In two previous posts, we went after common myths about LED’s. Let’s look at the last few items of “fake news” circulating about this lighting technology.
Myth: LED’s can’t handle cold weather
LED’s not only handle cold weather well, it doesn’t affect their durability or how long it takes them to light. In fact, cooler temperatures may help an LED last even longer, because there is even less heat buildup inside the bulb or fixture.
Myth: LED’s Are Harmful to the Eyes and Brain
Because LED’s are often used to provide light at the blue end of the white spectrum (as opposed to the yellowish light incandescents give off), they’ve been confused with dangers caused by other bluish light sources, namely electronic screens.
Overexposure to phone, tablet and computer screens has been shown to cause eyestrain and even contribute to macular degeneration, and the light from them is blue. Blue light has recently been shown to interfere with the brain’s release of melatonin, disrupt the circadian rhythm, and cause other sleep problems. Since natural daylight (and bulbs and fixtures designed to simulate it) has a bluish tint, the light from these screens was convincing the bodies of the users that it was daytime, interfering with their ability to fall asleep.
However, an LED bulb or fixture won’t cause these problems, for several reasons. First, the light from a computer screen is more intense and closer to the eyes than a fixture’s light. Second, eye strain is caused by focusing vision in a relatively tight area for long periods of time, and you hopefully won’t be staring at your light bulbs! Lastly, the sleep disruption caused by screen time came at a time when the users should have been in dim or dark conditions. Unless you have your LED lights on in your bedroom, they won’t interfere with your sleep because you’ll be exposed to their light when you’re supposed to be in bright conditions.
Myth: LED’s and CFL’s are essentially the same
While it’s true that LED’s and CFL’s are both much more efficient than incandescents and use a similar amount of energy, they’re quite different, and it’s clear LED is the superior technology.
LED’s are far more durable, having a plastic casing instead of glass. An LED bulb that is dropped will almost always function perfectly afterward; you’ll need to get out the broom and dustpan to handle the CFL. In fact, you’ll need to be careful when you do: Many CFL’s use mercury vapor, which means some amount of mercury residue will be present.
Myth: LED’s Last Forever
Unfortunately, you will have to replace LED bulbs, but far, far less often. The best incandescent bulbs will often last 1,200 hours, which is a little more than a year’s use on average. Meanwhile, a quality CFL will last approximately 8,000 hours and the equivalent LED will last at least 20,000.