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I have an issue with light bulbs in my living area. Essentially I have 6 LED bulbs on one switch in the living room, 4 LED bulbs on a second switch in the dining area, and 4 more LED bulbs on a third switch in the kitchen area. All of these are on the same floor and have identical bulbs (BR40). I have 2700K 100W equivalent bulbs.

The dining and kitchen don’t have issues but the bulbs in the living area die out very quickly. Sometimes days sometimes months. Definitely not used to what they are rated. On top of that, some go dim and stay dim forever. So maybe half as bright as they should be.

I have tried different LED brands and this still happens. I have also bought a voltage plug measurement and I get a 123V reading in plugs throughout my home.

What could the issue be? I am not using a dimmer, just an on/off switch.

Thanks in advance for the help.

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  • Also to add - sometimes the bulb goes out but comes back later.
    – Mike
    Feb 8, 2023 at 2:56
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    My hunch is that the living room fixtures are not dissipating heat as well as the others. LEDs generate far less heat (W in -> BTU out) than incandescents, but they are also far more sensitive to heat than incandescents. Feb 8, 2023 at 3:42
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    I tried SATCO and Euro lighting BR40 17W 2700K 1400 lumen bulbs. Yes just an on/off decora push switch. They are all the same fixtures, it’s one big room (open space).
    – Mike
    Feb 8, 2023 at 4:09
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    Can you provide photos of the fixture in the living room? Feb 8, 2023 at 4:58
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    Listing the exact brand/model of the bulbs may tell us something. The first batch of LED bulbs I bought were very cheap ($20 for 10 bulbs, I believe, about 10 years ago) and failed very quickly. I've since spent more on better quality bulbs and haven't had a failure in a couple of years.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 8, 2023 at 14:22

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There are many causes of failure for LED bulbs.

  • Operating Temperature. They are rated at 25degC or 77degF. At higher temperatures, they are dimmer and at even higher temperatures they can fail. I am still hunting for failure curves.
  • Mains Voltage. Despite most LEDs using switching power supplies (electronic transformers), I have found that they fail a lot earlier. The LEDS that are solar backed up in the house have failed after 3 years. When I measured the voltage, it was 240V instead of 220V. Maybe your bulbs are rated at 110V.
  • Switching Cycles. The LEDs are rated from 20,000 to 100,000 cycles. If you switch them 20 times a day, that's a life of about 3 years.
  • Hours of operation - Not an issue in your case. They are rated from 50,000 to 200,000 hours. I am highly critical of these figures. We will find out in 25 years if this is true.
  • Production Quality. "Cheaper" bulbs will fail faster. If we are to believe it, cheaper classes of electronics are manufactured with recycled components.

In your case then, it could be a combination of higher voltage, higher operating temperature (if not vented), low-quality products, switching cycles, and maybe loose wires (which may increase switching cycles).

Some references

1. Are LED lights really green

The LED lights are rated for 20,000 to 100,000 switching cycles. This means that they are designed to fail after 11 years (switch the light on and off 5 times a day, for 360 days a year). Did your light supplier tell you this ?

2. How Does Ambient Temperature Affect LED Performance?

LEDs do perform worse the higher the ambient outside temperature. 77 degrees, or 25 degrees Celsius, is the near-universal temperature standard against which L70 ratings are calculated by lighting manufacturers. For instance, if an LED (such as Access Fixtures’ APTA sports lighter) is L70 rated at 200,000 hours, that means that after 200,000 hours of continuous use at 77 degrees Fahrenheit, the lumens will have depreciated by 30%.

3. LED Lifespan: So Long do LED Lights Really Last

The actual light source (light emitting diode) within an LED lamp lasts very long with theoretically 100,000 operating hours and more. However, the lifetime of the LED driver is lower and thus determines the actual lifetime of the entire LED lamp. Apart from the operating hours, the number of switching cycles and the ambient temperature have the greatest influence on the durability.

4. What are switch cycles (Philips)?

Switch cycles indicate the number of times a bulb can be switched on and off before it fails. The room a bulb is being used in can make a big difference to the light bulb's lifespan. This guide shows how LED, halogen and energy-saving light bulbs have different switch cycles and how to compare them.

5. What Happens If You Put Too Much Voltage Through An LED

Generally, excess voltage is dangerous. Voltage surges can have a destructive effect on electronic equipment, including LED light bulbs.

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