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Lightbulbs: Remember when they were simple?

This may be common knowledge to most readers, but it wasn’t to the KF part of the Red Rabbit Team for a long time: Recessed ceiling lights need a reflective bulb. By reflective, I mean the type that have the silver or opaque shell along the bottom allowing all the light to go in only one direction.

We struggled for years with bulbs burning out—especially along the outside wall of our kitchen—and for good reason: The bulbs were getting too hot above the ceiling, particularly in areas where there was limited space between the ceiling and the roof’s beams. Frustrating and scary. Once I understood the importance of reflective bulbs, the situation improved greatly. Once I finally invested in LED reflective bulbs, my world became brighter still. Though I’m hesitant to believe the 10-year claims, we are rarely changing bulbs and I’m thrilled with the energy savings and knowing that they are not giving off heat in any direction.

Have you made the conversion to LED lighting?

It was a tough sell for awhile as costs were initally as much as ten times the cost of incandescent and flurescent bulbs, but that’s changing.

Costs for LEDs are going down each year. Combine that with the fact LED lights do not emit heat, last much longer and use much less energy, it’s a good time to make a switch.

There are a few additional benefits.

While early versions were panned for providing poor diffusion through a room, the technology is improving. Conversely, LEDs have always worked well for spotlighting, so they are particularly effective as under-counter or bathroom lighting. More, they are safer — no toxic materials like mercury vapor and no glass. And, bulb designs are improving; a well-stocked hardware store will provide more options than you’ll care to peruse, so bring your patience and a notepad.

But there are still a few cons.

They are not always compatible with dimmers and can flicker with some fixtures.

LEDs are cooler in color. The blue light they emit is a nice match for natural, mid-day daylight and work well in kitchens and bathrooms, but less attractive for lighting living spaces and bedrooms.

The 10,000-hour claim might not always be true. LEDs often degrade and can become less bright and less efficient over time and can even fail completely in high temperature situations.



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