Light-emitting diodes -- LED lights -- are taking the lighting world by storm and will soon largely replace all other forms of lighting, including incandescent, halogen and even fluorescent bulbs, Benson Littman believes.
"LED has been the buzz word for more than a year now and it is only getting buzzier and buzzier," said Littman, co-owner of Littman Bros. Lighting in Schaumburg.
"LED is very popular and is completely steam-rolling past fluorescent bulbs, which are not dimmable and cannot be easily disposed of because of the mercury contained within them. LED also uses much less energy than any other light form. For instance, a 65-watt incandescent bulb is equal to a 13-watt fluorescent bulb and to a 6-watt LED bulb."
Huge advances in LED technology in recent years have eliminated the old problems of bluish-tinged light and lack of brightness. Engineers have also developed LED bulbs that can screw into existing fixtures that were made to accept incandescent candelabra bulbs. Manufacturers are also making them in many different shapes.
"The only remaining downside to LEDs is the high initial cost and those prices are now starting to drop," Littman said. "LEDs use so much less energy and basically never burn out and have to be changed, but that upfront cost can still be a deal-breaker, so the manufacturers are working to address that problem now."
Certain applications also can be expensive.
"No one is going to buy LEDs for a dining room fixture that takes 20 candelabra bulbs, for instance. That would add $500 to the cost of the chandelier," he said. "So the price point is still a problem."
On the other hand, these new fixtures and lights are perfect for hotels, hospitals and other commercial applications because once the LED lights are installed, they virtually never have to be changed, thanks to their 30,000 hours of service. "That is a huge benefit for places like that," Littman said.
In residential settings, the best current use for LED lights is in difficult to change places like rooftop lighting, in recessed indoor lighting and in under-the-cabinet applications.
"LEDs aren't actually bulbs. They are computer chips that illuminate with the aid of a low voltage transformer. In under-the-cabinet situations, the diodes are attached to electrified tape," Littman said. "Manufacturers are also scrambling to incorporate LED into wall sconces."
That is a good thing because, Littman said, wall sconces are very popular. People are recognizing that they are a beautiful way to light up a room and offer an awesome look. But they currently do require running electricity to wall outlets.
Another popular trend, Littman said, is the use of large translucent fabric shades around single tier chandeliers, and crystal is also surging in popularity. Both dangling teardrop-style crystal fixtures and very contemporary crystal chandeliers in unusual shapes are hot sellers.
Second to crystal is onyx, Littman said. It offers a warm glow and is cheaper than the formerly popular alabaster. So it is replacing glass in many contemporary, transitional and even traditional fixtures today.
Fixtures with cleaner lines and less ornamentation are now popular across the board.
"Everything in lighting is cyclical and people today are moving away from the ornate looks to more classic, clean lines," he said. "And when it comes to finishes, it is still brushed nickel and oiled bronze. That is all anyone seems to want."
Pendant lights are also still a huge part of Littman Bros.' business.
"Pendants are an easy way to give a room a different, colorful look. They are basically functional art and they are not losing any of their popularity," Littman said.
Littman Bros., located at 845 S. Roselle Road, Schaumburg, has been in business for 32 years. It is owned by Benson Littman and his brother Dan.
The firm is unique in the business due to the range of services it offers homeowners and contractors, alike. The website at www.littmanbros.com allows people to shop before they visit the store or even to order online.
Company designers will visit a client's home to help them choose new fixtures for only a small fee that is applied toward the purchase. Installation is also offered so that clients don't need to locate and hire a separate electrician.
Finally, Littman Bros. offers contractor pricing and takes care of any problems with the fixtures at no cost to the contractor, Littman said.
For more information, call (847) 895-5155.