Saturday, July 21, 2012

And Let There Be Light... (And No Heat, Please)

Most boats use halogen bulbs for interior lighting fixtures.  Compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, halogen bulbs are compact and energy-efficient, both significant advantages on a boat.  A downside of halogen bulbs, however, is that they generate a tremendous amount of heat.  At least here in Florida, heat is an enemy of comfort--the cabin gets hot enough on its own, especially during the summer.

Fortunately, Sea Gem's former owners replaced the majority of the halogen bulbs in the overhead lighting fixtures with Sensibulb LEDs.  The Sensibulbs are fantastic.  Each bulb generates nearly as much light as a 20-watt halogen bulb (much more than the 10-watt halogen bulbs they replaced), and uses just over 2 watts of electricity.  The energy savings is a major benefit, as we can keep the cabin well-lit while at anchor without fear of draining our batteries.  In addition, the LED's generate almost no heat, so the cabin stays cool, even with all of the overhead lights on.  Finally, Sensibulbs, like all LEDs, last nearly forever and won't need to be replaced any time soon.  The Sensibulbs were a great upgrade.

Although our overhead lights had Sensibulbs when we bought Sea Gem, our other lights, such as reading lights and certain bathroom lights, did not.  Although we don't use these light as frequently as the overhead lights, part of the reason why they are used infrequently is because reading near a halogen bulb feels like a heat gun is pointing at your face.  We have two nifty halogen swivel lights at our desk that provide plenty of light for reading and doing work, but make the entire office area unbearably hot after leaving them on for awhile.  As a result, we decided to upgrade the remainder of our halogen bulbs with LEDs.

Although Senibulbs are fantastic, they won't fit in many of our fixtures and, further, cost $40 a piece.  As a result, we decided to go with cheaper bulbs from Amazon ($5 to $10 per bulb) that come in a variety of shapes for various applications.

For most of the reading lamps, we bought round LED discs that, so far, work great.  Each disc has 10 individual LEDs that generate plenty of light, no heat, and draw less than 2 watts of electricity:

The reading lamps in our bedroom used a different shape of halogen bulb, and for those, we bought some crazy-looking LEDs with a single, high-powered LED that puts out as much light as a 10-watt halogen bulb and draws only 2 watts:

In our guest bathroom, which was always too dark, we had earlier installed a fixture with two 18-watt halogen bulbs, for a total of 36 watts. The fixture is extremely bright, but the two high-powered halogen bulbs quickly heated up the bathroom with the efficiency of a heat lamp. We replaced the halogen bulbs with 3.6-watt LED cylinders, each with 18 individual LEDs. The new LEDs generate as much light as the old halogen bulbs while using a fifth of the electricity and generating no heat at all:

Finally, for the computer lights that we loved enough to risk halogen-induced sunburn each time we turned them on, we found some narrow LED cylinders, each with 13 individual LEDs, that are the exact size and shape of the halogens they replaced and fit perfectly in the fixtures:

They put out a nice, warm light, but no heat, and make working at the desk much more comfortable:

With these new LEDs, we have continued to make Sea Gem more comfortable and energy-efficient. Still, there are several halogen, fluorescent, and incandescent bulbs to go, and so the mission continues...


  1. That is one of the main reasons why I love using LED light, particularly in my photography studio. I don’t want my clients to sweat while giving their best poses in front of my camera. It helps me a lot in the sense that we can go through the session faster, as there’s less need to retouch and freshen up the models. It’s nice to know that you’re also enjoying the great benefits of LED lighting.

    >Cody Stephens

  2. It is really a very good decision that you have changed all the halogen with LED lights. LED lights are the most suitable source of lights because they do not produce too much heat like another lighting system as well as they are economically also. It's very easy to install them and after installing them no need to replace them for many years.

  3. LED lights generate more light other than incandescent Bulbs. Led lights doesn't produce heat and their cabin stay cool. That's why led lights in India are more popular.

  4. Impressive web site, Distinguished feedback that I can tackle. Im moving forward and may apply to my current job as a pet sitter, which is very enjoyable, but I need to additional expand. Regards. hampton bay lighting

  5. It is a great website.. The Design looks very good.. Keep working like that!.

  6. Nice to read your article! I am looking forward to sharing your adventures and experiences. Lights On Club

  7. Thanks for your post. I’ve been thinking about writing a very comparable post over the last couple of weeks, I’ll probably keep it short and sweet and link to this instead if thats cool. Thanks.

  8. Superbly written article, if only all bloggers offered the same content as you, the internet would be a far better place.. high quality outdoor flood light