Generally, it is widely believed that LED lights do not generate any heat at all. This statement is true to some extent, however it is absolutely not true that LED lights don’t generate any heat.
Of course, LED lights do not get anywhere near as hot as traditional tungsten lights. Tungsten lights work by passing electricity through a tungsten filament. As the filament gets hotter, it starts glowing and emitting light.
This is a highly inefficient way of emitting light, as it requires a lot of heat for the light to work. Research shows that tungsten lights only transfer 10% of the electrical energy into light energy.
With almost 90% of the energy transferring into heat energy, its no surprise that tungsten bulbs get extremely hot. A huge portion of the heat is generated through infrared waves.
In comparison, LED lights are highly efficient in energy conservation. Some ultra-efficient LED lights can convert up to 90% of the electrical energy into light energy.
With such a high proportion of the energy going into emitting light, it makes sense that very little energy gets converted to heat energy.
So when it comes to the question do LED lights get hot, the answer is no, at most they get warm to the touch.
Why Do LED Lights Get Hot?
As we just said, LED lights do get a little hot. But this is very normal for any electrical component.
Whenever electrical energy is being converted into another form of energy, some of the energy gets dissipated as heat energy. This is just a universal phenomenon and it cannot be avoided.
In the circuit of an LED light fixture, there are multiple components that have other functions beside generating light. These components are there to convert the high voltage electricity to a lower voltage.
This is because, the traditional appliances in our home requires high voltage electricity to function. LEDs on the other hand, are most efficient in lower voltages.
It turns out that these components are responsible for generating a significant percentage of the heat generated by LED lights.
This means that although the components that actually work towards generating light emit very little heat, other essential components in an LED light can generate more heat.
Warm, But Not Too Hot…
Now that we’ve answered the question do LED lights get hot, let’s talk about how hot these lights exactly get.
In traditional light bulbs, a huge chunk of the heat is generated because the bulb emits infrared waves. As LED lights do not emit infrared, it naturally produces a lot more heat.
If you’ve ever touched an LED light running for a long time, you’ll discover that the bulb is warm to the touch and you can still touch it fairly comfortably.
However as it is warm, some heat is still being generated. This is mostly due to the inefficiencies present in the semiconductors of the LED lights.
The heat generated from an LED light can vary depending on their brightness as well as their color temperatures. The amount of heat generated between a 3000k and 4000k LED light bulb may be different.
Additionally and very importantly, LED lights tend to be less efficient as they get hotter. This happens if the lights are placed in an area where it is not possible for heat to be dissipated.
Therefore the heat generated due to energy conversion combined with that generated due to inefficient components as well as poor heat management can cause LEDs to run warm.
Do LED String Lights Get Hot?
As mentioned earlier, LED lights under normal conditions do not get very hot in general. The same applies for LED string lights.
However, depending on the environment and surroundings of the location you use them in, you might want to be careful about certain things.
If you’re putting your lights up outside where the lights will be exposed to the elements, make sure that the lights are made for that specific purpose. Take a look at the product description and reviews to make sure they are appropriate for your purpose.
When putting the lights up inside, make sure that the surrounding areas are not too hot and there is enough air circulation for the lights to efficiently dissipate heat.
Is it Safe to Use LED Lights?
The biggest concerns when asking do LED lights get hot generally have to do with issues regarding fire hazards as well as short circuits.
This is a valid concern, as a lot of users tend to leave the LEDs on for long periods of time. It is very normal for users to leave their home premises with the lights on.
As LED lights run at very low temperatures, it is not very likely that they’ll cause a fire hazard as the temperatures just wouldn’t get that high. The low voltage present in LED lights also reduce fire hazard .As long as the LED lights are wired properly with good quality components and are connected properly, the possibility of a fire is very low.
How To Reduce Heat From LED Lights
Even though they generate little heat, there are still a few ways you can prevent heat buildup from LEDs.
As mentioned earlier, LEDs tend to run less efficiently the warmer they get. Therefore, one way to prevent this from happening is by using LED heatsinks. Basically, LED heatsinks increase heat dissipation by the use of conduction, convection and radiation.
The question of do LED lights get hot is usually accompanied with how I can reduce the heat generated from LED lights if any. A heatsink can be the perfect solution.
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An LED heatsink is a component that is made up of a good conductor of electricity such as Aluminum. The heatsink comprises of fins that channel air flow through them.
Simply put, when a heatsink is put in place, the heat energy from the LED will be conducted to the heatsink. Then the heatsink will radiate that heat as the air flows through the fins. The fins are designed in such a way that air will flow through them, helping the heatsink radiate the heat faster.
LED coolers are basically the same as LED heatsinks but for much larger purposes. LED coolers are used for cooling and maintaining heat dissipation for industrial LED lights.
The heavy-duty LED lights used in factories, production lines, spotlights, etc. use LED coolers.
Can I Leave LED String Lights on All Night
A lot of us like to leave the lights on while we’re sleeping, as certain light colors help us sleep. As we talked about earlier, LED string lights do not generate much heat as long as they’re placed in the right surroundings and are of the right specification.
Therefore, make sure to place the string lights in an area where the chances of a short circuit or a fire hazard are low. Avoid areas such as fireplaces, bathrooms, etc.
In addition, make sure the lights are placed in an open area with room for air circulation. Don’t forget to check for manufacture warnings regarding prolonged use.
Can LED Lights Cause a Fire
As long as the build quality of the LED lights are up to standards, you shouldn’t have to worry about LED lights causing a fire.
LED lights themselves have low risk of fire, but external factors can change that.
Make sure you purchase from a dependable brand, and make sure the electrical source is not faulty.
Do LED Strip Lights Raise Electric Bill
As LEDs require electricity, it should come as no surprise that LED lights will add to your electric bill. However, as these lights are extremely efficient at energy conversion, the cost incurred is very little.
Compared to a traditional incandescent light bulb, an LED consumes a very small amount of electricity. Some data has shown that a standard 5 meter LED light strips consumes less than 5 dollars of electricity per year.
I am a fellow LED light enthusiast who has completed his Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering and now has been doing my Master’s on the same subject. Born in 1994, I am a big fan of shiny things since I was just four years old!