We love LED bulbs.They’re superstars. But they’re also divas.They demand a high-price and a little pampering. But sometimes LED bulbs fail. Failure may result from cheap manufacturing or stress from neighboring appliances, the light fixture, or the wiring.
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are top performers in the lighting industry. They have low-energy needs and that energy goes directly into producing light. They provide light immediately and exactly where you need it. They are resistant to physical shock, shaking and shattering. But LEDs also have vulnerabilities: heat and high-wattage. In this blog, we discuss the situations that make LED bulbs fail.
How You Buy LED Bulbs: Opt for High-Quality
First and foremost, with LEDs particularly, you get what you pay for. While the cost of LED bulbs and fixtures is dropping, even cheap bulbs aren’t as low-priced as incandescent bulbs. To save energy and money, you may be tempted to purchase low-priced LED bulbs to replace your incandescent or CFL bulbs. This would be a mistake. In the world of superstars, cheap LED bulbs are like Cher impersonators. There are many of them out there and each is a tacky substitution for the real deal.
Cheap LED bulbs provide an unsatisfactory customer experience that turns many consumers off to LEDs altogether. The low-quality parts in a low-priced LED bulb are ill-equipped for our energy-lavish world. They literally can’t handle the heat. Cheap LED bulbs have a shorter lifespan, and tend to flicker and even fail.
Location Is Everything: Pair Like with Like
LED bulbs may be just about the most green-righteous appliances around. They refuse to perform with or near energy-wasting appliances and circuits. That’s right. LED bulbs scorn the heat and high-wattage of other appliances.
Even though LED bulbs generate minimal heat, you’ll notice heat sinks (or fins) built into LED bulbs and fixtures. Internal drivers (or transformers) control the voltage a LED bulb can pull. The short of it is that heat and power surges affect the brightness, steadiness, and lifespan of even the best LED bulbs.
What does this mean for you?
LEDS Are Wilting Lilies
LED bulbs don’t like incandescent bulbs
To begin with, the heat output of nearby appliances and bulbs directly affects LED bulbs. While heat can influence even a high-quality bulb, it can seriously compromise a cheap LED bulb. When switching to LED, you should replace ALL incandescent or fluorescent bulbs in a fixture with LEDs, not just the bulb that blew out. You should also place your lamp away from any appliance that puts off heat. Along the same lines, heat from a poorly designed or outdated light fixture will cause even a high-quality LED to fail.
LED bulbs don’t like enclosed spaces
Yep. LEDs tend to be a bit claustrophobic. Because enclosed spaces trap heat, LED bulbs fail in unventilated enclosed fixtures. If you want to put an LED bulb in an vent-free enclosed fixture, you’ll want to use an LED bulb rated for enclosed fixtures. LED bulbs rated for enclosed fixtures regulate the heat inside the fixture by regulating the current. Unfortunately, these bulbs are costly and difficult to find. It may be more cost-effective to replace the fixture.
LEDs don’t like hot outdoor temperatures
Outdoor lights that get a lot of use are smart places to use LED lights. But what about outdoor lighting in hot regions like Arizona? A standard LED bulb won’t stand up to the heat of an Arizona summer. There are, however LED bulbs specifically designed for year round outdoor use that can withstand temperatures up to 212° F. These are the bulbs you want to use for patio or parking lot lights in Arizona.
LEDs Are Eco-Shamers
LEDs don’t like high-wattage appliances
The use of a high-powered appliance can cause power surges on the circuit. If you’ve placed an LED on the same circuit, those power surges can cause an LED bulb to flicker. Flickering not only reduces the quality of light, shortens the lifespan of an LED bulb. This is an even greater issue for a low-priced bulb. A low-priced LED bulb contains a lower-quality transformer which will inadequately avert power surges. You can maximize the light quality and lifespan of all LEDs by plugging a high-voltage appliance into a different outlet.
LEDs don’t like like old switches
If you think you can replace a dimmer incandescent bulb with a dimmer LED bulb and be done with it, think again! The wrong dimmer switch paired with even an expensive LED bulb can cause flickering and bulb failure.
This is because LED bulbs use low wattage. Traditional (dare we say obsolete?) dimmer switches meet the high-wattage needs of incandescent bulbs. Because LED bulbs have low-wattage requirements, the high wattage supplied by old dimmer switches causes flickering, shortens life-expectancy, and may result in bulb failure. In fact, the most common cause of LED flickering is an incompatible dimmer switch.
Before you put an LED on a dimmer, you may need to replace your dimmer switch.
Why LED Bulbs Often Fail in Older Ceiling Fans
While it is smart to use LEDs where you use the most light, an old ceiling fan can be a bad place to start using LED lights. LED bulbs fail in old ceiling fans for a number of reasons: 1) they are used in combination with incandescent lights 2) they are used in an vent-free light enclosure 3) the ceiling fan motor puts off too much heat and/or pulls too much wattage 4) they are used with an old ceiling fan dimmer switch. It is more cost-effective to replace an old ceiling fan with an energy-efficient ceiling fan that has an LED fixture.
For Best Results
- Place LEDs next to incandescent or fluorescent bulbs.
- Place LEDs near heat-generating appliances.
- Place LEDs on the same circuit with high-wattage appliances.
- Place LEDs in unventilated enclosed fixtures.
- Place dimmer LEDs on an old dimmer switch.
- Replace all bulbs in the same light fixture with LEDs
- Replace vent-free enclosed fixtures with LED fixtures.
- Replace old ceiling fans with LED ceiling fans.
- Replace dimmer switches with LED-compatible dimmer switches.
LED bulbs are quickly replacing incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. And for good reason. They’re superstars in the light industry. They’re energy efficient divas that are long-lived and resistant to physical shock, shaking, and shattering. But they require a bit of pampering. When treated right, these divas will cut your energy use up to 85% and light up your life for 15 to 25 years.
If you’ve decided to go green with LEDs, call a licensed, bonded, and insured electrician like Redline Electric & Solar to upgrade your dimmer switches, install a new ceiling fan, or replace an vent-free enclosed fixture. We install commercial, business, and residential LED lighting, including ceiling fans, can lights, and outdoor or parking lot lighting.
NABCEP certified Redline Electric & Solar is the best choice for your electrical and solar needs in Arizona. We are a family owned and operated electrical contracting business, with over 60 years of combined experience. We pride ourselves in our honesty, integrity and high quality work. When you choose Redline Electric & Solar, you can be confident that you’ve made the right decision.