August 05, 2021

Though there are many types of lights on the market, LED lights are growing in popularity. This is because of their inexpensive nature and low electricity requirements. But what are the risks of this type of bulb sparking a fire? 

LED lights are unlikely to start a fire. The bulbs don’t get hot enough to ignite anything. The biggest risks are faulty wiring or overloaded circuits. This is often caused by the way they are installed, rather than an issue with the light itself. 

Purchasing an LED light will have a lower chance of starting a fire. But that doesn’t mean that the risks are non-existent. Read on to find out how you can protect your family.

 

How Lights Start Fires

Can LED fairy lights cause a fire? To understand this, we need to know how lights can spark ablaze. Some of the most common ways they start a fire are;

  • The bulb gets too hot
  • Loose electrical wires making sparks
  • Brittle wiring

Heat Produced by LED Lights

The amount of heat they produce is determined by the way the light is produced. In traditional incandescent lightbulbs, this will be done by burning a filament. While this produces a lot of light, it also requires a lot of electricity. Also, traditional lightbulbs produce a lot of heat, increasing the chances that they will start a fire. 

So, do LED lights get hot enough to start a fire? LED bulbs use a semi-conductor to pass electricity through the diode. This gives them a few advantages. First, it uses 75 percent less electricity and lasts 25 percent longer than traditional lightbulbs.  It also puts out a lot less heat than traditional bulbs. 

Because the bulb is cooler, you don’t need to worry about something making contact and bursting into flames. 

Loose Electrical Wires

One of the most substantial risks is a loose electrical wire. This is especially common in Christmas lights, which need to be plugged into a socket. If the wires are exposed, they could create sparks. Often, just one spark can be enough to start a fire, particularly if there are flammable items around the electrical outlet. There are a few ways that you can lower the risks of this event;

  • Thoroughly check the lights, checking that the cord is in good condition. 
  • Monitor the lights. Flickering or dimming could indicate problems in the flow of electricity. 
  • When you are finished using Christmas lights, pack them away carefully. Put them into a box that rodents can’t eat through. 

Brittle Wiring

The next thing to consider is the condition of the bulb. This is most common with traditional filament bulbs. When the wattage is exceeded, it can cause excess heat to be produced. It will also cause the bulb to become more brittle. This can increase the chances that they will start a fire. 

The easiest way to address the problem is by matching the voltages. You want to make sure that you aren’t exceeding these limits. You will be able to find the voltage of the bulb on the packet.

 

Types of LED Lights and their Risk of Fire

There are a few types of LED lights that you can purchase. Each of these will pose some unique risks and benefits. Let’s briefly look at the options. 

Strip Lights

This is one of the most popular types of LED lights. In this case, they will resemble a long rope. People like them because of their versatility. You’ll be able to wrap them around a balcony or driveway. But can LED strip lights cause a fire? 

The risks are very low. Like most other types of LED lights, the bulbs won’t get hot enough to ignite anything. However, it’s best to do a test. Leave them on for several hours. Then, touch your finger on them. It might be a little warm, but it’s unlikely to be hot enough to make you feel uncomfortable. 

Christmas Lights

Nothing ruins the holidays like your house burning down. This is often a period of increased risk, with fire departments responding to more emergencies. But can LED Christmas lights cause a fire?

While LED lights are linked to some fires, they might not be the primary cause. As we mentioned, frayed wires will increase the risk of sparks. Since Christmas lights get tossed in and out of a box every year, there is a higher risk that they will be in poor condition. The tree might also be raising the fire risk, as it can be made of flammable materials. This is why it’s so important to check all the lights before you decorate with them. 

Another common Christmas light problem is that you overload the circuits with too many lights. An overloaded circuit can cause short circuits. Check the total load of the lights before you plug them in. Often, you’ll want to keep it below 15 amps

Grow Lights

Perhaps the riskiest type of LED is a grow light. Unlike the other varieties, these are designed to produce some heat. This is necessary to help the plants grow. But can LED grow lights cause a fire?

Again, the cause of a grow light fire often isn’t a problem with the lights themselves. It’s a problem with the way that the lights have been set up.  For example, many grow lights are put close to water. Water droplets don’t play nicely with electrical wiring. They might also be subject to overloading circuits. 

Compounding the risks is the size of the grow rooms. Most tend to be fairly small, if a fire breaks out it will spread quickly. Things like fertilizer can fuel the flames. The good news is that, as long as everything is set up properly, you shouldn’t need to worry about grow lights sparking a fire. 

 

Leaving the Lights On

One of the benefits of LED lights is that they are cheaper to run than traditional bulbs. Because of this, some people like to leave them on all night. But is that okay to do?

It is okay to leave LED lights on all night because don’t get as hot as other bulbs, the risks that they will start a fire are extremely minimal. These conditions make LED lights great for night lights.

Sleeping with LED Lights

Though the fire risk is extremely low, there are a few other reasons why you might not want to sleep with a white or blueish LED light. These include:

  • The light interrupting your sleep
  • Higher risk of depression and other mood disorders
  • Sleep deprivation can make it harder to focus

The ultra-white bright light of LEDs can cause our bodies not to deliver melatonin which makes these lights extremely well suited for getting work done on a project, but not so great for helping our bodies sleep.

So if you are going to be using an LED night light, make sure you can really turn it down low or go with a different color light like red.

 

How to Lower the Chances That Your LED Lights Will Start a Fire

As we’ve seen, the risks that LED lights will cause a fire is minimal. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t take some steps to reduce the risks even further. 

Buy Quality Lights

The first thing that you should do is buy high-quality lights. This will ensure that they last for a long time. These lights will be less likely to have problems with faulty wiring. Often, it’s an electrical problem, rather than an issue with the LED bulb, that will spark a fire. Because of this, it’s best to pay a little extra for a decent LED light. 

Check the Voltage Limits

Another common problem is that the outlet has become overloaded. This can increase the odds of a short circuit. The best way to prevent this is by checking how much power the lights need. This will often be less than traditional bulbs. Avoid putting more than 15 amps into any one outlet. 

Final Thoughts

LED lights are some of the safest lights on the market. Because they don’t get as hot as other lights, the risks that they will cause a fire are very low. You just need to make sure that they are a good safe brand and set up properly. 


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