LED Maintenance and Lamp Life

Upgrading lighting fixtures to LED has many benefits right now including energy savings, low-maintenance due to long life of the light source, less heat and no UV emittance. Most LED lamps today are rated for approximately 50,000 hours of operation. It is important to know how to take care of LED lamps to maximize their life time and understand when and how to replace them.

 Maintaining LED’s:
  • It is important to keep all light fixtures clean and clear of dust and other debris. This is true of all light fixture types. These particles could interfere with the heat dissipation of the lamp and/or accelerate loss of lumen output. This is called “lumen dirt depreciation”. This term is used for calculations of all fixture types.
  • LED’s like to operate in cooler temperatures for maximum performance. Keep them as cool as possible. Excess heat can reduce the total lamp life time. Well-designed fixtures with heat sinks should be preferred.
Replacing LED’s:

Because LED lamps have such a long lifetime, it is unlikely that you will ever see it fully burn out. However, you will eventually start to notice that the light output is decreasing over time. Most manufacturers suggest that when the light output reaches 70% of the original output, it is no longer useful. The problem is, there is no definitive indication when the lamp reaches this 70% output and you may not even notice because the change is so gradual.  Here are some suggestions:

  • It is a good idea to spot check your light fixtures once a year, along with your routine cleaning and maintenance in your space. Try to notice differences in the shadows and reflections over time. Increase your attentiveness when the lamp is nearing its rated lifetime.
  • You could embed a controller in the light fixture to underdrive the LED for most of its lifetime, maintaining a constant light output. At the end of its lifetime, the controller goes into overdrive and when the lights finally fail it will be easier to recognize.
  • There are also systems with indicators or light sensors to monitor and display the consumed life and/or the light level.
  • Remember that there are many differing characteristics between models and manufacturers of LED lamps and luminaires. When the time comes to replace your LED’s it is important to consider properties such as color temperature, lumen output, beam spread and dimming compatibility.
  • In general, it is easiest to replace all LEDs in one area at the same time. LED fixtures and lamps of the same model usually will depreciate at the same rate when used in the same environment.

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