How Many LED Watts Do I Need to Replace my Existing Lighting?
We hear this question all the time. The unfortunate reality is "watts" is the wrong way to shop when you are replacing your existing lighting. You need to be focusing on "lumens". In the world of LED, a watt is comsumed by the LED product and light is produced, that light is called lumens. Some LEDs products are better at doing that than other products. So it is important to understand that not all LED products are equal in terms of how efficient they are at converting watts to lumens. In technical terms, we call this lumens/watt.
Here is a practical example. Our LED Retrofit Kits are built to run between 130 and 150 lumens per watt. This means that for every watt consumed, they will produce 130 to 150 lumens. So our 105W retrofit kit at 138 lumens per watt produces 14,528 lumens. In contrast, a competitive retrofit product that uses older LED Chips is designed to run at 97 lumens per watt. This competitive retrofit kit produces slightly over 13,000 lumens but needs 135W to do produce that amount of light. So clearly watts is a poor guage to determine what you would use to replace an existing light source. If a customer called both companies and asked the "watts" question, we would say 105W, they would say 135W. How is that customer suppose to make a decision? But even then, my 105W produces more lumens than their 135W product.
So when customers ask us how many 'Watts" do I need to replace an existing light source, we always convert them to lumens.
However, there is one large elephant still left here that I need to talk about. And that is the discussion of efficiency. In the above example, our retrofit kits produce more light while consuming 30 less watts per kit. This is important, because this is 30 less watts that you are consuming and paying for on your electricity bill. So efficiency does matter, because it means your electricity bill will be significantly less using the 105W retrofit kit than our competitors 135W retrofit kit. So as with the discussion above, there is a vast difference between LED products being offered on the market today. Read the specs, and educate yourself on lumens. The less watts you consume saves you money, the more efficient the light is means it will produce more light using less energy than less efficient models.
Should I Buy New fixtures or retrofit my existing fixtures?
This is another interesting question. And over the years, we have seen some pretty interesting answers coming from some of our competitors. Those that sell new fixtures claim new fixtures are the way to go. Those that sell only retrofit kits claim retrofit kits are the only way to go. Who is the LED Consumer going to believe?
Fortunately, MyLEDLightingGuide sells both new fixture and retrofit kits and so we are not biased in helping our customer make this decision. Keep in mind one point as you make your decision. LED Retrofit Kits are less expensive than a brand new fixture because you are not paying for the cost of the fixture. You are also not paying for the disposal of the existing fixture. We have heard the stories about how LEDs perform better in a new fixture than they do if you retrofit an existing fixture. That's an interesting argument. Fortunately, we have had cases where we have sent both new fixtures and retrofit kits to customers to "test" the different options. Based on our experience, we have not seen evidence where the new fixture "always" performs better or is preferred over the retrofit solution. In more cases than not, the LED solution wins because they do a great job and the cost is better.
Also, some "new fixture" vendors would like for you to believe that LED Retrofits do not last long. Some vendors like to claim that all product coming from overseas is cheap and made poorly. Here is what we believe to be true. Our retrofit kits are currently in their 4th generation of production. Our LED Retrofit kits currently come with a 10 year warranty. They are built with brand name LED Chips and Drivers.
Here are some simple questions you can ask yourself:
1. Are my fixtures in relatively good shape? Are they rusted out? If not, then consider retrofitting.
2. Are my current fixtures 'expensive' and I paid a lot of money for them? If so, then consider retrofitting.
3. Are my fixtures really old (> 15 years)? Then consider a new fixture.
4. Do I have an explosion proof rated fixture? Never retrofit! This is a safety issue.
5. is your fixture outdoors and not water tight? Then consider a new fixture.
For the most part, you should consider using retrofit kits if your existing fixtures are in good shape.