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How Long Do Outdoor LED Lights Last, and How Can You Maintain Them?

Posted by Birddog Lighting on Nov 9th 2020

How Long Do Outdoor LED Lights Last, and How Can You Maintain Them?

Outdoor lighting has been shown to cut crime rates by as much as 39%, especially at night. It also boosts your home's curb appeal and creates a welcoming ambiance. 

If you don't currently have any outdoor LED lights at your home, you should consider installing some. 

But, just like anything related to home improvement, LED lights are not free. Any time you spend money on your home, you want to know how long your investment will last. 

Read on to learn the average lifespan of LED lights and what you can do to keep them working for as long as possible.  

LED Lights vs. Incandescent Light Bulbs

First off, LED lights or light-emitting diodes work much differently than traditional incandescent light bulbs. They both create light using electricity, but that's where the similarities end.

Each LED bulb contains a diode which has excitable electrons inside. As electricity passes through them, they release photons which turn into light. While LED technology doesn't use heat to make light, the heat from the electricity that passes through it wears out the diodes over time. 

Incandescent light bulbs have a filament inside that glows when electricity passes through it. It heats up and gets brittle over time. When the filament breaks, the light burns out.

How Is LED Lifespan Measured?

Incandescent lights burn out suddenly and completely. They either give 100% of their light or they're burnt out. In contrast, LED lights fade slowly over time before they burn out. 

That's why they have different lifespan ratings. If an incandescent bulb has a rating of 1,200 hours, that means it will burn out after roughly 1,200 hours of use. 

For LED lights, they base the lifespan rating on lumen maintenance. That's a measurement of light that an LED bulb emits when comparing a brand new one to an older one. L50 and L70 are common measurements of lumen maintenance. 

If an LED light has an L70 rating at 30,000 hours, that means that a bulb that's 30,000 hours old will produce 70% of the light it produced when it was new. At 30,000 hours it will have lost 30% of its original brightness. 

So, How Long Do Outdoor LED Lights Last?

LED lights last 25 times as long as incandescent bulbs. But, how will that translate to your home's particular usage?

The best way to know how long lights will last is to look at the hour rating. For example, if the LED rope lights or bulbs you're considering have a rating of 50,000 hours, that means they'll last for about five and half years. And that's if you plan to leave them on 24 hours a day. 

That said, it's not always necessary or safe to leave outdoor lights on 24/7. It can actually void the warranty and make them wear out faster.

Maintaining Your Outdoor Lights

You can make your outdoor LEDs last longer by keeping up with outdoor light maintenance. If you care for your LED lights properly, you can protect your warranty and make the most of your investment.

Here are some things you can do to keep your outdoor lights shining for years to come. 

1. Trim Nearby Bushes and Plants

You don't want an overgrown plant or bush to crush the glass on your LED flood light. Plus, the light won't shine as bright if something's covering it. 

If you have lights in or near your garden, keep the plants trimmed so they don't cover the lights. This will prevent damage to the light fixture and extend its lifespan. It will also prevent water and snow from collecting on the light fixtures.

2. Clean LED Lights and Fixtures

Outdoor lighting is bound to get a little dirty now and then. The best way to extend the lifespan of your lighting is to keep the light fixtures and bulbs clean. Dirt and other debris can get inside and disrupt the LED function. 

That means wiping off mud, removing leaves, or cleaning spider webs or insects. Even though insects aren't drawn to LED lights, they still live in the nearby plants. 

2. Make Repairs as Soon as Possible

If you see a light that's not working or some exposed wires, deal with the problem right away. If you've had the light for a long time, it might be time for replacement. If not, it could signal an issue with your lighting system. 

If you're not sure what the issue is, you can call the company that did the installation. If you installed the lights yourself, you can always call an electrician to investigate the issue. 

Weatherproofing Your LED Strip Lights

While it's always best to choose weatherproof LEDs if you plan to use them outside, sometimes it's not an option. Luckily, you can weatherproof your LED strip lights in just a few minutes. 

To create a water tight seal on the connetions to your lights start by wrapping the adhesive lined heat shrinkable tape around your lighting and connector; similar to how you would apply electrical tape. Place your heat shrink tubing over the lighting, connector, and  tape. Shrink the tubing and tape using a heat gun. The adhesive will melt when the heat is applied, and solidify when cooled.
The minimum melting point of the adhesive is 95*C (204*F).

Now you can install your strip lights without worrying about weather damage. This process does not make the lights waterproof, only weatherproof. The lights are not designed to be submerged in water. 

Shine a Light on Your Outdoor Space Today

Outdoor LED lights can last up to 50,000 hours with the right maintenance and care. If you'd like to improve your home's ambiance and safety, you can't go wrong with eco-friendly and long-lasting LED lighting. 

If you're in need of dependable LED lights for your home, Birddog Lighting can help. We offer everything from LED rope lighting and strip lights to LED bulbs and fixtures. Browse our website or request a free catalog to see our product collection.