What Are The Risks Of Using LED Bulbs In A Totally Enclosed Fixture? - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum


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Old 12-04-2011, 10:59 PM   #1
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What are the risks of using LED bulbs in a totally enclosed fixture?


We have a number of outdoor sconces that feature a jar surrounding the bulb. I've found a few bulbs that say they are OK an an enclosed fixture, but they don't fit in the smaller sconces. I finally found a really low wattage bulb that fits at Costco, but of course these ones say "not for use in a totally enclosed fixture.

If the risk is a fire, I am not going to do it. But the more I search, it sounds like the only risk is that it may reduce the life of the LED, which I'm totally OK with.

Does anyone know what the risks actually are? Like I said, a voided warranty and a shortened life of the bulb isn't an issue but a fire sure would be.

And hi! This is my first post. Hope to learn a lot from you here, as we just bought our first house and I've been doing more and more DIY stuff.

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Old 12-04-2011, 11:12 PM   #2
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What are the risks of using LED bulbs in a totally enclosed fixture?


Are you sure that warning is on LED bulbs and not CFL? For high-wattage CFL bulbs I think the concern is that enclosures compromise heat dissipation of that compact corkscrew design, and so can potentially pose a fire hazard. I'm skeptical that the same concern applies to LED bulbs but I don't know much about it.

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Old 12-04-2011, 11:24 PM   #3
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What are the risks of using LED bulbs in a totally enclosed fixture?


My swag would be humidity/condensation, and the danger that represents to the transformer in a led bulb.(and a led would not melt off snow) The heat of a traditional bulb would bake off moisture.
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Old 12-05-2011, 01:49 AM   #4
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What are the risks of using LED bulbs in a totally enclosed fixture?


Don't have to worry about snow - we're just north of San Francisco. Our idea of "freezing" is in the low 40s and it's relatively rare.

From what I've read it is a heat issue and it's the fact that the LED bulbs are cooled through convection - but the only risk I hear about is that the LED will dim or burn out earlier. Kind of nerve racking to not know, and I'm sick of buying expensive to run incandescents that seem to die every month.
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Old 12-05-2011, 05:58 PM   #5
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What are the risks of using LED bulbs in a totally enclosed fixture?


LED bulbs give off so little heat I cant imagine them building up much heat in the sealed fixture to kill it. So if your hunch is right you should be fine. Buy one and take a thermometer to it after a few hours.
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Old 12-05-2011, 06:36 PM   #6
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What are the risks of using LED bulbs in a totally enclosed fixture?


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Originally Posted by Mrdippy View Post
LED bulbs give off so little heat I cant imagine them building up much heat in the sealed fixture to kill it. So if your hunch is right you should be fine. Buy one and take a thermometer to it after a few hours.
Au Contraire....

A 15W LED gives off almost 15 watts of heat...put that in an inclosed fixture and the temp can rise quickly.....

A regular bulb is fine with the heat...but the electronics in an LED bulb don't like a lot of heat...that is why a typical LED light bulb has a huge heat sink....you should touch one sometime....toasty....
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Old 12-05-2011, 08:37 PM   #7
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What are the risks of using LED bulbs in a totally enclosed fixture?


An LED lamp equivalent to a 65 watt incandescent lamp uses around 5 to 8 watts, part of which is the internal circuit board reducing the line voltage to a usable LED level. That is why they are so efficient. An LED lamp described as "65 watt equivalent" would mean that the LED produces equivalent illumination to a 65 watt incandescent lamp (take that with a grain of salt), not that it actually uses 65 watts. An LED lamp that actually uses 15 to 30 watts would fall into a flood light category, a 50 watt LED would be a mini searchlight. For equivalent lumens, an LED lamp uses about 1/10 the wattage of a comparable incandescent lamp and half the wattage of a comparable fluorescent lamp.

You don't indicate what wattage lamp you are replacing. If for ambiance lighting, a 25 watt equivalent (3 watt LED) might do the trick. A 50 watt equivalent (6.5 watt LED) would suffice for most exterior sconces. Three to six watts of heat is insignificant in this type of application and would be easily dissipated through an enclosed fixture without harming the lamp.

I've replaced all the 12v incandescent lamps in my travel trailer (12 ea.) with LED lamps. I can now touch them without burning my fingers, the lenses don't yellow and crack from the heat, and I can operate all twelve from the battery using the same power as ONE of the old lamps.

The big box store are now carrying LED lamps with standard 120v medium screw bases.

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Old 12-06-2011, 06:11 PM   #8
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What are the risks of using LED bulbs in a totally enclosed fixture?


I agree LED bulbs produce heat, and agree they may be sensitive to it. Still though the heat they produce is many times less than an old style bulb...ie 60w vs the equivalent. I know that stoplights with LED bulbs now have heating elements to melt off snow that were not needed with normal bulbs - that is an enclosed fixture isnt it? Did the lawyers worried about liability add that restriction to the packaging or the engineers :-)
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Old 12-06-2011, 09:06 PM   #9
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What are the risks of using LED bulbs in a totally enclosed fixture?


Thanks for all the responses. I feel better about using them, and if they die early, I'll have learned my lesson. It'll be nice for all the lights to match around the house too.
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Old 12-06-2011, 11:31 PM   #10
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What are the risks of using LED bulbs in a totally enclosed fixture?


Quote:
Originally Posted by ddawg16 View Post
Au Contraire....

A 15W LED gives off almost 15 watts of heat...put that in an inclosed fixture and the temp can rise quickly.....

A regular bulb is fine with the heat...but the electronics in an LED bulb don't like a lot of heat...that is why a typical LED light bulb has a huge heat sink....you should touch one sometime....toasty....
Are you sure ?
I would not think this is the case !
Some heat sure! possibly 3w.
But 15w ???

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