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How Do LED Strips Get Warm and How Hot is Safe?

2023 05 03 21 40 39

LED technology is known for its lower heat output and higher efficiency compared to traditional lighting technologies. However, it is still common to observe an LED strip light getting warm or hot during operation. In this article, we will explore why this happens, how hot is safe, and answer other related questions.

Why Do LED Strips Get Warm?

LEDs are indeed more efficient than traditional lighting technologies, but they are still quite inefficient in absolute terms. The efficiency of LEDs is expressed as a percentage, indicating the proportion of electrical energy that is converted to useful light energy versus the portion that is wasted as heat energy.

LEDs typically have efficiency values between 30% and 50%. This means that for a typical LED with 40% efficiency, given every 100 watts of electrical input, only 40 watts worth of energy is released as useful light energy, and the remaining 60 watts are released as heat.

Additional components and inherent resistance in LED strip circuitry can reduce efficiency values even further. Thus, typically, LED strips run at 30% efficiency. This means that a 90 watt LED strip light reel will emit 63 watts (90 watts x 70%) of thermal energy – approximately the same amount of heat as a 60 watt incandescent bulb.

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Is It Safe?

The temperature of an LED strip lights during operation will depend on the LED strip design and quality, as well as the ambient temperature. While most LED strip applications do not involve contact with human skin, if your specific project does, you will want to take precautions to ensure the LED strips are not directly accessible to humans or animals. Objects that are at 40°C (104°F) or higher will feel “hot” to the touch, and temperatures over 50°C (122°F) can begin to cause burns on human skin.

Almost all LEDs, components, and LED strip circuits are designed to withstand temperatures of 185°F (85°C) or more without any detrimental effects on their longevity, reliability, and operation.

As such, except for poorly designed or malfunctioning LED strip products, virtually no LED strips will reach these temperatures, and there should be few concerns about whether an LED strip will malfunction due to heat.

While unlikely, a malfunctioning LED strip light can, in very rare instances, rise to temperatures far above their normal operating temperature range. To reduce this risk, it’s best to use high-quality LED strip lights that are manufactured with quality materials and oversight, as these products are less likely to contain manufacturing and design defects that can lead to heat-related malfunctions.

Additionally, it’s important to use LED strip lights that are designed to remain safe even during a malfunction, such as those rated to meet UL safety standards.

Can Dimming LED Strips Reduce Heat?

Yes! Dimming LED strip lights is typically accomplished by limiting the amount of power being fed to the LEDs. As a result, as you dim an LED strip, you will see a proportional decrease in the amount of thermal energy being released.

Do 12V LED Strips Run Cooler Than 24V LED Strips?

The voltage of an LED strip generally does not affect thermal performance. The wattage, and not voltage, of an LED strip system is what determines the total heat output. However, the slight efficiency gains with a 24V system may result in slightly less heat output compared to a 12V system.

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Other LED Lighting Solutions

While LED strip lights are a popular choice for both residential and commercial lighting applications, they are not the only type of LED lighting solution available on the market.

At Kosoom, we offer a variety of LED lighting solutions to fit your needs. Our LED track lighting, for example, are perfect for highlighting artwork, retail displays, and architectural features. They are available in a range of sizes and styles, so you can find the perfect fit for your space.

Our LED tube lights are ideal for replacing traditional fluorescent tubes in offices, warehouses, and other commercial settings. They offer superior energy efficiency and a longer lifespan, which can help save on maintenance costs over time.

If you need focused lighting for specific tasks, our LED spotlights indoor might be the perfect solution. They are available in a range of beam angles and color temperatures, so you can customize your lighting to fit your needs.

For more creative applications, our LED light bars offer a versatile lighting solution that can be used for everyt hing from accent lighting to under-cabinet lighting. They come in a variety of lengths and can be cut to size, making them a great choice for custom installations.

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