They are good, but are they your best option for outdoor ambiance lighting?
By Jim Singleton, JMS
LED stands for Light Emitting diode. It’s generally a semiconductor diode that emits light. It is a relatively new approach to lighting that is certainly gaining popularity because of the efficiency and long life.
It can usually be installed in almost all areas of the home. It’s most effective on the interior. It has been my experience, that the exterior LED Lighting has had some issues with moisture. Moisture can be catastrophic to the LED fixture.
The biggest advantage to using LED in your landscape lighting is the savings in electricity usage. Although it’s a savings, I consider it a very modest amount. Those savings are going to generally be somewhere in the $10 to $20 range per month based on my average size job. The other advantage is the life of the LED. They come with various ratings from 40,000 hours to 70,000 hours plus, but my experience has been that these numbers are somewhat unreliable. Also, with some of higher quality LED landscape lighting fixtures, when the LED fails, you have to replace the entire fixture instead of changing just a lamp.
This is LED’s biggest shortcoming. LED gives the landscape a very artificial look. Manufacturers have tried to come up with a LED that looks like the classic Moonlight look that the traditional Mercury Vapor gives, but with no success. When I take prospective clients to look at lighting, 100% of the time they pick the Mercury Vapor over the LED. Color and the lack of diffusing are the most obvious of the shortcomings.
First, hire a true professional to do the work. 50% of my business every year is redoing work done by someone’s friend, electrician, irrigator, etc. They end up with a system that is either not installed properly, not designed properly or they can’t get anyone to come back to service the system. Second, run from these companies and are telling people with landscape lighting systems they need to covert to LED. They will tell people that they don’t make Mercury Vapor anymore and they need to convert their systems over to LED. These companies are a stain on the industry and this couldn’t be further from the truth.
JMS Lighting Concepts, L.P.
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