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PAR LED Bulbs – Five Things to Consider When Purchasing

Due to their wide and varied application, PAR  light   bulbs  can consume a large portion of the energy used to  light  a home or business. Around a home or office you can find them in many places including: recessed can  lights , track  lighting , home security  lighting , stage  lighting  and use as individual spotlights in art galleries and museums. These applications often use high wattage  bulbs  running for many hours a day which makes them prime candidates for replacement with energy efficient PAR  LED   bulbs . Depending on the application, a PAR  LED   bulb  will typically last five to ten times as long as a halogen or incandescent PAR  bulb  while reducing energy consumption by seventy percent or more. PAR  LED   bulbs  can vary widely in quality, color temperature, beam angle and a number of other factors. Here are five things to consider before you make your purchase:

1. Size of the PAR  bulb : You can easily determine what size PAR  bulb  you’re trying to replace even if you’ve thrown away the packaging and/or your  bulb  is not clearly marked. The two numbers immediately following the PAR designation are a measurement of the  bulbs  diameter in eighths of an inch. For example, a PAR38  bulb  will have a diameter of 4.75 inches (38/8 = 4.75). Here are some common PAR  bulbs  and their diameters:

PAR16  LED   Bulb : 2″

PAR20  LED   Bulb : 2.5″

PAR30  LED   Bulb : 3.75″

PAR38  LED   Bulb : 4.75″

2. Beam angle: Do you know the beam angle of the  bulb  you are replacing? The beam angle of a  bulb  is measured as the angle between the two directions opposed to each other where the luminous intensity is 50% of the maximum luminous intensity. In simpler terms, the beam angle gives one a sense of how wide the beam spreads out when emitted from the  bulb  and can range from a narrow spotlight to a very wide floodlight. A PAR  LED  spotlight will typically have a beam angle of twenty degrees or less while a PAR  LED  floodlight can range from the low twenty degree range all the way to forty-five degrees or more. It’s almost a guarantee that you’ll be dissatisfied with your purchase if, for example, you mistakenly buy a PAR  LED  spotlight when replacing a halogen PAR floodlight. Note: it can be difficult to find the beam angle on the  bulb  or packaging, but a quick search for the  bulb  model number on the manufacturer’s website will usually  lead  to this information.

3. Wattage: The good news is that most  LED  PAR  light   bulbs  will consume much less power than the incandescent or halogen  bulb  you are replacing. In some cases the energy savings can be up to 80% or more! However, we have been conditioned through the long use of incandescent and halogen  bulbs  to associate a brightness ( light  output) with a particular wattage, but in the world of  LED   lighting  that doesn’t tell the whole story. Wattage is really a measure of the amount of power a  bulb  requires and not a measure of actual  light  output. Therefore, it’s best to look at the wattage difference between the  bulb  you’re replacing and the  new   LED   bulb  you’re purchasing solely to determine the energy savings you can expect to receive. You will still find that most  LED   bulbs  come with a reference as to what wattage of standard  bulb  they are capable of replacing, but be aware that many manufacturers and unscrupulous retailers overstate these claims by a wide margin. This  leads  us to take a closer look at the  light  output of a PAR  bulb  as measured in lumens.

4. Lumens: Lumens are a true measure of  light  output and will help a potential buyer of PAR  LED   light   bulbs  to more accurately calculate which particular  bulb  they’ll need to buy in order to get an equivalent amount of  light . The scientific explanation of how lumens are measured is beyond the scope of this article, but the amount of  light  being output by a  bulb , as well as the amount of  light  actually hitting the surface you are trying to  light  (measured as lux) are important considerations when purchasing a PAR  LED   bulb . Again, this information can be difficult to find on packaging but is typically available on manufacturer’s websites. If spending time trying to track down comparative lumen output data doesn’t sound like a lot fun you’ll need to make sure and purchase your  LED   bulbs  through a reputable source that does in-house testing and provides comparison numbers you can trust.

5. Lifespan: Another factor to consider is the lifespan of a PAR  LED   bulb  versus that of an incandescent or halogen  bulb . Halogen PAR  light   bulbs  have an average lifespan of five thousand hours while, depending on the make and manufacturer, the lifespan of  LED  PAR  bulbs  range from fifteen thousand to fifty thousand hours. Also, the lifespan of an  LED   bulb  is not calculated on the time to failure, but on the time it will take the  light  output of the  bulb  to depreciate to 70% of the original brightness. This is certainly something to consider when looking at the price of the  LED   bulbs  which tend to be several times more expensive than halogen  bulbs . You may end up going through the expense and trouble of replacing five or ten halogen  bulbs  when one PAR  LED   bulb  would still be going strong. The extended lifespan and cost of an  LED   bulb  should also  lead  you to consider the importance of buying from a reputable source and investigating what type of product warranty is provided.

 LED   lighting  continues to make rapid advancements in the areas of brightness, efficacy and color output, and as  LED   bulb  prices continue to drop more consumers are enjoying the benefits of this energy saving and eco-friendly  technology  in their homes or businesses. Educating yourself about the type of PAR  bulbs  you currently have and doing a little homework on what  LED  PAR replacement  bulbs  are available will go a long way towards helping you make a great purchase.

Source by Sean Coppom

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