While recessed lighting was once considered an upgrade, it is now pretty standard in most homes, particularly in the kitchen and living room areas. High ceilings and two-story entryways make these bulbs particularly difficult to change when they burn out, and most traditional bulbs only last a couple of years. Consider a better option – use LED lights in your existing recessed fixtures to save energy, time and money.

LED stands for “light emitting diode” and is basically a computer chip that puts out light. LED lights are now used in televisions, billboards, holiday lights and places where directional light is needed. This rapidly-growing technology can now be found for your home’s lighting solutions. And bonus, these lights are dimmable.

According to the US Department of Energy, LEDs use between 50 and 85% less energy than traditional light bulbs. They also produce very little heat and therefore lower the load on your air conditioner. LEDs also last an average of 50 times longer than regular light bulbs (up to 32 years with normal use!). Although LED lights cost a bit more up-front, the overall energy savings over the course of their lifetime makes them well worth it.

If you’re ready to make the switch for your recessed light fixtures, first check to see if they are compatible with the new LED housings. Remove the lightbulb and look inside the housing to see if it is mounted using a V-shaped spring. If not, you will need to replace the entire housing. Next, measure your existing fixtures and then make a stop at your local hardware store to scope out the LED options. EnergyStar recommends the brand EcoSmart. This LED light has a competitive price and works just as well as the more expensive options. Once you decide upon a light, do some internet price comparisons to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

To install, follow the instructions on the packaging. You’ll remove your existing bulb and trim. Unscrew the wingnut and pull down and remove the L-bracket. Screw the tail of the new LED into the old bulb socket and attach the LED light. Align the springs and push the light into the fixture where it should sit flush with your ceiling.

Now you can have bright, energy efficient lighting throughout your entire home!