LED lights have many benefits compared to traditional bulbs. A LED bulb uses up to 90% less energy and can last between 25 and 40 years.
Despite these advantages, there is doubt over whether LED bulbs are a fire hazard or not.
If you’re thinking about introducing LED lights into your home, you may be wondering: can LED lights catch on fire?
We’ll tell you everything you need to know in this article!
Table of Contents
Can LED lights overheat and start a fire?
LED lights last a long time, as their technology pulls any heat generated to one area, the heat sink at the base of the bulb. This means that the electronics inside keep cool.
Compared to incandescent bulbs, LED lights are much cooler. After running for 3 minutes, an LED bulb heats up to 32.6°C. After the same amount of time, incandescent bulbs reach 216°C.
Traditional bulbs aren’t as energy efficient as LED bulbs. They can waste between 60% and 90% of energy on heat. LED bulbs use most of their energy to emit light.
While this should mean that LED lights aren’t likely to cause fires, you should be aware that heat isn’t the only way to start one.
Fires can start from wiring problems, like using a higher watt bulb than your light socket allows. Wiring problems are one of the leading causes of fire. LED bulbs are quite complex, so you’ll need to be careful when installing these in your home.
Here are some safety rules for using LED lights:
- Only use LED bulbs in a compatible unit, and always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- Confirm that your light bulb and electric components are registered as UL or ETL. These standards ensure your product is of good quality.
- Avoid enclosed fixtures. These are lamps that keep the bulb in glass or plastic, instead of exposed to open air. These obstruct the heat dispersion from your light installation. This could keep the heat to one area and start a fire. If you have enclosed fixtures, you can buy lights specially made for them called ‘Enclosed Fixture Rated’ bulbs.
Is it a fire hazard to leave LED lights on?
Everyone is guilty of leaving the lights on once in a while, but you really shouldn’t do so. Any type of bulb left on is always considered a fire risk.
A lot of fires have started from decorative lights around the holiday period. If left on for too long, festive lights can make flammable Christmas trees catch on fire.
If you always forget to turn the lights off, don’t worry! There are loads of timers that can switch off the lights for you, or smart products that can give you a reminder.
Remember that LED lights won’t heat up like traditional bulbs do, so a fire is still really unlikely. However, you should be aware of the risk of leaving your lights on. Always remember to take appropriate care and switch off when not in use.
Can string LED lights catch on fire?
String LED lights produce more heat than singular lights, as there are more bulbs attached to each other. The most common issues with string LED lights are overheating and power cord failures.
The risk of fire is greater, so you should take even more care when installing these.
LED string lights come in two voltages. One is low voltage, 12V or 24V. The other is line voltage, 120V.
Low voltage string lights come in 5-meter reels, while line voltage lights come in 50-meter ones.
You’ll need to make sure that your power source isn’t overloaded by the string lights, or the length of the string. This is a crucial safety step.
The next step is to keep your string lights away from any flammable materials. Keep them exposed to open air when possible. Make sure they have enough space around them so they can give off excess heat.
LED string lights only emit a small amount of heat, but you should still take care when installing them as there is a greater fire risk.
How long is it safe to keep my LED bulb on?
If you took care installing your LED lights, made sure there weren’t any objects obstructing its heat dispersal, and were sure to use the correct wattage, then you can leave your LED lights on all day.
LED bulbs break down from high temperatures, not from turning them on and off. If you keep your LED bulbs away from heat, then your lights shouldn’t be a fire hazard.
As before, you can use timers or smart products to control any lights you want to keep turned on. This can make your LED lights last longer, while saving you money on your utility bills too.
Can LED strip lights cause a fire?
LED strip lights have become very popular in the interior design world. You install these in a similar way that we would install string lights.
As a rule, the more LED lights there are on a strip, the more heat is generated. If you use a strip light in tight places, be aware of air circulation.
Air needs to circulate freely around the bulbs to take excess heat away. It’s a small risk, but this is important, as the surface your strip light is attached to could catch fire.
Like you would with string lights, make sure that your power supply isn’t overloaded. Take any safety hazards away from your strip lights, like flammable materials or heaters.
LED lights have a lot of benefits, like energy efficiency, cost, and a longer lifespan. Older bulbs have a greater fire risk, but you should still be careful with your LED lights.
Wiring mistakes are easily done and could cause a fire. If installed correctly, you can leave your LED lights on, but do use timers to prolong their lifespan.
In short, LED lights are a safe alternative to traditional lights, but you should always take care when using them, as it takes one mistake to start a fire.
Remember that the risk is low. If you’re choosing new lights for your home, LED lights are still one of the best options.