Recently there has been a lot of excitement over LED bulbs, they are an eco friendly alternative because they last a lot longer, creating less waste, and they use less power to give the same amount of light, meaning less nuclear power and other environmentally unfriendly power sources are needed. Although they are expensive right now, new technology always goes down in price with use. Basically if it is a good product that people will pay for more companies with get into the LED light-bulb game and the competition will drive the price down. At least if the theory of capitalism holds true, and the investment is worth it, some of the LED’s are expected to last 25,000 hrs. or close to 25 years. Even if you don’t care about the environment these long-lasting lights are worth the price if you have any high-up hard-to-reach lighting fixtures. Imagine changing that bulb today and not again for 25 years.
They really do save power while giving off more light, but they are often criticized for giving a cold blue-ish hue in spaces just like their predecessors, the compact fluorescent bulbs. There is jut one problem with this criticism with regards to LED’s however, and that is that LED’s can come in any color. We’ve all seen multi-colored LED lighting, on our Christmas trees, party lights, under car kits, and the fancy toe-kick lighting in pictures of movie-star kitchens.
The temperature of any light is measured in Kelvins. A low number ranging from 1,000 k to 3,000 k is going to give off a warm hue, the lower the number the more orange the light will be, think of the light at sunset, or the light given off by a candle. The higher the numbers, 4,000 k to 10,000 k, the more cool the light that is produced, a blue-tinted light, that resembles the harsh bright lighting in big-box stores that sometimes gives people headaches. LED’s can produce any of these color temperatures though they usually come in 2,700 k, 3,000 k, 3,500 k, 4,000 k, and sometimes 4,500 k for the residential market. If you have ever seen a light-bulb box that said “Warm white” and wondered, “what does that really mean?”, it’s referring to the color temperature. So if you prefer a warmer light with more orange tint to it, check your light bulb box at the store and choose one that is between 2,700 k and 3,000 k, for a true white light choose a 3,500 k bulb and for bright blue tinted light choose one over 3,500 k.
Now you may be thinking, “thanks for the info but why should I care?”, well, it turns out that light color makes a big difference on how we see the world. For many people a blue-ish or orange-ish office space may not matter, but it really effects the way we see food. If you put a bunch of asparagus under a very orange light it looks brown and past it’s due, if you place it under a blue tinted light it looks even greener than the reality. The opposite is true for red meats; even though supermarkets generally have more white/blue lighting the red-meat section always has different, lower Kelvin, bulbs to make sure the meat looks red and fresh. A blue light on a steak can make it look grey and unappetizing. Now back in that same office you might find that a soft low kelvin orange light leaves you feeling more tired, like you would at sunset and a brighter higher Kelvin bulb keeps you feeling like it’s still morning and gives you more energy.
A 3,500 k bulb will make all colors warm and cool, looking correct and offering you the best of day time lighting, but really think about the type of light that is needed in each of your rooms and choose the lighting that works best for your life style. A warmer bulb may be better in the bedroom where you want your body to experience a sunset, time-for-bed feeling. A high kelvin temp may be preferable in the bathroom for morning, but not during midnight bathroom runs.
The good news is that for a little more some LED lights come with phone controlled apps that can change their colors remotely giving you the right type of light in any room at the time that’s best. LED lights actually offer more range in lighting temperatures than their predecessors but only if you know what to look for on the box when you’re buying them, hope this helps.