LED Mystery: I just bought a bunch of LED lights, and some don’t work right? What did I miss?

BCHydro‘s Savings & Rebates often adds local discounts to Energy saving devices, like LED light bulbs. They now come in every shape and size, and the offer is instant at the cashiers at all BC retailers, So when its time, grab a few.

But there are some key differences when switching from Incandescent bulbs, the ones that get really hot, so have a quick read below to get a handle on the important bits.

Light brightness is measure in Lumens, 450 lumens is a small bulb for a reading lamp on a desk( 40 watt Incandescent), 800 lumens is enough to replace most 60 watt Incandescents, 1100 lumens ~ 75 watt Incandescent, 1500 lumens ` 100 watt Incandescent. So you get the conversion, hopefully. The internet shows many LED vs Incandescent ratios, from 60w Incandescent = 15w LED (4:1, this is what a compact fluorescent bulb performs at), all the way to 6-8w LED = 60w Incandescent, (10:1), And the tech is getting better, so lets use 10:1, cause the math is easy. So each incandescent or Halogen bulb you swap, will use ~10% of the power of the old bulb, not get as hot, and btw, last at least 3 times longer. If your house has 50 plus lights, and you use them, might wanna start swapping them for LED as they go, or even better, find a deal, and have a Bulb swapping party.


Light Colour: LED’s come in Soft White, Bright White, and Sunlight or Full spectrum or Pure White or similar, these are actually labeled on the bulbs by Colour Temperature, measure in Kelvin. Here’s a great diagram showing the range of colours, 2700 Kelvin or K will be the softest or most yellow, 3500k to ~4100k is less yellow but not pure white, and above 5000k the light gets Blueish, as seen on many new car headlights. Almost all your local stores will have a display with the lights available to test.

Dimmable or Not? Currently, April 2017, most LED bulbs are dimmable, but there are still some non-dimmable LED bulbs out there, so check the label on the box, you will usually want Dimmable for household use, But if you have some, that will never be dimmed, save a few bucks, if you can.

Dimmer light switch work with Dimmable LEDs? So you have some Dimmable LED lights, you swap them all out for the Halogen or Incandescent bulbs, and now they don’t dim, or dim properly. ‘Crap, why the F did I drop $XX on that crap.’ Here’s a few possible reasons:

  • You can’t dim your LED lights because the LED bulbs are not Dimmable
  • Your dimmer switch does not work with LED lights, many older dimmer switches will not work with LED bulbs, but there’s a hack that can help, replace all but 1 of the string of bulbs on your dimmer, leaving a Halogen/Incandescent bulb in one of the light sockets, this fools the dimmer into thinking you have regular bulbs. This is due to the fact that the LED bulbs don’t use enough power to allow the Dimmer to function. The Best answer, to save the maximum amount of energy, is to switch to an LED dimmer switch, but that’s yet more $, so do the math.
  • You have Dimmable LED bulbs, and a proper LED Dimmer, but it still doesn’t dim properly, or even turn all the way off, or some other weird flicker or glitch. This is usually a symptom of lower quality components, or a possible defective part. Being able to dim an LED light very low isn’t easy, the most expensive dimmer/LED bulb combinations give you the best dimming range performance.

So I’m hoping you have a slightly better idea on the LED light bulb front.

Anything I missed or you would like to know more about, leave a comment, or contact us. Thx for checking us out.