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Why Some LEDs Can't Be Used in Enclosed Fixtures

Lighting - by Bryan Veldboom - updated on 1/4/2021

Well lit living room space

Today we're going to be talking about enclosed fixtures. An enclosed fixture refers to any fixture featuring a tight seal around the light bulb. Examples include globe lights, mason jar lights and lensed recessed fixtures. Enclosed fixtures protect the bulb from dust, moisture or other debris. Unfortunately, this enclosed designed isn't always compatible with LED light bulbs and can lead to overheating. Keep reading for tips on how to tell if your LED bulb is rated for use in enclosed fixtures.

Why are some LED bulbs not suitable for enclosed fixtures?

Light bulbs generate heat. In an enclosed fixture, this heat has far less space to spread out. That wasn't a problem with older incandescent, HID or fluorescent lamps, however, heat is an LED’s worst enemy. Most LED bulbs are designed to disperse this heat into the air around them. An enclosed fixture makes this difficult and can lead to overheating. An LED bulb operating above its rated operating temperature will have a much shorter lifespan, which can increase your costs by having to replace them prematurely.

This doesn't mean that you have to get rid of your enclosed fixtures though. There are LED bulbs on the market that have been specifically designed for use in enclosed fixtures. These bulbs have the ability to regulate current in order to avoid overheating.

What kind of LED bulbs can be used in enclosed fixtures?

When determining if an LED bulb is compatible with an enclosed fixture the first thing to do is check the bulb's packaging or spec sheet. The manufacturer should list if the bulb is rated for enclosed fixtures.

You can also look for the Energy Star logo. An Energy Star certification requires high heat testing for bulbs marketed for use in enclosed fixtures. There are some Energy Star certified bulbs not designed for enclosed fixtures though, so make sure to check closely. The Energy Star website has a light bulb guide where you can look up specifications for your brand and model light bulb to see if it is compatible with enclosed fixtures.

One thing to keep in mind, LED bulbs that are rated for enclosed fixtures don’t have to be used in enclosed fixtures. You can use them in open fixtures just like any other bulb.

Make sure to check whether your LED bulbs are rated for use in enclosed fixtures. Otherwise, you won't get the full benefit of using them. If you're having trouble finding the right bulb, contact the experts at your local Batteries Plus Bulbs. They'll be happy to answer your questions and locate a solution that works for you. You can also shop our enormous selection of lighting products online, including ballasts, fixtures and bulbs for home, vehicle and business use.

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