One of the benefits of using light-emitting diodes (LEDs) over conventional light bulbs is that they produce a lot of light without using a lot of electricity. This low current draw, and the possibility of using a low-voltage direct current (DC) circuit rather than a conventional alternating current (AC) circuit, has Caroline Di Diego looking for advice.
“I understand we are still very much in a hybrid AC/DC universe and AC has to exist for kitchen appliances and infrastructure appliances in the utility room,” Di Diego wrote in a 2015 Q&A post. “However, our client wants to take the step into LED.”
At the time, Di Diego was having trouble finding answers to “LED wiring 101” questions about wire gauge options, voltage regulation issues, and other quirks of running DC circuits.
The post is now four years old, but recent additions to this thread, and a surge of interest in the efficiency benefits of LED lighting, suggest the issue is very much alive. Is there anything new to be said about LED lighting and its implications for residential wiring? Let’s find out.
Don’t overthink the problem
There’s no need to do anything unusual for LED lighting, advises Thomas Stone. Don’t overthink the problem.
“My house was built in 1957 and has been converted to nearly all LED lighting,” he says. “What did I have to rewire? Nothing. After some experimentation, I can recommend Cree and Philips as reliable brands, but not the new low price-point versions.”
Charlie Sullivan thinks that’s good advice, and he helps Di Diego sort out the AC/DC current question. “Although inherently LEDs run on DC, the high-quality end-use products are all made to run on AC,” Sullivan says. “The current draw on an LED light on an AC circuit is small, so…