Growing up, my dad was always having to remind us to turn off the lights when we'd leave the room. Now, I was an avid reader of Ranger Rick, participated in recycling, picked up trash on the street to throw it away in the nearest bin, and had a thing for saving the dolphins in jr. high. I was a California-grown, earth-aware kind of kid! Except I really enjoyed having all of the lights on in our house. It felt so much cozier to walk back up to my bedroom an hour later to be welcomed by a well-lit scene. Also, I just never remembered to turn off the light when I left a room.
Now that I'm the other end of the electricity bill, I know better. I'm the one that just this morning had to remind my son to turn off his own bedroom lights before leaving for school. I have had to tell him this every day for the past month and I imagine it won't stick for a little while longer. Payback time, I guess.
It's not only about the electricity bill, though. Everyone loves to save money where they can but it's more and more important for Brett and I to show our kids how many opportunities they have to make a choice to take care of the earth and it's resources. We aren't able to live off the grid and have a zero-carbon footprint lifestyle but we can still do our part in a lot of ways. When Ace Hardware asked if we'd like to switch out our existing light bulbs with LED bulbs, it was a no-brainer.
In each rental we've replaced all of the burnt out bulbs with CFL lights because they were what we were familiar with and were relatively energy efficient. However, they contain a little bit of mercury and are a pain to dispose of. They were also not very attractive as an uncovered lighting option so we only used them in our dome lights and used Halogen bulbs in our other fixtures. I had also never looked into LED lights prior to this partnership because I was under the impression that they only gave off a sterile, harsh light. I've learned a lot about LED's in the last few weeks and I'm officially a convert. I wasn't born in the Show-Me state but I may as well have been.
I worked with Lou Manfredini, Ace's Home Expert on LED lights, to take inventory of all of the light fixtures in our downstairs rooms as well as two bedrooms upstairs. I made note of the kind of light fixture, the wattage it required, and the style of bulb being used. We have five hanging light fixtures downstairs as well as recessed lighting and then standard globe lights for things like the pantry and in the bathroom. Lou enlightened me (I couldn't help it) on the difference between Watts vs. Lumens and helped me decide which kind of LED bulbs we could use in each fixture.
We then received our LED bulbs and switched out the pre-existing Halogen and CFL bulbs, making sure to save them to put back in whenever we move. Does that make me cheap? Ha!
We changed them out on a rainy, overcast day so we kept them on most of the afternoon and into the evening. I was pleased with the quality of the light and that it still had a warmth to it. Our kitchen is all white with grey tile so I was concerned it might feel too harsh in there but it just felt bright and cheerful.
If you're like me and you'd rather get used to not having the recessed lighting in your 10-foot ceilings than locate a ladder and switch them out one-at-a-time within a three week period, then LED is the lightbulb of your dreams. These suckers are set to last us for the next 18-20 years based on our current usage which is just another reason I'll be taking them with us when we move someday. These bulbs are priced to pay for themselves within the first year of usage but then will save plenty of money by not requiring future bulbs to be purchased until we're empty nesters. Or, mostly empty nesters.
The best news for anyone ready to make the switch or even just try a bulb out to see what they think of the light is that all Feit LED bulbs are buy two, get one free online through November 1st, and at participating Ace Hardware stores through November 8th. Darker evenings mean we'll all be using our lights more often so I'm really thankful we're set up to save that much more energy this year.
My takeaway from this partnership with Ace Hardware to switch out most of our bulbs is this:
* LED's don't equal hospital corridor lighting. Go for the soft white if you like a warmer feel.
* You can get LED bulbs that have a nice silhouette should you be using them in an uncovered light fixture.
* They are a better choice than CFL's in that they contain no mercury, save a bit more on energy costs, and will last four times longer. Also, cuter.
* You'll only have to climb that ladder one more time!
* They're on sale right now if you need some.
Have you ever tried LED lighting? Do you see that cute globe bulb a few images above? I'm already scheming a light fixture DIY to incorporate it into. It's just so darn adorable!
Note: I've partnered with Ace Hardware to bring you this post. They provided me with the bulbs as well as compensation but all opinions are mine. Thank you for allowing me to share these kinds of posts in a manner that fits the Smile and Wave brand.