Not All LEDs Are Created Equal: Know What You Are Putting in Your Ceiling
Over the past five years, the LED lighting industry has seen an explosion in growth. LED technology has become more affordable and efficient making it the best lighting option for any space. This growth has created intense competition within the industry putting pressure on businesses to find a way to stand out. The most common way is price, but many companies have begun sacrificing the quality of their products to do so and even lied about the components used in their lights. In this week’s blog, we discuss what you as a consumer should be looking for when purchasing LEDs and why cheap products can create a safety risk for you.
In general terms, LED drivers are a power supply that provides proper voltage and protection. Depending on the application, drivers can be contained within an LED light or externally wired to the light. A bad driver can send too much power to a light causing it to overheat and fail. Furthermore, they can reduce performance and cause aggravating issues such as delay and flickering.
So how does one know if a driver is quality and can be trusted? The first step is checking for efficiency standard designations such as UL, DLC and more. The goal of these organizations is to ensure the safety, efficiency, and quality of lighting products for consumers. They perform various tests with strict criteria to find which products fit their standards. If they pass, the product can be stamped with their logo so customers can identify their listing and know the product can be trusted. We highly recommend visiting the DLC and UL websites and researching if the products you have previously installed are listed. Furthermore, there have been cases of LED products that place fraudulent efficiency standard designations on their products so doing your research is quite important. Check out this interesting article about a company that was fraudulently placing UL logos on their drivers.
As stated in the first paragraph, many LED lights internally contain their drivers. This is extremely convenient because it makes replacing an outdated light a one-step solution. The downside is that companies commonly promote their drivers as “high-quality” and use cheap drivers knowing the end-user will never actually see it. The best way to verify this is by checking if the product is listed or consulting with a company like Integra LED who can quickly assess product legitimacy and quality.
Luckily, most lighting consultants like Integra LED complete all this research for you and only install listed lighting products to ensure your LED lighting upgrade is safe, efficient and will last. Many facilities have numerous types of lights making the research process quite time-consuming.
Cheap Materials and Construction
LED lights are comprised of several components that all play a factor in how long they will last. For example, LEDs perform better in cooler temperatures so quality heat sinks can greatly increase their performance and rated life. Budget or cheap LED lights commonly skip out or cut corners on these key design features to offer a more affordable product. The price tag might look attractive but when your lights start quickly burning out or even catching on fire, you may regret that $2 per lamp difference.
Don’t believe us? Check out this tube that caught on fire which we found while completing an energy assessment for a potential customer. We won’t name names but is readily available and commonly purchased by businesses who complete “DIY” upgrades.
The moral of the story is that if the price is suspiciously cheap, the product is most likely either counterfeit or poor quality. We expect this issue to grow as LEDs begin to saturate the lighting market and become the most utilized source of artificial light. Protect your facility and work with a lighting consultant to upgrade your lights to LED. Our projects are backed by a minimum 5-year warranty and we only install listed quality lighting products to ensure your facility is safe and efficient. If you are interested in upgrading, fill out the short form below to connect with our team and learn more.