Friday, November 6, 2009

LED Lighting Update

Yes, CFL's suck.

So, we've been waiting for bright, affordable LED lighting to become available. Sam's Club has recently introduced 1.5W LED bulbs for $5 each. I believe Xcel energy is subsidizing some of this cost based on a flyer displayed in the aisle. If anyone knows more about that, please post a comment.

Anyway, 1.5W is only producing about 78 lumens, which means you'll need roughly six times the number of bulbs more than "normal". This is a daunting problem that will keep most folks out of the LED replacement business until a market solution or even brighter bulbs are introduced.

In the meantime, we developed a hack using "Medusa" floorlamps, which can be found for as little as $20 and will convert a standard octagon ceiling box into a fixture with five medium base openings. An added bonus is that you can direct the lighting to where you need it.

Let's say you have rentals or are doing fix and flips. You already know that fluorescent lighting and CFL conversions do NOT add value, even though operational cost is lower. The light quality of LED's and even lower operational costs SHOULD add value to your project. Don't be cheap - the $20 marginal cost per fixture is only a couple hundred $ for a house.

Edit: photo posted above


  1. i guess it depends who's renting if those Medusa conversions seem to add value ... to me that would feel really cheesy

    anyhow, if you go to Home Depot or you'll find a variety of PAR spots etc., some with lumen values comparable to 50-watt halogens; they are priced around $50, though, so they are more of a long-term investment, but the quality of light should be better than CFLs

  2. Yes, those multicolored shades are cheesy and go right in the recycling bin. The unshaded bulbs look a bit nicer, photos to come soon. I've seen the PAR spots as low as $27 each, still well overpriced, considering that their longevity is unproven.