How Can You Save Energy on Exterior Lights with CFL and LED?

House Lit Up at Night

Conserving energy is one great reason to update outdoor lighting. Yet, something like this would call for careful selection, especially in winter climates.

For starters, a compact fluorescent could provide you with a dramatic improvement when it comes to performance unlike a regular incandescent bulb in pole mount fixtures and outdoor walls. However, many older generation CFL bulbs do not work great when cold temperature sets in. For many of these older CFLs, you can get a slow starting, dim bulb and nothing more. Worst case scenario, it would not even start at all depending on the temperature.

The problem with these CFLs is the ballast. Luckily, this is a problem that can relatively easily be resolved. All you need to do is buy a CFL bulb with a built-in ballast that can be utilized even in cold temperatures. Just look out for CFL light bulbs that have the lowest start temperature, which is below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

For exterior security flood lights, LED is known to improve on the effectiveness of halogen. At the same time, LED floods do not have the restrictions of fluorescent. As a matter of fact, LED light bulbs actually works better in cold temperature, turning on instantly. In low temperatures, these LED light bulbs would automatically start and have a better performance, as well as slight energy savings over comparable CFLs.

However, there is still a possible downside and that is, when you need to replace your LED light bulbs in fixtures that has a motion sensor control. LED light bulbs might be comparatively low in wattage to match the minimum load requirements of some sensors. With that, it is recommended to test your fixtures first with the use of incandescent bulbs. If it works fine, then you could be guaranteed that you can use your LED bulbs as well.

Lastly, when it comes to outdoor light sources all year round, both CFL and LEDs would be the top choice. You could always check Topbulb’s line of LEDs to find out which ones would work best for you. In case that you would rather have the CFL solution, you could always opt for CFLs that have a starting temperature of negative 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Dave Burtner

Dave has been active in the lighting industry since 1994. Formerly a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America and certified by the National Council On Qualifications for Lighting Professionals, Dave now writes blog posts, lighting tips and provides lighting product assistance for the Topbulb website.