Pond Lighting System Costs: LED vs. Incandescent Bulbs

Backyard pond lighting ssytem

Are you considering installing a pond lighting system in your backyard to create an inviting ambiance on those summer nights? Do you want to know which bulb is best when it comes to upfront and long-run costs?

In this blog post, we’ll explore how much LED vs incandescent bulbs costs so you can make an informed decision when shopping around for your dream outdoor pond lighting system.

By the end of this post, you’ll understand the difference between LED and incandescent bulbs when deciding what type of light will be best when it comes to cost. 

The Cost Of An LED vs. Incandescent Lighting System

An LED light bulb can cost $5 to $10 each, while incandescent bulbs go for $1 to $2. LEDs are typically more expensive at first, but they last much longer and cost way less over time. Incandescent bulbs need replacing more frequently, which ultimately causes them to cost more than LEDs.

The Cost For A Pond Lighting System

You may pay anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500 or more for a quality system, including labor and a transformer. Your final price tag will mainly depend on the number of lights, light fixture choice, and who installs the system. 

For smaller projects, such as accent lighting around the perimeter of your pond or up-lighting along its edges, you may be able to get away with spending less than $1,500. 

However, if you’re looking for something bigger than that—such as creating an underwater light show—you may have to invest in higher-end equipment and spend significantly more money. 

Operation Costs

LED vs incandescent

When comparing two bulbs of similar brightness–a 60W incandescent light bulb and a 12W LED–the math behind their electricity costs is relatively straightforward. 

A 60W incandescent bulb uses 60 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity every 1,000 hours, while a 12W LED bulb only uses 12). 

As of 2019, the residential electricity rates in Virginia average approximately $0.11 per kWh. 

Let’s apply this math for an average year’s kWh use in a household, which is about 10,632 kWh. An incandescent bulb would cost $1,176.92 per year. An LED bulb would cost $238.24. That’s a difference of $938.68! Can you imagine what you could be putting that money toward instead of lighting your home with incandescent light bulbs?

Which Pond Lighting System Is Best?

Lifespan Differences 

One of the significant differences between LED and incandescent lighting systems is their lifespan. LEDs typically last 50,000 hours or more (sometimes up to 100,000 hours), while incandescent bulbs only last around 1,000 hours.

Efficiency Differences 

LEDs are more efficient than incandescents regarding energy use. LEDs typically use 80% of their energy as light, whereas incandescents only use 10%.

Color Differences 

When it comes to color choices, LEDs have the edge over incandescents. LEDs can look like traditional incandescents but also come in almost any color imaginable, rendering traditional incandescents obsolete in terms of color selection. With LED lighting systems, you can customize your pond to make it look exactly how you want it to look! 

Most Value Over Time 

Considering all of these factors – lifespan, efficiency, and color selection –LED pond lights offer the most value over time compared to traditional incandescent lights. They are more efficient and cost-effective in the long run and offer more options when it comes to customizing your pond with different colors and effects. 

Should You Use Lights In Or Around Your Pond?

Advantages of Adding Lights Around Your Pond 

Adding lights to your backyard pond can make for a stunning nighttime display, especially if plants surround the water feature. The lighting enhances the area’s natural beauty, creating a tranquil atmosphere that can be enjoyed in darkness or daylight.

Having lights around the pond also makes it easier to see at night, which can help prevent accidents such as tripping over rocks or stepping on slippery surfaces near the water feature. 

In addition, lights around a pond provide safety and security from potential predators looking for easy meals (like water snakes) from unsuspecting fish or other animals living in the water feature. If lights are placed strategically outside of the pond, they may help deter predators from entering the area. 

Disadvantages of Adding Lights Around Your Pond 

The most significant disadvantage of adding lights around your pond is that they can attract insects such as mosquitoes and moths. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing (insects provide food for many birds), it could become annoying when trying to enjoy time spent outdoors near your pond at night. 

Also, some people don’t like how bright lights can be—especially if they’re located close to their home—and this could cause disruption or annoyance when trying to sleep at night or relax during twilight hours.

Which Is Better For Underwater Use?

Pond lighting during winter

When it comes to underwater lighting, LEDs are the clear winner.

LEDs are smaller than incandescent bulbs, so they can fit in tighter spaces without sacrificing light output. An LED light also consumes significantly less energy than an incandescent bulb—up to 90% less—so you can save money on your electricity bill.

Furthermore, LEDs last much longer than incandescent bulbs—up to 50 times longer—which means you won’t have to replace them as often. They’re also more durable, so you won’t have to worry about them breaking underwater.

Finally, LEDs let off much less energy as heat, meaning they won’t affect the temperature of your water as much. This is great news for your water quality and koi fish!

What Are LED Bulbs?

LED stands for light-emitting diode, which is a type of semiconductor that converts electricity into light. The diodes are what emit light when electricity passes through them.

Pros Of LED Light Bulbs 

  • Longer Lifespan – LED lights typically last between 20,000 and 50,000 hours, though they can last up to 100,000. It mainly depends on how often they’re on.
  • Energy Efficiency – LEDs are far more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs, requiring less energy to produce the same amount of light. This means lower electricity bills in the long run. 
  • Dimmability – Many LED models are dimmable, allowing for adjustable lighting levels to suit any mood or activity in your home. 
  • Durability – LED light bulbs are more resistant to shock and vibration than other types of lights. They’re less likely to break if something bumps into them.
  • Variety In Lighting Color – Light-emitting diodes come in a range of colors from warm yellow to cool white and everything in between. They can also be programmed to show almost any color you want.

Cons Of LED Light Bulbs 

  • Initial Cost – The initial cost of purchasing an LED bulb is higher than that of a traditional bulb.
  • Limited Selection – Only a limited selection is available when finding replacement parts for existing fixtures. Most manufacturers haven’t yet produced compatible versions for standard household fixtures such as recessed lighting cans or wall sconces.  

What Are Incandescent Light Bulbs?

Incandescent light bulbs consist of two electrodes connected by a wire housed in a glass bulb. When electricity passes through the wire, it heats up the tungsten filament and causes it to emit visible light. 

Pros Of Incandescent Light Bulbs

  • Inexpensive – Incandescent bulbs are usually much cheaper than other types of bulbs, such as LED or CFL bulbs.
  • Easy To Find – Incandescent bulbs are widely available in most stores, making them easy to find when you need them. They also come in various shapes and sizes so as to fit multiple light fixture types.
  • Varied Color Temperatures – Incandescent bulbs come in a variety of color temperatures which range from warm yellow tones to cooler blue tones.

Cons Of Incandescent Lightbulbs

  • Short Lifespan – While incandescent bulbs have been known to last up to 5 years, they usually don’t last longer than that before needing to be replaced. They usually last about one year or 1,000 hours.
  • Not Energy Efficient – Incandescent bulbs are not very energy efficient and use more electricity than other types of bulbs. Most of their energy is released as heat instead of light.
  • Gets Hot – Since most of their energy comes off as heat instead of light, an incandescent light bulb can get quite hot.
  • Poor Quality Light – Incandescent light has been known to flicker and produce poor quality light due to its low wattage and voltage output which can cause eyestrain over time if used too often or too long at once. 

Let Charlotte Backyard Ponds Help Your Pond Look Magical

Lighting any pond can be tricky, and having the right system in place is essential to ensuring your pond looks magical. You can make that happen with the pond lighting systems from Charlotte Backyard Ponds. 

We want your lighting system to be perfect for your needs, so if you still have questions after reading this blog post, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our experts are here and willing to help answer any questions you may have about setting up the best system for your pond environment. To get started turning your pond dreams into a reality, fill out our contact form today or give us a call!