LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures

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Dead Man Walking
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LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures

Post by Dead Man Walking » Tue Aug 08, 2017 3:15 am

I need advice about LED light bulbs for enclosed fixtures. I have several ceiling light fixtures that are enclosed by globes or are recessed into the ceiling. I'm aware that many LED bulbs are not suitable for use in enclosed fixtures. I'm looking for LED bulbs to replace 60 watt incandescent bulbs in these enclosed fixtures. I'm particularly interested in LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures that are available at Lowe's or Walmart. Any experience with this type of bulb will be appreciated.

DMW

pindevil
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Re: LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures

Post by pindevil » Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:13 am

I have been using LED bulbs in enclosed fixtures for the past 5yrs. Back then i couldn't find any bulbs that were ok in enclosed fixtures so i just tried the regular ones and they have been just fine. From what i understand the extra heat from the enclosure will shorten the life span of the bulb. So i am hoping to get 22,000 hours instead of the rated 25,000.

iamlucky13
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Re: LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures

Post by iamlucky13 » Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:21 am

I got a couple months out of the 9.5W Feit bulbs from Costco. Of course, they warned not to use them in enclosed fixtures. I was just trying the same theory as pindevil. Suffice to say, heat got to them much faster than 22,000 hours. Several more of the same bulbs are still doing fine in non-enclosed fixture

I have had good luck with the 8W Philips non-dimmable bulbs in the same style fixture - one of the smaller 2-bulb flush mount fixtures, which should be one of the worst cases. I think that pair has been going for about 2 years now.

I think Philips is replacing these with a newer 7W bulb I just saw at Home Depot a few weeks ago. I think this bulb is rated for enclosed fixtures. I haven't seen either of these bulbs at Lowes, and haven't checked Walmart.

onourway
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Re: LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures

Post by onourway » Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:15 am

I have had a number of Philips bulbs in enclosed fixtures for at least 3 years now. No issues.

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sk2101
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Re: LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures

Post by sk2101 » Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:23 am

For the recessed lights you can use retrofit kits. Works very well and gives a neat finish:

https://m.costco.com/Feit-5"--6"-LED-Re ... 16152.html

pindevil
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Re: LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures

Post by pindevil » Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:28 am

My bulbs in enclosed fixtures are phillips brand.

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lthenderson
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Re: LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures

Post by lthenderson » Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:30 am

I have ordinary LED bulbs in enclosed fixtures going on five years now with no problems. Even if they burn out tomorrow, I wouldn't hesitate to put another one in its place.

FloRidaRocky
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Re: LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures

Post by FloRidaRocky » Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:43 am

After going through numerous LED bulbs in my enclosed fixtures, my solution was to take the glass covers off of the fixtures permanently, allowing the bulbs to be exposed to air, eliminating the heat build up.

Doesn't look as nice, but it was the easiest solution for me.

tom white
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Re: LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures

Post by tom white » Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:01 pm

So, help me understand this. The problem related to using non-enclosure rated LED bulbs in a recessed (flush) ceiling fixture has to do with the lifespan of the bulb, and not excess heat creating a fire hazard? Am I understanding that correctly?

I have been hesitant to use them because I thought I would be creating a fire hazard in my home. If that isn't the case, then that's great!

Would the same thing be true of CFL bulbs that are not rated for being used in a fully enclosed ceiling recessed light fixture?

retiredjg
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Re: LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures

Post by retiredjg » Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:06 pm

I've had issues. I'm not sure that Lowe's offers anything. But lightbulbs are changing quickly so there is hope on the horizon.

I've noticed some manufacturers are putting a "suitable for" notice on the front - a table lamp apparently means unenclosed fixtures. Others you just have to read all the fine print. It's a pain.

rgs92
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Re: LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures

Post by rgs92 » Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:08 pm

FloRidaRocky wrote:
Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:43 am
After going through numerous LED bulbs in my enclosed fixtures, my solution was to take the glass covers off of the fixtures permanently, allowing the bulbs to be exposed to air, eliminating the heat build up.

Doesn't look as nice, but it was the easiest solution for me.
Does your significant other (if any) accept this? If so, you are a lucky man.

By the way, that's interesting about someone having luck using regular old LED bulbs in enclosed fixtures. I thought they might explode or melt or something if I didn't get the special ones made for this.

retiredjg
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Re: LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures

Post by retiredjg » Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:43 pm

tom white wrote:
Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:01 pm
I have been hesitant to use them because I thought I would be creating a fire hazard in my home. If that isn't the case, then that's great!
Not sure anybody said that was not the case. :?

Valuethinker
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Re: LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:00 pm

tom white wrote:
Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:01 pm
So, help me understand this. The problem related to using non-enclosure rated LED bulbs in a recessed (flush) ceiling fixture has to do with the lifespan of the bulb, and not excess heat creating a fire hazard? Am I understanding that correctly?

I have been hesitant to use them because I thought I would be creating a fire hazard in my home. If that isn't the case, then that's great!

Would the same thing be true of CFL bulbs that are not rated for being used in a fully enclosed ceiling recessed light fixture?
By the nature of its technology, an LED lightbulb has less waste heat than other types of bulbs.

Incandescent, halogen-- it will have much much less heat (at least 80% less, should be 90%).

CFLs the same would be true (70%-80% less heat, say) BUT I would not use a CFL bulb in a fitting it was not rated for. In the end, it is a fluorescent tube, and they can explode (usually when dropped). CFLs, except for some specialized uses, are basically obsolete now that LED bulbs are as good as they are.

Over to LED. I cannot say that they are assuredly safe in enclosed fittings. I'd rather search for an LED bulb that was appropriate for such applications. In extremis, though, an LED bulb should be OK, but might burn out sooner (they don't like the additional heat).

ralph124cf
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Re: LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures

Post by ralph124cf » Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:07 pm

If the enclosure is insulated, as some recessed lights are, the lights may have a problem. Many recessed lights are not insulated, and so will not have a problem.

Ralph

AlwaysBeClimbing
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Re: LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures

Post by AlwaysBeClimbing » Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:29 am

I have some ceiling fans and porch lights ( all enclosed ) that I really wanted to outfit with some inexpensive LEDs that I picked up at HD's bargain bin. So, I carefully drilled several 1/4" holes in the top of each fixture, which will hopefully allow enough heat to escape and give me the rated life of the bulb(s).

Topic Author
Dead Man Walking
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Re: LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures

Post by Dead Man Walking » Mon Aug 14, 2017 1:17 am

Bogleheads,

Thanks for responding to my question. I have learned more about light bulbs than anyone should have to learn! I did a Google search before I wrote my original post. The search yielded a plethora of information. I discovered that Amazon listed several LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures. For example, Homepower manufacturers a liquid-cooled LED bulb that sells for $17.99, and Cree makes a top and bottom vented LED bulb that sells for $7.90 on Amazon. Home Depot sells the Cree bulbs for a couple of dollars less, but they are out of stock online and not available in stores within 100 miles of my home. Amazon listed other LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures. One happened to be a Sylvania bulb that was available at Lowe's. The warnings on the box of the Sylvania bulb states that it should only be used in operating environments between -4°F and +104°F. I decided to conduct an informal experiment to determine if the operating environment for my enclosed fixture was less than +104°F. Since I had used two 60 watt equivalent CFL bulbs in the enclosed fixture, I replaced the burned out incandescent bulb with a 60 watt equivalent LED bulb and replaced one of the CFLs with a 60 watt incandescent bulb. I then lighted the fixture for 3 hours without enclosing it. I am not UL laboratories; therefore, my experiment may be taken with a grain of salt. After 3 hours, the incandescent bulb was too hot to touch for more than a second; the LED bulb was not hot, but the base of the bulb was nearly as hot as the incandescent bulb; the coils and the base of the CFL bulb were warm but not hot. I concluded that the best bulb for an enclosed fixture if the temperature of the operating environment was the most important factor was the CFL bulb.

I don't think that you will burn your house down if you use LED bulbs in enclosed fixtures since incandescent bulbs are hotter. I think the main reason that the manufacturers do not recommend them for enclosed fixtures is that their claims for longevity - 10,000 to 35,000 hours - would not be feasible in an environment with high temperatures since heat is the enemy of LED technology. Their claims for longevity do not match the actual terms of their warranties, which are usually 3-5 years from the date of purchase.

DMW

Storcher
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Re: LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures

Post by Storcher » Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:20 am

From Bulbs.com:

Should LEDs be used in enclosed fixtures?
Enclosed fixtures are defined as not only air tight, but also are fixtures that are enclosed on the side, rear and open in the front, such as many track heads. LEDs that are used in fixtures where there's less than 1/2" around the circumference of the lamp when installed in the fixture are also considered an enclosed application. If you plan to use LEDs in these types of applications you should use an LED that's rated for enclosed fixtures. Using an LED lamp not rated for enclosed fixtures in this type of application may cause the LED lamp to flicker and will dramatically reduce the life of the lamp.
Bulbs.com now offers a wide assortment of enclosed rated LEDs in many different lamp shapes. LEDs not rated for enclosed fixtures should only be used in fixtures open in the front, where the lamp's lens is open on the sides and the rear, and should have at least 1/2" space around the circumference of the lamp.

mouses
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Re: LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures

Post by mouses » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:20 am

pindevil wrote:
Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:28 am
My bulbs in enclosed fixtures are phillips brand.
I can't say that I like Phillips bulbs in general. They are the only brand whose incandescent bulbs have shattered when I remove them from fixtures. (Tip: Turn off the electricity and use a pliers on the metal part to turn the shattered bulb.)

I changed most of my enclosed fixtures for open ones some years ago.

Topic Author
Dead Man Walking
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Re: LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures

Post by Dead Man Walking » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:28 pm

Storcher wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:20 am
From Bulbs.com:

Should LEDs be used in enclosed fixtures?
Enclosed fixtures are defined as not only air tight, but also are fixtures that are enclosed on the side, rear and open in the front, such as many track heads. LEDs that are used in fixtures where there's less than 1/2" around the circumference of the lamp when installed in the fixture are also considered an enclosed application. If you plan to use LEDs in these types of applications you should use an LED that's rated for enclosed fixtures. Using an LED lamp not rated for enclosed fixtures in this type of application may cause the LED lamp to flicker and will dramatically reduce the life of the lamp.
Bulbs.com now offers a wide assortment of enclosed rated LEDs in many different lamp shapes. LEDs not rated for enclosed fixtures should only be used in fixtures open in the front, where the lamp's lens is open on the sides and the rear, and should have at least 1/2" space around the circumference of the lamp.
Thanks for the information. I went to bulbs.com and checked out the bulbs they offered that were rated for enclosed fixtures. They have an excellent list of specifications. On their list of specifications they include operating temperature, which they define as the ambient temperature in which the bulbs can safely operate. The operating temperatures they listed ranged from -4° to 104° for TCP bulbs to -4° to 113° for Satco and Phillips bulbs.

The Sylvania bulb that I used in my informal experiment was rated for an operating temperature from -4° to 104°. My conclusion was that the ambient temperature within my enclosed fixture was going to exceed 104° when the globe was installed; consequently, I decided to install a CFL bulb that matched the other two in the fixture.

I think the operating environment for my enclosed fixture would also exceed 113°. To be safe, I'm going to continue using CFL bulbs in enclosed fixtures. The information from bulbs.com was very helpful. Thanks again.

DMW

FloRidaRocky
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Re: LED bulbs for enclosed fixtures

Post by FloRidaRocky » Wed Aug 16, 2017 1:24 pm

Does your significant other (if any) accept this? If so, you are a lucky man.
I've probably gone through as many SOs as I have LED bulbs. I have been enjoying the single life for awhile, which gives me complete control over these life critical decisions.
I hope you can convince your SO to remove your fixture covers to spare another LED bulb an early trip to the grave. #LEDBulbLivesMatter

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