I like cutting edge tech, I like being as energy efficient as I can be without sacrificing functionality and convenience, and I like a bright home. I have almost entirely fitted my home out with CFLs, but I have not been too pleased with the performance in some applications.
The primary failures of the CFLs was in my living room and my dining room. They weren’t bright enough, they didn’t light up fast enough, I didn’t like the color of them, and they weren’t easily dimmable (ie glare off the TV).
As LED replacement bulbs started appearing on the market, of course I was interested. However, the large heat sink and the size of the bulbs made them impractical for the fixtures I have. Buying a new fixture to then by new and expensive LED lamps (‘bulbs’) was defeating any ‘green’ aspect including the green in my wallet. Then I saw these online and got interested:
Now they don’t change colors like one architect-friend has in her NYC place. They don’t have built in bluetooth speakers, which might be nice for a surround sound experience. However, these lights all but eliminate the heat sink by using a ring of LEDs with a flat center. They are shaped like the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs from the front, but appear flattened when you look from the side. More bonuses: they are available at my local Home Depot, can be bought in 2700K and 5000K, and are about $7 a piece.
So of course I bought a pile for the living room and dining room – the two spaces where the lights are on the most (other than my office) and that would have the largest impact. I chose the 5000K which is a brighter, whiter light that is closer to daylight as opposed to the 2700K ones which are ‘warmer’ and would have a bit of a yellow hue to them.
First of all, they are VERY bright, which is what I wanted. My living room felt like I was on the sun it was so bright with a 4-lamp ceiling fan, two end table lamps and one tall Ikea floor lamp. The dining room has a 5 light chnadelier, and it was blinding!
Second, Since each light uses 10.5 watts of power, they use only 80% of the power of a CFL or 17.5% of an incandescent bulb! The 7 lights in the living room, when all on, use a total of 73.5 watts. Just a few years ago I had halogens in all those sockets and was using 75 watts in EACH!
Last, they are said to be dimmable without a special ballast, so I can adjust the lighting levels with a standard wall dimmer to whatever level suits me (as opposed to CFL which was on or off). Here’s the warning on that: I preemptively installed an awesome digital dimmer in the dining room with presets and cool fade to off feature. It has a little LED light ‘slider’ along the side to indicate the relative brightness it’s set to, which seems nice. However, the measly 1 watt or so that the switch’s LED uses is enough to pass a trickle of power through the circuit and that 1 watt trickle to such a low energy bulb is enough to get one of the 5 lamps to stay faintly lit 24/7. Kind of like a built in night light – even when you don’t want one.
****** Update ******
So the SlimStyle LEDS lasted a day and a half. They buzz. Not a lot, but some, which is worse than none. When dimmed, they buzz A LOT! I thought I had a bad dimmer, but after three different dimmers and switching bulbs around from one fixture to another, they buzz. So they all went back. Upcoming post: the replacement-replacement LED bulbs….