However, industry standards for performance testing have only been in place for a couple of years and it can be difficult to sort out the good from the bad. But the payback can be worth it in convenience and increased efficiency. Lamp life expectancy ranges from 20,000 to 50,000 hours and LEDs produce less heat, saving on home cooling costs. LED sources do not emit UV radiation and this makes them good candidates for artwork accent lighting without the need for added UV filters. Incandescent, halogen, and fluorescent sources emit some levels of UV radiation. This is normally not of great concern unless you have valuable artwork, fabrics, and finishes which will be exposed to these artificial light sources continuously over long periods of time. In museums, for example, great care is taken to filter out UV radiation from artificial light sources to prevent fading and deterioration of paper, fabrics, and paintings. In a home setting, your biggest concern regarding UV fading should be about controlling daylight and direct sunlight to reduce the effects of UV damage.
LEDs are directional sources, so they lend themselves to applications such as recessed down-lights, accent lighting, task lighting, and cove lighting. Some manufacturers are designing decorative pendants, wall sconces, and ceiling fixtures specifically for LEDs. It is best to see an installed example of a fixture that you are considering, to evaluate how it really performs.
Replacement LED lamps are available to screw into your existing incandescent sockets and to replace your bi-pin MR16 halogen lamps and PAR lamps. However, be sure to examine and compare the lumen output of these lamps to their replacements. Look for either the Energy Star Label or the Lighting Facts label to ensure that the manufacturer has tested the product to meet some minimum efficiency requirements. The Lighting Facts label, implemented by the U.S. Department of Energy, is a volunteer program where manufacturers publish their test data to help consumers select quality LED lighting products. You will notice that these LED replacement lamps have significant heat sinks to pull heat away from the sensitive LEDs inside their protective enclosures. If these devices are put into a completely enclosed fixture, such as an enclosed track head, or a recessed and lensed down-light or a sealed landscape floodlight, they may suffer early failure due to excessive heat buildup.