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How long do LED security lights last?

Author: May

Mar. 07, 2024

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LEDs are the best choice for motion sensors

Someone told me that the motion sensor (I guess the IR in this case) will drastically reduce the lifespan of it because it the lifespan depends on the number of times it turns on and off.

Absolutely not. I know exactly what they're referring to*, and it's not LEDs at all. LEDs can be switched on/off thousands of times a second, in fact that is a prevalent method of LED dimming.

There is nothing in the electronic driver circuit that suffers from being turned on several times an hour. It's a non-issue with LEDs.

It is the first bulb type totally unaffected by starts.

So have fun with motion sensors and LEDs!

Build quality, on the other hand...

The threat to this unit's lifespan is being "cheap Cheese from overseas". Some years ago, Amazon opened their retail storefront to 3rd party sellers, and this happened (it's an ad, but it tells the truth). Except most of the 3rd party sellers are in fact the same few large corporations in a faraway country. As such, they are beyond the reach of domestic safety enforcement. Very tricky, Amazon!

Therefore it is our strongest recommendation to avoid buying electrical gear on Amazon (or obviously eBay, Banggood, DealExtreme, Wish.com, AliExpress, Newegg to some extent, etc. etc. But we hardly need to tell you that.) I don't care if your fidget spinner falls apart, but I do care if your motion sensor starts sparking inside due to faulty build and accelerates quickly into a big fire due to using cheap plastic instead of the costly fire-resistant plastic that is required by UL. This is one of the many things that UL checks when giving a UL Listing.

NEC (110.2) requires you use UL-listed equipment (or CSA or ETL equivalent).

* They're referring to a type of "arc discharge" light called a fluorescent. Most arc-discharge lights take 10 minutes to warm up (think street lights) but fluorescents can start in <1 second. The trade-off is "start"s take a toll on the bulb. On the cheap ballasts, you get about 10,000 starts, and that is the limiting factor on bulb life, so don't put them on motion sensors. With better ballasts you get 60,000 starts, so the motion sensor is no problem.

Definitions

Lumens – Lumens measures the total amount of light emitted per unit of time. This unit essentially measures the brightness of the light.

Wattage – Wattage refers to the amount of power a light projects. Generally speaking, higher wattage lights will project more lumens (brightness). LED flood lights come in a wide range of wattages. This ranges from 15 watts all the way up to 400 watts.

Color Temperature (Kelvin) – Kevin or color temperature basically corresponds to the color of the light projected which also correlates to heat. LED flood lights generally come in two different measurements: 4000K, and 5000K.

DLC Listed – DLC stands for Design Light Consortium and certifies that the product can perform under high levels of energy efficiency.

Photocell – A photocell uses a sensor to detect the level of lighting available outside and turn on if necessary. In other words, once it becomes dark, the light will turn on. Certain LED flood lights are photocell compatible and can serve as “dusk to dawn lights.”

Base – The base for a flood light involves the type of mount to attach the fixture. For example, some mounting options such as a Trunnion Mount allows the flood light to cast illumination from side-to-side. Other mounting options such as a Slip Fitter Mount involve mounting the light up on a pole.

Lens – The type of lens a lighting fixture uses will influence how light is dissipated. Two common types are a clear lens or frosted lens.

Voltage – Voltage involves the amount of work required per unit of charge to move a test charge between two points. For LED lighting, this is the amount of power a lighting fixture provides a bulb.

Shorting Caps – The Shorting Cap contains a shorting connection between the line and load of the receptacle keeping the lights on at all times when power is being supplied.

Motion Sensors – Motion sensors inside outdoor lighting fixtures detect when there’s movement close to the light and will automatically turn on. This is an ideal for security lighting purposes.

Dusk to Dawn Lights – Dusk to dawn lights are any light which automatically turns on once the sun begins to set. Certain LED flood lights can be installed with a photocell and serve as dusk to dawn lights. It’s important to check product descriptions and spec sheets to ensure your flood light is photocell compatible if you wish to use this functionality.

Selecting Wattage for LED Flood Lights

Wattage refers to the amount of power a light projects; thus, the amount of watts light bulb has pretty much dictates its brightness. In other words, the higher the wattage, the brighter the light will be. There are a wide range of wattages available for LED flood lights. This ranges from low wattage lights (15-40 watts) all the way up to industrial grade 350+ watt flood lights for major applications such as airports and sports stadium lighting. We’ll break this down further below.

Low Wattage (15-40 Watts) – Flood lights that are considered “low wattage” operate with bulbs in the range of around 15 to 40 watts. These are ideal to illuminate small areas such as a footpath or door way. These bulbs generally provide ample illumination for residential purposes or very small areas around commercial buildings.

Mid Wattage (40-80 Watts) – Mid wattage lights operate with bulbs in the range of around 40 to 80 watts. These are ideal to illuminate areas such as a small yard, garden, or driveway with a moderate level of brightness.

High Wattages (100 Watts or more) – Once you get into triple digit wattage numbers, the bulbs are considered “high wattage.” These bulbs are necessary for applications such as parking lot lighting, roadways, and other municipal or commercial lighting needs. According to the International DarkSky Association, roadway lighting may have wattages up to 400 watts. These high wattage bulbs are mounted on poles high above the ground.

Ultra High Wattage (400+ Watts) – 400+ watt flood lights are the highest number of approved wattages. These are typically only appropriate for major municipal or industrial lighting verticals such as airport lighting, highways, large parking lots, or outdoor sports arenas.

What Lumens To Use

Lumens measures the total amount of light projected per unit of time. In other words, the higher the lumens the brighter the light. It’s important to note, this number also correlates with wattage; thus, as the amount of watts go up, so does lumens.

Low Lumens (1,600-4,000) – LED Flood Lights operating between 1,600 and 4,000 lumens are ideal for small outdoor area lighting such as a staircase, walk way, etc. These are very common for residential or small commercial needs.

Medium Lumens (4,000-10,000) – 4,000 to 10,000 lumens is a mid range of brightness. This level is ideal for yards, fields, and slightly larger exterior areas around buildings.

High Lumens (10,000 and up) – High lumens outdoor lights are generally used for municipal areas or larger commercial applications such as parking lots, cities, etc.

Ultra High Lumens (50,000 and up) – 50,000 or more lumens is typically only ideal for large industrial needs like highways, airports, and large parking lots.

Wattage Lumens 15W 1,663 30W 3,720 50W 6,180 80W 10,340 100W 13,500 150W 20,250 230W 31,050 300W 40,500 400W 50,200

Color Temperature (Kelvin)

5,000K – 5000K LED flood lights are by far the most common. This color temperature projects a cool white illumination that emulates day time environments. This is very ideal for the illumination and security of outdoor spaces.

4,000K – 4,000 Kelvin LED bulbs project a natural colored light you commonly find within workspaces.

3,000K – 3,000 Kelvin is a warm color of LED light used primarily inside restaurants or houses. It’s rare to find outdoor flood lights in 3000K as it’s not recommended.

How long do LED security lights last?

Buying LED Flood Lights

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