Do you remember having to leave a bulb off for a while before touching it because it was too hot to handle? With LED lights, you don’t have to worry about that anymore. LEDs are known for their low-heat output and long life span, but it’s still a relevant question to ask.
Let’s look at the features of LED lighting and how they handle heat differently than other lights.
LED lights should not get hot, just warm. LED does generate heat but with correct thermal management through a heat sink, LED should only become warm.
LEDs are small light-emitting diodes that convert electricity into light. They do generate some heat as a byproduct, though not as much as traditional incandescent bulbs.
LEDs are notably cool to the touch because they do not create heat in the form of infrared (IR) radiation. Infrared radiation from incandescent bulbs and other sources warms their enclosures, as well as the surrounding environment, making them hot to the touch.
LEDs consume less energy than other types of lighting, making them very energy-efficient. Less efficient light sources waste energy by turning it into heat rather than converting it into light.
Incandescent light bulbs would waste up to 90% of energy consumption by converting energy into heat and infrared radiation rather than light.
Interestingly, despite its overall energy efficiencies as a complete bulb or light fixture, the actual LED semiconductors are inefficient too, with up to even 95% of their power consumption lost to creating heat. However, they are dealing with less power for a greater amount of light, so the capacity to create heat is proportionally reduced.
For example, a 40W incandescent bulb creates 470 lumens of light compared to an LED bulb that uses 5.5 Watts.
Some LED bulbs get hot on the base because they is supposed to. The base acts as the heat sink, drawing the heat away from the LED chip and allowing it to dissipate in the environment. This is normal and doesn’t indicate a problem with the LED light.
Even the finest LED products will begin to warm up, but if those components are not properly ventilated, it can result in elevated levels of outgoing heat.
“LED chips are extremely heat-sensitive. Poor thermal management will result in the chip running too hot and will begin to alter the color of the light away from its initial specifications. Poorly managed chips can also be subjected to premature failure due to excess heat build up”, explains Dan Mahdavi, Chief Technology Officer of Orluna LED Light Technologies.
LED bulbs are made of durable and safe materials, so it’s not dangerous to touch them when they’re slightly warm. That being said, LED lights have to be handled with caution as budget products may produce more heat than is usually acceptable, and could be warm enough to know it’s been on but still not likely to burn your skin.
If the temperature of your LED lights is too high, they may not last as long as expected. To make sure that your LED bulbs have a long life, you should make sure that the temperature of your LED light is kept low.
Low voltage dichroic lamps and incandescent lighting ran at such hot temperatures that they could be a fire risk, but LED lights run much cooler and don’t present the same risk.
However, if LEDs are not fitted correctly or used with a poor quality power supply, then the heat produced can increase and become dangerous. It is always best to buy LED lights from reputable manufacturers who have designed their products diligently for safety.
LED lighting is an electrical product that handles electricity, therefore it is important to handle and use LED lights with caution like any other electrical device. By taking the necessary precautions and following these tips, you can keep your LED lighting running cool and safe for years to come.
LED lights are very efficient and generate far less heat than other types of lighting, typically lasting between 30,000 to 70,000 hours and running at 15-20% of the consumption of incandescent lighting.
LEDs generate more light per watt than traditional bulbs and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
With the right thermal management through proper ventilation, heat sinks, and low drive current, you can ensure that your LED bulbs stay cool, be safe to use and will be a great investment.
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