How to Replace a LED Light Bulb

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LED lights are more energy efficient than traditional light bulbs.
Image Credit: Jacek Kadaj/Moment/GettyImages

LED light bulbs are designed to be as much as 80 percent more energy efficient than traditional light bulbs. This is due in part to the fact that 95 percent of the energy produced can be used, and only 5 percent is lost as heat. Despite their differences from traditional incandescent light bulbs, LED bulbs have a simple replacement process that is practically identical to that of older styles of bulbs. The only difference comes from determining which wattage of bulb to buy, because this is calculated differently for LED bulbs.


LED Light Bulb Basics

LED bulbs have grown in popularity in the recent past, and the U.S. federal government even passed legislation in 2007 to phase out the use of traditional incandescent light bulbs nationwide. Though this legislation has been somewhat relaxed in the time since, LED bulbs have still taken over a great deal of market share and represent a large portion of the bulbs you'll find on the shelves when shopping for replacements.


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Replacing LED Lights

A light bulb's brightness – or the amount of light given off by a fixture – is measured in lumens. Lumens are necessary when comparing the wattage of a traditional incandescent bulb and an LED bulb, because the two use very different degrees of wattage. It's much easier to compare the brightness of a bulb when choosing one for your lamp.


For example, a bulb that emits between 650 and 850 lumens is likely to be just 7 to 10 watts, if it is an LED bulb. If you wanted a bulb that emitted that many lumens but were using an incandescent-style bulb, you'd need to choose a 60-watt bulb. Many lamps suggest use of a 60-watt bulb, so if you are switching to LED, aim to buy something in the 7- to 10-watt range.

Do you need to replace a 100-watt incandescent bulb? Chances are your old light bulb emitted between 1450 and 1700 lumens. To get the same from LED lights, look for a 14 to 20-watt LED bulb. To find these LED light bulbs, Walmart, Amazon and Target would be good places to start.


LED Bulb Replacement

When it comes to the actual replacement process for your LED light bulb, you can begin by turning off and unplugging your fixture. It's important never to change a light bulb while the lamp is plugged in. Once you have done so, remove the old bulb from the light fixture.


Place your replacement LED bulb in the fixture and screw it into place. Be sure to turn the bulb slowly so that it goes down evenly onto the threads of the fixture's screw cavity. You'll want to tighten the bulb as much as you can without damaging it. Don't squeeze the bulb very hard as you put it into place.

Restore power to the fixture by plugging it back in. Turn on the light and be sure that it is functional. At times, even brand-new LED light bulbs might not work properly. Check to see whether the brightness of your new LED bulb is comparable to the incandescent bulb you had before. If not, try another light bulb.



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