The LED Lighting world should come with a giant sticker on every company that reads just this. With manufacturers around the world going into the commercial led lighting business over night there is a lot happening that the consumer needs to be aware of.
Price, price, price – this is a customer’s main concern and generally first question when it comes to requesting a quote or proposal for LED fixtures. While this is an important question, there are others that should be asked first. Let’s walk through the basics and I will explain why and what makes commercial LED lighting products superior and inferior.
Lifetime – or the L70 rating. This is your first simple go-to test for figuring out if a fixture should be purchased for your business. The L70 rating refers to the lifetime of a LED module is the time it takes until its light output reaches 70% of the initial output. For example, if you are looking at a 200,000 L70 rated hour product that means it will take 200,000 hours for the product to lose 30% of its light output.
Drivers – while the L70 is a great starting point for evaluating your commercial LED lighting fixtures, such as an LED parking lot light or LED highbay fixture, the L70 does not tell you if your product is using a good driver. A driver takes the high voltage (a commercial business would have between 120V-480V) and steps it down to direct current which allows the LED fixture to operate. The driver also prevents spikes or fluctuations in electric current. A good driver can last up to 12-15 years. However, many drivers on the market are manufactured by over seas companies and can last less than 6 months.
Circuit Boards, Engineering and Testing – The advantage of having an engineering team that is based in the United States, or in your hometown, is a tenfold advantage to purchasing a commercial lighting product that is engineered by an unknown company. The number of firms opening, and closing is alarming with the increase popularity of LED fixtures. The time in engineering a proper LED fixture takes months as compared to just making a fixture for mass production to grab sales. First, the circuit board must be made properly, and diodes must be machine pressed. Testing for this core piece should be done over a 6-12 month period to ensure heat is not slowly destroying the diodes, which is a common problem. Proper placement of LEDs in correlation to the fixtures heat sinks are items the customer can’t see but should know will determine the difference between a 2 year lifetime LED fixture and a 25 year LED lifetime fixture.
While the spec sheet does have some of the abover mentioned items, you should consult with the sales person to ask the following questions.
What type of diodes are your commercial lighting fixtures using?
Are the diodes machine applied or hand applied?
While the L70 rating is 50,000 or 200,000 hours – how long has the manufacturer been in business to certify they know what to look for when testing these items.
Does your business have a lab sphere to certify the spec sheet information is correct?
See spec sheets for all of LED Lighting of Houston Products.
In 2017, the big items to ask for are the product DLC listed (Design Lights Consortium) and is it UL certified (Underwriters Laboratory). These items are important, but the fact is that the number of products making it through this testing and failing in the first 2 years of purchase is staggering. Drivers are often good for several months before finding out that they are designed poorly. Especially when ran 24/7 in moderate to high heat conditions. Commercial LED lighting fixtures built in Houston have an advantage. They are tested in high heat and humidity. The products that LED Lighting of Houston sell for exterior lighting come with a few nice advantages.
Surge protector – surge protectors are a must for exterior products. These nifty and inexpensive items protect your fixture in the case of a power surge. If your LED parking lot fixture does not have a surge protector and a power surge hits, kiss your investment good-bye!
Auto dimming – it gets hot during the summer. That’s not good for LED fixtures, especially commercial LED parking lot lights in Houston, where the temperature can reach over 100 degrees. If you accidentally leave your fixtures on during the day, and you don’t have an auto dimmer that protects your fixtures from running at full power, then also kiss your investment good-bye. LED fixtures do not like heat, so you have to make sure to have auto dimmers that will power them off when being ran during high temperature days.