Over the past few years, LED lights have overtaken the market. They have primarily replaced fluorescent and incandescent lights. LED lights are everywhere, whether it is a
- Musical Concert
- An outdoor Restaurant
- Birthday decor
- A House party
- Lighting up your patio, or
- Adding a dreamy effect to your bedroom.
However, it is commonly observed that LED lights are often left running throughout the day, raising the question- Can LED lights catch fire?
The answer to this is, No. LED lights generally don’t catch fire if installed properly. These are low-wattage electrical appliances. So even if they are left running for longer periods, they don’t attain a temperature high enough to catch fire.
Given the fact that electric fires are the 2nd leading cause of house fires in the US, this is a major plus point of using LEDs.
However, is it safe to leave your LEDs running throughout the day, or are there other factors involved in starting a fire? To answer these, let’s check some related details below:
Can LED lights get hot enough to catch fire?
Contrary to the conventional light sources (60-200 Watt), LED lights are low wattage (3-18 Watts).
This is why filament bulbs heat up fast. Within 3 minutes, a filament bulb can reach 216℃, which is hot enough to start a contact fire. On the contrary, LED bulbs heat up to 33℃ after operating for 3 minutes.
This huge difference in temperature is why LEDs are generally not a fire hazard. However, other factors, such as wiring issues and incompatible installation, will be discussed later.
Can String LED Lights Catch Fire?
String LED lights are attached together with a string and dissipate more heat, comparatively. Poor installation of string LEDs may result in power cord failure and overheating.
These lights come in two different types:
- Low voltage (12-24V)
- Line voltage (120V)
To avoid any fire hazard, make sure not to:
- Attach too many string lights in the same power supply.
- Install string LED lights near flammable materials.
Can LEDs Strip Light Catch Fire?
Strip LEDs are more or less similar, in functionality, to the string LEDs. If they are properly installed, they are not generally a fire hazard.
However, to avoid any accidents, make sure they don’t overheat, and the power supply isn’t overloaded.
Moreover using LEDs with an aluminum heat sink ensures proper heat dissipation, thus lowering the risk of a fire.
If you are interested in how do strip LEDs work, this article might help you out well.
Can LED Bulbs Catch Fire?
Conventional bulbs were 90% heat and 10% light, and this made them a serious fire hazard when left on for too long.
On the contrary, LED bulbs convert 90% of their energy into light, and only 10% dissipate heat, so they are safe to use 24/7.
The Science behind LEDs.
LEDs or light-emitting diodes are semiconductor devices that allow a one-way flow of current. As the current passes through the diode, the electrons release light-emitting photons. These photons are what appear as light when you turn on the LED light.
This phenomenon is known as Electroluminescence. This video on How does an LED works may help you get a better understanding of the process.
The heat generated in this process moves to a heat sink below the LED and is released into the air. As a result of which, LEDs don’t get hot enough, even when kept on throughout the day.
Factors associated with LED Lights that can cause a fire hazard
However, other associated risk factors can pose a safety threat when it comes to LEDs.
- Poor Quality LED Strips
Invest in good-quality LED lights. Low-quality strips tend to heat up easily and cause the lights to fail sooner.
- Poor Power Supply
Make sure the power supply is adaptable to the LED light you are using. The low-quality power supply can result in a turbulent current supply, thus damaging the LED light.
- Amperage Issues
Before installation, make sure to calculate the amperage. The larger the amperage, the more prominent will be the wire size.
Using incompatible wires can cause overheating or melting of wire, resulting in a fire accident.
- Poor Installation
Ensure secure installation for long-lasting LED lights. It is recommended to use a 20% bigger power supply.
Avoid installing your LEDs in direct sunlight. Take special care when connecting LEDs to metal surfaces to avoid short circuits.
If you are new to this, check out our step-by-step guide on how to install LED strips.
Safety Precautions to avoid LED from catching a fire
Below are a few safety precautions you need to keep an eye on for a safe LED experience.
- LED Channels
LED channels ensure maximum heat dissipation and can lower the temperature by 5℃. Moreover, they protect the LEDs from water and dust.
These channels are generally made up of aluminum and are efficient in increasing the durability of LED strips.
By using dimmers, you can adjust the brightness of your LED light. They work by lowering the output wattage of the strip, thereby reducing the amount of heat produced.
Using dimmers and infrared switches while installing your LEDs can prevent overheating and LED loss.
These days, LEDs are available with a default option of dimmers in them. Dimmers can operate under varying mechanisms, some of which are discussed in our article on 5 kinds of LED dimming methods.
- Branded Strips
Reliable brands are always safer and more efficient. One-time investment can go a long time.
Electronics that are listed as ETL or UL are termed as high-quality products.
- Professional Installation
Before installation, give a thorough read to the manual. Check if there are any compatibility or voltage specifications.
Some LEDs, for instance, come with preinstalled drivers. Still, if you are new to this, it is better to ask for professional help.
- Enclosed Fixtures
Proper heat dissipation is necessary. Avoid installing LEDs in enclosed spaces.
If you plan on doing so, buy the ones designed for enclosed fixtures. You can check out some of the pocket-friendly options available on Amazon.
How long can you safely leave your LEDs running?
If your LEDs are properly installed, keeping all the aforementioned factors in mind, you can safely use them throughout the day.
However, it is better if you turn them off when you are away to save electricity and make your LEDs last longer.
Most LEDs come with dimmers or even motion sensors to control their brightness when not in use.
- Can LED lights Explode?
An explosion is generally not a risk because the LEDs dim when something goes wrong.
However, avoid using LEDs in enclosed fixtures or buy specially designed ones. This prevents thermal explosions.
- Why is my LED bulb smoking?
This is a manufacturing or installation fault and can happen due to either electric or thermal stress.
Fluctuation in voltage or a sudden surge in current for more than 100- 1000ns can destroy the LED chip.
Due to an increased current flow, more heat is produced, which can damage the LED and might cause a short circuit.
- Can LED lights stay on all night?
Apart from a waste of energy and shortening your LED strip’s life span, there is no harm in using the LEDs throughout the day, given it is properly installed.
To have a better understanding of how long your LEDs can last and is it safe to use them 24/7, check out our article about How long will strip lights last?
- Can LED lights get hot enough to harm the skin?
Human skin can tolerate up to 50℃and LED lights don’t get hot enough to burn or damage the skin.
An LED would feel a little hot at maximum touching and nothing else at maximum touching. One can wear gloves when working with or around LEDs as a preventive measure.
- Can LED lights cause fire when put on wood?
Generally, string and strip LEDs are not hot enough to cause a fire. However, if LED bulbs (more than 12V) are attached to wood and left on for a long time, they might pose a threat.
Therefore, it is advised that you avoid using or installing LED lights (of any sort) near flammable objects e.g wood or other heat-producing sources such as heaters.
- What if the LED light causes a fire?
If there’s a voltage surge and your LED light catches fire, it can burn the product it is affixed on. Therefore, it is necessary not to install your LED lights on wood or other flammable objects.
If there is a short circuit, try and immediately unplug the light. Other than grab a fire extinguisher and use it on the fire.
Remember! Never use water to put off electric fires. The best solution in case of electric fires is a fire extinguisher.
LEDs have rightly replaced incandescent and fluorescent lights in the market. They are cost-efficient, but the Electroluminescence produces very little heat in comparison to conventional methods of lighting.
If installed properly, LEDs don’t catch fire if installed properly and are totally safe to leave running throughout the day. Make sure to invest in quality material and follow precautions to avoid any chances of contact fire.
However, it is wise to turn them off when not in use to save finite resources.To answer any related queries about LEDs, their working mechanism or safe installation, feel free to visit our website, DARKLESS LED Lighting Supplier.