Sparks Electrical News

In the days when incandescent was king and the term LED a foreign concept, consumers were not concerned with the life expectancy of a fitting. When a lamp failed, it was an easy fix; simply replace it with a new one. This was a major advantage of incandescent lighting, but the technological advances of LEDs have made it impossible for its predecessor to compete. As a result, consumers are replacing their old 60 W E27 fittings with more economical LED substitutes.

With the LED revolution, the question “What happens when the LED fails?” has to be asked. The simple answer is that the entire fitting needs to be replaced. As can be expected, this has – until now – been a major drawback of LED technology, and has been the reason why certain consumers have been hesitant to make the switch.

What you need to know about LED life expectancy

The fact that an LED chip cannot be replaced could appear daunting to a consumer but we can clarify what the life expectancy of an LED fitting means, and why buying a good quality LED fitting is so important when it comes to life expectancy. LED life expectancy can be defined as the operational time during which an LED will maintain a certain percentage of its original illumination capacity. The expected lifespan of an LED is usually between 20 000 hours and 50 000 hours. This means that if a fitting is illuminated for approximately eight hours a day, the fitting will last for about 17 years, 30 times longer than a traditional incandescent lamp.

The life expectancy of an LED is also measured in relation to a chosen percentage of the original illumination capacity of the LED and the life expectancy is described as:

Lp: Where p indicates the percentage of illumination capacity at the end of the period. This means that if the life expectancy of the fitting is 50 000 hours and the ‘Lp’ is L70, after 50 000 hours the fittings will be operating at 70% of its original brightness.

Bp: Where p indicates what percentage of the fittings installed will meet the ‘Lp’ percentage. This means that if the ‘Bp’ is B10, 10% of the fittings would be running at a lower luminous flux than predicted or would have failed before the lifespan has ended. Thus, if, for example, the expected lifespan of a fitting is calculated at 50 000 hours L70 B10, it can be translated as follows: after 50 000 hours, 90% of the fittings will be running at 70% of the original luminous flux.

If you buy a poor-quality LED fitting, the expected lifespan might sound promising, but when the measurements of the percentage of the original luminous flux and the failure rate are taken into consideration, you might find that your chances of the fitting still being operational at the end of its predicted lifespan is quite slim.

There are certain external factors that can shorten the life expectancy of an LED fitting. These include, but are not limited to: poor electric wiring; poor quality heat sink (which will cause the fitting to overheat); and environmental factors such as high surface temperatures and lack of airflow. For this reason, it is very important to ensure that you buy a high-quality product from a reputable source and that the fittings are installed correctly.

For more information on the Life Expectancy of LED fittings, contact Spazio Lighting on +27 (0)11 555 5555, +27 (0)21 461 0061 or


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Name: Gregg Cocking
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Fax: +27 11 615-6108

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Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108