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Endesa - Electricity, Gas, People

How do LED light bulbs work and how long do they last?

Published on April 25, 2018

LED technology set a new course based on efficiency and design. Its characteristics make it superior to other lighting systems, and for that reason, these light bulbs have started to populate our homes.

Of all of the types of light bulbs that exist LEDs stand out from the rest.

They consume up to 80% less electricity electricity than incandescent light bulbs (“the same ones as always”), they don’t give off heat and do not include contaminating components.

With the current technology, the LED revolution is unstoppable and is already notably transforming the lighting of homes, businesses, public roads, home appliances and even greenhouses.

LED light bulbs are recyclable and unlike fluorescent light bulbs, they do not contain mercury or other contaminants

How long does an LED light bulb last?

Traditional incandescent light bulb fare a thing of the past (manufacturing them is prohibited in the European Union). Normally, they last around 1,000 hours before burning out.

Halogen light bulbs, which represented a step forward, can reach up to 3,000 hours. .

Low consumption light bulbs defied conventions by exceeding 15,000 hours of useful life.

Then, LED technology, arrived with light bulbs that last approximately 50,000 hours.  This is equivalent to having them turned on for 5 years without interruption.

How do LED light bulbs work?

LED technology is based on diodes. In fact, LED stands for Light Emitting Diode.

The diode is an electronic component with two points that allows the circulation of energy through it in one single direction. By being a semiconductor, it allows the electrons to pass and creates electromagnetic radiation in the form of light.

Because this component can vary its intensity, LEDs are capable of generating a nearly infinite combination of colours.

How were LED light bulbs invented?

In 1927, the Russian Oleg Lósev started to experiment with this technology. However, his discovery went unnoticed for decades until being recognised in late 20th Century.

The first LED emitted in the visible spectrum was developed in 1962 . Their system changed the paradigm of lighting and was improved until the Japanese Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano and the American Shuji Nakamura developed the light bulb we know today.

Based on their research, Nakamura, Akasaki and Amano were awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Developing the LED light led to the inventors winning the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics

The future is LED

LED technology is already being implemented in homes, commercial businesses and public roads. Its high energy efficiency is noted on all bills and its broad range of colours and forms forms contributes to its decorative aspect.

With LEDs, any space can be totally reformed, offering original lighting effects. LED strips , are responsible for most of this, which are capable of illuminating almost any area, no matter how obscure it is: stairs, cabinets, display cases, plants and shelves.

Another sector that also does not escape the LED revolution is the Administration in general, and festive lighting, in particular (Christmas, local celebrations, etc.).

LED technology is not only applied to lighting. LEDs have also taken over liquid crystal screens (LCR) that for years monopolised calculators, digital watches, televisions, etc.

LEDs have also gradually replaced the fluorescent lights of LCD screens. Thanks to this, the consumption and size of the apparatuses have reduced, while increasing the resolution and illumination.

More efficient LED greenhouses

Another sector in which the LED technology has been strongly introduced due to its high efficacy is the germination and flowering of plants. They are achieved thanks to the different wavelengths.

QWhat does this mean? The heat of the light can be regulated, making the plants profoundly absorb the parts of the spectrum that are needed most. For example, blue and red colours are beneficial for producing photosynthesis, and the most concentrated levels of green light promote growth.

LED light bulbs imitate sunlight and help plants carry out photosynthesis; hence, they are being used in all greenhouses.

In addition, LED lights can imitate sunlight.. Nevertheless, the imitation is not complete, but LEDs emit less heat than normal light bulbs, which justifies their energy savings, and making plants not be exposed to excessive temperatures during their development.

All that, in addition to their greater longevity and lower energy cost, make LED lighting a no-brainer.

How to obtain free hours of electricity

Whether or not you have LED lighting, your electrical consumption represents around half of what you pay on the bill .

Logically, the more efficient your light bulbs are, the less electricity you’ll consume. But how much will you pay for the electricity you consume? There are rates where you can choose some times when you don't pay anything. Thus, you can choose the times when you consume the most (when you use the washing machine, oven, dishwasher, etc.).