cooler the light; the lower the figure, the warmer the light.
- Warm white (under 3300 K): living room, bedroom, hall or corridor;
- Neutral white (from 3300 K to 5300 K): kitchen, bathroom, office, shop or shopping arcade.
- Cool white (5300 K and more): warehouses, production halls, shopping centres or modernist interiors.*
- LED light sources are harmful to our eyes.
MYTH: Well-selected, a LED light does not threaten our sight. However, we should remember that there are products of unknown origin on the market which can pose the threat. LEDs made of low-quality components, which cause flickering that is dangerous for the human eye, should be avoided. Healthy light does not, above all, fall directly into our retina. It should be diffused.
- LEDs contain hazardous substances.
MYTH: Nothing could be further from the truth. It is LEDs that do not contain all the harmful substances present in the conventional sources of light. Thus, we can rest assured. LEDs do not contain mercury, lead or any toxic materials. Moreover, they can be recycled.
- LED is a source of light that cannot be dimmed.
MYTH: The truth is that they are not digital, so we can only turn them on and off, yet we can adapt the power of the light as we wish. Unfortunately, not all LEDs have dimmers. If we want this effect, we should choose products marked as dimmable on the label.
- LED lighting is a temporary trend.
MYTH: On the contrary, it is a necessity and it is the future. LEDs slowly force out traditional light sources, mainly due to the restrictions imposed by the European Union, but also owing to their parameters, low energy consumption, durability and long life span.
As we previously mentioned, LED technology is the future; nevertheless, remember that it should be a smart future. When we buy lights, we should focus not only on saving some money but also on the quality and parameters of the product. Manufacturers often try to set up a trap for us, customers. We must stay alert and read labels.
Avoid products which:
- are suspiciously cheap;
- come from unknown manufacturers;
- dazzle you after turning on (it should be scattered light).
*according to PN-EN 12464-1 12.2012 Light and lighting - Lighting of workplaces - Part 1 Indoor work places