The other day the light bulb above our shower in the master bath went out for the second time in 7 years. Yeah, I know, two times in seven years is not that big of a deal. Well it sort of is a big deal when the light bulb is a super pain to change and you basically have to shower in the dark until you fix it.
"LED light bulbs are not as likely to break compared to CFL and filament based bulbs."
Enter, LED lighting. I've been hearing and reading about LED lighting for a couple of years. They turn on instantly, unlike CFL bulbs, and they can last for almost 15 years or 20 years. They also give off a lot less heat and of course they use up even less electricity. But the biggest benefit, and the reason I'm talking about them here on the world's premiere basement finishing website, is that they are less susceptible to breaking.
Basement Light Bulbs Take a Beating
When people walk on the first floor of your house their feat are stomping just 12 inches from the light bulbs in the ceiling of your basement. CFLs and filament based bulbs can easily break under that type of stress. I'm not sure if you've ever seen three kids playing Fruit Ninja for XBox Kinect before, but believe me, there is some serious jumping up and down and a lot of shaking.
Needing to replace the light bulb in the master bathroom, I decide to pay a visit to my local Home Depot to see what's up in the lighting department. I wasn't really expecting to buy an LED bulb but when I walked in they had a ton of them to choose from. This is a big change from even a few months earlier. "Wayne" from the Reston, VA Home Depot answered all of my LED questions and even recommended that I consider the new "EcoSmart can light and trim combo kit". Big props to Wayne for some excellent customer service. Home Depot, give Wayne a $500 bonus!
This combo kit includes the light bulb plus the trim to replace what you would normally have above your shower. Your standard shower light has a bulbous looking glass dome thing to keep moisture out. I'm glad it included the trim because it's very difficult to get the cover for a bathroom light off without breaking it.
Here is a video I took on the LED bulb and trim installation process. Please excuse my video skills, I had to shoot it myself as my 7 year old camera kid could not stand still long enough to record it.
LED Light Bulb with Trim Installation (my first video, so be gentle)
As you can see from the title of this post, I paid an astounding $39.97 for this 1 light bulb (and trim) combo. If my Grandmother found out about this it would probably give her a heart attack. (Sorry Grandma) But when I calculate the value of my time, the number of normal bulbs I would have to change and the life and limbs I risk each time I step up on a ladder, I know it's well worth it. Plus, it reduces my overall electric bill.
I also bought LED light bulbs about two months ago to replace the burned out bulbs in the ceiling of our garage. These are about 20 feet off the ground. I have to stand on my tip toes on a very shaky ladder to change them. I'm hoping that if the longevity claims of the LED bulbs hold up, I'll never be changing them again.
Anytime I can simplify my life I'm willing to pay a little more. I don't buy LED light bulbs for everything but if I have to climb a ladder to change a bulb then chances are the next one will be LED.
Basement LED Lighting Tip
Finally, back to the basement. There is one drawback / consideration to keep in mind. LED bulbs need a different type of dimmer switch if you want to dim them. I have about 25 can lights in my basement and most are hooked up to dimmable light switches. The older style switches I installed do not support dimming of LED bulbs. They will still light up, you just can't dim them.
If you are just getting started with your basement remodeling project then I suggest you buy LED bulbs and get the correct dimmer switches to handle LED lighting. In a few more years, they may be the only light bulbs you can buy.