If you are looking for an innovative lighting solution, LED is one of the best alternatives to consider. It delivers a wide array of benefits, including energy efficiency and longevity. The initial cost is high, but in the long run, it is worth every dollar.
Nonetheless, despite its many benefits, LED also has its fair share of problems. Especially when using LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures, it is important that you are aware of the safety repercussions. While LED is generally safe, when installed in an enclosed space, it’s a different story. Keep on reading and we’ll talk more about this issue.
What is an Enclosed Fixture?
First, let’s clarify what exactly is an enclosed fixture. It refers to any fixture wherein the LED bulb is encased, resulting in lack of proper ventilation. Glass is the most common material used in the enclosure. Common examples include street and porch lights. Globe or dome-shaped lights used in ceiling and other applications are also common examples of enclosures. Sure, they look great. However, replacing the light bulb can be a burden. Not to mention, it is potentially unsafe.
Why You Should Not Use LED light Bulbs for Enclosed Fixtures
LED is one of the most advanced lighting solutions to date. It is preferred by many because of its inherent advantages over other types. At the base of an LED bulb, there is an electronic chip. It is sensitive to too much heat, which is exactly the reason why it is not meant to be used in an enclosed space.
In general, LED bulbs run cooler compared to traditional light bulbs. However, traditional bulbs have a built-in energy restrictor. Without this, the bulb will explode because of the heat produced by the light. These restrictors are not present in LED. Therefore, when LEDs are in an enclosed or unventilated fixture, the heat does not go out. Instead, it is trapped.
Overheating is not just the only thing that can happen when you use a regular LED bulb in an enclosed fixture. It is the root cause of other problems. For instance, the light will start flickering only a few days after its installation. The color gradient can also change. Not to mention, it might be dimmer than its anticipated output. At its worst, the light bulb will shut off and you are left with no other option but to get a replacement. Heat will lessen the lifespan of your LED bulb, which can be quite frustrating given how expensive these lights are compared to the price of conventional bulbs.
Are All LEDs not Suitable for Enclosed Fixtures?
The good news is that not all LEDs will overheat when placed in an enclosed fixture. The key here is to be more mindful on what you will choose. As you evaluate the alternatives, the most important consideration is the rating of the light bulb. Make sure that it is rated for use in an unventilated space. Most manufacturers will indicate this, so you must pay attention.
Look for the words “enclosed rated” in the packaging or product description. This means that the product has been built and tested to withstand an enclosure. It has safety features that will make it suitable in an enclosed fixture without demonstrating a dismal performance.
LED bulbs designed for enclosed spaces have special features
One of the most common is that there are chips that can withstand temperature of up to 150 degrees Celsius. If the heat keeps on getting worse, the chips will regulate the light output. This means that it will reduce its power consumption. No need to worry as this does not affect the quality of the light that the bulb produces. Your naked eye will still be seeing the same output despite the reduced power. As for the bulb body, it is common to have a ceramic heat dissipation technology. Ceramic is an excellent material in terms of heat management. More so, it is also common for a LED bulb rated for used in enclosed fixture to have a hollow base to improve air circulation, keeping the bulb cool.
Even if the LED bulb is rated for an enclosed fixture, this does not mean that it is exclusive to the latter. It is designed with versatility in mind, which means that there is no problem even if you use it in open spaces. It has full protection from external elements that can cause irreversible damages. Make sure that the light is UL listed, which will make it functional even in damp and wet locations.
In sum, using LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures is possible, but you will need to find one specifically rated for such an application. Otherwise, LED is prone to overheating when it is used in an enclosure. The extreme heat will cause the light to flicker, dim, or shut-off.