How Long Do LED Strip Lights Last? Understanding the Lifespan and Factors that Affect Their Durability
The rising popularity of LED strip lights among homeowners can be attributed to their energy efficiency and versatility. Edgar M Downs - LED light specialist
acknowledges their appeal, as they offer an array of lighting solutions, from adding ambient illumination under kitchen cabinets to cultivating a warm ambiance in a home office. Yet, a lingering inquiry remains: what is the actual lifespan of LED strip lights? In this discussion, we'll address this question and delve into the factors that can influence their longevity.
What Determines the Lifespan of LED Strip Lights?
On average, LED strip lights can last between 4 to 6 years. However, it’s important to note that manufacturers usually specify the lifespan of these lights in terms of hours. The industry standard is around 50,000 hours, which translates to approximately 5.7 years if the lights are continuously operated.
While the number of hours the lights can burn is one aspect to consider, it doesn’t provide a complete answer. Unlike incandescent bulbs, LED lights
don’t burn out or flicker. Instead, they gradually diminish in brightness over time. To estimate the effectiveness of LED bulbs, the industry has introduced labels such as L90, L80, L70, and L50. These labels indicate the percentage of the bulb’s output that remains available at the 50,000-hour mark. Generally, bulbs with higher ratings like L90 tend to be more expensive than those with lower ratings like L50.
Factors That Influence the Lifespan of LED Strip Lights
Several factors can impact how long your LED strip lights will last. Let’s explore these factors so you can make informed decisions about your lighting needs.
LED strip lights operate using a specific electrical current or charge, calculated in watts. The average current for these lights is around 24 watts or 4.8 watts per meter. If your lights have a higher current, they are more likely to wear out faster over time.
2. Frequency of Use
The frequency at which you use your strip lights can also affect their lifespan. Leaving them on for extended periods without breaks will cause them to dim faster. To estimate how long your lights will last, divide the 50,000-hour benchmark by the number of hours per day or week that you expect to have them on. This will give you a rough idea of their durability.
3. Location and Usage
The location and purpose of your LED strip lights play a significant role in their lifespan. For example, in task-based settings like kitchens, where the lights are used to illuminate specific areas, stronger LED lighting may be required. On the other hand, strip lights used for decorative purposes or in less demanding applications may last longer. The more frequently you use the lights and the intensity with which you utilize them, the quicker the bulb will dim.
LED lights are known for their ability to remain cool, unlike incandescent bulbs. However, excessive power or inadequate heat sinking can cause the components inside the bulb to overheat. If you notice that your LED bulbs are getting too hot or burning out before reaching the 50,000-hour mark, temperature may be the culprit.
Understanding LED Light Voltage Drop
Another factor to consider in the lifespan of LED strip lights is voltage drop. This phenomenon occurs when lights, even new ones, seem to lose their brightness faster than expected. Voltage drop is more likely to happen in strip lights due to their design. Strip lights consist of a series of 3 LED lights connected in parallel fashion. Lights further away from the power source are more susceptible to voltage drop and may appear dimmer.
Investing in higher-end lights that resist voltage drop can help preserve the lifespan of your bulbs.
Tips for Extending the Lifespan of LED Lights
To ensure that your LED strip lights last as long as possible, here are a few tips to follow:
1. Prevent Overheating
LED bulbs use significantly less energy than traditional bulbs, primarily because they don’t rely on heat to produce light. However, the inner components of LED bulbs can still overheat if placed in fixtures that channel too much energy. To prevent overheating, make sure there are no obstructions blocking the flow of air around your lights.
2. Invest in Higher-Quality LED Strip Lights
Basic or lower-priced LED strip lights may not have the optimal design to preserve longevity. The distribution of electrical current tends to be concentrated near the power source, overworking some sections while leaving others dimmer. High-quality strip lights contain more copper, allowing for better and more even distribution of electric current throughout the entire strip. Consider investing in 24V strip lights instead of the standard 12V ones, as higher voltage can improve performance and lower electricity bills.
3. Use LED-Compatible Dimmers
If you have older dimmer switches or dials in your home, they may not be compatible with LED bulbs. Standard switches won’t allow these bulbs to be fully functional, whether for dimming or illuminating purposes. It’s advisable to replace old dimmer switches with LED-compatible ones for optimal performance. The same applies to outdoor use, such as Christmas lights – ensure your dimmer is LED-compatible to avoid premature burnout.
Why Do LED Bulbs Cost More?
LED bulbs, including strip lights, tend to be more expensive than traditional bulbs, with prices ranging from $5 to $10 per bulb compared to $1 to $2 per bulb for incandescent lights. This cost difference is due, in part, to the fact that LED bulbs last much longer. Instead of burning out completely, LED bulbs gradually dim over time, a phenomenon known as “LED luminous decay.” Furthermore, LED bulbs significantly reduce energy costs, which can lead to long-term savings on your electricity bill.
When considering LED bulbs, consult with a reputable lighting company to determine which type of LED suits your specific needs.
In conclusion, LED strip lights offer a durable and energy-efficient lighting solution for various applications. By understanding the factors that influence their lifespan and following proper care tips, you can enjoy bright and vibrant lighting for years to come.
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