There’s an old adage which states “When you buy cheap – you buy twice” and, whilst this is very often true, it only really presents half the story, especially where light bulbs are concerned.
A common misconception regarding light bulbs is that the price at which we purchase them somehow represents their real cost. Therefore, most of us suppose we’ve stumbled across a bargain when we find one that costs a pound.
This is definitely not the case. It’s what’s known as a false economy, as it fails to take into account hidden costs such as maintenance, energy-efficiency and the life-expectancy of the bulb.
All of these factors mean that a bulb which appears to be cheap or even free to begin with, can be a much more expensive proposition in the long run.
Another mistake people frequently make when purchasing light bulbs is believing that the number of ‘watts’ is an indication of a bulb’s light output. After all, a 100 watt bulb must be brighter than a 40 watt bulb, right?
In reality, watts merely tell us how power-thirsty a bulb is, but if you want to know how bright it is, you should check out its Lumen-rating.
A great thing to ask yourself when you’re purchasing light bulbs is: “Am I buying electricity or light?”
If you’re there to buy electricity, go for the higher wattage, but if it’s brightness you’re after shop for the greatest number of lumens requiring the smallest number of watts.
This means it will carry on producing light at optimum capacity for 8 hours per day for over 17 years, in comparison to the 255 days that an incandescent bulb can be expected to function.
So, despite an LED bulb of this type costing slightly more initially at around £4 - £5.00, its lifetime replacement cost will remain the same.
This cannot be said for an incandescent that may cost just a £1.00, but will end up being replaced 24 times in comparison. This equates to an enormous £19 to £20.00 saving, and that’s without factoring in the considerable reduction to your expenditure due to the LED’s improved energy-efficiency!
Energy companies charge for electricity on a kWh (kilowatt per hour) basis. A 50 watt traditional bulb that runs for a single hour will use 0.4 kWh/day.
This means that working for 8 hours per day, it will consume 146 kWh/year. If your energy company charges 15 pence per kWh, the 50 watt bulb will cost £21.90 per year to run.
As the aforementioned GU10 LED bulb requires only 3.3 watts of electricity to produce 400 lumens, the equivalent to that of the 50 watt incandescent bulb, it will run at 0.0264 kWh/day. Therefore, the cost of running this bulb for 8 hours a day for a whole year is just £1.45!
Thus, the actual cost over the lifetime of the incandescent bulb will be £22.90 as opposed to the LED’s tiny £6.45!