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Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4

[Green Tech] LED Bulbs + Totally Enclosed Fixtures + Cold Winters

Most LED bulbs say not to install them in totally enclosed fixtures. I assume that is because of heat issues, correct? Do you think I can get away with it in enclosed outdoor fixtures during the cold northern WI winters? I use yellow CFL bug lights in the summer months. But these work for crap in the sub-freezing temps during the winter, and I've been switching to incandescent for the winter over the last few years. I'd like to use some LED bulbs I have here during the winter months. But they do state not to use in enclosed fixtures. What's your thoughts?


Kramer
Premium,Mod
join:2000-08-03
Richmond, VA
kudos:2

[Green Tech] Re: LED Bulbs + Totally Enclosed Fixtures + Cold Winters



leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET

1 recommendation

reply to Lurch77
There are many different kinds of totally enclosed fixtures. If the fixture you are talking about is a small plastic enclosure that has very little air capacity then the possibility of overheating becomes very likely and in addition to shortening the bulb life may also present a hazard to the fixture and beyond (for example if that plastic fixture is mounted directly to the wood of the overhanging roof structure).

If the fixture is a large glass bowl with a porcelain socket, teflon or similar heat resistant wiring and solid metal lamp support it is a whole different story. You may still end up with reduced bulb life if the light is on long enough to raise the temperature in the fixture too high but you are not creating a hazard beyond damaging the bulb itself.
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Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4
Click for full size
Click for full size
Thanks for your thoughts.

I guess I have to wonder just how much ventilation they need. Looking at the fixtures closer they are not technically fully enclosed. They have two drain holes at the base. And the top, which is removable to change bulbs, does not have a seal. It is metal on metal which allows the slightest gap due to the faces not being machined.

I have these US made 3M LED bulbs already and want to use them versus buying more. I installed them, guess we'll see how they do.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

2 recommendations

If those lights have two small screws securing the top which you remove to replace the bulb, how about putting a washer or two on each under the top to provide the slightest air gap. Won't take much .


Led light

@mycingular.net

2 recommendations

reply to Lurch77
I've got two post lights that are constructed the same as your wall mounts. I've been running 60w CREEs every night for nearly two years with no problem.


Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4
reply to robbin
These use a threaded center post, on a bracket, to hold the top on. I'd need to spin a nut onto that post, but it would be the same idea. I'll look into doing that.

Critsmcgee

join:2011-12-02

1 recommendation

reply to Lurch77
I've got 2 of those exact fixtures just different color. They've been working fine with LED bulbs for over a year now. They had CFL's before that which worked fine for years.
--
"Trust Me I'm The Doctor!" -Doctor Who

TheMG
Premium
join:2007-09-04
Canada
kudos:3
Reviews:
·NorthWest Tel

1 recommendation

reply to Lurch77
I don't foresee any heat problems with that type of fixture, especially in the winter. Both glass and metal that the fixture is made of are relatively good heat conductors and even though the air inside the fixture is "trapped", enough heat will simply conduct through the exposed fixture to keep the inside temperature nice and cool.

scross

join:2002-09-13
Cordova, TN

1 edit
reply to Lurch77

Re: [Green Tech] LED Bulbs + Totally Enclosed Fixtures + Cold Winters

Strictly speaking, CFLs are supposed to be mounted only in open fixtures and with the bottom down so that heat flows away from the base - but then this pretty much limits them to lamps and such, making them not very useful. I have routinely violated these rules for CFL bulbs over the past 20 years, with no problems except maybe reducing the life of the bulb itself. And I've had open fixture CFLs fail from obvious heat problems, so I'm not sure how much it really matters anyway.

I've even run into a leak issue a couple of times where water completely flooded the CFL. It died, of course, but not the fixture itself (there was an issue with "sizzling" and hot water, though), and the bulb itself was physically in good shape. I ultimately replaced the fixture anyway because of the leak and rust issues caused by the water. An incandescent bulb in this situation would most likely have cracked or shattered with the first drop of moisture, which is a problem that I've run into before.

Right now I have an enclosed LED bulb which has been burning non-stop for over a year with no problems. In fact, the only real problems that I've ever run into (where the fixture itself or something else nearby was heat-damaged and had to be replaced) were from plain old incandescent bulbs, and these weren't necessarily in enclosed fixtures, either.


02778712

join:2013-07-08
MA
reply to Lurch77
I have those same fixtures on my new garage. They have LED's in them as well. The same fixtures were on my old garage with the same LED bulbs for years before either no issues.

»/r0/download/2···cal2.jpg


SoonerAl
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-23
South Padre Island, TX
kudos:5

1 edit
reply to Lurch77

Re: [Green Tech] Re: LED Bulbs + Totally Enclosed Fixtures + Cold Winters

From the FWIW department...

I have two similar fixtures on both sides of my garage. In my case I have used 60 watt equivalent CFLs in them for 6 years with no problems. Since April I have been using 60 watt equivalent LEDs in them with no issues. Here in central Oklahoma the issue is heat over the summer months. It gets quite hot and stays that way over night but again no issues. I used/use Walmart branded non-dimmable CFL and LED bulbs.

Please note I do have dawn-2-dusk photocell controllers on all of my front outside carrage type fixtures so the lights are not on 24/7...


02778712

join:2013-07-08
MA
said by SoonerAl:

Please note I do have dawn-2-dusk photocell controllers on all of my front outside carrage type fixtures so the lights are not on 24/7...

The lights the OP posted and that I have that look the same both have photocell controllers built into them.


SoonerAl
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-23
South Padre Island, TX
kudos:5
FWIW...Mine are add on photo cell controllers....again from Walmart...


tschmidt
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-12
Milford, NH
kudos:9
Reviews:
·G4 Communications
·Fairpoint Commun..
·Hollis Hosting
reply to Lurch77
Since the fixtures have bulb in normal position, rather then inverted, and total heat will be much less then with an incandescent I doubt heat will be a problem. Besides any "air leaks" the glass provides a lot of surface area for radiation.

I'd say try one, and instrument the bulb to verify heat rise before it gets too cold.

/tom



pende_tim
Premium
join:2004-01-04
Andover, NJ
kudos:1

1 recommendation

reply to SoonerAl
Did you have to get any special type of dusk-dawn controllers as most I have seen say not to use with a CFL, if I understood the labeling.
--
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.


John97
Over The Hills And Far Away
Premium
join:2000-11-14
Spring Hill, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Bright House
·ooma
reply to Lurch77

Re: [Green Tech] LED Bulbs + Totally Enclosed Fixtures + Cold Winters

Click for full size
This is the light outside my front door. The LED bulbs inside have been there since November 2012. My house has a southern exposure with no trees in the front yard, so the front of the house gets blasted with direct sunlight for most of the day here in Florida. I cannot count how many times these lights have been left on during the day. No problems so far, since the concern appears to be heat as far as the specification not to use in a completely enclosed fixture.

--
So put me on a highway, and show me a sign.
And take it to the limit one more time...


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
reply to Lurch77
Considering the surface area exposed to outside air, there is plenty of heat dissipation. Don't worry about it.

What I would say is this: Why LED for outdoor? Unless you use motion detectors, CFLs would do the job, even in extremely cold temperatures. Sure, they take longer to warm up, but they'll get there and stay on all night! I have 3 CFL bulbs of 23W at the front of my home and they worked just fine when it was LITERALLY -20F (not just with windchill).


Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4
We don't leave the lights on all night. When we go outside or have guests arriving we don't like waiting for the CFLs to brighten up. Plus we already had these bulbs here. Bought them during a sale.


leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
reply to alkizmo
As a CFL gets older it won't start as well as when it was new. Add additional obstacles like low temperatures and it may not start at all.

LED lighting is a good choice for cold outdoors.
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SoonerAl
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-23
South Padre Island, TX
kudos:5
reply to pende_tim

Re: [Green Tech] Re: LED Bulbs + Totally Enclosed Fixtures + Cold Winters

said by pende_tim:

Did you have to get any special type of dusk-dawn controllers as most I have seen say not to use with a CFL, if I understood the labeling.

The ones I have are made by Amertac model SLC6CNB made to use with CFLs.

Here is a similar model advertised for Incandescent/CFL/LEDs...

»tinyurl.com/CFLcontrol

I bought the ones I have at Walmart...

Critsmcgee

join:2011-12-02
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to alkizmo

Re: [Green Tech] LED Bulbs + Totally Enclosed Fixtures + Cold Winters

said by alkizmo:

Considering the surface area exposed to outside air, there is plenty of heat dissipation. Don't worry about it.

What I would say is this: Why LED for outdoor? Unless you use motion detectors, CFLs would do the job, even in extremely cold temperatures. Sure, they take longer to warm up, but they'll get there and stay on all night! I have 3 CFL bulbs of 23W at the front of my home and they worked just fine when it was LITERALLY -20F (not just with windchill).

I hope you speak of cold cathode CFL's. Most people don't even know there are different TYPES of CFL's they can purchase. They just think all CFL's work the same. :P
--
"Trust Me I'm The Doctor!" -Doctor Who


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
reply to leibold
said by leibold:

As a CFL gets older it won't start as well as when it was new. Add additional obstacles like low temperatures and it may not start at all.

LED lighting is a good choice for cold outdoors.

Meh, they cost me 2$ a bulb at Costco for 23W (1600 lumen).
Good luck finding 1600 lumen LED bulbs anywhere near 20$ (10x price of the CFLs I buy).

However for Lurch77, since he turns them on only when they are in their yard or guests are arriving, then LEDs are worth it, though incandescent might be just as good, considering there is no need to conserve energy for a lights you use less than 1h a day on average.

said by Critsmcgee:

I hope you speak of cold cathode CFL's. Most people don't even know there are different TYPES of CFL's they can purchase. They just think all CFL's work the same. :P

Probably. I bought them at Costco and they are rated for outdoors use in winter.


Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4

1 recommendation

These LEDs are 850 lumens. I paid $15. So they are not that cheap. That is for sure. If initial cost is an issue then LED is not a good choice. But if you read my posts in this forum, price is not my only concern. These bulbs are made in the USA. I like that, and will pay a slight premium for it as long as the product is quality. Which I've found these bulbs are.


Jan Janowski
Premium
join:2000-06-18
Skokie, IL
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to Lurch77

Re: [Green Tech] Re: LED Bulbs + Totally Enclosed Fixtures + Cold Winters

Last year I put LED bulbs (800 Lumens) in motion detector lights (3) that look almost identical to yours... It's intermittent duty.... Time will tell, but I've never felt any warmth from the enclosure or glass....
--
Looking for 1939 Indian Motocycle


SparkChaser
Premium
join:2000-06-06
Downingtown, PA
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to Lurch77

Re: [Green Tech] LED Bulbs + Totally Enclosed Fixtures + Cold Winters

The following show why there is less problems with heat from this design.

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=-84Hq-Ns···embedded





cybersaga

join:2011-12-19
Welland, ON
Probably not as good as those 3M's, but these guys are selling a couple of LED bulbs pretty cheap: »www.1000bulbs.com/category/led-savings/

No idea how good those are.

scross

join:2002-09-13
Cordova, TN
reply to Lurch77
Walmart has recently committed itself to aggressive pricing on LED bulbs; 800 lumens would be typical. I've seen LED flashlights that would throw a beam a mighty long way and practically blind you in the process, so I'm guessing that the real limiting factor here as far as cost and brightness go isn't the LEDs themselves, it's the electronics that you need to step-down and regulate the AC line voltage.

»[Green ] Walmart gets aggressive on LED bulb pricing

LEDs might very well be a cheap and near-perfect match for DC systems like solar. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised to soon see new homes have their lighting systems wired up directly for DC, with AC used for everything else. Or at least to have some shared AC-to-DC conversion systems, maybe at the fixture level. This would no doubt eliminate at lot of the cost of the electronics for each bulb.


Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4
reply to Lurch77
A minor update. Since a neighborhood garage break in a few months ago, we have been leaving the lights switched on 24 hours a day. The lamps are dusk to dawn, so the lights run all night long. We've had no issues at all, and they provide a good amount of light. You cannot feel any heat on the fixtures. But then it is winter in northern WI, and it's been -15F here lately.


Subaru
1-3-2-4
Premium
join:2001-05-31
Greenwich, CT
kudos:1
reply to SparkChaser
I've only seen this 3M bulb in the local food store.. It's almost $20 a bulb