What is a LED?

LEDs or Light emitting diodes are small light sources that are illuminated by the movement of electrons through a semiconductor material. LEDs are exceptionally energy efficient when producing indvidual colors, many using up to 90% less energy than an incandescent bulb to produce the same amount of light. For example, the amount of electricity consumed by just one 7-watt incandescent bulb could power 140 LEDs- enough to light two 24-foot strings.

CAUTION: Although there has been a lot of media attention given to LEDs, far too many LEDs are not well-manufactured and too many LED lighting fixtures are not well-designed. In short, the LED lighting market is still maturing. Research continues to improve the brightness, the efficacy, and the life span of LEDs at a remarkable pace.

Q.) What do the letters, L-E-D, stand for?
      A.) Light Emitting Diode

Q.) What is an LED?
  A.) An LED is a small electronic device that emits light when electricity is passed through it.

Q.) What are the advantages of LEDs?
A.) LEDs are very energy efficient and have very long rated lives.

Q.) What colors do LEDs come in?
A.) LEDs can be red, green, blue, or amber. Presently, a white LED is created by covering a blue LED with white phosphorus.

Q.) What is the color temperature of white LEDs?
A.) White LEDs can and do vary in color temperature. Some white LEDs can be as "warm" in appearance as 3000K but most white LEDs are "cool" in appearance since white LEDs are created by putting white phosphors over blue LED.

Q.) How bright is a high power LED?
A.) A single high power LED can produce up to about 80 lumens of light.

Q.) How does the brightness of LEDs compare with incandescent light sources?
A.) Since a standard 60W incandescent light bulb can produce about 900 lumens a single high power LED is only about 1/11th as bright.

Q.) How can LEDs be used successfully in lighting fixtures?
A.) For most LED lighting fixtures to provide adequate lighting the fixture must contain groups of LEDs.

Q.) Are LEDs efficient?
A.) Yes, LEDs now produce 25-40 lumens/watt whereas incandescent light sources produce only about 15 lumens/watt.

Q.) Are LEDs more efficient than fluorescent light sources?
A.) Not yet. A compact fluorescent light source (CFL) produces about 50 lumens/watt. So, LEDs presently have an efficacy (efficiency rating) that is somewhere between incandescent and fluorescent light sources.

Q.) Do LEDs get warm?
A.) Yes, all lighting sources generate heat including LEDs. However, they do not get very hot, especially if the LEDs and the light fixture are well-designed with "heat sinks" to hekp dissipate the heat.

Q.) What is the expected life of an LED?
A.) The typical LED has a lifetime of about 35,000 to 50,000 hours.

Q.) Do LEDs ever burn out?
A.) Not really. Over their lifetime LEDs simply get progressively dimmer until they do not emit enough light to be useful.

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