As is the case with any kind of capital investment, most organisations have questions that they want answered before making the choice to install an LED lighting system. Whether it’s general guidance or information on specific issues such as cost and profitability, we’ve already explored a number of those questions in some of our previous blogs.
One subject that we’ve only touched on so far, however, also happens to be one of the biggest topics when it comes to LED lighting. That’s why, in this post, we’re answering that all-important question: “how long do LED lights last?”
LEDs vs others: a demonstrable difference
One of the best ways to understand just how durable LED floodlights are is by comparing their lifespan against some of the other lighting technologies on the market today. For floodlights specifically, the most common alternatives to LEDs are metal-halide and halogen-based systems.
As shown in the table below, the average lifespan of a floodlight varies considerably between these three different types of lighting technology.
Clearly, LEDs are significantly more durable than either metal-halide or halogen-based alternatives. To put the above figures into context, the lifespan of an LED floodlight can be as much as 8x higher than that of a metal-halide unit, and 25x that of a halogen equivalent.
As helpful as an hours-based comparison might be in establishing how LEDs perform against other floodlights, though, it’s less useful as a way of understanding how long those lights will last in real terms. When making a capital investment, after all, most businesses think about how many years it will be before they need to replace or upgrade said asset.
Providing a definitive answer to the question of how many years an LED floodlight system will last, of course, is much more difficult. Usage can differ significantly between different industries, and even two organisations in the same sector may employ their floodlights in very different ways. Nonetheless, we can at least estimate the duration of a system by using some assumed averages.
The table below has been created with two key assumptions in mind:
- An annual usage figure of 2,000 hours.
- A “worst case” lifespan for each of the floodlights (i.e. 30,000 hours for the LED, 6,000 for the metal-halide, and so on).
Based on those assumptions, the hourly figures above can be converted into the following:
Obviously, this has major implications from a cost perspective. In the time that it takes for just one LED floodlight to reach the end of its lifespan, an organisation using alternative lamps will have needed to make multiple replacements: around five in the case of metal-halides, with as many as 15 new bulbs needed for a halogen lamp.
Material costs are not the only factor to take into account here, either. As well as needing to plan for the financial impact of the bulbs themselves, organisations using outdated technologies like metal-halide and halogen will also need to consider the associated maintenance costs. Often, this can require specialist support and high-working equipment such as cherry pickers – both of which come at a price.
How can I extend the lifespan of my LED floodlights?
While LEDs already offer a much better value proposition than the alternatives, most organisations will be understandably keen to ensure that their investment remains operational for as long as possible. To that end, there are four issues that warrant particular attention.
1. Choosing the right build for your environment
Not all LED floodlights are the same, especially when it comes to the vital issue of build quality. While cheaper materials can undermine a luminaire’s lighting performance, they can also cause a unit to be more susceptible to environmental issues like high temperatures and the high-saline atmospheres found at ports and other maritime facilities.
This makes it vital to select the right products (and manufacturers) for your needs. The addition of components like heat sinks and stainless steel bodies can help to counter some of those threats, keeping your LEDs in peak condition for much longer – even in taxing conditions. Finding the right floodlights for your site can have a marked impact on longevity.
2. Making smart use of dimming and other controls
One of the major advantages offered by LEDs over other floodlighting technologies is that the diodes they use can are inherently dimmable. While metal halides and halogen lamps are locked into their maximum output at all times, LEDs can quickly and easily be switched to a lower setting as the need arises.
As well as helping to reduce the amount of power used, this flexibility also means that the technology within an LED luminaire can be placed under less strain when its full output is not required. Unlike legacy lighting technologies, LEDs switch on instantaneously, too – meaning that they’re operational for less time overall, extending their operational lifespan further still.
3. Selecting a lighting provider that offers a comprehensive warranty
While the vast majority of floodlights will work as expected, as is the case with any kind of technology, things do sometimes go wrong. In those instances, it’s crucial to ensure that your investment is protected by a comprehensive – and long-lasting – manufacturer’s warranty.
As well as providing you with the assurance that your floodlights are covered in the event of an unexpected failure, a warranty also gives you an indication of the manufacturer’s own confidence in their products. Midstream’s industry-leading 10-year warranty, for instance, is a testament to our commitment to providing the highest quality units on the market today.
4. Adhering to the manufacturer’s specified maintenance recommendations
Compared with older lighting systems, LED floodlights are typically low-maintenance devices. In fact, other than occasional cleaning, a well-built LED luminaire is unlikely to require any significant maintenance for the duration of its lifespan.
With that said, it is still important to read and understand the relevant instructions and guidelines provided by the manufacturer when taking receipt of a new LED lighting system. Doing so will help to ensure that you have the best information on how to maintain your luminaires – and thus ensure that they last as long as possible.