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The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

You work hard to make money, so wouldn't you like to save some and perhaps help the environment at the same time?

Sometimes saving money means that you have to spend a bit more up front. I feel that I have to say that because I've had an argument over something as simple as buying toilet paper in a 12-pack when I was quite poor. I was told that I must have money to afford the $5 pack when I could have bought the 4-pack for $2. The real kicker for me here is that this person was a high school graduate and able to get a job easier than myself, a dropout.

So having explained this, I’m going to break this down. Let's talk about what we have done to lower our energy bills.

We had fluorescent lights in the house. These cost more than the incandescent lights at the checkout but use about half the energy. Great, right? Well, at about $4 per fluorescent tube that have to be replaced approximately once a year and use 32 watts each, we did the math and found that the $40 LED lights may cost more upfront but provide better value. LEDs last on average around 20 years. So $4 times that 20 years and you can see you would have spent $80 just on the fluorescent tubes. Then there are the ‘starters’ that you also need to get from time to time. So the savings are really starting to add up. Now get this, with an 18 watt LED setup, you get more light for almost half of the energy usage. So your electric bill will come down. Ok, reducing the amount of energy by nearly half on your lights is not going to reduce the bill in half since other stuff you use is still the same. Like the refrigerator, air-conditioning or TV. But clearly there are going to be savings and that's a good thing.

So consider investing on more efficient lights and save money. (Even if it means that you have to spend a bit more today.)

Ok here was one of our 32 watt fluorescent bulbs in action.

That same light with its cover off.

Here with the light out, you can see what’s inside: a transformer, starter and the bulb.

Here you can see the bulb is removed and the wires disconnected. All power was off before this step was done.

After removing the two screws that held the fixture to the ceiling, you can see what is left to be removed.

There. With all the junk gone, it’s ready to be fitted with its new LED panel. Notice the holes that are used to hold to the ceiling have been marked to make life easy once the next few steps are done.

Placing the new lights in the old fixture and centering it to mark the holes that will need to be drilled to hold it in place.

With the holes marked, it was quick work to drill out the three holes.

This is a shot of the 18 watt LED replacement panel.

Here you can see where the light used to be and the wires that will provide the power once it’s all back together.

After the three holes were drilled, three bolts were put through, a nut to hold each bolt in place and another up about 1 cm to keep the new setup away from the fixture.

Since the screws that hold the fixture to the ceiling would be behind the new LED setup, the fixture had to be put up prior to fixing in the LED panel.

Another shot of the fixture ready to get its light.

Three more nuts hold the LED setup on the bolts that were added earlier. Careful attention was given to make sure it was turned to where the wires would connect.

Once the wires were connected, we hit the switch and voila! There was light. Bright and costing us less to use.

With the cover back on you might not really notice a difference other than the room is now a bit brighter. The real difference will be when we get the bill from the electric company and can see the savings. Well, that and how it’s not going to dim over time till it just ups and dies and there is that nice bit about how it doesn't flicker a bit before there is light like the fluorescent ones did.

Now if you're not a handy person, I wouldn’t recommend you do this yourself. Get a qualified electrician to hook it up. In the long run you will still be saving money and using less energy, doing your part to lower your carbon footprint. Win-win!

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