How to Replace Your Garage Light Bulbs with LEDs

Blue Sky Builders garage LED light bulbsIf you have been confused by the changes in light bulbs over the last few years, you are not alone. Most of us grew up with incandescent light bulbs and are still figuring out the transition to LED bulbs on the market. For example, in the incandescent world, we knew were supposed to buy heavy-duty bulbs marked “outdoor use” for fixtures in and around the garage. You probably even have some yellow bulbs for use in the summer to avoid a swarm of bugs around your doors. But what is the right replacement in the world of LED bulbs?

Watch Out for Wattage – Focus on Lumens

Our best tip for switching to LED bulbs is this: ignore the wattage and just make sure you get a bulb with enough lumens, which is a measure of brightness.

  • If you are replacing a 100-watt incandescent bulb, look for a LED bulb with 1,500 to 1,600 lumens.
  • A 75w replacement bulb should have at least 1,100 lumens.
  • Replace a 60w bulb with one that promises at least 800 lumens.

Unfortunately, many LED bulb packages and online sellers are misleading. They will say that a 9w LED is the replacement for a 100w incandescent, when in fact the bulb only produces 1,000 lumens. A replacement for a 100w incandescent bulb should be labeled closer to 14w.

Focus on getting the brightness of light that you need, because the LED energy savings will be significant even if you go up in lumens versus the incandescent bulb you are replacing. LEDs are up to 80% more energy-efficient than incandescents with equivalent lumens, because LEDs convert 95% of the incoming energy to light and waste only 5% as heat.

Other Bulb Attributes to Look For

One new type of bulb to check out is the “dusk to dawn” LED bulb. Built-in sensors turn these bulbs on automatically at dusk and turn them off at dawn. They will work in any fixture and do not require a wi-fi connection or special technology. Yellow “bug bulbs” are also available in LED form now.

In addition to “lumens,” another code word to learn in the LED bulb world is “kelvins.” Kelvins measure the color temperature of the light. 4600k to 6500k will give you a bright blue-white light similar to daylight, ideal for work spaces where very bright light is needed. 2000k to 3000k will give you a soft white light that is more yellowish, appropriate for living rooms and bedrooms.

Note that some LED bulbs are not meant to be used in enclosed fixtures, so be sure to check for that in the specifications. Using the incorrect bulb in an enclosed fixture may cause the bulb to burn out prematurely because it gets too warm.

To ensure longevity, you should make sure the bulbs you buy for use in and around your garage are marked as safe for outdoor use–an unheated garage is basically “outdoors.” The best bulbs are rated for use down to -20 degrees.

Bulbs going into exterior and garage light fixtures generally do not need to be waterproof. However, bulbs going into a fixture in an indoor or outdoor shower stall should be waterproof.

Look for the code “A26,” which means that the screw-threaded base will fit in your standard light sockets. The code “A19” defines the shape of a traditional incandescent light bulb, as opposed to a floodlight, candle flame, or round bulb.

Go Green with a Custom Garage in DuPage County

At Blue Sky Builders, we care about many things: our clients’ needs, their budgets, the quality of our work, and protecting the environment by using eco-friendly and energy-efficient materials. Are you looking to build or remodel a garage in the Chicago area this year? Contact us at 630-852-8485 for a free estimate.

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