When it comes to replacing old incandescent bulbs with LEDs, a common question that customers ask is: “Can I use an LED bulb that has a higher wattage equivalent than my fixture allows?” The simple answer is yes, as long as the LED bulb uses less wattage than your fixture. When you see a label say “100-Watt LED equivalent” that does not mean that the bulb actually uses 100 Watts, it means that it produces an amount of light equivalent to a 100-Watt incandescent bulb. If your socket says not to exceed 60-Watts, it is referring the dangers of high heat output associated with incandescent bulbs. However, LED’s do not emit dangerous levels of heat. Thus, if your fixture says “not to exceed 60-Watts” but you want to use a 100-Watt equivalent LED bulb, this would be safe to do so.
But why are LED’s so much more efficient? The answer is because they don’t use direct heat to produce light. Incandescent bulbs give off a much wider spectrum of radiation since they are heating metal as the source of illumination. While incandescent bulbs give off visible light, they also give off nonvisible radiation like UV light and infrared light, causing them to consume far more energy. On the other hand, LED’s only give off radiation in the form of visible light – a much narrower spectrum –making them drastically more energy efficient.
Another question you may have is: “How do I know if my LED bulb will be bright enough?” When dealing with LED bulb brightness, you want to think Lumens, not Watts. As a general benchmark, an 800 lumen LED bulb produces the same amount of light as a traditional incandescent 60-Watt light bulb. But maybe you want to use something even brighter? For a 60-Watt fixture, you could use a 100W, 125W, or even 150W LED equivalent because they all consume under 60-Watts! The 150W LED equivalent produces about 2,600 lumens, while using only about 30 Watts. That means you could use a 150W LED equivalent bulb in a 60W socket and get more than three times the brightness of your old 60-Watt incandescent bulb.
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