How long do LED’s last?
Can be up to 500,000 hours but they don’t keep giving light the whole time. At the moment the industry says that when the light output has degraded 30% then that is considered no longer efficient and needs replacing. That standard minimum recommended time is 50,000 hours if the LED has been designed correctly.
Aren’t they more expensive to buy?
The raw cost of LED is reducing currently at around 20% per year so as the market purchases more LED the complete fitting costs will come down. The more materials manufacturers purchase, the better the buying rates and they will be passed on to consumers. It is unlikely LED will ever be as cheap as basic incandescent sources as there is far more engineering involved in keeping within recommended tolerances but they will certainly keep becoming more affordable on a per unit basis.
If the fittings cost more than current technology, why would we buy them?
Generally people are moving to ‘Total Cost of Ownership’ model. That means ALL the costs of running a standard lighting installation vs an LED installation (up to 80% savings are possible) are considered. That means the reduced load on air conditioning systems, the reduced maintenance costs (It can cost up to $1500.00 per standard technology lamp change in industry) and if the LED system has been designed correctly then maintenance will be virtually nothing for at least 8-10 years. When all these things are considered we use a payback system which is when the profit saved is used to offset the cost of installation. This is typically 18 months to 3 years, depending on the size and running hours of the installation.
Does LED produce any heat
LED’s produce much less heat than traditional lamp sources as more of the energy in is converted to light out. The problems are that because LED is an electronic component first and foremost, they are FAR more susceptible to dying if the heat produced is not handled correctly. Traditional lamp sources, were therefore able to be used in much more basic housings with little or no engineering required as they were far less susceptible.
Does LED produce any damaging UV?
Most white LED’s are made so by producing a blue UV light first and then that blue light excites a phosphor on the inside of the LED in the same way as a fluorescent tube works. Inevitably some of the blue light will pass through to the environment outside, so it is a misconception that LED produces no UV but it is minimal.
Will the fittings look the same as the current ones?
The answer will ultimately be no. With the initial LED imported solutions, LED was generally retrofitted in to existing fittings or lamps. This was so the whole light fitting didn’t need to be changed. There were/are many problems with this technique of upgrade. As mentioned previously, maintaining the heat parameters of LED is absolutely critical and in some existing fittings (eg. think of sealed waterproof luminaires) this is impractical and does not lend itself to direct change. LED usually needs a heatsink to draw the heat away from the actual component as a minimum requirement. This may not suit a sealed plastic enclosure where fresh air flow around the components is critical for long life. It will mean quite different engineering techniques and hence future fittings will likely look quite different.
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