San Antonio Homes Delamp with LED Lighting… For Good Reasons

As electricians in San Antonio, we observe homeowners having to adapt quickly to inflation in the cost of food and utilities. To save on electricity bills, the trend is to switch a whole house out of traditional light bulbs into LED lights. These use much less wattage than incandescent bulbs and you need less bulbs for the same illumination power.

The adoption of LED lighting has become so common that the movement has gotten its own moniker: “delamping“. Delamping is reducing the number of light sources in a home by replacing legacy lights with more efficient and brighter lights to save on energy costs.

To “delamp” successfully, you need to plan carefully the illumination of your home in terms of surface area and volumes. LED lights are much brighter than incandescent bulbs. They are also more directional. If you don’t plan well enough, you will wind up with areas much darker than others. Not necessarily a bad thing, but you want to be intentional in your effort to remodel your lighting.

The licensed electricians of All Star Electric San Antonio help you transition from incandescent to LED. We can remodel your home lighting to create a beautiful interior that generates energy savings. To discuss this project, contact us using the form on this page. Or call us at (210) 391-0274 for a first initial consultation.

LED Lighting: Customizing Your Living Space

One of the many reasons why you would want to switch to LED lighting is obvious. LED lights offer tons of possibilities to personalize your lighting room by room.

Directional lighting

Incandescent bulbs produce a 360° light illuminating every object and the empty space in the vicinity of the bulb. The only way to highlight a specific area/object is to cover the bulb with a sconce or shade. This method prevents light from traveling around. But this also means that most of the energy consumed by the bulb goes to waste.

On the contrary, LED lights are directional. Their light footprint is smaller: brighter, but smaller. If you want to partition a room in several bright/dark areas, plan the location and height of your LED lights. No energy will go to waste.

LED lighting makes zone lighting an inexpensive reality in a home because LEDs emit directional light.

Colors and Mood Setting

In addition, some models of LED lights can change color. When you want to change the “vibe” of a room, you take your phone, and switch colors on a dial. From bright white to fancy purple and pink, it’s all the same lights, just a different setting.

To create the same lighting pattern and ambiance using legacy bulbs, you would need 4x more light sources. And the effect would not be as good. Medical research has taught us that colors influence mood and health. LED lighting is not just a way to remodel our living space. It is also a mean to enhance our quality of life by enabling us to modify the ambiance in our homes to a soothing or more exciting vibe.

There are multiple benefits in hiring professional electricians like All Star Electric San Antonio to implement a “delamping” project. Knowing the characteristics of LEDs, we can calculate the types and number of LED lights required. You also need help to plan out their precise position in your rooms. We advise you about the type of controls you need to achieve your aesthetic goals. And we map out the position of these controls to make it simple to command your lighting system.

We would be glad to consult you on a project like this. Just use the contact form on this page or call us at (210) 391-0274 to discuss your ideas.

LED Lighting: Bringing More Variety in Design & Style

Contrary to fluorescent lights or incandescent bulbs, the illumination power of an LED light does not depend on the volume of the light itself. LEDs come in small packages, and their shapes can vary.

True, there are LED bulbs that look like traditional bulbs (e.g. the Edison bulbs). Their design simply imitates old incandescent bulbs. A lot of LEDs are very small, and they come in many different shapes including quasi-flat strips.

Form Factor

Surface-mount LED pancake lights are easier to install than traditional recessed cans, making LED lighting a cheaper option.

LEDs benefit from a very flexible “form factor“. This explains why manufacturers of LED light fixtures can come up with new models all the time.

This characteristic also liberates manufacturers from the need to leave space around the LED, unlike on fixtures made to house incandescent bulbs which require space to let the heat of the bulb dissipate. In an LED light, the base generates the heat. Not the light itself.

In kitchen lighting for instance, surface-mount LED pancake lights (also called pucks) are replacing traditional deep canisters made to house incandescent bulbs, fluorescent lights, and halogens. Surface-mount pucks are much easier to install as they require very little clearance above the ceiling.

LED strip lights offer continuous light and color-changing capabilities, making them useful in a project to switch into all-LED lighting.

Another good example of the convenience of a small or flat form factor is LED strip lights. Over the past 7 years, manufacturers have reengineered these strips to solder LEDs closer and closer.

Technological evolution

Today, machine solder LEDs so close to each other that these strips produce light without discontinuity. Gone are the “dotted lines”.

Engineers design color-changing LEDs to emit light across the visible spectrum. This feature gives users even more flexibility to tune their lighting to the style they want: soft and intimate Scandinavian style, bright industrial style, 1980s Miami-fluorescent style… It’s really up to your imagination. Change scenery every day without changing any fixture!

Small form factor, color-changing capabilities, rapid innovation in fixture design… All these factors make LED lighting a much better alternative than traditional bulbs to decorate your interior.

All Star Electric San Antonio helps you with luminosity calculations, choice of fixtures, types of controls (voice and touch apps, dimmers and switches, etc.). We make your switchover to LED lighting a wildly successful project. Contact us using the form on this page. Or just call us for a first phone consultation at (210) 391-0274.

LED Lighting: Money Matters

As mentioned above, LED technology offers us the possibility to light up our homes more efficiently by reducing the number of light sources we need, and by generating more light per watt than incandescent bulbs.

In a past article published on our blog, we highlighted how much money a family could save by switching from incandescent bulbs to LED lights. In this article, we cited governmental research studies showing that households’ power consumption attributable to lighting needs varied region by region based on the type of lights and the number of light sources used by these households.

Studies show that LED lighting is a source of actual savings through:

  • A reduction in the number of light sources used in a home
  • The longer lifespan of each individual light source (obsolescence, failure)
  • Decreased energy usage per light source

We wrote a small calculator to help you figure out your daily cost of lighting based on your mix of LED and traditional bulbs. Vary the numbers of each type of light sources and you will the daily impact on your lighting costs.

Our model is based on these assumptions:

  • The number of LEDs and regular bulbs you use
  • The wattage of each type of light
  • An average electricity rate of $0.13/kWh
  • An average electricity usage of 5 hours per day throughout the year.

Go ahead, try it out.

Daily Lighting Cost Calculator

Lighting Cost Calculator

Input your values, add as many rooms as your home comprises

Room 1

Total daily cost of lighting: $0.00

There is no doubt that compared to traditional lighting, switching to LED lighting will reduce your electricity usage and your power bill. Now, switching to LED lighting has a cost, and the issue is to determine if the lower cost of electricity used in your household offsets the investment you make in your delamping project.

We have good reasons to think it does, and we can help you calculate the potential savings. Just call us for a free consultation at (210) 391-0274. Or fill out the form in the sidebar on the right of this page, and we will contact you rapidly.

LED Lighting: Cost vs. Benefits Today and Tomorrow

Though it is difficult to make an apple-to-apple comparison of LED lighting and legacy products because of the technological gap between the two generations of products, we can compare basic LED lights with limited functionalities such as Edison bulbs with legacy incandescent bulbs emitting a similar quality of light.

Household Budget Exercise

For our example, we use a Philips Dimmable 5.5W LED bulb, and a Bulbrite 40W incandescent bulb.

Purchasing Cost

The Edison-type LED light costs about $5.70, or 6x the cost of a basic incandescent bulb ($0.90). The LED light emits 500 lumens of light, about twice the brightness of the incandescent bulb (280 lumens). You would need 2x legacy bulbs to get the same illumination (the technical term is “luminous flux”) as 1 LED light.

Power Usage

The incandescent bulb uses 40 Watts of power, about 8x the power usage of the LED light (5.5 Watts). To get the same illumination as 1 LED bulb, your 2 incandescent bulbs would consume 2x 40 Watts of power. You would have to budget 16x more electricity to keep the same level of light in your home.

Life span

The estimated life span of this incandescent bulb is 2.3 years for 3 hours of use per day. The estimated lifetime of the LED light is 13.7 years for the same daily use, or about 5.5x longer than the incandescent bulb. You will have to replace your 2 incandescent bulbs 6 times over the lifetime of your LED light.

Their purchase cost would (theoretically) be 6 x 2 x $0.9= $10.8 (not counting inflation), or about twice the original cost of the LED light.

Lighting Fixtures

Additionally, no one uses chandeliers with multiple lights everywhere in their home. Most often, our lighting fixtures support 1 bulb. So, even if you used a couple of chandeliers and a few sconces with 2 bulbs, you would still have to buy more lighting fixtures as you would need twice as many of these incandescent bulbs to keep the same level of illumination in your home.

Bottom Line

This example is very theoretical. But it serves to illustrate the fact that the apparent difference in cost when purchasing an LED light is more than offset by its much longer lifespan, a very large difference in energy consumption, and the lower spend in lighting fixtures.

Investing in LED lights will create a positive difference in your household budget in under 2 years. And the benefits do not stop here.

If you want us to help you calculate the savings you could make by switching to LED lighting, call us at (210) 391-0274. Or contact us using the form on the right side of this page. We look forward to helping you and your household.

A More Welcoming Home Elevates Your Mood

As we mentioned earlier, there is a huge gap in technological functionalities between legacy bulbs and LED lights. You can hide LED lights in tray/cove ceilings and alongside shelves to create ambiance lighting. Indirect lighting is soothing to the eye, and more relaxing than direct general lighting.

Using LED lighting directionality

LED lights also enable you to create narrow lighting areas, in the manner of small table lamp with a shade, but with a better level of direct illumination. Reading in dim light strain your eyes. By difference, an LED task light will create the same level of intimacy than a small table lamp, but a much better direct illumination of your book. Less eye strain can’t be bad, can it?

Because LED lights are directional, they can “sculpt” your interior by highlighting areas, architectural features, or objects you want to stand out, while leaving in the shadows areas that are less interesting. Contrasting light and shadow is the best way to create a unique interior without investing thousands of dollars in redecorating and changing furniture.

Better quality of life

Bathtub lit with concealed color-changing LED strip lights © 2024 All Star Electric San Antonio

All these benefits come under the heading “quality of life”. When you come home after a long day of work, you want your home to feel welcoming, to be relaxing. When you want a bit of time alone, it is pleasant to be able to “cocoon” in a darker area, with a good book in hand. Or to retreat to your favorite sanctuary room and soak into a hot bath, in the gentle flicker of candles and the soothing glow of LED strips hidden in the nooks and crannies of your master bath.

If this scenario is appealing to you and your household, contact us using the form on the right side of this page, or give us a call at (210) 391-0274. We will be glad to advise you based on your current energy usage and the lighting system of your home.

Sustainability: Is it a Concern?

Sustainability is a big word. Probably an overused buzzword. But we can’t deny the fact that consumerism impacts natural resources, creates pollution and waste, and by the same token, affects our quality of life.

Even if sustainability is not a central issue in their lives, most people find some sense of satisfaction when they consciously avoid wasting resources, make an effort to save on energy, and do what is necessary to keep their possessions in good shape for a longer time.

In our daily job as electricians in San Antonio, TX we meet many people who love the quality of life in our city. They will do what they can to preserve our environment and keep it clean.

Illustration of a park in San Antonio Texas, with people strolling about ©2024 All Star Electric San Antonio

At the core of it, sustainability is just that: doing what we can at our small individual level to conserve our natural resources and preserve the quality of our environment.

LED Lighting: A Greener Choice?

As any well-informed person can tell you, there are two sides to LED lighting: the bad news, and the good news.

The bad news

LED lights are difficult to recycle. As a matter of fact, they are not fully recyclable, mostly for economical reasons.

In an article titled “How to Recycle LED Light Bulbs“, Earth911 provides detailed information on recycling LED light bulbs. Among the key takeaways:

Illustration of a German recycling plant with conveyor belts, sorting stations, and burners ©2024 All Star Electric San Antonio
  1. Recyclability: Most components of LED bulbs, including glass, metal, and plastic, are recyclable. However, not every recycling facility can process all these materials due to the cost of separating them.
  2. Recycling Process: LED bulbs are shredded to break apart components, which are then separated into glass, plastic, and metal using various methods like “eddy current sorters” and “photopic separators”. Metals, especially copper and aluminum, are the most valuable and recyclable components of LED bulbs.
  3. Non-Recyclable Components: A powder of heavy rare earth metals used in some color-changing LED bulbs is currently not recoverable due to the small quantities involved. Recycling technology may evolve to recover these materials in the future.

In the U.S., it is legal for people to dump LED lights in a public landfill. In Europe, people must bring broken LED lights to special processors. European countries are typically subsidizing recycling in order to achieve better sustainability at a macro level.

By comparison, incandescent bulbs are 100% recyclable.

That’s for the not-so-green side of LEDs.

The good news

The upside of LED has 2 facets:

Illustration of a section of the supply chain logistics of the LED industry: Shipping & Transportation ©2024 All Star Electric San Antonio
  • Less consumables, less transportation, less energy usage: LEDs have a longer lifespan than legacy bulbs, 5-6x longer. That means that for the same production of light, we consume less raw and transformed materials when we use LEDs. On a macroeconomic level, this translates into millions of tons of materials not extracted from the earth to be transformed, and millions of tons of coal not burned in the power plants necessary to transform the raw materials. In addition, we could consider the energy-equivalent savings in oil stemming from the decrease in the number of light bulbs transported both by ships and by trucks, considering all stages of the economic cycle from raw material production areas to processing plants, to manufacturing facilities, to storage warehouses, to retail locations, to end-users, all the way to end-of-life disposal facilities.
  • Energy savings at consumer level: The use of LEDs does not just save industrial energy. As we discussed above, the most obvious energy savings are taking place in households, in the form of delamping and a decrease in the power draw from the grid.

Although it would be extremely complex to calculate precisely these savings, they are real nonetheless and they more than offset the limitations of the current recycling process. To speak like an environmentalist, “they have a smaller carbon footprint”.

For these reasons, from our perspective, switching out legacy bulbs in favor of LED lights is an eco-friendly decision. LED lights are simply greener than legacy bulbs.

Better Durability Through Better Engineering

We mentioned earlier that LED lights have a longer lifespan than incandescent bulbs. In our example, the manufacturer of the LED light estimates its lifespan to almost 14 years, while that of the incandescent bulbs is barely over 2 years.

The following 6 factors explain why LED lights have a longer lifespan than traditional incandescent bulbs: lower operating temperature, better energy efficiency, solid-state construction, better thermal management, better chemical stability, better resistance to frequence on/off cycling.

Operating Temperature and Degradation of Material

LED lights operate at a lower temperature than incandescent bulbs, which work by heating a tungsten filament to a high temperature. Due to the evaporation caused by the heat, that filament gradually thins down and eventually breaks. In contrast, LEDs produce light through electroluminescence in semiconductors, which involves much lower temperatures: this reduces degradation over time.

Energy Efficiency

LEDs are more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs. Incandescent bulbs convert only about 10% of their energy into visible light, with the rest being wasted as heat. LEDs, on the other hand, convert about 80% of the energy received into light. As a result, they operate at lower power levels (low-voltage converters) for the same light output, and this reduces stress on the materials.

Solid-State Construction

LEDs are solid-state devices: they are made from solid materials with no filament or glass envelope that can break. This makes them more resistant to shock and vibration. You don’t break an LED light as easily as an incandescent bulb.

Improved Thermal Management

LED technology includes advanced thermal management systems (heat sinks and other cooling mechanisms) that help dissipate heat more effectively and prevent overheating.

Chemical Stability

The materials used in LEDs are more chemically stable under typical operating conditions than the tungsten and inert gas used in incandescent bulbs. This slows down the degradation of the light source.

Less Impact from Frequent On/Off Cycling

Incandescent bulbs are more adversely affected by frequent on/off cycling, which shortens their lifespan. LEDs are less susceptible to degradation from being switched on and off.

The durability of LED lights makes them a better investment than incandescent bulbs. Switching your lighting system to an LED lighting system will make an immediate difference in your quality of life and will improve your household budget over the medium-to-long term. Contact us to help you estimate the cost savings and show you the possibilities that LED lighting open for your home. Call us at (210) 391-0274 or use the contact form on the right side of this page and we will contact you back shortly.

LED Lighting Installation: DIY or Professional?

As professional San Antonio electricians installing LED lighting in homes frequently, we fully understand when a customer tells us they prefer to DIY their own installation. When it is just a matter of replacing an incandescent bulb with an LED light, this is not a problem.

But DIY can raise safety issues when installing a low-voltage system on high-voltage mains. Many LED lighting fixtures come with a low-voltage converter. Is it safe to use on your electrical circuits?

Planning is key to success

Electrical engineer working on residential electrical blueprints ©2024 All Star Electric San Antonio

We also talked earlier of the virtues of planning out your delamping project. When you reduce the number of your lighting appliances and use LEDs instead of bulbs to illuminate your home (the primary goal of a delamping project is to save energy), you will wind up with darkish areas and overly bright zones if you don’t calculate your illumination correctly.

Professional electricians with hundreds of installations under their belt have seen all these issues and mastered them. When All Star Electric San Antonio helps you plan and implement your LED lighting installation, we calculate the right number and type of LED lighting fixtures to install in your home to achieve a triple objective:

  • Saving energy wherever possible
  • Creating unique lighting patterns that make your home more comfortable and spectacular
  • Avoiding unplanned lighting patterns with deep shadows and uncomfortably bright zones

Oftentimes, we will create “layers of light” by superimposing several types of LED lights to create sophisticated lighting patterns, softening the brighter areas and giving more light to the recessed, darker ones.

We are also experts in handling the color palette, associating light colors that complement each other in a harmonious way.

A color wheel app on a tablet ©2024 All Star Electric San Antonio

And of course, you benefit from our 2-year warranty on labor if anything stops working as it should due to installation issues. Most electrical issues crop up immediately and are corrected on the spot. Our 2-year warranty puts your mind at ease and takes care of the risks that can’t be fully eliminated, such as electrical wiring going bad due to house settling, or climate-related issues.

Call All Star Electric San Antonio at (210) 391-0274 to discuss your LED lighting project with our licensed electricians. See what our electrician team brings to your table in terms of know-how and expertise.

LED Lighting: Safety & Health Considerations

LED lights have technical properties that make them a good choice for homeowners, in some respect a better choice than incandescent lines. We described some of these properties earlier, but let’s summarize them here.

Low Heat Signature: Keeping Your Home More Secure

LED lights have a low heat signature. Unlike incandescent bulbs, which convert about 90% of the energy they are fed into heat, LED lights remain cool to the touch even after hours of use. This reduces the risk of accidental burns and fire hazards. However, if you install recessed LEDs in your ceilings, you have to make sure the heat sinks have enough space to disperse the heat.

Lighting Quality: Preserving Your Eyesight

LED lights offer a better visual clarity than incandescent. LEDs are directional light sources. Their directional capability allows for more focused and controlled lighting, which enhances visual clarity especially in task lighting or spotlighting applications. In contrast, incandescent bulbs emit light in all directions, which results in less efficient and less focused illumination.

Color Rendering Index: Go for the Highest

LED lights have a Color Rendering Index (CRI) of up to 97, but more typically around 95. The CRI is a measure of the ability of a light source to reveal the colors of various objects faithfully in comparison with a natural light source. A CRI of 100 renders true colors. Incandescent bulbs typically have a CRI of around 100. On that measurement, incandescent bulbs have the upper hand over LED lights. When you choose LED lighting, especially “spot lighting” or “task lighting”, choose the highest possible CRI.

Flickering: What to Avoid

LED lights can flicker, creating eye strain. There are 4 reasons why:

  1. Incompatible Dimmer Switches: Many LED lights are dimmable, but you pair them with dimmer switches designed for incandescent bulbs, they will flicker. The electrical requirements for LEDs are different from those of incandescent bulbs.
  2. Fluctuations in Power Supply: Variations or instability in your power supply can cause LEDs to flicker. We would check for issues with your electrical wiring, the quality of your power supply, or the presence of other electrical devices on the same circuit that may cause fluctuations in voltage.
  3. Poor Quality or Faulty LEDs: Low-quality or defective LED lights may flicker. There are a number of knock-off brands that you are better off avoiding. Their products are poorly designed, the manufacturers have substandard manufacturing processes, and they use inferior materials. We would guide your choice to reputable, reliable brands.
  4. Overheating: When an LED overheats, flickering occurs. The cause of the overheating is usually poor thermal management in the design of the LED, or installation in an enclosed fixture without adequate ventilation. All Star Electric only recommends reliable brands, and we know how to install LED lighting with efficient heat dispersal.

The team of electricians of All Star Electric San Antonio has a long experience of good and bad products on the LED lights market, and enough LED lighting installations under their belt to make your proejct a complete success. Share your ideas with us. Call us for a free consultation at (210) 391-0274 or contact us through the form on the right side of this page, and we will call you back rapidly.

Extending Your Living Space Outdoors with LED Lighting

Outdoor LED lighting in a property in San Antonio TX ©2024 All Star Electric San Antonio

Frankly, who doesn’t like enjoying the splendor of San Antonio’s evening skies in their backyard?

All Star Electric San Antonio can integrate your LED lighting installation seamlessly into your outdoor living space. Great outdoor and landscape lighting will make your home more enjoyable and help expand your social circle. It will also increase the curb appeal of your residence and raise its market value.

Outdoor Lighting Solutions: Style and Functionality

The LED lighting options we recommend are designed to enhance the features of any landscaped space. From garden paths to patios to gazebos and trees, All Star Electric San Antonio create your LED landscape lighting installation to ensure every important area of your property is thoughtfully lit. Our purpose is to create both safety and an inviting atmosphere that enhances the appeal of your residence.

To achieve that dual purpose, we work on:

  • Accentuating the architectural features of your home with precision lighting;
  • Enhancing security with well-placed lights to deter unwelcome visitors and wild life;
  • Boost the functionality of your outdoor areas with zone and task lighting.

Switching to LED lighting is not just an upgrade: it is also an expansion of the usable space in your property. Contact All Star Electric San Antonio at (210) 391-0274 to discover how we can help transform your outdoor with the splendor and practicality of LED lighting.

Ready to Switch to LED Lighting?

Take a first step by sharing your project with San Antonio electrician All Star Electric.

  • Schedule a Consultation: Our team of licensed electricians will assess your space and discuss your project with you. We will help you visualize and maximize the potential of LED lighting in your property.
  • Receive Comprehensive Support for 2 Years After the Completion of Your Project: From the initial assessment throughout the installation and all the way to 2 years after your project is completed, our team of licensed electricians will take full responsibility for the success of the project. Once we are started, we manage all the technical details. You can sit back and enjoy the transformation.

Call All Star Electric San Antonio to start discussing your project and receiving professional advice. Call us at (210) 391-0274 or use the form on the right side of this page and we will call you back shortly. Take this first step today, it does not commit you.

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