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Six Common Misconceptions of LEDs

There's still a lot to be learned and explored about LED lighting, and there are some common misconceptions about them.  Here's the 6 most common ideas/thoughts being thrown around about LEDs, and the truths behind them.

1. LEDs don’t last any longer than fluorescents

False. LEDs typically have a 50,000-hour life expectancy (with some variables thrown in there such as the type of LED, the anticipated use, etc) whereas a typical fluorescent light lasts 7,000-15,000 hours.  You also have the added expense of changing ballasts in there as well when you are dealing with fluorescent lighting. 

2. LEDs require a ballast

False. Actually, most of the LEDs these days require you to bypass the ballast if you’re working with fluorescent fixtures.  Each LED light will have a driver that essentially takes the place of a ballast.  While they do make ballast-compatible LEDs, you are essentially retrofitting the LED to fit into an “older” generation of lighting and save costs.

3. LEDs require an expensive start-up cost

This one is actually somewhat true.  It cannot be stressed enough that when you make the decision to purchase LEDs, especially if you decide to outfit a large area, it needs to be looked at as an investment.  A good comparison is solar panels- they are very spendy to purchase initially, yet they are going to pay for themselves over time. Now if it’s a new construction your startup cost may be almost similar regardless of if you go with LEDs or fluorescents, yet you still have the fact that you will have to replace faulty ballasts over time which can be expensive and cumbersome.

Here at Petersen Parts, we try to make this initial start-up cost a little less painful.  The first option is to subscribe to our newsletter; we offer monthly promotions and savings that can put some of those dollars back in your pocket.  In addition, always check with your power company or coop prior to making the leap- this way you will know what rebates they offer and can calculate the return on investment before anything is purchased. 

4. LEDs contain hazardous chemicals

False. There have been some articles floating around that state LEDs contain hazardous materials. LEDs don’t contain mercury or any toxic chemicals.  Some do emit RF wavelengths, but this is completely dependent on the company and manufacturer. 

5. LEDs require a specific disposal process

False. This is something that doesn’t get talked about often, as LEDs are a fairly new technology and they just simply last so long.  Because there are no toxic chemicals, if you simply wanted to throw them in the trash you safely could.  We highly recommend you take apart the LEDs and recycle the various components of the light, but you will not be disposing of toxic waste if it does end up in the trash.

6. LEDs don’t work well in cold temperatures

This is also false.  Typical fluorescent lights take a while to warm up, while LEDs are instant-on with full power as there’s no gas inside of them. Most of our lights have been rated for temperatures as cold as -30°.

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