How Much Heat Is Generated By LED Light Bulbs?

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What Makes LEDs More Robust than Other Light Sources?
April 2, 2019
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How Much Heat Is Generated By LED Light Bulbs?

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We all know why we should switch to LED light bulbs. They are more energy efficient, and they last significantly longer. They’re also pretty cool to the touch, which leads us to the purpose of this article. How much heat do these bulbs generate? You’re about to find out.


No Infrared Radiation

Most standard LEDs produce very little heat. That’s because they don’t emit infrared radiation. Incandescent bulbs produce infrared radiation as a by-product of heating the filament.

With incandescent bulbs, around about 60% to 95% of the power used to light the bulb is lost as heat. With LED bulbs, only 5% to 40% of the energy is lost in this manner.


How Much Heat is Produced?

If you’re using a standard 100-watt incandescent bulb, you’ll find it’s output as follows:

  • 83% is radiation
  • 12% is heat
  • 5% is the light that you see

The LED, on the other hand, produces:

  • 85% in heat
  • No IR radiation
  • 15% light

LED is a lot more efficient. But it might surprise you to learn that it produces a large amount of heat.

Why LEDs are Cooler

Quite simply, LED bulbs have better heat sinking properties built into them. This feature means that the heat is led away from the globe.


Why LEDs Last Longer

With LEDs, there’s no need to light a filament. The bulb itself doesn’t get hot. It’s the circuitry buried in the head of the bulb that gets hot instead. Compared to your typical incandescent globe where the filament gets fried every time it’s on, and you’ve got the answer.

You’ll also get plenty of warning that your LED globe is going to die soon. When you start to see it looking dimmer, then you know that it’s time to have a spare handy.


How Long do the LEDs Last?

This is an often disputed question. According to manufacturers, you’ll get about ten years of use out of them. You’ll need to limit your usage in the same manner as the companies making this claim.

The ten years that they’re referring to is based on using the globes for just three hours a day. Now, if you’re using the globes more than that, it’s apparent that they’re not going to last quite that long.

Your typical LED bulb lasts around 10 000 to 11 000 hours. It’s probably a better idea to work in terms of the number of hours it’s in use for than the number of years.

Other things can affect the longevity of your LED light. Enclosing it in a fitting, for example, makes it harder for the heat to dissipate. This strategy, in turn, increases the chances of the electronics inside overheating and shortens the lifespan.


Final Notes

Technically speaking, LED bulbs do produce a fair amount of heat. Not nearly as much as your incandescent bulbs, but a reasonable amount. The LEDs are just better at dissipating that heat.