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So I've been doing a lot of research recently regarding LED lighting, and attempting to do an overhaul of our entire house. But I've run into a few issues, and I really don't want to go back and forth testing out different LED bulbs to see what's going to work, and what's not going to work.

All of the Q & A i've found on this site is either OLD or not really related to my issues. So bare with me...

  1. We have 2 Poll Lamps that are a 3-way switch of 50w/100w/150w. I know there are LEDs now that exist as 3-way bulbs, BUT i've only seen 30/60/100. Question: Is this type of bulb ok with my lamp? If not, what type of LED bulb would a person use? Do I have to find a 50/100/150 watt LED, if so, do they even exist?

  2. People have been saying that using a Dimmer in this situation would work. Question: What kind of Dimmer would work for my the 50/100/150 watt scenario?

  3. We have a TON of R40 Reflector type fixtures in the house, and most are setup as dimmer, and a few are not. I've only recently started taking care of the appliances and utilities of the house, and don't really know what wattage the lighting fixtures take. I checked one of the R40 Dimmer halogen bulbs, and it was set at 120v 65w. I checked a different one and it said 130v 65w. So i'm assuming i need 65w bulbs. Question: How do you check for the wattage on this type of lighting fixture? and whats the deal with the 2 different voltages?

  4. We have a ton fluorescent lighting in the house, and it's old and was installed at least 30 years ago. I'm under the assumption that these take tons of power to operating, but I've never checked any statistics on this. I was thinking of removing the fixtures entirely and replacing them with something that's LED equivalent, Question: Does anyone have any suggestions that would replace this type of lighting?

It should be noted that money is not really an issue but I don't have a money tree in the garden.

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First of all, when you read about a "50W LED", it is certainly saying that it outputs the equivalent light of a 50W incandescent light (although that is often a exaggeration). That "50W" LED actually draws less than 10 watts. This means that it draws much less current and emits much less heat, both of which are the factors that typically limit the allowable light in a fixture.

You'd be able to replace a 50/100/150W 3-way with a lower wattage, even if staying with incandescent.

Second, unless the LED light is marked "dimmable", don't try to use it on a dimmer. You may damage the dimmer, light, or both. Even if the light is dimmable, some dimmers will not work well with a low load: a dimmer that works on a 100W light bulb may not work on an equivalent-light-output 13W LED. They make LED/CFL specific dimmers that may work better.

As for the 130V R40, that is probably a "long life" bulb. Running an incandescent at lower than rated voltage extends its life. Therefore, they make 130V bulbs to run longer on 120V. Just use LEDs rated for 120V.

As for your existing florescent lighting, I assume you're talking about the straight tube type. For a fixture that old, it's probably less efficient that newer florescent fixtures or LEDs but still much more efficient than incandescent. This is harder to replace with LEDs, just due to the area covered. There are LED tubes made to replace florescent tubes but they are still expensive and generally require re-wiring the fixture. These are most often used in commercial applications.

  • what are the pros and cons of using a lower wattage 3 way switch? will this cause the LED's lifespan to decrease? – Sickest Sep 21 '14 at 18:41
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    @Sickest - you never asked about using a lower-wattage switch, just a lower wattage bulb. If this is just a normal 1/2/3/off switch, there is no issue. Even if you use a higher wattage-equivalent LED, there is no issue since the actual power drawn and heat generated is less. They simply don't make screw-in LED lights that actually draw 50 watts of power or more. Such would be much to large, bright and expensive for household use. As of today (2014) there are no household LED lamps that draw more than 15 watts, to my knowledge. – DoxyLover Sep 21 '14 at 20:41
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    (continued) Therefore, you could use a socket rated for even 50 watts (lowest I've ever seen for a full-sized bulb) and put in any household LED bulb on the market safely. – DoxyLover Sep 21 '14 at 20:41
  • Small update to above. Just today, I saw an LED light that draws 21 watts (upgrade to a can light to replace a 125 watt floodlight. None the less, my comments stand. – DoxyLover Sep 21 '14 at 23:12
  • When i was referring to LED wattage, i was talking about their REPLACEMENT wattage, not the actual wattage it draws. And my comment was referring to an 3 way LED that replaces a 50/100/150watt, not is the exact same wattage as 50/100/150w – Sickest Sep 21 '14 at 23:15

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