Are LED’s Worth the Investment? Let’s do the math…

It’s a fair question! I’ve seen their ups and downs, so let me tell you my experiences with the bulbs. When one of the first PAR30 bulbs came out, one of my clients invested a small fortune filling every can light in his home with those bulbs.  Supposedly, they were rated for 50,000 hours (about 20 years of life), but within the first year, he’d already lost one bulb. The second year, two more bulbs burned out. 

The Evolution of LED

So are LED lights a bust? Hang with me for the rest of the story. Over the years that followed, the industry went crazy about LEDs and the progress was astounding. Infamous hot-to-the-touch energy-sucking halogen bulbs were replaced by clean, crisp LED bulbs.

Similarly, some LED fixtures, such as the standard A-19 lamp, even have a clever filament-imitation inside the bulbs. This way, they provide all the functional benefits of LED lighting, while still catering to traditional expectations of how residential-use bulbs should look.

Function and Form

But does that mean LED lights are all style, with disappointing results? Actually, thanks to a few more years of trial and error, today’s LED’s are reliable, affordable, very functional and save lots of energy. They decrease wattage use and offer options all over the Kelvin scale (varying light color temperatures).  Almost any fixture can be fitted for LED bulbs, and most manufacturers recommend them for new fixtures.

Let’s Check the Math Out

A traditional incandescent bulb runs at 60 watts and will last a year with average use in a home, and average energy costs nationwide add up to $.15 per kWh (kilowatt hour).  A typical American home has approximately 50 light bulbs and run an average of 3 hours per day, requiring roughly 270 kWh to power those bulbs and need to be changed every 6-8 months.

Check out the annual costs of incandescent bulbs in both a home. The results will surprise you.

Lighting Costs in an average Home:

Incandescent Bulb Cost

$1.50 ea bulb x 73 bulbs (based on average life) =


Incandescent Energy Cost

60 watts x 3 hours x 365 days x 50 bulbs=3.3 million-watt hours (3,285 kWh) =


Total Incandescent Cost Per Year in a Home $602.50

LED Energy Costs

At home: 9 watts x 3 hours x 365 days x 50 bulbs = 492k watt hours (492 kWh) =

 $73.80 per year

LED Bulb Cost

$3.50 ea bulb x 7.5 bulbs (based on average life) =

 $26.25 per year

Total LED Cost Per Year in a Home $100.05

Average LED Savings

$502.45 per year

Replacing your incandescent bulbs with energy efficient, longer-lasting bulbs save you an average of $502.45 in a typical size American home. Larger homes, or homes where power cost exceeds $.15 per kWh would see an even more dramatic savings. Not to mention that LED bulbs usually last much longer than incandescent bulbs and will save you the cost of constantly buying new bulbs.

These bulbs have finally become what they were intended to be—beautiful, functional, long-lasting, affordable bulbs.  All the things you want in a light bulb! So, are LED’s worth the money? Now that we’re past their beginning stages… Absolutely.