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How Long Do LED Lights Last? [GUIDE]

A Guide to LED Life Expectancy

Though many manufacturers claim that the average LED bulb lasts for anywhere between 30,000 – 50,000 hours, this assumes some methods of use that are not necessarily in line with how people might generally use lighting. Nor does this generalization consider that different spaces require different types of lighting and for different periods throughout any given day.

In reality, how long an LED lasts boils down to several factors – how it is used, the quality of the luminaire emitting the light, and the fixture the bulb is secured in.

The Reality of LED Lifespans

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, an LED circuit, referred to technically as a luminaire, is considered “good” up until the point it is producing 70% or under its initial light output. Also, after extended use, the color of the light emitted will change with the aging of the circuit. So though the bulb may “last” – it may not be operating at the standards needed for your home or workplace. Eventually, LED bulbs will burn out.

However, it is important to keep in mind –

LEDs Do Last Longer, Outperforming Other Lighting Options

Whether it is overall costs, electricity usage, or duration, LED’s are considered to be the most efficient lighting option currently on the market. The U.S. Department of Energy has financed a considerable amount of research and development with the hopes of making LED lighting the standard lighting in the USA both residentially and commercially.

As mentioned before, an LED bulb is likely to last 30,000 – 50,000 hours when used correctly, whereas the average incandescent light will only last 1,000 hours. That is a vast difference.

However, as a consumer, its important to know that –

Not All LEDs Are Created Equal

Because LEDs are relatively cheap and widely available in 2019, there are vast differences in quality and energy efficiency depending on the brand you purchase.

Choose Quality-Certified LED Bulbs

There are test procedures and standards designed to inform the consumer on the quality of lighting that they might purchase.  ENERGY STAR® and the DesignLights Consortium™ Qualified Products List are two examples of quality control certifications you should make sure are labeled on the products you purchase.

Taking Care of Your Bulbs

Now that you have quality-certified bulbs, you need to make sure they function optimally. There are a few important things to consider.

LED Circuits Are Heat Sensitive

LEDs perform worse in higher temperatures. Consider this fact when positioning lighting. LEDs emit most of their energy as light and not as infrared heat, which makes them much less a fire hazard than other options.

However, the circuits that control the flow of electricity will breakdown faster if they are overloaded or are unprotected when exposed to high temperatures – think outdoor lighting or lighting near a fireplace or heating unit.

Pay Attention to Wattage

Using your LED bulbs correctly is also essential to their success and longevity. If you use a 60-watt bulb in a fixture designed to generate 100-watts, your bulb will not last as long and will be more prone to breaking down.

Conversely, if your bulb requires more power than the outlet provides, the bulb will not perform optimally and you’ll be wasting money on electricity.

Can LED lights Be Left On?

The short answer is yes. Because they emit mostly visible light and not infrared heat, there is little risk of fire or damage to fixtures. Though, that is not to say that heat isn’t produced and cannot, over time, damage your bulb’s circuit – or at least reduce its lifespan.

Despite this, LEDs are ideal for lights that need to be on for extended periods of time – like factories, warehouses, offices, garages, or security lighting. Additionally, they are the perfect choice for hard-to-reach lights or lights that are not always visually apparent and don’t need to be changed often. Examples of these are recessed lighting on a high ceiling or motion-activated stair lights

LEDs Are The Best Option

However, you need to create an optimal environment for them to function properly. Consider their quality, environment and the fixtures they are to be installed in.

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