Beware The Cheap LED Light Fixture!

Reblogger Carolyn Roland-Historic Homes For Sale In Delaware and S. Chester County PA
Real Estate Agent with Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate

This is red hot news for home safety for all of us! Thank you Jay for this information. Sent to

you from Carolyn Roland, Your Older and Historic Homes Resource for Delaware and

Southern Chester County, Pennsylvania.


Original content by Jay Markanich 3380-000723

This is a head's up - beware the cheap LED light fixture!

We have a 20 year old house, which we built.  It was time to upgrade the fluorescent kitchen light fixture.  I wanted LED.

Looking around I wanted one that provided good light, lots of lumens.

Watts measure the amount of energy a light bulb uses.  But lumens are the indicator of the amount of light.

LED lights are made up of many small points of light sources.

What I didn't know then was that when one buys an LED light fixture, the weight of the fixture and points of light sizes (called "chips") are essential.

The fixture I bought and installed was very light.  Why is weight important?

Because, according to my research, of poor quality materials used to construct the "driver" and to dissipate heat weigh more!

However, you may say, aren't LED lights cool?

Yes, to feel the heat from them.  But the point of light, the chips, are extremely hot.  What drives the energy to them, and the ability for them to dissipate heat, is essential.

Good materials allow for such heat dissipation and the fixtures last for years and years.

But cheap stuff, materials without a good driver, smaller chips, and no ability to dissipate heat, will not last long.

Our kitchen light lasted 7 months.  Beware the cheap stuff!

One day it was fine.  The next it provided half the light.  And the next no light at all.

When I took off the cover this is what I saw.  WHICH PROMPTED MY RESEARCH!  Do you see how tightly the plastic cover sits over the fixture?  There was nowhere for the heat to go.  And the chips are 1/8" square, considered very small.  Yes, they get very, very hot!

So, you ask, can cheap fixtures cause fires?  YES!  We were lucky, apparently.  Ours just flaked out and died.

Following my research I bought a good quality light, and it is heavy!  It provided large chips, a good driver, and the ability to dissipate heat.

But, I had another problem. 

When I took down the builder-installed fluorescent light this is what I found!

No box, and wires merely stick out of a hole in the ceiling! 

Unbelievable!  That's the same problem I found when I replaced the bathroom light!  But the round fixture I first installed weighed less than a pound, so no junction box, while not to code, was needed for its support.

So for the new fixture I had to install a hefty box.  It is attached to an arm that cranks and tightens against the floor joists inside the ceiling above.  It holds 70 - 120 pounds!

With the help of a neighbor (this was NOT a one-man job!) here is the new light!  With lots and lots of lumens!








Perhaps hard to see in the lower-right photo, but there is a 1" space above the fixture for heat to dissipate.

Here are the recommendations from experts when you buy LED light fixtures.  What to look for.

1.  LED with good heat dissipation may cost, and weigh, more.
2.  Try to find out the chip size (the points of light).  The larger chips provide more light and better stability.
3.  Make sure any paint is well applied.  Better paints make a difference.
4.  Verify the Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) mark, which proves the fixture for testing, validation and safety.
5.  Confirm a Design Lights Consortium (DLC) qualification.  DLC qualified fixtures have been tested for certain performance and safety standards.  These better fixtures often come with a 5 year warranty.  (The one I installed has a 10 year warranty).

My recommendation:  If you buy with all that in mind you will likely have a fixture that is safe, provides great light, and is long lasting.  I learned a lot from my experience and research.  I hope you do too.  "Let there be light ... and it was good."



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

I had no idea that they can get hot. Actually, I was sure of the opposite. For me, LED was a synonym of cool light... Ouch

Jun 07, 2018 10:31 PM #1
Michelle Carr Crowe,Altas Just Call...408-252-8900!
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Thanks for sharing this information on how to tell good from poor quality LED light fixtures.

Jun 07, 2018 10:42 PM #2
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I read this yesterday and I had not heard of it before then.

Jun 08, 2018 02:24 AM #3
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