They may cost more up front, but LED light bulbs last longer, use less energy, and are approximately 90-percent more efficient than incandescent light bulbs. LED stands for “light emitting diode” An electrical current passes through a microchip, which illuminates the tiny light sources we call LEDs and the result is visible light.
Jeff Nelson is with Edison Lighting Supply in Wichita, Kansas. He says it makes sense to have LED lighting just about everywhere on the farm.
"If you’ve got 100 watt bulbs in the hog confinement barn, you got them in a globe, you can switch to a 10 watt, and you’re talking 90% energy savings right there. And not to mention the fact that that bulb’s going to last at least five-years, so you’re not out there in the hogs changing light bulbs all the time, plus you’re getting a bright white light instead of a yellow glow from the incandescents," says Nelson.
Switching is easy. LED bulbs fit into the same screw-in sockets as incandescents.
Converting fluorescent fixtures to accommodate LED tubes is more complicated. If you’re resistant to upgrading keep in mind that both bulbs and ballasts for T-12 fluorescent fixtures are becoming rare and more difficult to find.
"If you’ve got the older, T-12 1.5” diameter bulb, that bulb has a 40 watt ballast, and in order to convert to LED’s, you either have to convert to a T-8 ballast, or take the ballast out," says Nelson. "So, if you’ve got T-12’s you don’t have to buy a new ballast. If you’ve already got T-8’s all you have to do is plug it in."
LED light bulbs range from 10-watts up to 200-watts. The wattage you choose depends on what it’s being used for and where.