What are LED Bulbs and how do they work?

LED stands for light emitting diode. LED lights produce light about 90% more efficiently than incandescent light bulbs, which are your typical, run-of-the-mill lightbulbs.

How do they work? An electrical current passes through a microchip, which illuminates the tiny light sources we call LEDs and result in visible light.

LED Bulbs

LED Bulbs

Heat sink: A device or substance used for absorbing excessive or unwanted heat.

Thermal management: The ability to control the temperature of a system by means of technology based on thermodynamics and heat transfer.

Lifetime of LED Bulbs

The useful life of LED lighting products is defined differently than that of other light sources, such as incandescent or compact fluorescent lighting (CFL). LEDs do not “burn out” or fail like other light bulbs but instead, they experience something called ‘lumen depreciation’. This is when the brightness of the light bulb dims slowly over time. Unlike incandescent bulbs, the “lifetime” of an LED is established on a prediction of when the light output decreases by 30%. One of the most significant factors of LED light bulbs is their lifespan. On average, LED light bulbs last anywhere from about 50-60,000 hours. This is approximately 50 times longer than a regular light bulb!

LEDs and Heat

Something cool about LED light bulbs is that they never get hot and always stay cool to the touch. This is due to the use of heat sinks* to absorb the heat produced by the LED and dissipate it into the surrounding environment, keeping the light bulbs from overheating and burning out. Thermal management is generally the single most important factor in the successful performance of an LED over its lifetime. The higher the temperature at which the LEDs are operated, the more quickly the light will degrade, and the shorter the useful life will be.