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LED lighting

There are five LEDs in these spotlights, in finned aluminum heat sinks.

LED light bulbs are still pricey, but the cost has been coming down, and the variety of bulbs available is increasing.

I wanted interesting lighting for my living room, which has a 21-foot ceiling and lots of planes and angles. My concept was to use spotlights for indirect light — not too bright — bounced off the walls and ceiling. I wanted fixtures that use bulbs with a standard base rather than odd bases that would lock me into high-priced and inefficient bulbs. When the house was complete and time came for the final inspection, I put ordinary 60-watt incandescent bulbs in these fixtures just to get through the electrical inspection — a total of 15 bulbs. So for more than two years, that’s what I’ve had, and of course they didn’t create the right effect at all. The power consumption also was outrageous — 900 watts when all the lights were on. So I very rarely used them. I was never able to find spotlight bulbs (as opposed to floodlights) in compact fluorescent. But LED spotlight bulbs have started to come onto the market at prices that are bearable.

Philips makes a line of LED bulbs that can be found at Home Depot. Amazon, and specialty retailers online, also carry a pretty good range of LED bulbs these days.

The color of light that you get from LED bulbs is not ideal, though some are better than others. My corner lights (each bulb is 3 watts) are too blue, but I decided that I can live with since they’re not terribly bright and since the light is bounced off of warm-colored walls. The three lights up at 16 feet (6 watts each) are a much warmer color. The warmer color lights tend to cost a bit more, and, per watt, they’re not quite as bright.

Now when all these lights are on, I’m drawing 54 rather than 900 watts. Of course I’ll use the lights more, now that they’re not sucking so much electricity.

It might be possible to justify the cost of LED bulbs now because of their long life and low power consumption. There’s a good chance that they’ll last me 15 years or more.

I have lights like this in each corner, nine feet up.

This fixture is 16 feet up.


  1. onthesensor wrote:

    What do you use to measure your power consumption and is it wired into your main circuit system?

    Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 7:17 am | Permalink
  2. admin wrote:

    I admit that I’m trusting the manufacturer’s rating on power consumption…

    Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 7:40 am | Permalink

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