I'm installing 120v LED recessed lights in a room, and I'm concerned about them wearing out prematurely. I've had bad luck in the past with florescent lights on the same circuit as the refrigerator. I think it's the power fluctuations caused by the motor stop/starts.

Similarly, I notice whole house fluctuations when the central A/C starts/stops. My theory is that the transformers and circuitry in the bulbs are vulnerable to these fluctuations, and I worry the same about the $80 fixtures.

Would an inline surge protector, placed between the wall switch and the lights, help prolong their life? I'm not interested in a whole house surge protector, since it's expensive, and the motors are on the inside.

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    The thing you are not interested in is the simple approach, and not terribly expensive ($72 + shipping for the setup I use of a lightning arrestor + surge capacitor), nor does it matter that "the motors are on the inside." You might seek (they are quite commonly available) LED fixtures with wide input ballasts that are happy to run from inputs as low as 80 or 100 VAC to as high as 240 or 277 VAC without any wiring change. Those should be relatively insensitive to fluctuations in supply. – Ecnerwal Sep 5 '19 at 14:20
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    I think a whole home surge protector is really what you want and probably isn't as expensive as you think. I'm not sure what an "in line" surge protector would be and how it would be legally wired between a switch and fixture so that might not even be an option. What brand of breaker panel do you have? – JPhi1618 Sep 5 '19 at 14:37
  • Is your fridge on it's own circuit? If not, I'm pretty sure it should be. Some pull enough current to need it, and if your lights are burning out prematurely because of it, it sounds like your's needs it. Yes, it could require a bit of rewiring your kitchen, but that would save your fixtures. – computercarguy Sep 5 '19 at 17:20
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    The fluorescent lights that gave you trouble -- did they hum or were they graveyard silent? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Sep 5 '19 at 20:32

First, if you put a whole house surge suppressor on a single circuit, I won't tell :)

The biggest issue I see is where to put such a device. You can't stick it just anywhere. It would offend aesthetics to mount it on the wall surface, and you can't bury it inside the wall.

If you have a multi-gang light switch and you're willing to sacrifice a switch position, it might fit there.

It might also fit up in the "can" of the LED light.

When hooking up a 120/240V surge suppressor 120-only, follow the manufacturer's instructions.

With LED durability, it's all about the electronic driver. The finest, most expensive light won't stand a chance if they went with a cheap Cheese driver off Alibaba. On the other hand, drivers are commodities and are not that hard to replace.

When I want extreme durability from LEDs, I use 12V or 24V LEDs (which have no particular electronics on board, just a dropping resistor) and any expendable, swappable, commodity 12/24V power supply, which I expect to fail from time to time (unless it says GE). This has the added advantage that it plays extremely well with DC backup power systems.

  • Thanks. Where do power supplies go when installing low voltage LED recessed lights? – Josh Pearce Sep 6 '19 at 16:09
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    @JoshPearce Depends on your overall system design. It can be utility space in the basement, or wherever you might put the surge suppressor we were discussing. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Sep 6 '19 at 16:47

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