When purchasing LED lighting, most buyers are under the impression a 10-year warranty means the light will perform similar to its performance when new after 10 years. In the real world, LED performance varies by internal and external factors such as ambient temperature, electrical surges and daily hours of operation. Most warranties do not address these factors realistically, and/or do not cover how LED performance is affected by them.
To learn more on how LED performance is affected by internal and external factors, click here.
For example, take a look at this warranty from one of the most recognized names in lighting: “will be free from defects in material and workmanship until the earlier of 5 (five) years from manufacturing date, and 22,000 hours of operation.” This warranty is described on the specification sheet as a 5-year warranty. However, these particular fixtures – like most others – do not come with a run time meter that logs hours of operation. Since there are 8,760 hours in a year, the owner of these light fixtures will have to prove the lights were not “on” for more than 22,000 hours before the third year; and still being at the mercy of the manufacturer. While it looks like a 5-year warranty, it barely covers 2.5 years under a common 24/7 operation.
Besides deceptive tactics like this, a common misconception is that most LED warranties guarantee the amount of light the LED is producing. Most people are very conscious of the advertised lumens per watt while purchasing LED lights. However, they disregard the fact that all LEDs lose output over time while their wattage consumption will remain the same. Therefore, it is possible to purchase an LED light that is more efficient than the replaced lighting during the first year, but then becomes less efficient every year after. While the energy bill will not increase, the amount of light per watt will continually decrease. This forces owners to replace the lights or add additional lighting much quicker than anticipated to comply with required light levels to ensure productivity and safety of employees.
Read LED warranties carefully. Fixtures with some LEDs that won’t turn on are typically covered by most warranties, but LEDs that fade too much are NOT typically covered. Let’s look at this example below.
In both cases the light output of the LED fixture has diminished by 40% after the same period of time. Case A is covered by warranty, but Case B is not covered by most warranties; although both situations fail to provide the required light output and are equally problematic to the owner.
Most LED buying decisions are influenced by electrical contractors who typically provide a 1-year warranty on the project. Installing and repairing lighting is a revenue stream for them, so it plays in their favor not to advise on potential problems not covered by warranty beyond 1 year. For the most part, responsibility for knowing what you are purchasing will fall on the buyer. Caveat emptor.
Flex Lighting Solutions offers a true and transparent 5-year lumen maintenance warranty. If the light output drops more than 30% (L70) within the first 5 years, we replace the fixture.