Can I use an LED on a dimming switch/circuit?

Most ENERGY STAR certified light bulbs are dimmable. If you are planning to use LEDs on dimming switches or circuits, please look for an LED product that has the word "dimmable" on its packaging. Check the website on the bulb package for recommended dimmers.

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Can LEDs be used in recessed cans, outdoor lights or track lighting?

Yes! Always read the packaging of the LED to be sure of its proper application, but there are a wide variety of ENERGY STAR certified LEDs that are designed for use in most fixtures in your home or business.

Product types include:

  • Incandescent shape (or A-shaped) and globes – both are good in fixtures where the bulb is exposed, or in fixtures with clamp lamp shades.
  • Reflectors – intended for non-dimmable track lighting and recessed cans, and some weather-protected outdoor spot lights.
  • Candle shapes – for use in some porch lights, in wall sconces and in some chandeliers.
  • Some LEDs are qualified to be used in 3-way and dimmable fixtures (like chandeliers, recessed lights or track lighting).
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Why are incandescent bulbs so inefficient?

Incandescent light bulbs work by heating a tungsten filament, or wire, until it glows. This is what produces the light you see. Unfortunately, 90% of the energy used to generate that light is wasted as heat, making incandescent bulbs a very inefficient way to light your home. ENERGY STAR qualified LEDs, on the other hand, connect an LED chip to an electrical current, which excites the electrons within the semiconductor. This results in a release of photons, which we see as light. This is a much more efficient way of producing light, and means LEDs produce far less heat.

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How does a product earn the ENERGY STAR?

ENERGY STAR manufacturer partners must certify that their product meets the strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy. When they do, they may place the label on their product. As technology advances and more energy-efficient products make it to the marketplace, ENERGY STAR reviews the guidelines for each product category and strengthens them as necessary to ensure that, generally, only the top 25% of products in each category can earn the label.

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Is it important to buy an ENERGY STAR qualified LED?

ENERGY STAR qualified LEDs are different from other LEDs on the market because they have been tested to meet stringent performance criteria established by the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy. The criteria ensures that all LEDs earning the ENERGY STAR meet minimum lifetime and efficacy requirements, and have a 3-year minimum warranty requirement.

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I want to replace my 60-watt incandescent light bulb. How do I select the best LED?

Finding an ENERGY STAR qualified LED that will put out the same amount of light as your current incandescent bulb is easy. Manufacturers include product equivalency information on the packaging to help consumers choose a bulb that produces enough light. For example, if you are looking for an ENERGY STAR qualified light bulb to replace your 60-watt incandescent, look for words like “Soft White 60” or “60 Watt Replacement” on the packaging.

A watt is actually a measure of power consumption. When purchasing a light bulb, what you are really after is light output, which is measured in lumens. When you purchase a 60-watt incandescent bulb, you are getting about 800 lumens. By selecting an 8 to 12-watt ENERGY STAR qualified LED instead, you can still get 800 lumens, but it requires much less power.

See our Bulb Converter Guide for more information.

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What are LED bulbs and why should I use them?

LED bulbs use light emitting diodes to produce light more efficiently than a standard incandescent light bulb. LEDs can be used in table lamps, ceiling fixtures, wall fixtures and outdoor porch lights and lamp posts. LEDs last up to 25 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs and use less energy to operate.

LED technology has several advantages over incandescent lighting technology: it lasts up to 25 times longer; it uses up to 90% less energy while providing the same brightness. In addition, it provides a flicker-free start and soft-white light, is environmentally friendly, and comes in a variety of styles.

Just like incandescent bulbs, LEDs come in different color “temperatures” (e.g. soft white, bright white). If you want a light most like an incandescent, choose an LED with a temperature around 2700K. For brighter task lighting, choose a higher temperature, around 3500K. The higher the color temperature, the bluer the light will appear.

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