Helen, my mother-in-law, visited me last week. While she loved the transformation of the house with LED Lights, she was not so convinced with planting LED Lights in the kids’ room. She kept on insisting that it will catch fire once it’s hot, these modern day Smart Lighting can’t be trusted and to keep kids away from it.
It did put me off, honestly ! I had invested quite a bit of effort in setting up the kids’ room. And this episode paved the way for this article’s topic – “Can LEDs catch fire?” Are they unsafe to use?”
The short answer to “can LED lights catch on fire” is NO. They don’t become hot enough and pretty safe to use. In rare cases where they do become hot, they will dim out rather than melt.
There was an era when incandescent bulbs and halogens were used. They have been ubiquitously replaced by LEDs. Today, LEDs are the first choice over the traditional bulbs because they are
- More efficient
- Produce less heat
- Lessen the electricity bill
- Safer for the environment..
And the list can go on…!
LEDs basically are Light Emitting Diodes. They are made up of semiconductors which let electricity pass through them and thus, create light. Whatever portion of heat energy is left unused by the LEDs, it is trapped in their ‘heat sinks’ and gets absorbed.
Hence, we can say that LEDs are cooler than the traditional bulbs. So, if you were doubtful about can LEDs cause a fire, this should dispel your doubts. The answer is – NO.
Can LED Lights Get Hot Enough to Start a Fire?
As per the studies, the incandescent or the traditional bulbs generate more heat than the LEDs.
If there are incandescent bulbs in your house and they have been left ‘on’ for long, the temperature of that area will be nothing less than a hot day in a desert. They raise the temperature around the corner where they are planted.
LEDs do not function that way. LED Light Bulbs produce less heat than the regular bulbs so, they are refrained from the chances of getting overheated and later, burning out. That’s way, they are also termed as ‘ energy- efficient bulbs’. This means that you don’t have to worry about how long can LED lights stay on.
So, while you have been reaping the benefits of LED Light bulbs or LED Lights Strips at your place, you should not be worried about – do LED Lights get hot enough to start a fire? No, they won’t.
Why Are My LED Lights Getting Hot?
Try getting hold of the LED Light Strip right above your bed or the LED Light Bulb in the hallway. Are they hot ? The answer is No. That is the best part about LED Lights.
They do not become hot while they emit light. Very small amount of heat is used in generating light by the LEDs. The average lifespan of an incandescent bulb is about 2000 hours whereas a LED Light Bulb works well for about 20,000 – 50,000 hours fantastically.
Let me tell you, if your LED Light Bulb is suffering from overheating, for sure it is made up of cheap parts. It’s uncommon for LEDs to overheat and burn out.
If still by any chance, your LEDS have overheated, they will dim out rather than melting themselves out and causing fire.
Hence, there is no possibility for the LED Lights to become hot enough to start a fire.
How Hot Do LED Bulbs Get?
So, if you want to test it out yourself about why my LED Lights are getting hot, let me present some factual information to you about these bulbs.
Firstly, never touch the LED bulbs with their heat sink. If you want to touch the bulb, always hold the bulb by its ‘plastic dome’ – the diffuser from where the light shines out.
The heat sinks are designed specifically to draw the heat out of the LED bulbs, and hence, transfer the extra heat into the air. You can now understand why it is the hottest part of the bulb. It is designed to keep the LED power supply and the other electronics cool.
Okay But How ‘hot’ is ‘hot enough to cause a fire?‘
Can LED Lights catch on fire? According to tests and developments, the heat sink of a fully lit LED Light bulb carries a temperature of about 60℃- 100 ℃. It can vary according to the room temperature, make and model of the LED LIght bulb.
Let me showcase the ‘thermal camera image analysis’ of some high-end LED Light bulbs from renowned brands.
The brighter the bulb is, the higher the temperature is!
Read from left to the right →
- 9W LED Bulb : Compact LED Light Bulb ( Light output – about 600 lumens)
- 9W LED Bulb : Compact LED Light Bulb ( Light output- unspecified, almost around 600 lumens)
- 13W LED Bulb : Size A19 LED Light Bulb ( Light output: 1055 lumens)
- LIFX A21 LED Bulb : Full-colour range bulb ( max. Output > 1000 lumens)
The two 9W LED Light Bulbs showcased above are compact LED Light bulbs. The area given for heat sink and airflow management is the least in these which makes them the hottest bulbs of all. The burning heat sink, with temperature of 86℃ – 186℃, is placed right below the power supply electronics which seals the heat flow inside the bulb itself making it very hot to touch.
The 13W LED Light Bulb is cooler than the 9W LED Light bulb. It gives 30 % more brightness than the compact 9W LED bulb and also has a larger heat sink area as you can clearly see. It allows the heat trapped to dissipate into the air, keeping the bulb cooler.
The award of the coolest bulb is bagged by the LIFX A21 Led Light bulb. It is the coolest bulb and produces the brightest light among all.
Just look at the dimensions of the heat sink! Because of its large size, its airflow management is very well structured. Its design allows it to keep the body of the bulb cool by managing the heat flow inside and outside the heat sink. It maintains the temperature of the power supply electronics to the best of its capability and keeps them very cool.
Caution : You should not be touching the hot parts of any light bulb. This stands true for all devices including the new generation and very efficient LED Light Bulbs, even with lower heat sink temperatures.
Can LED Strip Lights Cause a Fire?
LED Light Strips are like a circuit board which constitute numerous small LED Lights. They are flexible to use and can dance in any form or shape to decorate your house or add brightness to that shady corner of the room.
Now, while explaining ‘ can LED Lights cause a fire’, I felt the dire need to discuss this about the LED Light Strips as well as strip lights are pretty common addition to outdoors and under cabinet areas.
So, basically the chances of a LED Light Strip causing fire are extremely rare. They do not cause a fire even when they are hot to touch. However, they won’t be too hot to touch. Their temperature is much lower than that of an incandescent bulb.
The incandescent bulbs can cause fire because they contain a filament that generates heat. On overheating, it can burn out and cause a fire.
In simplest words possible, LED Light Strips can be hot, but not too hot to touch. Their temperature runs much lower than those of regular bulbs. Hence, at any given point of time, they won’t risk your room with a fire. They can not cause a fire even when left turned on for a long duration of time.
Can Christmas Lights Start a Fire?
I pick my best LED Lights at the time of Christmas. From the X-mas tree to the fireplace, the porch, the front yard, I love to add a bling to each corner of my pretty place.
Lighting up the whole house and managing it with Smart devices simultaneously has to be a calculated move. You cannot ignore the risks involved and have to minimise the fire risks of Christmas lighting.
To ensure that the lighting in my house doesn’t start a fire at any point of the day or night, I prefer LED Light Bulbs and LED Light Strips over all other lighting options. They run on such a low temperature and produce minimum heat which in turn saves me from a scary electricity bill during the holiday season.
As explained in depth above, these Christmas LED Lights do not cause a fire because they do not heat up while brightening up your house.
In case you are exploring the exquisite LED Light Bulb range for decking up your outdoors this Christamas, check out this article.
Invest in good LED Lights for that beautiful Pine tree and be Santa this Christmas ! 🙂
Q1. Can LED Lights be turned on 24*7 ?
Answer – You can easily leave the LED Lights ‘on’ all day. You shouldn’t be worried about having them exploding or damaging when you’re fast asleep. They do not heat up while emitting light energy and thus, will not be overheated.
Q2. Are LED Light bulbs hotter than halogen bulbs ?
Answer – No, definitely not. LED Light Bulbs are way cooler and better than halogen bulbs. Majority of the energy is converted into light by a LED Light bulb whereas a halogen bulb wastes most of its energy while emitting light. The more light it will emit, the hotter it will get and it will just blast off.
Q3. Are LED Light Bulbs an expensive buy ?
Answer – There is a huge range of affordable LED Light bulbs available in the market today. Right from the ones which are Smart Home automated to the ones very easy on your pocket. They are very smartly designed with the range of $7-$50 as per your choice.
Q4. Do LED lights attract bugs ?
Answer – There is constant worry about whether LED lights attract bugs like spiders. I have covered that in detail in this article.
It makes me glad at heart to conclude that LED Lights cannot cause a fire. They are completely safe to use and are harmless. After this article, next time anyone asks Helen about ‘Can Led Lights catch on fire’, I think she will answer first before I begin. 🙂
As an interior decorator, I am always looking to make homes beautiful but with minimalism. As a part of my occupation, I am always in touch with smart devices that makes your life easy, beautiful and comfortable. I take care of the smart living section for BringUptoDate.