What does LED stand for?

The term “LED” stands for Light Emitting Diode. A diode is a semiconductor device that allows current to flow in only one direction. 

What are LED lights?

LEDs produce the longest-lasting, most energy-efficient lighting available today. Unlike traditional incandescent bulbs that work by heating a filament, LEDs utilize diodes. When a voltage is applied to the diode, electrons and electron holes combine within the semiconductor material. This recombination process releases energy in the form of photons and produces visible light. There are a wide variety of LED lights on the market spanning the automotive, commercial, residential, and landscape industries.  

When were LED lights invented?

LEDs were invented in 1962 by Nick Holonyak Jr. While originally available only in colors like green, red, or yellow, advances in technology have now made LEDs available across a wide spectrum of colors, including white and blue light.

How do I know what LED to buy?

There are a few things to keep in mind when replacing outdated incandescent, metal-halide, or halogen lights with LEDs. Since LEDs consume less power, the wattage of your LEDs will be lower than that of your current lighting. Therefore, when comparing different types of lighting, use the lumen output, not wattage, to ensure a similar brightness. Equivalent wattage compares the wattage needed for an LED light to emit the same lumens as an incandescent or metal-halide bulb. For example, an LED bulb with an equivalent wattage of 40W would produce the same amount of light as a 40W incandescent bulb but at a much lower wattage point. If you install an LED light fixture with the same wattage as your current lights, the lumen output may be significantly brighter than what you want. 

How long do LEDs last?

LEDs last significantly longer than incandescent and metal halide lights because of their efficiency and proper heat dissipation. Some LED lights can last up to 100,000 hours. This is 83 times longer than incandescent bulbs and 27 times longer than halogen bulbs. Unlike incandescent bulbs, which gradually dim and fail when their filaments burn out, LEDs do not burn out. The estimated lifetime of LEDs is rated by the time it takes for an LED to emit 70% of its original brightness (L70).

What is an SMD LED?

SMD stands for SMD Surface-Mounted Device. SMD LEDs are mounted directly onto the surface of printed circuit boards. You might commonly hear this term when referring to SMD LED strip lights, which feature LED chips soldered onto the strip light circuit board and with space in between each chip. SMD LEDs are available in a variety of sizes and colors. The small size of SMD LEDs allows for high-density LED clusters with a brighter light output. They are used in a broad array of applications including screen backlighting, automotive indicator lights, and decorative lighting. 

Are LEDs bad for your eyes?

There has been some debate over whether LEDs are harmful to your eyes. A 2019 study done by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety found that long-term exposure to blue light from LEDs can lead to both short-term and long-term damage to the retina, can potentially lead to eye strain, and disrupt sleep patterns. However, these risks can be minimized or eliminated by using treated lenses, taking frequent breaks when looking at LED screens for too long, and choosing warm light LEDs.

Are all LED lights dimmable?

No, not all LED lights are dimmable. Consumers should look for LEDs labeled as dimmable if that is a feature that they want to have. In addition to looking for dimmable LEDs, you must also have a dimmable driver that is designed for use with LEDs. There are several different types of dimming, including 0-10V dimming, PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) dimming, and TRIAC (Triode for Alternating Current) dimming. Your dimmer must use the same type of dimming as your external or built-in driver.

Why do LED lights flicker?

LEDs should not flicker, so if you experience this, there may be an issue with your lighting system. Flickering LED lights can occur for several reasons, including using dimmers not designed for LEDs, using a dimmer on non-dimmable LEDs, using low-quality drivers, overloading circuits, turning on large appliances, loose wiring, or using low-quality LEDs.

Do LED lights get hot?

LEDs do generate heat, but much less than incandescent bulbs. LEDs convert around 90% of the energy they use into light, whereas incandescent lights convert about 10% of the energy used into light (the other 90% being heat). LED lights also efficiently dissipate heat through heat sinks, thereby reducing the chance of overheating. Heat sinks are designed to take heat from the individual LEDs and transfer it to the surface it is attached to. Additionally, many high-quality high-powered LEDs feature integrated cooling systems to efficiently lower the internal temperature of the light fixtures.

Can LED lights start a fire?

Since LEDs do not produce as much heat as incandescent or halogen bulbs, it is highly unlikely that LEDs will start a fire. This is because LEDs are extremely energy-efficient and have integrated heat sinks and cooling systems to prevent this risk. However, no matter what type of light you use, damaged wiring or overloaded circuits can cause a variety of electrical problems including fires.

How do you dispose of LEDs?

Since LEDs do not contain mercury, harmful gasses, or toxins, they can be recycled or thrown away. To recycle your LED lights, search for local recycling facilities that take LEDs. Some hardware stores such as Home Depot, Lowes, and Ikea may offer recycling services for LED bulbs. To throw away your LED lights, simply place them in the trash. LEDs are shatterproof, so you won’t have to worry about them breaking.