LED Lighting Frequently Asked Questions

Known for its ability to reduce energy costs, go easier on the environment and last for longer, LED lighting has grown increasingly popular over the years. But besides being money-saving, energy-saving lighting, there are also many other perks to using LED lights. While reducing energy costs, you can also choose various colour temperatures, brightnesses and even dimmability of your low-energy lighting. Below, we will take a closer look at LED lights to get a better understanding of how they work.


What Are LED Lights And How Do They Work?

Future trends in LED lighting show that their usage is on the uptick. Therefore, it’s a good idea to better understand their technology and how they work in general.

LED, or light emitting diode, is a type of illumination technology. Diodes are able to emit photons, which are simply particles of electromagnetic energy. More specifically, there are only a few kinds of diodes that output light instead of heat.

LED technology features microchips that receive an electrical current. Once the current moves through the chip, the small diodes light up to produce visible light. To prevent any performance issues, any heat that LED lights produce is absorbed into what is called a heat sink.

Within an LED light are semiconductors, which vary depending on the light. N-type semiconductors have extra electrons, which are negatively charged. P-type semiconductors have extra holes for positively charged particles. The conductive material that is used in these tends to be aluminium-gallium-arsenide. There are other types of materials used as well, but those are less common.


What Does Lumens Mean?

Before LED bulbs, people looked at the wattage as a way to determine the brightness of any given light. With an LED bulb, however, you use lumens to accomplish this task. Lumens represent how much light is output via a solid angle from a light; more specifically, from one candela intensity that radiates in every direction. More simply, this just means the total amount of light that a light source outputs. Similar to wattage, this essentially breaks down to how bright the light is.

The difference between wattage and lumens is that wattage measures how much energy a light bulb uses to produce light. In short, it is how much electricity the light uses and does not directly indicate brightness. With low-energy lighting like LED, wattage does not give an accurate light level. Lumens, instead of rating power, rate the actual amount of light that is output by a bulb.

LED lights can output more light without nearly as much power or energy. For instance, a 6.5-watt LED bulb will shine illumination similar to that of a 50-watt halogen bulb. Much like with watts, you can expect that the higher the lumen number, the brighter the light will be.


LED lighting lumen output guide and explanation

What Does Lux Mean?

Lux is another way to measure the amount of light that is output, only it refers to the light in a certain area. One lux equals one lumen per square meter. Using lux, you can measure the amount of light that is visibly present in a space as well as the illumination’s intensity on a given surface. In other words, Lux measures the quantity of light over a certain area of space and from a certain distance away.

The main difference between lux and lumens is that lux describes the area over where the lumens are shining. For example, with 1000 lumens shining on an area measuring one square meter, the area is lit with 1000 lux luminance.


How to Convert Lumens to Watts

When trying to get a better grasp on the difference between lumens and watts, people may wonder just how many lumens are in a watt. Still, because lumens indicate the brightness of the light and not the power behind it like wattage, there is no straightforward way to convert watts to lumens. You can still get a good idea of the watt to lumens amount by using the following formula to get close to it:

Watts = lumen/lumen per watt


How Many Lumens Do I Need?

As a general rule, you can expect the following to be universally true:

  • Hallways need five to 10 lumens per square foot.
  • Bedrooms and living rooms need 10 to 20 lumens per square foot.
  • Ambient light in kitchens and dining rooms needs 30 to 40 lumens per square foot.
  • The laundry room, bathroom and task lighting for kitchen surfaces will need 70 to 80 lumens per square foot.
  • Path and stair lights need 100 to 200 lumens per square foot.
  • Atmospheric landscape lights need 50 to 300 lumens per square foot depending on the garden itself.
  • Motion sensor lights need 300 to 700 lumens per square foot to light a path.

To figure out how many lumens your space needs more specifically, you will need to consider the actual space itself. Below are a few things to determine:

  • ROOM SQUARE FOOTAGE. To find this number, you will need to multiply the width and the length of the room. For instance, a 10-foot-wide by 10-foot-long room will be 100 square feet.
  • FOOT-CANDLES. A foot-candle is a way to measure how bright a light is from a foot away from the source. Foot candles will vary from room to room. For instance, a bedroom or living room will need fewer foot-candles than a kitchen or bathroom.
  • FIGURE OUT LUMENS. Once that is taken care of, you can figure out the lumen requirement by multiplying the square footage of the room by the requirement of foot-candles. If a room measuring 100 square feet needs 10 to 20 foot candles, you will need 1,000 to 2,000 lumens to properly light the room. A 100-foot room that needs 30 or 40 foot candles will require 3,000 to 4,000 lumens, and so on.


What Does CCT Mean for LED Lighting?

CCT stands for Correlated Colour Temperature. It is a way to tell how blue or yellow the light that is being emitted will look from any given bulb. Wall lighting, ceiling lighting, LED downlights and any other exterior or interior lighting will usually indicate what that colour temperature is. You will note that most commonly, the lights are found between 2200 and 6500 degrees Kelvin.

This rating makes it easy to determine the colour of the lighting at a glance. The higher the Kelvin number, the cooler and bluer the light will be; the lower the Kelvin number, the warmer the light will be. The most common range of lights are as follows:


3000K: Warm white light

4000K: white light

5000K: Natural Daylight

5700K to 6500K: Daylight


Take a closer look:

  • Lights rated less than 2000K output dim reddish light that looks like candlelight.
  • Lights rated between 2000K to 3000K output a warm white light that usually has a yellow tint.
  • Lights rated between 3500K to 4000K shine a white light.
  • Lights rated between 5000K to 5700K shine a bright light that looks like daytime.
  • Lights rated 6500K and above emit a bright blue light.

LED colour temperature guide

What Does CRI Mean in LED Lighting?

CRI stands for Colour Rendering Index. CRI assesses the way that the source of light shows colours in a more natural way when you compare it to other more familiar reference points, such as daylight or incandescent light. The CRI spectrum runs from zero to 100. When a light has 0 CRI, you can expect all the colours to look the same. At 100 CRI, you will be able to more clearly see the actual colours of any given item. Halogen and incandescent lights tend to have 100 CRI, though anything with 90 CRI or higher is considered to be great.


How Are LED Lights Different From Incandescent And Halogen Bulbs?

LED bulbs differ from halogen and incandescent bulbs in a few crucial ways. Far more efficient, long-lasting and versatile than their predecessors, LEDs work as directional light sources, meaning they shine light in a specific direction instead of all around like traditional bulbs.

Furthermore, traditional bulbs generate their light by way of heat. Electricity moves through the metal filament of an incandescent bulb and gets hot enough to produce white light. With a halogen bulb, the energy moves through a tungsten filament with halogen gas.

Incandescent bulbs and halogen bulbs use 90 percent of their energy as heat, which makes them rather inefficient. LED bulbs, on the other hand, don’t rely on heat production to create light.

LED benefits run deeper than just the energy efficient lighting they provide. Such energy efficiency means they also produce eco friendly lighting, which can help reduce your carbon footprint.

LEDs are also more durable, so you won’t have to replace them nearly as often. Where LED bulbs can last tens of thousands of hours, incandescent bulbs and halogen bulbs only last for 1,000 to 5,000 hours. The low energy consumption and long lifespan of LED bulbs can reduce the overall cost of running, making them cheaper in the long term.

Outdoor LED lighting also has an IP rating that shows how well-protected against the elements a light may be. This contributes to its long lifespan.


How Long Do LED Lights Last?

Once you understand the lifespan of LED lamps, it becomes easy to see why so many people are switching to both outdoor and indoor LED lighting. The difference between the lifespans of LED and traditional bulbs is quite astounding, and that long life can transfer to cost savings on top of it all.

For incandescent bulbs, you can expect only around 1,000 hours of light per bulb. With halogen bulbs, you will average around 2,000 hours, with 5,000 hours of light on rare occasions.

LED bulbs, on the other hand, are rated to last tens of thousands of hours. Oftentimes, LED lighting technology affords up to 50,000 hours of usage. With such a long life, you won’t have to replace your bulbs for several years.

The average rated LED bulb is 25,000 hours. So with that in mind, consider the following:

  • Running the light for four hours per day will provide light for 17.1 years.
  • Running the light for seven hours per day will provide lights for 9.7 years.
  • Running the light for 12 hours a day will provide 5.7 years of light.


Can You Use LED Lights on a Dimmer Switch?

If you are looking to set a mood in your home, having dimmable interior LED lighting may be a big priority for you. Fortunately, LED light is capable of being dimmed. That said, there are some things to consider with this type of lighting.

For one, not every single bulb is dimmable. You will need to look and see before you purchase the light if it is capable of dimming. If it is, you will need to use a special dimmer switch.

LED lights have lower wattages than traditional lighting, so a typical dimmer switch won’t work. You need a dimmer switch that is specifically built for low-wattage applications to ensure the lights don’t flicker or buzz.


Are LED Lights Better For The Environment Than Older Lighting Types?

The idea that LED bulbs are better for the environment is one of the most popular reasons for purchasing this type of bulb. Energy savings with LED lighting go a long way towards reducing your carbon footprint and can help make a small, but positive difference on the climate each day.

Since LED lights are energy efficient, more of their energy is converted into visible light. Traditional bulbs, on the other hand, generate more heat than light. In the case of the latter, much of the energy is wasted before it even has a chance to become light. The result is a reduction in electricity consumption and heat production, which can lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Furthermore, with no harmful materials involved in the makeup of LED lights, they are also physically better for the environment. No dangerous materials end up in landfills, and many LED bulbs also have recyclable parts.


Does LED Lighting Produce Any UV Radiation? 

LED safety can be a concern for some people, whether harm to a person or nearby objects is possible. LED bulbs do emit a small amount of UV light but not enough to pose a risk.

The amount of ultraviolet light that is generated by LED light is much less compared to traditional light bulbs. That said, the amount of UV light produced will vary depending on certain factors, including the manufacturing process, the type of LED and the quality.

In LED applications where UV is a big concern, like in a gallery or museum, you can avoid potential damage to sensitive art by choosing lights with a low UV emission. Some LED lights are specifically manufactured with UV blocking to solve this issue.


Should You Have Health Concerns When Using LED Lighting?

The benefits of using LED lighting in homes are impossible to ignore, but some people may still be wary of committing to the lights right away. One of the most common LED questions surrounds their safety. While they are generally thought to be safe, there are some LED lighting safety considerations to be made.


  • BLUE LIGHT. LED lights emit more blue light than traditional bulbs. Prolonged exposure to blue light, especially at night, might disrupt sleep patterns and circadian rhythm.


  • EYE STRAIN. Too much LED light could cause strain on the eyes. By choosing warmer-coloured LED lights, you can reduce some of that strain.


  • FLICKERING LIGHTS. Similarly, poor quality LED lights may also cause eye strain. High quality LED lights don’t have this issue, so if you choose good quality lights, you can avoid this issue.


Why Do Dimmable LED Lights Flicker?

There are several reasons why LED lights might flicker, including:


  • INCOMPATIBLE DIMMER SWITCHES. LED bulbs aren’t compatible with most standard dimmer switches due to the wattage differences. Avoid this by installing an LED dimmer switch specifically meant to be used with this type of light.


  • POWER ISSUES. If there are fluctuations in power, LED lights might flicker. You may need to install a voltage stabilizer or even a surge protector to ensure even power flow.


  • BAD WIRING. If your lights are wired incorrectly, flickering could occur. Double-check the wires and make sure they are installed properly.


  • OVERLOADED DIMMER CIRCUITS. Placing too many LED lights on a single dimmer may cause it to overload the circuit. Either remove some of the lights or choose a more powerful dimmer switch.


  • EXTREME ENVIRONMENTS. Too much heat can cause a decrease in LED performance. Be sure to choose lights designed for the right temperature range to avoid this issue.


Are There Any Disadvantages to LED Lighting?

The benefits of LED lighting are abundant and clear to see, but what about any potential disadvantages? An LED lighting guide would be incomplete without mentioning those as well.


  • UPFRONT COST. Though the price is slowly going down over time, LED bulbs can still be more expensive than traditional bulbs upon initial purchase. Still, in time, they save you a lot more money and end up paying for themselves.


  • BLUE LIGHT CONCERNS. Those who want to limit their exposure to blue light may be wary of using LEDs. LED bulbs emit more blue light than traditional bulbs, so it’s important to keep that in mind.


  • TEDIOUS RECYCLING. LED bulbs can usually be recycled, but only by specialised facilities. You should check with specific recycling centres in your area and not just toss the bulbs in with your other recyclable materials.

Five Creative Ideas For LED Lights


  1. LPL356 5 Watt LED Hexagonal Hanging LED Pendant Light

LPL356 5 watt GU10 hanging LED pendant light

The LPL356 5 Watt LED Hexagonal Hanging LED Pendant Light is an ideal choice for modern homes, especially modern kitchens. The light has a tall, hexagonal shape that adds contemporary appeal when placed over a breakfast bar or kitchen counter. It shines 400 lumens of light, which is the approximate equivalent of a 40-watt halogen bulb. The light also outputs a 3000k warm white LED colour temperature that is well suited for domestic use. It comes in neutral colours, including black, grey or white, each with a black base plate.


  1. LBL253B 15 Watt Hexagonal Surface Mounted LED Downlight

LBL253B 15 watt surface mounted LED downlight - Hexagonal LED downlight ceiling light

The LBL253B 15 Watt Hexagonal Surface Mounted LED Downlight is 3-clustered hexagonal downlight that is a pleasant replacement for recessed lighting. Since it is installed right onto the ceiling, it creates the same effect in a room with a ceiling that cannot accommodate recessed lighting. There are three LED bulbs in each fixture, outputting a total of 1200 lumens of warm white 3000k colour lighting.


  1.  LWA453 10 Watt Up And Down Outdoor LED Wall Light

LWA453 10 watt outdoor up and down LED wall light

Bring illumination to the darker areas outside of your home with the LWA453 10 Watt Up And Down Outdoor LED Wall Light. The light features 2 bulbs that shine up and down from the fixture, washing the wall they are attached to in illumination. Generating a total of 860 lumens of 3000k warm white light, it is pleasant for outdoor applications. The light comes in either white or black to suit the exterior wall.


  1. LSP195 16 Watt Black And Gold LED Track Light

LSP195 16 watt black and gold LED track light fitting

Perfect for use in art galleries or retail environments, the LSP195 16 Watt Black And Gold LED Track Light lights up specific areas in vibrant light. The product features a head that you can turn to direct light in any given area so that it is concentrated on what you want to show off. Its LED bulb outputs 1400 lumens of your choice of warm or cool colour temperatures depending on where you plan to install it. A black and gold-toned finish gives the light an elegant finishing touch.


  1. LWA284 Chrome Dome Shaped 6 Watt LED Wall Light

LWA284 6 watt chrome dome shaped decorative interior LED wall light

Using the LWA284 Chrome Dome Shaped 6 Watt LED Wall Light, you can illuminate darker areas of a room and add layered lighting at the same time. This modern wall lighting features a dome shape with light that shines back onto the wall. It has an acrylic diffuser that makes the light gentler and warmer on the eyes. It outputs 600 lumens of warm light, making it subtle while still being practical.

LED lights are popular for a reason. If you’ve been considering making the switch but don’t quite understand them yet, the article above can help you get a better grasp on all of the jargon.

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