Frequently Asked Questions about LED Lighting

Frequently Asked Questions about LED Lighting Building Maintenance Management July 8, 2016

A current contract maintenance job we’ve been doing for several St Paul businesses and multi-housing facilities is updating their lighting. By retrofitting LEDs in place of old incandescent bulbs, customers are saving time and money. We want to provide more information about LED lighting to help you understand the many benefits of making the switch.

What are LEDs?

LED stands for Light-Emitting Diodes. They are compound semiconductor devices that produce visible light when an electrical current passes through them. LEDs consist of two materials: the first has a surplus of positive charge (holes) and the second has a surplus of negative charge (electrons). When one applies a forward voltage, the electrons and holes are brought together. They combine and release light energy, hence the name light-emitting.

LEDs are not actually bulbs. They are tiny semiconductors encapsulated in plastic that protects their components and helps focus the light.

What is the difference between incandescent bulbs and LEDs?

Incandescent bulbs create light by the use of a filament. When power is applied, the filament glows and generates heat, in turn producing light. LEDs are the opposite. When power is applied to semiconductors, they’re stimulated by the movement of electrons, which creates photons. Photons are the light particles that are visible to humans.

Rather than “burning out” like incandescent bulbs, LEDs get progressively dimmer over time.

Why do LEDs use less power than incandescent bulbs?

LEDs do not use a filament where a conductor is heated and light is created. Filament-based lighting consumes more power than the light it produces. LEDs produce very small amounts of heat and do not use filaments. Thus, they are far more efficient in consumption and output.

How long do LEDs last?

LEDs are known for being extremely long-lasting products. Many have a lifetime of 50,000 hours, some even longer. This is approximately 50 times longer than a typical incandescent, 20-25 times longer than a typical halogen and 8-10 times longer than a typical CFL. If used 12 hours a day, a 50,000-hour bulb will last more than 11 years. If used 8 hours a day, it can last as long as 17 years.

What are the advantages of switching to LED?

There are many advantages of making the switch to LED lights. Here are a few:

  • Use much less electricity than other bulbs
  • Have a long life
  • Produce very little heat
  • Do not emit UV or infrared
  • Contain no mercury
  • Resistant to shock and vibration
  • Can operate effectively in extremely cold and hot environments
  • Don’t tend to attract insects as much as other bulbs
  • Provide beautiful, natural light

The long life and energy efficiency are the most well-known advantages of using LEDs. When used commercially, maintenance costs are also greatly reduced since the lights don’t need to be replaced as often. The durability of LEDs also makes them great for outdoor lighting like parking lots.

How expensive are LEDs?

LEDs are more expensive than conventional light bulbs. In addition, some new components may be required to operate groups of LEDs effectively. So there is an initial cost, but the long-term savings is the focus. LEDs offer up to 80 percent savings, and over time, they will end up paying for themselves!

In many cases, customers can get rebates, incentives or tax credits by switching to LED bulbs. You can visit Xcel Energy for more information and forms. We’ve had some customers able to make the switch virtually cost-free!

If you would like to make the switch to LEDs for your Twin Cities business or multi-housing facility, give us a call! We can handle the entire process for you! Call Building Maintenance Management at 763-541-4886 or you can Contact Us.