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In the lighting industry, no single topic has drawn more attention, or caused more confusion than LED (light emitting diode). For years we have heard, LED, LED, LED! But what’s the big deal? We can say quite definitively now, that LED is here to stay, and what’s more, it has quickly become the king of the lighting industry. Incandescent, fluorescent, and halogen are all being copied and surpassed in capability by the once diminutive LED. You might wonder, does LED fit every lighting application, or are there still places for more traditional lighting sources? In this first article, we will look at some of the key features, and characteristics of LED lighting, and what makes it a truly unique light source.
It's a common misconception that LEDs don’t produce any heat. While it is accurate to say they produce drastically less heat than other light sources, no technology is completely efficient, and some power still leaks out as heat. That heat is the waste factor in all lighting, which keeps your electrical bill high. So while LED’s are much more efficient, there is still room to improve when it comes to heat production.
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| However, the amount of heat produced does not tell the whole story. Perhaps a more significant factor is the location where the heat is produced. You see all LED lights have a critical component called the PN Junction, where the positive and negative material come together to form the junction. If heat produced at the junction lingers, it can be very detrimental to the life and light output of the LED itself. That’s why all LED lamps and fixtures come equipped with heat syncs and heat transfer mechanisms. These devices get rid of as much of that heat as possible by transferring it away from the PN junction, to areas where heat is not a factor. This helps extend the life and light output of the LED lamp. When functioning properly, quality LED lamps can last for decades!
There are some other factors that play a role in the life and lumen output of an LED luminaire. The construction of the housing for the LED module and the environment where the luminaire is installed will also play a role. You need to think carefully, about the role and environment before choosing an LED light for any given space. Installing an LED in an area that get a lot of heat or abuse, will impact the life you your LED luminaire. There are specially rated fixtures that have been developed for harsh locations such as industrial plants. If you know the right questions to ask, have a little knowledge, and a little assistance from someone with expertise, you can land a great purchase and get tremendous satisfaction with your LED lights.
In future blog posts, we will discuss some of the considerations you should make when choosing the right LED luminaire.