Can LED Lights Burn Out? (6 Reasons Why LEDs Fail)

Can LED lights burn out

In the luminous world of lighting, LED bulbs have emerged as the shining stars. But are these luminous wonders truly immune to the fate of their incandescent and fluorescent counterparts, or can LED lights burn out? 

Research suggests that LED lights can not burn out in the traditional sense, as LEDs do not have a filament that can break. However, they can still fail and slowly degrade over time and eventually become dim.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of LED bulbs, explore their lifespan, and uncover the truth behind the enigma of their burnout. Let’s dive in!

Can LED Light Bulbs Burn Out?

Scientific evidence says that LED lights do not burn out like regular bulbs such as incandescent, CFLs, and fluorescent lightbulbs. Incandescent bulbs have a filament that heats up and glows; when the filament breaks, the bulb goes out and burns out prematurely. 

On the contrary, LED lightbulbs do not contain a filament and use semiconductors instead to produce light. Semiconductors do not burn out, but they can degrade over time. This degradation is called lumen depreciation, meaning the bulb will slowly get dimmer over time.

Additionally, LED lights are sensitive to heat, unlike traditional light sources. When exposed to high temperatures, the semiconductors in LED lights can degrade, leading to decreased light output. Therefore, while LED bulb failures can occur due to faulty drivers and loose connections, the risk of LED lights burning out is minimal.

Do LED Lights Strips Burn Out?

No, LED strip lights do not burn out as they do not reach a temperature hot enough to melt plastic, burst out, and catch on fire. Dimming is the only way for strip lights to die out. 

When LED strips or string lights are near the end of their functional life, they suddenly stop working or fall prey to lumen degradation. In such instances, you will witness flickering or flashing lights.

Sometimes, dying strip lights also give off a buzzing sound. This sound results from the incompatibility of the dimmer and bulb and should be dealt with promptly to ensure elongated life.

But unlike other LED strip lights, RGB strip lights show different symptoms of wearing out. A unique phenomenon happens with RGB strip lights when the dimming of one color is more pronounced than that of others. This results in a changing the color of the whole strip; hence you see your LED lights in the wrong color.

How Long Do LED Lights Last?

In general, LED lights last anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 hours, up to six years of non-stop use. This means that using an LED light for 12 hours per day could last for up to 11 years. With proper care, LED lights can provide even more years of reliable service.

However, this lifespan can drop if the light has substandard components or if you use it in an extremely hot environment. A faulty heat dissipation mechanism can also jeopardize your LED light’s lifespan.

Here are three factors that can affect the lifespan of an LED light:

  1. Quality: The quality of the LED light will greatly impact its lifespan. Higher-quality bulbs will typically last longer than lower-quality bulbs.
  2. Environment: LED lights are more sensitive to heat than other types of light bulbs. If you use an LED light in a hot environment, it will not last as long.
  3. Usage: The more you use an LED light, the shorter its lifespan will be. However, even if you use an LED light for several hours per day, it will still last way longer than a traditional light bulb.

What Causes LED Lights to Fail?

Thermal stress, electrical overloading, manufacturing defects, and environmental factors are all common reasons that cause LED lights to fail. Therefore, a combination of these factors should be considered when investigating the causes of LED failures.

6 Common Problems With LED Lighting

Here are 6 common reasons for the premature failure of LED lights:

1. Overheating

Heat limits the LED’s ability to produce light and decreases its useful life. Although LED lights don’t produce much heat, they still generate heat in the presence of electric light. The internal mechanism of LED bulbs gets rid of this heat with the help of a heat sink.

If the LED lightbulb has poor heat dissipation, the heat remains trapped inside the bulb. Consequently, the diodes will lose their light production capacity. Eventually, high temperatures will cause these LED lights to turn on and off automatically and weaken over time.

2. Using The Wrong Dimmer Switches

LED lights use special dimmer switches specifically designed and compatible with LED lights. If you use the wrong dimmers, they let the wrong amount of voltage pass through the lights, which results in LED lights turning off and on automatically and dying out quickly.

Sometimes, you may face this flickering problem even with LED-specific dimmer switches. The reason is that the dimmer switches are becoming incompatible because of electromagnetic interference. Although this incompatibility doesn’t decrease the useful life of your LED lights, it creates a buzzing sound that might irritate you.

In both cases, it’s in your best interest to use suitable, LED-compatible dimmers to let your LED lights light up your room comfortably for years.

3. Voltage Fluctuation

Electrical overloading, such as voltage spikes or current surges, is another reason that jeopardizes the useful life of these lights. LEDs are extremely voltage-sensitive devices that only need 12V or 24V of power charge to work. 

Voltage fluctuation can destroy the lighting diodes. This voltage imbalance can result from the grid, or a faulty driver may also cause it. You need to immediately address this issue and save your LED lights from burning out prematurely. 

4. Environmental Factors

Environmental factors like moisture, dust, and extreme temperatures can degrade the LED’s internal components and cause it to malfunction. 

Prolonged heat exposure is detrimental to the health of LED lights and bulbs. If the surrounding of your LED bulb is hot, you need to manage the temperature to keep the light cool. After all, you don’t want the operational temperature of your LEDs to rise only because it didn’t find enough room for dissipation.

Similarly, rain and wind may cause LED lights to wear out quickly. Especially, wiring damage due to water ingress caused by rain can result in high voltage fluctuations to LED and faster burnout.

5. Improper Connections and Wiring

A loose connection, improper wiring, or a faulty driver can restrict voltage from reaching the diodes. This faulty power supply can lead to annoying lumen degraded or flickering LED lights that eventually wear out.

If your LED light is flickering, loosen or tighten the bulb in its fixture and see if it helps. If nothing changes, check the wiring that supplies power to the bulb.

In case the problem persists, and your light bulbs keep burning out from the same socket, you need to check the wiring. Identify the LED wiring or grounding issue and replace the faulty circuit design leading to the power outlet. Moreover, you can also check the performance of the driver or transformer of your LED bulb.

Read this guide on “How to fix LED light driver” and repair your LED driver at home. With expertly curated instructions and insider tips, this transformative manual will empower you to overcome obstacles hindering your LED lights!

6. Manufacturing Defects

The lifespan of LED lights depends a lot on their operating temperature. Quality lights have an extended operational life and provide a quality heat sink for effective heat dissipation. 

This heat sink installation refrains your LED lights from emitting excessive heat as well as UV (ultraviolet) rays. At the same time, LED lights keep the wiring and connections high quality to ensure minimal electrical energy is lost as heat. 

However, poor-quality LED lights will not only produce more heat but will also be equipped with inefficient heat sinks. This substandard component will keep the heat trapped inside the light causing premature aging, another common reason that causes LED bulbs to burn out. 

What Happens When LED Lights Burn Out? 

When LED lights burn out, they typically stop producing light. However, when an LED light goes out, it doesn’t usually “burn out” in the traditional sense. Instead, the semiconductors simply stop working properly.

Here’s what happens when LED lights burn out:

Sudden Failure

In some cases, an LED light may simply stop working without warning signs. It will no longer emit light when the power is applied. This can happen if there is a failure in the LED chip, the driver circuitry, or any other component within the light.

Gradual Dimming

LED lights may gradually lose brightness over time as they age. Instead of suddenly burning out, they may become progressively dimmer until they reach a point where the light output is no longer noticeable. This dimming process can take months or even years, depending on the quality of the LED and how frequently it is used.

Flickering or Flashing

Sometimes, an LED light may start flickering or flashing intermittently before eventually burning out completely. This can happen due to a faulty connection, poor electrical contact, or a failing driver circuit. If you notice this behavior, replacing the LED light is advisable to avoid any potential electrical issues or fire hazards.

How Can You Tell If a LED Light is Burned Out?

You will know that an LED – out of an array of diodes – is burned out by checking each diode using a multimeter. But before you open up the bulb enclosure of the LED light, get a replacement LED of the same size as is given on its package.

You will also need a multimeter to troubleshoot the driver issue in your LED. After successfully detecting the issue, simply replace it with a suitable LED driver.

How to Repair and Reuse a Burnt Out LED Bulb?

Incandescent and CFLs always burn out quickly. However, LED lights are more economical and efficient than these lights and don’t fail quickly.

However, even if your LED ceiling light burns out and stops working suddenly, you can repair them for reuse. Inspect the LED bulb to identify the faulty LED component and replace it to resurrect the bulb to its original glory.

Read this guide to learn more on how to check and repair LED bulb at home in 2 simple ways.

FAQs: Can LED Lights Burn Out?

Why did my LED lights suddenly stop working?

LED lights may stop working suddenly due to a power surge, loose connections, a faulty power supply, or a burned-out component within the LED light itself.

Do LED car lights burn out?

Yes, LED car lights can burn out. However, they are much less likely to burn out than traditional incandescent bulbs. LED car lights have a lifespan of at least 20,000 hours, much longer than incandescent bulbs’ lifespan (about 1,000 hours).

Do LED lights lose brightness over time?

Yes, LED lights do lose brightness over time. However, they lose brightness much more slowly than traditional incandescent bulbs. LED lights can maintain 70% of their brightness after 25,000 hours, while incandescent bulbs only maintain 70% of their brightness after about 1,000 hours.

Can LED lights burn your house down?

Yes, LED lights can burn your house down if not properly installed. However, LED lights have a much lower fire risk than traditional incandescent bulbs. LED lights are much less likely to overheat and start a fire.

Why do my recessed LED lights keep burning out?

If your recessed LED lights keep burning out frequently, it could be due to poor ventilation, improper installation, excessive heat buildup, or using incompatible dimmer switches. Consulting an electrician would be advisable to diagnose and address the specific cause.

How do you know if a LED light is burnt out?

You can tell if a LED light is burnt out by looking at the light bulb itself. If the LED light is no longer emitting light, it is probably burnt out. Another way to tell if a LED light is burnt out is to check the power supply. If the power supply is no longer providing power to the light, then the light is probably burnt out.

Can LED lights wear out?

Yes, LED lights can wear out, but they have a considerably longer lifespan than traditional incandescent bulbs. LED lights can easily last up to 25,000 hours, while incandescent bulbs only last about 1,000 hours.

Can LED lights cause a fire?

Yes, LED lights can cause a fire if improperly installed. However, LED lights have a much lower fire risk than traditional incandescent bulbs. LED lights are much less likely to overheat and start a fire.

Conclusion: LED Lights Can Not Burn Out But Degrade Over Time!

LED lights only degrade and stop working after years of use. Luckily, their useful life is significantly longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, and you can repair them and extend their life beyond the expiry date.

Note that these lights can be worn out faster if you haven’t procured quality products or failed at adequate installation or use of the lights. So, when you install these lights, allow proper heat dissipation and ensure proper voltage supply.

Got more questions like “Do LED lights burn out”? Write them in the comments section, and we’ll be glad to assist you.

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