What Factors Affect LED Lifespan?

LED manufacturers frequently point to the superior lifespan of LED lighting systems as one of the key benefits of those systems. No two LED systems, however, are identical. The way that an LED light is engineered and manufactured will affect that light’s durability and lifespan. Solid engineering can extend the lifespan of an LED fixture by several years, resulting in cost savings and a better return on investment.

Unlike traditional lighting systems, LED lights rarely experience catastrophic failures in which the LED fixture fails to generate any light due to a broken filament or cracked casing. Instead, the quality and amount of light from an LED fixture will erode over time as a result of degradation of the LED’s semiconductor circuitry, usually due to heat exposure. To reflect this, the best LED manufacturers will rate their LED fixtures according to how much light the fixture will generate after a certain amount of time in comparison to the amount of light that it had initially generated. An LED light that is rated as L70/50,000, for example, can be expected to generate at least 70% of its initial light after 50,000 hours of use.

Factors that Affect LED Lifespan

A number of factors will affect LED lifespan, and a few of those factors are particularly significant. The most critical factor is thermal management and control of heat buildup in the LED’s semiconductor circuitry. Over even short periods of time, too much heat can erode the capabilities of that circuitry and the quality of the light it produces. LED manufacturers generally control this factor with active or passive heat dissipation technology. Active mechanisms like cooling fans increase an LED lighting system’s electrical load and are prone to mechanical failures. Accordingly, passive cooling fins are preferred for thermal management.

The engineers at SpecGrade LED, a domestic manufacturer of LED lighting systems, have developed a proprietary passive thermal management system that incorporates multiple double-folded aluminum fins directly into the LED fixture. SpecGrade LED’s proprietary technology configures these fins in a consolidated design to allow maximum airflow with ideal thermal connectivity to the base semiconductor circuitry. That technology is a key factor in the longer LED lifespan of a SpecGrade LED fixture.        

LED lifespan can also be affected by the environment in which the fixture is installed. Environments that have high humidity levels or that expose LED fixtures to corrosive chemicals can degrade the fixtures and harm the LED circuitry. We have designed and engineered LED lighting technology specifically for these types of high-stress hazardous environments. These fixtures separate circuitry from humidity and airborne chemicals with casings that resist corrosion.

The control technology for an LED lighting system will also affect its lifespan. If an LED lighting system experiences electrical loads that exceed the system’s ratings, that excess load will rapidly reduce LED lifespan. As much as it is important to select the right LED lighting system for the environment in which the system will be installed, it is important to use the right control technology that limits electrical load to match the system’s ratings.  

SpecGrade LED is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. We have representatives in Columbus and throughout North America who can answer your questions about LED lifespan, or about any of the advanced features of our LED lighting systems.

We look forward to helping you select the best LED system for your application that will provide the longest LED lifespan while generating optimum lighting performance.

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