SWITCH the Lights – or Why Your Next Light Bulb May Outlast You
Do you think investing $50 in a 60 watt equivalent light bulb is a bright idea? Well, if you don’t mind buying a light bulb that your kids might inherit it could make sense. SWITCH has begun selling its new line of LED bulbs exclusively through Batteries Plus retail stores across the U.S. While LED bulbs have been around for a couple of years, the SWITCH bulbs are the first to be approved by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) with a liquid coolant.
Many of the other LED bulbs on the market don’t like to hang around upside down. That’s because the heat generated by the light rises into the bulb’s core and eventually burns it out. But with the SWITCH, the liquid silicone filling allows the heat to dissipate, giving the bulb a longer life.
So the real question is do the numbers add up? SWITCH says its bulbs will last 25,000 hours, a number they claim is 25 times that of an old fashioned incandescent bulb. The way I figure it, it means that bulb could last as long as fifteen or twenty years. Switch claims its bulbs use 80% less power than a traditional bulb, and will save about $130 in electricity costs over the bulb’s lifetime. If accurate, that means a savings of twice what you’re paying for the bulb.
Unlike some compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL’s) , the SWITCH bulbs do work with dimmers. Their light is softer than CFL’s and they don’t contain mercury. They are available in both clear and frosted versions. And while the 60 Watt bulb is the first to go on sale, SWITCH says that in November the 40 Watt and 75 Watt versions will be available. Eventually SWITCH will also sell a 100 Watt model.
I have been using on of the 60 Watt bulbs for several months in a hanging fixture that has not been fond of CFL’s. The light is bright, though not as strangely white as a CFL, and it seems to do just fine hanging upside down.
Eventually you can expect to see the SWITCH bulbs in major retailers like Home Depot, and Lowes, but right now the company just doesn’t have the manufacturing capacity to support such widescale distribution. That means for the moment, the only place you’ll find them is at the roughly 350 Batteries Plus stores.
So, in short these bulbs are expensive, but presumably cost-effective. And they last so long that for the first time, if you’re moving out of your home, you may want to pack your light bulbs and take them with you.