Everything You Need to Know About LED Lights
How much do you know about LED Lights?
Or better yet, are you looking for answers concerning these incredible light fixtures?
If so, you are in the right place.
With LED light technology taking the world by storm, a lot of people have been asking questions; which is understandable.
Obviously, a question shared is often easy to solve.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about LED Lights from all over the world.
27 Frequently Asked Questions about LED Lights In 2019
In this post, you’ll get answers to questions about:
- LED Light History.
- Common Industry Terms.
- How LED Lights compare.
- The Benefits (in terms of Cost, Health and Lighting).
- Durability, Efficiency, and Cost-Effectiveness.
- Side Effects among other questions.
Therefore, if you have any questions, your answer is somewhere within this post.
If not, feel free to leave it in the comments section.
Without wasting any more time, let’s dive into the actual LED Light FAQs…
1. What is the History of Lighting?
It all started with fire…
Fire was discovered as early as 400,000BC, but it wasn’t until around 120,000BC when it became widely used for lighting.
During that era, lighting was in the form of campfires and torches.
However, a lot of developments were made as time went by.
Oil Lamps were made using animal and vegetable fat. In fact, our ancestors even used fireflies as lighting sources.
Anyway, the first modern form of lighting fixtures was the chandelier. Earlier models used candles for lighting. But since then, the technology has shifted dramatically into what we have today.
If I was to ask you to name a lighting fixture, candles and chandeliers wouldn’t be the first things that come to mind, would they?
Most people will say incandescent bulbs, fluorescents, or LEDs.
It’s because they are the most common lighting fixtures of our generation.
And like all other forms of lighting, these modern lighting sources also have a history.
- The first real incandescent lightswere invented during the 19th century with Thomas Edison and Sir Joseph Swan taking most of the credit for this. And since then, there have been numerous improvements in terms of efficiency, durability, and light quality.
- Fluorescentsalso debuted late into the 19th However, the 20th Century was when most of the advancements took place. And by the end of that century, fluorescent tubes and CFLs were quite common but expensive.
- It wasn’t until 1994when Shuji Nakamura – an electrical engineer working at Nichia Corporation – gave the world its first high-brightness blue LED light fixture. LEDs were revolutionary in many ways. They were (and still are) very efficient in terms of power consumption and light output; not to mention very durable.
Currently, LED lights are considered the best lighting fixtures on the market.
And with the incandescent ban gaining momentum, a lot of governments and market influencers have been encouraging people and industries to switch to LED lighting.
Why? Continue reading to find out…
2. What are LED Lights and Do They Save Energy?
LED stands for Light Emitting Diode.
So, an LED light fixture uses Light Emitting Diode technology to emit light.
Unlike other lighting technologies, LEDs comes with tons of benefits and unique features.
And energy saving is one of their biggest advantages.
Did you know that an LED light fixture can cut down your energy consumption by up to 80%?
Stunning, isn’t it?
You are probably wondering; how?
Well, LEDs are designed to be extra efficient. That means that no energy is lost in terms of heating.
A typical LED luminary will have an efficiency rating of ~100lm/W. That means that a 15W LED fixture can yield up to 1500 lumens, right?
However, a typical 100W incandescent bulb only yields around 1300 lumens; which is very inefficient.
Basically, this means that:
- One 15W LED light fixture offers more lights than one 100W Incandescent bulb.
- Also, a 100W Incandescent bulb consumes more energy than SIX 15W LED lights.
LED lights save you a lot of energy and help to reduce your lighting costs.
3. What is Wattage?
Wattage – in lighting – is the unit of measurement that shows electrical power consumption.
Take this, for example:
If a lighting fixture is labeled 15W, it means it consumes 15 joules of electrical energy per second.
That means that the higher the wattage, the higher the rate of energy consumption.
4. What Is CRI and Is It Important?
CRI is the abbreviation of the words Color Rendering Index.
What does that mean?
Well, it is simply the measure of a light fixtures ability to reveal the colors of objects as seen under an ideal or natural light source e.g. the sun.
The higher the CRI, the more accurate the color representation.
So, is it important?
Yes! Very much.
That’s because everyone wants to see colors accurately.
Sometimes we use colors to gather information from objects around us.
Now, if the colors are inaccurate, chances are that we are going to misinterpret their meaning.
And the repercussions can sometimes be awful especially for factory workers or heavy machinery operators.
Another reason why a CRI rating is important is that it makes it easy for people to find the perfect light fixture for special applications; including art restoration and neonatal care.
5. What is the Difference Between 3014 LEDs and 2835 LEDs?
Contrary to what many people think, LED numbers e.g. SMD3014 are not so complicated.
Basically, these numbers often indicate the physical dimensions (Length and Width) of each LED chip in an LED fixture.
SMD stands for Surface Mounted Device.
An SMD3014 means that the fixture contains LED chips that measure 3.0mm by 1.4mm in dimensions.
So, what’s the difference between the two types of LEDs mentioned above?
Well, we can start by the fact that 2835 LEDs are more advanced than the 3014 versions.
2835 LEDs come with a newer, more efficient design that other types of LEDs.
A 2835 LED fixture can dissipate heat quickly and more efficiently. That’s usually because it comes with a bigger heat sink than a 3014 LED fixture.
And because of the feature above, 2825 LEDs often handle higher amounts of current and can yield a higher luminous flux.
So, it’s evident that 2835 LEDs are better than 3014 LEDs.
However, 3014 LEDs also have areas where they are most ideal.
6. What is Color Temperature (K)?
In simple terms:
Color Temperature is merely a description of how light from a lighting fixture appears.
In general, color temperature is categorized into three; cool, normal, and warm.
However, when it comes to LED lights, measurement is a bit detailed.
An LED light fixture’s color temperature is measured in Kelvin temperatures (K) with measurements ranging from 1000K to 10000K.
Most commercial and residential LED lighting fixtures often come with color temperatures ranging between 2000K and 6500K.
7. What is Luminous Efficacy?
You’ve probably the luminous efficacy label somewhere on your LED light fixture.
Which label exactly?
Well, on most fixtures, it’s usually a simple “(X) lm/W” label where X is a number.
Your LED light fixture may be labeled 100lm/W. If so, that means that it has a luminous efficacy of 100.
So, what do you get from this?
Luminous Efficacy is the measure of how much light a fixture produces.
In technical terms, it’s the ratio of luminous flux to power usage measured in lumens per watt (lm/W).
8. What Does IP Stand For?
IP is short for Ingress Protection.
It is yet another very common label on electrical devices and appliances.
Generally speaking, an IP label will take the format: IPXY.
Where X is the light fixtures protection against intrusion by dust and other solids and Y is its protection against water and vapor penetration.
- X(or protection against solids and dust intrusion) ranges between 0 and 6; with 0 being the least protected and 6 being the most guarded.
- Y(or protection against liquid and vapor intrusion) ranges between 0 and 8; with protection strength increasing as you move from 0 to 8. There’s a special 9K protection level that indicates the device is completely impenetrable.
An IP40 LED fixture is not as protected against dust and water intrusion as an IP66 or IP69K fixture.
9. What is a Beam Angle?
Different LED lights come with different beam angles.
Spotlights usually offer narrow, intense beams of light that can be directed to light up a specific area of a room with precision.
On the other hand, most residential LED fixtures are designed to offer uniform and widely distributed illumination across a space.
So, what’s the difference between these two LED light fixtures?
The Beam Angle is the correct answer in this case.
Therefore, the beam angle is simply the measurement of light distribution.
A smaller beam angle results in little light distribution and a concentrated, directional illumination. The opposite is also true.
10. What is L80?
Part of the many reasons why LEDs are so popular is their impressively long life-spans.
On average, an LED fixture often lasts 50,000 hours.
The main difference between LEDs and incandescent bulbs/halogens is that light – in the former – output degrades gradually as compared to the latter’s unprecedented failure.
With that in mind, L80 is often used to describe LEDs that achieve their lifespan (~50,000hrs) while still producing 80% of their initial light output.
The same applies to:
- L70 = Light output has degraded to 70% of the initial.
- And L90 = Light output has degraded to 90% of the initialafter 50,000hrs of service.
11. What is Vf?
Are you familiar with the term “Forward Voltage” in LEDs?
Vf describes Forward Voltage; which is the voltage needed to power an LED to produce the desired light output.
But, that is assuming that it’s running on the right amount of electrical current.
12. What is a MacAdam Ellipse?
It is a method used to measure the slight color differences in LED lights. This method helps to refine the binning procedure of LED colors.
A MacAdam Ellipse is an elliptical part on the CIE chromaticity diagram. It encompasses all colors that are literally indistinguishable to the naked human eye.
13. What Does Flicker-Free Mean?
If you’ve used fluorescent lights before, you’re familiar with the term “flickering.”
It’s usually the abrupt switching on and off of light – almost concurrently.
It can be annoying.
However, LEDs do not flicker. And that why you’ll find the “Flicker-Free” label on the fixture, packaging, or user manual.
14. What Does RGB LED Mean?
RGB comes from the colors Red, Green, and Blue.
And when it comes to lighting, RGB LEDs often merge these colors to yield over 16 million different hues of light.
However, there are a few limitations to this since RGB LEDs cannot produce all colors.
Basically, there are special colors that fall outside the RGB triangle. And also, some pigments are difficult, if not impossible, to achieve e.g. pink and brown.
15. What is the Warranty of LED Lights?
A warranty is often a manufacturer/seller’s promise to repair or replace damaged items within a specified amount of time.
Most LED lights often come with lengthy warranties ranging from three to seven years.
But that is depending on the type of LED fixture.
That means that if you bought an LED fixture and it broke down before the warranty period elapsed, your manufacturer/supplier will repair/replace it for you for free.
However, you should note that warranties come with conditions that need to be met including the fact that the product’s damage or failure should not be caused by you.
16. What Are The Advantages Of LED Lights?
LED lights come with a myriad of perks and upsides.
These upsides have been responsible for fueling the fast rise in popularity of LED light fixtures.
The list is endless.
However, here’s a brief on the main advantages of LED lights:
- Highly Efficient– While other forms of lighting waste energy through heating, LEDs don’t. That’s why they are super-efficient and capable of cutting down energy costs by up to 80%.
- Very Durable – LEDs last longer with life-spans ranging from 30,000 to 80,000 hours of service. That is 80-times longer than incandescent bulbs or six-times longer than fluorescents.
- Sturdy – Unlike other types of lighting fixtures, LEDs come with strong and resilient materials that don’t get damaged easily. That contributes to their durability.
- Color Diversity – With LEDs, you have an option to choose from millions of colors to suit your lighting needs or décor preferences.
- Highly Applicable – LED lights can be used in any kind of environment. In today’s market, you’ll find all kinds of LED fixtures – all tailored for a specific kind of environment.
17. What Are The Health Benefits Of LED Lights?
There are some health benefits too…
- Minimizes the chances of headaches – Since LEDs are flicker-free, the chances of you getting a headache are very low. Fluorescents often cause headaches and migraines due to their flickering.
- It’s eco-friendly – That means that you won’t have to worry about exposure to toxic materials. And the fact that LEDs consume less energy means that they help to reduce the demand for energy and carbon emissions.
- LEDs don’t emit UV and IR rays – This not only protects your skin from damage but also ensures your eyes are exposed to the right kind of light.
18. What Are The Disadvantages Of Led Lights?
As good as LEDs may sound, they have downsides too…
- They are quite expensive compared to other forms of lighting.
- Some blue and cool-white LEDs are suspected to be exceeding blue-hazard safety limits.
- Not suitable for outdoor and street lighting during winter because LEDs don’t produce enough heat to melt the ice.
19. How Do LED Lights Work?
LED lights are based on Light Emitting Diodes (LED) technology.
This technology uses semiconductors that light up when electrons are shot through them.
Unlike incandescent bulbs and fluorescents, LEDs usually converts a lot of the energy into light instead of heat.
20. How Long Will An LED Lights Last?
On average, an LED light can last up to 50,000hrs.
That’s roughly 22 Years if the fixture is used for only six hours a day.
There are some that last longer, while others last for less than that amount of time.
Also, you should note that LED lights’ efficiency and output degrades gradually with time.
21. How Much Money Can You Save If You Convert To LED Lights?
Up to 80%!
Well, if you’ve been spending $100 on lighting expenses, the fact that LEDs reduce energy consumption by almost 80% means that your lighting expenses will also reduce proportionally.
Hence, an 80% reduction in power costs. Meaning, you’ll only be spending ~$20 on lighting with LEDs.
22. Does Increasing The Wattage Of LED Lights Increase Their Output?
Every LED fixture comes with its own energy efficiency rating.
In most cases, it’s usually around 100lm/W; which means that for every watt of power the fixture outputs 100lm of light.
Sadly though, each fixture always comes with its specific wattage e.g. 5-Watts, 15-Watts, or even 70-Watts.
Exceeding the recommended wattage can damage your lighting fixture.
However, finding a similar (100lm/W) LED fixture that has a higher wattage can be a better way of getting more lumens; hence, increasing output.
Given that the energy efficiency in both fixtures is 100lm/W…
- A 5-Watt fixture will yield ~500 lumens.
- While 15-Watt fixture yields ~1500 lumens.
23. Is LED Better Than Compact Fluorescent (CFL)?
Yes! And in so many ways.
LEDs are known for being high-performance lighting fixtures.
When compared to CFLs, LEDs always emerge superior in terms of efficiency, durability, light output, eco-friendliness, and robustness.
24. Can LED Lights Be Used With Dimmer Controls?
Dimming is one of the biggest advantages of using LED fixtures.
LED lights can be used with 0-10V/1-10V dimming, TRIAC dimming, DALI dimming, and CCT dimming.
That way you can enjoy your preferred amount of lighting at any time and with ease.
25. Why Do LEDs Require Power Supply/Drivers?
LED lights rely heavily on a constant power supply in order to perform flawlessly.
And that’s why having a power supply system or a driver is essential.
So, what is a driver in LED lights?
Drivers are systems that rectify High-voltage, alternating current (AC) into Low-voltage direct current (DC).
That means that LED drivers help to maintain a steady flow of voltage and current into the fixture.
Also, it protects the light fixture from sudden voltage or current fluctuations.
You should note:
Current and voltage variation can interfere with light output and even lead to faster degradation of the fixture.
26. Why Do Some LEDs Flicker When Dimmed Or Turned Off?
In most cases, flickering is often as a result of incompatibility between the control system and the driver.
For an LED light to work seamlessly, these two items have to be in sync.
And that’s why it’s always advisable that you buy the correct driver type for your LED fixtures as stipulated by the manufacturer.
Another common cause of flickering is often due to the fact that the fixture is not dimmable.
Therefore, before you try dimming, ensure that your fixture is marked as dimmable or supports dimming.
27. Why Are LEDs Considered Green Technology?
First of all, LEDs are very eco-friendly.
That means that they do not contain any toxic or hazardous materials such as mercury and phosphorus.
Also, LEDs reduce the amount of waste because of their durability.
One LED fixture can outlive 50 incandescent bulbs. That means using Incandescent light fixtures contributes to waste as well as higher demand for electricity.
Another green quality about LEDs is that they have a very small – negligible – carbon footprint.
Basically, they don’t contribute to the world’s carbon emissions; hence slowing the rate of global warming and environmental degradation.