Why more people are turning to dimmable lighting

June 8, 2021

The benefits of LED lighting are escaping no one at this point. Since their mainstream arrival in the lighting market during the early 00s, LED lighting has become the obvious lighting choice thanks to its myriad advantages over its traditional predecessors; from saving money to saving the planet.

But outside of its environmental and economical achievements, what are some smaller, seemingly less significant features of LED lighting that we take for granted?

One example is LED dimming. Yes, traditional light bulbs can also be dimmed so we’re not breaking any ground here, but when paired with LED’s other advantages, it soon becomes obvious why dimmable LEDs are here to stay. So how do they compare with each other?

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Dimming traditional lights like incandescent light bulbs is fairly straightforward because all it takes is reducing the voltage supplied to the bulb to lower the brightness of the light coming from the bulb.

LED dimming is slightly different, due in part to the fact that an LED isn’t actually a bulb like its typical counterparts. An LED is actually more of an electrical circuit and a diode made from semiconductors.

So, although LEDS don’t dim in the same way that incandescent bulbs do, they can be made to look like they do.

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Analog dimming is one way in which this can be done. Analog dimming reduces the current to the LED so that it doesn’t light as much; this can be an unpredictable solution however, with some LEDs choosing not to light at all in some cases.

An alternative to analogue dimming is pulse width modulation which takes advantage of the fact that the human brain likes to take shortcuts to make sense of the world around it.

Pulse width modulation (PWM) actually works by switching the LED off and on again thousands of times per second in a way that gives the impression that the LED is dimmer than it originally was; essentially tricking our brains.

For example, if you have dimmed your LEDs to 20 percent, that means it will be ‘on’ for 20 percent of the time and ‘off’ for the remaining 80 percent of the time.

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Smart bulbs are the most well known way in which LEDs can be adjusted.

Smart lighting is part of the recent ‘smart home’ revolution that homes across the country are experiencing; where fixtures such as televisions and lighting can be adjusted via a Wi-Fi connection to a smart device such as a phone, tablet or smart speaker.

These devices can then be used as a hub to which the lighting is connected and can be manipulated; including not only brightness but colour and even strobe effects.

So we’ve gone through the science of light dimming from both an incandescent and LED perspective, so where is the best time and place to have dimmable LED lighting implemented? As you can probably imagine, the answer to this is seemingly endless.

Dimming LEDs within your home

The home is one of the first places that dimmable LEDs come into their own, and this is because there isn’t a room in anyone’s home that wouldn’t benefit from dimmable lighting.

Let’s start with the living room; you’re sitting down after a long week’s work to watch a movie by yourself or with friends and family, you turn the main light off to create that true theatre experience – but now you can barely find the bowl of popcorn next to you. With dimmable LEDs you can ensure that you have a lighting setup that entirely customised to your tastes and needs.

If you’ve forgotten the candles in the dining room, nothing sets the mood for an amazing date night or a cozy night in with friends like dimmed lights. Ever woken up in the middle of the night with a call from nature just to be dazed from the lights in the bathroom? Don’t lie, yes you have – so have the rest of us, and I think we’re all in universal agreement that dimmable lighting would have made for a much better return to sleep on those fateful midnight excursions.

Speaking of the bedroom (aside from the more obvious uses), dimmable lighting can be perfect for allowing you to settle down with a good book before nodding off to sleep between chapters.

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Dimmable lighting and accessibility

Lighting isn’t just important for setting a scene or aiding a midnight trip to the lav. Lighting affects the way a person views their environment at every moment. Different light sources like fluorescent lighting, desk lighting, and even natural light and secondary glare all offer varying levels of visual stimulation which can make a significant effect on their mood and temperament.

The unfortunate fact is that most people don’t consider the visual impact of everyday lighting unless they or someone they know experience sensitivities in that area such as migraines or photo-sensitivity. Light sensitivities are common in those with sensory processing dysfunctions seen in autism and ADHD, a major side effect of which is sensory overload.

Symptoms of light sensitivity range from dizziness, nausea, anxiety, eyestrain, and fatigue.

With more and more understanding the dynamic abilities of LEDs, sensory lighting is becoming an increasingly popular way of soothing the effects of any special needs that people may have towards their visual environment.

A person’s visual environment and the way it is lit is largely down to personal preference but with the power of LED lighting, people can now have wider choice of how to live comfortably.

Ready to take the step into the future of lighting? Contact Cube Lighting & Design here to see if you qualify for free LED lighting!

Want to keep reading? Check out our latest blog post here: Your work lighting affects your body more than you think

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