Can you use LED lights in enclosed fixtures?

Svetlana January 01 2022

What are enclosed fixtures?

Enclosed fixtures are those that do not allow light to escape. This means that the fixture covers the bulbs completely and is enclosed all around them, as opposed to lamps and other types of open lighting. These lighting fixtures often look like pendants or chandeliers, but they can also be ceiling lights and wall sconces.

For example, it can be difficult or even impossible to use an LED bulb in a fixture that does not allow light to escape. This is because the LED requires so little space, meaning it may be difficult for you to install properly.

What types of enclosed fixtures do you know? The most common types of enclosed fixtures you would find in a home are pendants and chandeliers. Other types of lighting include wall sconces, track lighting, recessed lights, ceiling lights, and more.

Can you use LED bulbs in enclosed fixtures?

Although some people are able to successfully use LEDs in enclosed fixtures, they are often more qualified to do so than your average person at home. Make sure you check with your local lighting dealer before trying this yourself!

Usually, the rule of thumb is that if the fixture has an opening less than 5 inches around where wires can pass through, then it will probably not work with your LED.

Do LEDs need air space?

Yes, LED lights do need a small amount of air space around them. It's important to know how heat can affect your LEDs because even though they emit lower amounts of heat than other types of bulbs, insulation within enclosures may not allow for any ventilation and can quickly overheat the bulb and cause damage such as melting plastics. Without proper cooling capabilities, the enclosed fixture could create a fire hazard.

Do you really need enclosed fixtures in your house?

There is certainly a place in your home for enclosed fixtures. They can achieve a classy and sophisticated look when used correctly, but it may be best to try other types of lighting in enclosed fixtures if you are simply wanting to save money with an LED replacement.

If not using enclosed fixtures, one can try such alternatives as LED strips, LED ceiling panels, and LED undercabinet lighting. These can help you get the look of enclosed fixtures without including heat-generating LEDs in the mix!

Note: When using an LED bulb or strip that is not intended for an enclosed fixture and overheats and melts plastic parts that could cause a fire hazard. If this happens, you should immediately unplug your light to prevent causing damage to appliances, outlets, and wires.

What's so bad about using LED lights in enclosed fixtures?

LEDs emit lower amounts of heat than CFLs or halogens, which makes them ideal for enclosed fixtures. But it has been found that LEDs can overheat when used in such a manner due to the buildup of trapped heat within the fixture itself. They can easily become hot enough to melt things near them – including plastic – or even start a fire.

Therefore, you should never use LEDs in enclosed fixtures. If you want to replace the bulbs in one or more of your enclosed fixtures with LED lightbulbs, it's best to choose ones that are specifically labeled for enclosed fixtures and that do not emit much heat at all. Updating just these few bulbs can save you money on both electricity and replacement fees over time.

Why can`t you use all types of LED bulbs in enclosed fixtures?

LED bulbs emit very little heat, making them popular in enclosed fixtures. In fact, there are some LEDs that specifically state on the package that they can be used in an enclosed fixture.

However, these bulbs generally only last for around 25,000 hours and they also produce more of a yellow tint to the light than other options available. Because of their shorter life span and limited color quality you may not want to choose LED lights for every bulb in your house or even if you have several enclosed fixtures.

What kind of LED lights can you use in enclosed fixtures?

In general, it's best for the fixture to allow heat from the bulb to be exhausted. Otherwise, you will have a higher risk of overheating and damage. This means that if you want to use an LED light in an enclosed fixture without letting any light escape, make sure the fixture has a fan or other ventilation system built in.

You can certainly put LEDs in sealed or enclosed fixtures as long as there is enough space for them and they are not exposed directly to humidity or water vapor.

However, if you are looking to put the light in an enclosed fixture like a pendant or chandelier, make sure there is a small space in between where the bulb and fixture meet. LED lights require a small amount of air around them to prevent overheating. Sometimes people choose not to do this because it is unsightly when they can see the bulb within the enclosure. But this is important for safety reasons.

The main features of enclosed rated bulbs:

  • They should be a good heat conductor
  • They must have a UL listing
  • They cannot emit corrosive chemicals or gases
  • The materials that come into contact with the enclosed fixture should not degrade from the heat of the bulb

There are other types of LEDs as well as halogens and incandescent bulbs that can be used in enclosed fixtures, but only if they meet these criteria. In most cases, it will say on the box whether or not this is possible.

If you are unsure, check with your local hardware store to see if they have any recommendations for sealed/enclosed type fixtures. It's also important to make sure there is enough space between the bulb and the fixture itself when taking measurements.

What are the possible risks?

In case you already installed an LED light bulb in an enclosed fixture, there are a few possible risks. The risk of getting a fire is definitely one of the most concerning ones because a fire would be very difficult to extinguish in such a small space. It's also important to consider that there is no warranty if you install LED bulbs in an enclosed fixture.

In addition, many homeowners report problems with insects gathering around their lights when they use LEDs inside enclosed fixtures. Like we stated previously, these LEDs emit lower amounts of heat than halogens or CFLs and attract similar bugs. This may not be a problem for everyone, but it's something to keep in mind when making your final decision on light bulbs.

Also, there is a chance of shutting off, because you cannot replace LEDs as easily as CFLs or fluorescents. The LED light bulbs don't last forever and you cannot replace them once they go out, so this means that you might have to install a new fixture if your light shuts off.

Will it lead to a fire hazard?

In your home, it's important to have a lot of ventilation because everything emits some amount of heat. In enclosed fixtures, the air cannot circulate and the light bulb gets hotter as time passes. You might not notice this as much at first, but if you place a CFL in an enclosed fixture, for example, it will burn out quickly.

The LEDs won`t catch fire unless there is an actual source of combustion near them. If you maintain them properly by replacing them on a regular basis then they are less likely to overheat or malfunction.

How can one avoid these risks?

If you are using LED light bulbs in enclosed fixtures without ventilation, then the lightbulb will shut off automatically when they get too hot to protect them from overheating. So it is recommended that you use LEDs for lights that are only used occasionally or only use the highest setting if they are on constantly.

It's also possible to install smart dimmers with your LED lights to remove any worry about overheating because this dimming allows the fixture to automatically reduce its power consumption when it senses heat. If you have an enclosed fixture without a built-in fan, you can install one yourself so there is always enough airflow around the bulb.

This may not be necessary if your space is open or has windows that let lots of air circulate. But if you are concerned about safety, it is always best to err on the side of caution.

What's the verdict?

There is no denying that LED lights are an amazing energy-saving option, but sometimes homeowners forget how heat can be problematic in enclosed fixtures. If you are using LEDs in your home there are risks involved, especially with older lamps.

The main thing to remember when choosing between different types of bulbs for enclosed fixtures is to make sure that they have enough space around them or that they have ventilation built into their design.

So would I recommend using LED lights in enclosed fixtures? Well, it is your choice so you have to carefully weigh the pros and cons. But if you are concerned about overheating or are worried about not being able to replace them yourself, then it might be best to look at other options. It's also important to keep in mind that there is no warranty for using LEDs with enclosed fixtures.

If you still want to continue using these types of lights, instead of halogens or CFLs then just make sure that they have enough space around them or that they have ventilation built into their design.