It’s easier to replace a bulb one at a time in a multiple-light fixture. Whether it’s a lamp, ceiling light, or chandelier. You might want to swap your whole house over to LED bulbs, but instead of doing it all at once, or you plan to just replace the old bulbs with LED one at a time. Even though an LED and incandescent light bulb can fit and function in the same lamp socket (more on that in our separate guide), is it a good idea to use them together?
You can use LED and Incandescent bulbs in the same fixture, but it’s not recommended. It can cause the LED lights to flicker, or damage the LED bulbs or bulb fixture if it’s much older. Using matching bulbs in a fixture is always recommended for practical as well as aesthetic reasons.
It is best if you use the same type of bulbs in the same socket for a couple of reasons, not just to avoid any power management or bulb function issues we’ve hinted at above. Mixing bulbs in the same fixture like this can get you out of the dark temporarily, but it’s best to just make all the bulbs match in a fixture.
Why You Shouldn’t Mix LED and Incandescent Bulbs
The different bulbs may light up when you turn the fixture on, but it doesn’t mean you should use them together. LED bulbs are energy-efficient, meaning, they use less power than incandescent lights. It does reduce electric costs, but it’s also a problem when they’re mixed with other types of bulbs. Incandescent bulbs draw more power, and this causes LED lights to flicker as the light fixture gets confused about where to send how much power.
The heat produced by incandescent bulbs is another problem. LED lights typically have a combination of metal and plastic components. The low heat and power produced by LED bulbs aren’t enough to damage the delicate plastic pieces. Incandescent bulbs are different. They emit roughly 90% of the energy they use as heat, often getting hot enough to melt the plastic in the LED lights which is obviously a big fire hazard and maybe not worth the risk. This is only a big deal if the bulbs are really close together, but, it’s probably not worth the risk considering how cheap light bulbs are in general.
Great LED Bulb Options
One great thing about LED lights nowadays is that you have plenty of options when you’re looking for LED bulbs. You can even choose between smart and dumb bulbs. Smart LED bulbs like these simple NITEBIRD Bulbs (on Amazon) work with Google and Alexa. Some smart bulbs require a hub, while others connect to your home Wi-Fi network wirelessly. You can program the bulbs on and off, or even set a dimmer if you wanted to.
Dumb LED bulbs like these simple GE LED Bulbs (on Amazon), even though they’re not optimized in smart homes which we’ll mention again in a second, are long-lasting and energy-efficient. They are also less expensive. The only downside is you can’t connect these bulbs to a smart system or a Wi-Fi network. You have to turn them on and off manually.
Is it Safe to Mix LED and Incandescent Bulbs?
Getting down to the brass tax of everything, the question you want to be answered is whether it is safe to mix LED bulbs with incandescent ones. Chances are that it won’t cause a power outage or start an electrical fire. Put simply, you can also mix LED and halogen bulbs together and it’s an easy way to slowly start transitioning your fixtures to energy-saving LED lights.
As we mentioned earlier, even though it is safe, you still want to think twice before mixing the different types of bulbs. Incandescent lights do draw more power than LED bulbs. You will have issues with flickering lights, because the fixture may not be designed to deliver different power levels to different sockets. You also have to worry about potential damage from heat to the components in the LED bulbs. If the plastic pieces melt, the bulb is ruined.
How to Transition Your House to LED Bulbs
Chances are you have several multi-bulb light fixtures. Ceiling fans and chandeliers have more than one light socket. This can also apply to some lamps. It can feel expensive to replace every incandescent and halogen bulb at once, especially when LED lights are priced a little higher. However, you also save energy and minimize replacement bulb costs, because LED bulbs last longer than other types of lights.
It is easier and less expensive to concentrate on one room or light fixture at a time. Start with the lights you use most often. Replace those bulbs. When you’re ready, move on to the next room or light fixture. You’ll slowly start seeing energy costs go down, and you don’t have to worry about damaging the bulbs or fixtures.
Pro-Tip: Make All Your LED Bulbs Match
As the title here suggests, your light fixtures always look better when all of the bulbs match which is one reason it’s great to make sure they match with each other. It’s aesthetically pleasing, making the room look better. It’s hard to be happy with a room’s appearance when the lights are constantly flickering.
Benefits of Buying LED Bulbs in Bulk
You can buy LED bulbs singularly or in small packs. Packs of four LED bulbs are often enough to replace the lights in one fixture, but there are probably other lamps in the room. You might not be able to find the same style of LED bulbs when you’re ready to replace the other ones. LED bulbs also burn out over time, and you might end up with different style bulbs in the same fixture. It will still reduce heat output from the bulbs, along with keeping energy usage low. However, the bulbs won’t match and can throw off the room’s aesthetics.
It makes sense to buy LED bulbs in bulk, and packages like this LEDVANCE 24 pack (on Amazon) can easily come out to less than $1/bulb. You always have matching LED lightbulbs on hand when one goes out. You also have enough bulbs to cover every light fixture in the room. When the bulbs match, a room looks better. You also have a matching bulb ready to replace one when it burns out. LED bulbs can last 10 years and more, depending on usage. However, you don’t want to learn your bulbs are out-of-stock when it’s time to replace one.
You also save money when you buy bulk LED lightbulbs. The initial price is higher when you buy bulk. A two, four, or six-pack of bulbs is cheaper at first. The cost quickly adds up when you keep purchasing the smaller packs as you replace more lightbulbs. It’s also easier having the bulbs you need at home. You don’t have to worry about having a dark room when the bulbs are stored in the house. But really, you don’t do this to save on cost: you do it to save on convenience over time, when you always have a matching bulb on hand to replace your bulb that just burned out.
So, while you can safely mix LED and incandescent lightbulbs. You won’t start a fire, but you can run into other problems. One potential issue is flickering LED blubs which are common due to the amount of power incandescent bulbs draw. They also put out a lot of heat that can damage plastic components in LED lights.
With all that said, it is a good idea to transition over to LED bulbs. They last longer, emit less heat, and are more energy-efficient than other types of bulbs. Buying enough LED bulbs to replace all of the lights in a fixture at once will undoubtedly save you time and money. It also makes the room look better when all of the bulbs match.