LED lighting is becoming increasingly popular to use in buildings and for good reason: they have a long life, are highly energy efficient, can be dimmed, and produce a low amount of heat and no UV rays.
There’s one common misconception surrounding LED lighting, however. Many believe that LEDs work the same up until the lights go out. In reality, though, LED lighting slowly loses its brightness, many times unbeknownst to the building user. Unlike fluorescent lamps that will completely fail (which makes it easy to tell when a light needs replaced), LEDs don’t go out completely, so you’re left to people’s perceptions.
LED Rating System
Like all other lighting, the rating system of LEDs is an estimate of the amount of hours a bulb will burn before it needs to be replaced. The tricky thing with LEDs is that their lifespan is determined to end when the bulb can only achieve 70% of their initial lighting output. The bulb will slowly continue to depreciate until the user finally figures it out and replaces it.
If you’re having trouble determining whether or not an LED light has reached the end of its lifespan, it’s best to use a light meter. Light meters generally range from $50-$300 based upon what you need them to measure.
The video below, by Aurora Lighting, has some great illustrations which should help further illustrate how the lifespan of LEDs work:
Life of LED (video) | Aurora Lighting