Frequently Asked Questions - LEDs

Q. How do LEDs work?
A. A single LED consists of numerous small lights outfitted with microchips. The light sources illuminate as electrons move through a semiconductor material.
Q. How much can I save if I use LEDs?
A. According to Consumer Reports an LED can save you $100-400 per bulb over its lifetime.
Q. Where are the best places to use LEDs?
A. LEDs are ideal for focused, directional lighting and are great for home offices, kitchens and cabinet lighting. Recessed downlight/flood light LED options work well in hallways and bathrooms. Covered A-shape or A-line LED bulbs—a modern take on the classic incandescent—fit in wall sconces, table or reading lamps and ceiling fixtures.

Q. What are my color options for LEDs? Can I get a soft white look?
A. The short answer is yes, you can find LEDs in warmer, soft white tones that mirror the glow of incandescent light bulbs. The longer answer is that technically LEDs are only available in amber, red, green and blue hues. Carefully combining these colors produces consistent, “realistic” white light. In order to achieve a soft white luminescence, manufacturers may apply a coating to LEDs. This is why some LEDs have yellow light bulb covers.

Look for LEDs marketed as “soft white,” “warm white,” or bulbs with 2700-3000 Kelvin (K), a temperature scale indicating more yellow-toned light.

Q. Is it a good idea to turn LEDs off when I leave the room?
A. Yes! Turning off lights always saves energy.

Q. Are LEDs dimmable?
A. Yes. For best results, look for specially labeled packages that indicate that the LEDs are “dimmable.” Keep in mind you may need to replace your existing dimmer switch with one that’s compatible with the LED bulb of your choice.

Q. Do LEDs work in three-way lamps?
A. LEDs are just starting to be designed to work in three-way lamps. You’ll want to look for “3-way” to be printed on the box to ensure the LED is compatible with your lamp.

Q. Can I find specialty LEDs for different light fixtures?
A. LEDs are starting to come in more specialty sizes and shapes, including candles. LEDs are readily available for recessed downlighting, desk lamps, kitchen undercabinet lighting, holiday light strands and outdoor lights.

Q. Do LEDs work outdoors?
A. Definitely. Look for LEDs labeled for “outdoor” use. LEDs are not sensitive to cold temperatures and are able to withstand snow and rain. They also have proven durable and unlikely to shatter.

Q. Do LEDs have a longer life than incandescent bulbs?
A. Yes. Incandescent bulbs generally last 500-2,000 hours, whereas LEDs may last for 20,000-50,000 hours or around 20-40 years. This means LEDs may last 25 times longer than incandescents.

Depending on running times, it’s possible to install an LED when a child is born and not have to replace the bulb again until he or she enters college!
Q. How do I get the special pricing?
A. Visit a participating retailer. Special pricing is valid on ENERGY STAR®-qualified LED purchases of 12 bulbs or less.
Q: How can I tell if something is ENERGY STAR-qualified?
A: The easiest way is to look at the product packaging. If you don’t see the blue ENERGY STAR label, ask a sales associate for help. ENERGY STAR-qualified LEDs must meet 20 separate industry standards, be third-party tested and have the same or better performance and features as competing products.

Hint: To choose a light bulb qualifying for a markdown or rebate, look for stickers, signs or other promotional materials with your utility’s logo on them.

Q. Do LED bulbs flicker?
A. No. LEDs have instant-on technology.

Q. Do LEDs burn out?
A. LEDs typically do not burn out or fail. Instead, the amount of light they produce decreases or fades over time.
Q. Is anything toxic or dangerous in LEDs?
A. LEDs do not contain mercury and do not require special cleanup.
Q. How do I dispose of a broken LED?
A. Cleaning up a broken LED is simple. Sweep up the glass and light components and throw them into your garbage. If the light malfunctioned through no fault of your own and is still covered under warranty, you can contact the manufacturer to discuss a resolution.

Q. Can I recycle LEDs?
A. While it is safe to put your LEDs in the trash, recycling them is better. Your local home store may have a recycling box to collect expired LEDs. To locate an LED recycler near you, visit

For more information about LEDs, please visit: