LED Bleg

I’m a big fan of Lutron’s electronic dimmer switches for a couple reasons. First, they’re just cool. Lights come up to your preferred level gently at the silent touch of a button, and slowly dim down to off when you touch it again. It’s a very pleasing effect. But also because they’re much easier on bulbs. Put a 60-watt bulb in where you’d normally use a 40, set the maximum power two about two-thirds, and a 1,000-hour incandescent bulb will easily last 3,000 hours or more. That’s handy for difficult-to-replace fixtures, or just if you have a ton of ceiling cans in need of attention.

But we’ve been switching over to LEDs one room at a time, which leads to an important question, and I haven’t been able to find the answer anywhere.

If I use the same Lutron trick I’ve been using with incandescents — using a higher wattage with a lower dimmer setting — will I get similar lifetime improvements with LED bulbs? Will a 20,000 hour bulb give me 25,000 or 30,000 or even 40,000 hours of life if I never (or rarely) use it at max power?