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kevbo's avatar

New LED light bulbs: do they emit more or less heat than standard incandescent?

Asked by kevbo (25654points) October 9th, 2010 from iPhone

I’m looking to replace standard bulbs at a bathroom vanity with something cooler heat-wise. The lights are on dimmers, so most CFLs won’t work, plus the light quality is worse. Do the LEDs run cooler? I read about how they require an aluminum heat sink to protect the diode(s), but that doesn’t speak to heat emitted relative to incandescents. Thanks!

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19 Answers

ChaosCross's avatar

I could not guarantee accuracy, but from what I know LED is cooler.

You can find out for sure if you buy one of each, and take turns standing in from of each one.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

LED lights emit more light per watt and less heat per watt than incandescent lights.

GeorgeGee's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence is right but check out the bulbs before you buy. I bought a couple and they’re amazingly DIM. They’re not even as bright as night lights.

jerv's avatar

Almost anything runs cooler than an incandescent, but CFL is overall better in my opinion; brighter and cheaper.

YARNLADY's avatar

The lumens is the measure of the light output. Check for that.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@kevbo There are dimmable CFL bulbs, just check the package on the bulb to make sure it can be on a dimmer.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Here are some rough numbers. You can get the actual numbers from the bulb packaging.
CFL bulbs (the curly ones) take about ⅓ the energy of Incandescent, but are 4x the price and are made with mercury.
LEDs take about ½ the energy of CFLs (1/6 of incandescent) but cost 10x the price of Incandescent.
You have to make the tradeoff that is best for your situation: energy, initial cost, pollution. If you want to save as much energy as possible LEDs are best. If you live in a cold climate without air conditioning, it is probably not worth changing the bulbs from incandescent since all the “wasted” heat goes to heating your house.

jerv's avatar

@worriedguy The amount of mercury in a CFL is fairly small, especially compared to certain types of batteries. Besides, there are plenty of other nasty chemicals in the average house, so we’re all going to die horribly anyways.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@worriedguy while LEDs are a high initial cost, they practically last forever so you dont have to replace them often thus leading to saving more down the road.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@uberbatman Right now the cost of the bulbs are so high. I expect they will drop in a year or two. Then I’d jump at them.

@jerv It is not just the mercury the bulbs take a whole lot more “stuff” to make. Look the amount of glass, the circuit boards, the ceramics. That all takes resources. They are supposed to last longer than incandescents. However, the only way you can achieve the rated hours is by: 1) putting them in a light fixture that is open to air, 2) has the bulb vertical, 3) Is left on 24/7. Very few people have applications like that. That is why all of us have so many burned out CFL bulbs.

jerv's avatar

@worriedguy I haven’t burnt one out yet and mine are a few years old. Maybe brand matters?

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