Outdoor living is one of the most popular home trends to emerge from the pandemic, and from the looks of things in Carlsbad, it’s here to stay. Almost 75% of homeowners use their patio for relaxation and are looking for ways to increase their comfort outside.
When you’re building an outdoor living space, proper lighting is key. Without it your yard becomes less appealing and even dangerous when the sun goes down.
LED lights are the most popular choice when it comes to outdoor landscape lighting and exterior lighting. How well does LED outdoor landscape lighting stand up to temperature changes, rainfall, and more?
We’re here to tell you. Let’s learn all about using LED lights outdoors and what to expect.
What is an LED Light?
“LED” is an acronym that stands for “Light Emitting Diode.” What this tells us is that LED lightbulbs are illuminated when an electrical current runs through them, not when that electrical current generates heat (which is how incandescent lightbulbs work).
Already you can see why an LED light is more suited to the outdoors than an incandescent light, which would vary greatly in performance based on the ambient temperature. While LED lights aren’t 100% temperature-resistant, they are better equipped to handle temperature fluctuations.
LED lights also use up to 90% less energy than other types of bulbs. Because many homeowners keep their outdoor lighting on for hours at a time for comfort and security, an energy-efficient bulb is a must.
What Factors Make an LED Light Appropriate for Outdoor Use?
Not all LED lights are designed for outdoor use in Carlsbad. If you purchase LED lights that don’t have an outdoor rating, you can expect them to fail within a matter of months.
Let’s look at the two biggest factors that will impact an LED light’s performance when used outside.
The Quality of the Bulb
Quality LED lights will come with an IP rating. IP is another acronym, short for Ingress Protection, and you want your outdoor LED lights to have a high IP rating. This is especially important if your region experiences a wide variety of weather patterns and if you’re placing LED lights in exposed areas, as opposed to, for example, a covered patio.
While you don’t need to buy the most expensive LED lights on the market, you won’t want to go too cheap either. Cheap LED lights may claim to have strong outdoor performance, but it’s unlikely that they’ve been tested and manufactured with care. In the long run, a cheap LED lightbulb will cost more in repairs and replacements.
The Quality of the Fixture
Except for LED light strips, LED lightbulbs require a fixture. The fixture is both the connection between the lightbulb and its power source, and a form of protection for the lightbulb.
Once again, you’re going to want to invest in a high-quality fixture built for outdoor use in Carlsbad. You want materials that won’t overheat in high temperatures or direct sunlight or warp and crack in below-freezing temperatures. If you’re adding LED lights to your entire yard, you will also need different types of fixtures for different purposes; mounting lights on a wall versus staking lights into the ground, for example.
Can LED Lights Handle Extreme Temperatures?
A simple way to think about how LED lights perform in extreme temperatures is that cold is better than hot. LED lights provide optimal performance when their junction temperature, or the temperature inside of the light where the energy current is located, is at about 77 degrees. LED lights are better able to stabilize at that optimal temperature when the ambient temperature is lower.
A high-quality LED light won’t fail in response to temperature unless the junction temperature reaches about 185 degrees. This can happen on a hot day if the LED light is in direct sunlight and doesn’t have a strong enough heat sink, which is a component of LED lights that can draw heat away from the electrical current. Anything above 77 degrees and below 185 degrees, can cause the light to degrade faster and emit a dimmer light.
Can LED Lights Handle Moisture?
While Carlsbad isn’t exactly known for snow, it can get quite humid in the spring and summer months. You’ve probably noticed that on some mornings the grass is covered in dew. It’s reasonable to expect that your outdoor lights will get a little dewy as well.
Once again, if you purchase LED lights and fixtures that are designed for outdoor use, moisture shouldn’t be a problem. High-quality outdoor LED lights are well-sealed, protecting the electrical components from getting wet and short-circuiting.
How to Pick the Best LED Lights for Your Yard
As you can see, picking LED lights for outdoor use requires some thought and research. Not all LED lights are built for outdoor use, even some of the low-cost ones that claim to be.
On top of that, selecting LED lighting for both your outdoor living space and your landscaping is not a one-size-fits-all process. You will need different fixtures, different strengths, and more.
That’s why we recommend working with outdoor lighting experts to get the best results.
Contact Lighting Distinctions for Landscape and Exterior Lighting in the Carlsbad Area
LED lighting is the ideal lighting for outdoor use if you know what to look for. At Lighting Distinctions, our expertise and installation services will turn your vision of a backyard oasis into a reality for your Carlsbad home.
To get started, contact us today. We’ll set up a free consultation so that you can tell us what you have in mind, and we can tell you more about how we can help.