Can LED Lights Be Used in Enclosed Fixtures? - LED & Lighting Info (2023)

So who else wants to replace their old school bulbs with some sweet, energy-saving LED ones? Some of you have already been there and are enjoying the savings in your energy bills. And some are thinking about it and looking for the right place to start.

It definitely seems like it’s a simple enough task. Throw out your incandescent bulb, and put in one of the new LED bulbs you bulk ordered enthusiastically. You have existing light fixtures in your home that you’re not too worried about, and so your hot incandescent are now replaced with cool LEDs.

But a few days pass, and not everything seems right. Either your new bulb is flickering, or it just turns off after a couple of hours. Or worse, it starts to smoke up.

That’s why it is crucial to know the right kind of LED bulbs that go inside what are called ‘enclosed light fixtures.’

So maybe you are researching what went wrong. Perhaps you want to prevent yourself from such a headache.

In both cases, let me help you out here.

Only LED bulbs that are officially ‘Enclosed Rated’ will operate without any problems inside enclosed light fixtures. Regular LED bulbs may be used but they will become damaged or lose their efficiency quickly.

What is Considered an Enclosed Fixture?

Can LED Lights Be Used in Enclosed Fixtures? - LED & Lighting Info (1)

Let’s jump right in and find out what exactly is an enclosed light fixture.

Your most common one is the globe or dome-shaped light on your ceiling. Most homes have these versatile lights, and they sit flush against the ceiling. They are great at lighting up a large room easily.

But they’re not the easiest to replace a bulb out of! So all the more reason to make your hard work count and not end up with a wrong LED bulb inside.

Bathrooms and kitchens usually have semi-flush enclosed lights that hang a little away from the ceiling to give a more open look to the area.

(Video) Enclosed Light Fixture Hack for LED bulbs

Also, think about your outdoor porch lights that are covered in glass to protect from the weather. Or maybe you’re considering getting those fancy retro mason jar housing you saw in the restaurant last night, to set the right mood.

Recessed lights, or pot or can lights, fit inside the ceiling and are covered with a glass front and trim.

Those are all examples of air-tight enclosed applications.

But did you know that a fixture doesn’t have to be completely covered to be counted as an enclosed fixture?

Surprisingly enough, track headlights and some lamps would also be counted as an enclosed fixture even though they’re essentially open from the front end. That’s because any fitting that does not allow air ventilation around the bulb for dissipating heat is considered an enclosed one.

So take note of that, and let’s read ahead to see what the big deal is in using the wrong bulb in the wrong place.

Why You Cannot Use All LED Bulbs In Enclosed Fixtures?

Can LED Lights Be Used in Enclosed Fixtures? - LED & Lighting Info (2)

LED technology is advanced and uses electronic chips installed at the base of the bulb. And just like any other circuitry, these chips are very sensitive to excess heat.

You may wonder why LED bulbs that are supposed to run cooler than traditional bulbs are at the risk of overheating. It’s counter-intuitive, isn’t it?

But the interesting part is, traditional bulbs use energy restrictors without which they would simply explode due to the heat they generate. Regular LED bulbs don’t have those.

When regular LED bulbs are trapped in an unventilated or enclosed light fixture, the heat produced from the light source cannot flow out, and instead goes back to the bulb. This heats up the bulb, which is designed to perform best in cool environments.

In using an incorrect LED bulb, these are some ways in which its performance is impacted:

(Video) Light Bulb Investigators: Recessed and Enclosed Fixtures

  • Flickering: The bulb may start flickering after a few days
  • Shut off: The bulb may turn itself off after a few hours
  • Color: The color gradient may be affected significantly
  • Dimming: The light may become dimmer over time

Have you run into any of these problems?

Essentially, your LED light will not get you the engineered thousands of hours of use it is intended to. And let’s not forget that the main reason most of us switch to LED is to save running costs. So the value of your LED bulb investment is lost.

Now you may be wondering if the loss of efficiency is the extent of your worries. Perhaps.

Are LED In Enclosed Fixture a Fire Hazard?

Can LED Lights Be Used in Enclosed Fixtures? - LED & Lighting Info (3)

This is where the manufacturer comes in. Regular LED bulbs will have on their base a version of this warning: ‘not for use in totally enclosed or recessed fixtures and luminaires.’

Inversely, an ‘Enclosed Rated’ bulb, will indicate: ‘suitable for totally enclosed fixtures.’

Your best bet is to get in touch with the bulb manufacturer and ask them if a regular LED can be a fire hazard. Most bulbs not rated for use in enclosed fixtures will only run into the reduced efficiency problems listed above.

Nevertheless, you do not want to risk a fire that might occur not entirely due to the LED itself, but other factors around it. What if the recessed housing is quite insulated or the fixture has plastic parts that might melt. Off-brand LED bulbs could be a safety hazard anyway, but even more so if used in an enclosed housing.

Be warned that there are user experiences where they caught an LED starting to smoke up, which they immediately unscrewed. Other users felt the bulb bases extremely hot to touch and ended up with blisters.

Stores also warn not to ‘hot swap’ the bulbs but to turn off the fixture before replacing the existing bulb.

(Video) Enclosed Fixture Rated LED Light Bulb Review | SGLEDS Enclosed Fixture LED

Arm yourself with the right information, and proceed with caution. It is not wise to risk injury when the correct equipment is readily available.

What Type of Bulbs Work Best Within Enclosures?

Can LED Lights Be Used in Enclosed Fixtures? - LED & Lighting Info (4)

So now the question remains: how do you find the perfect bulb.

There are a variety of specifications where you can filter and find different bulbs for your indoor or outdoor light housing. You can sort by shape, lumens range, average rated life, among other basic filters.

Many websites let you sort by LED and Enclosed Fixtures. Keep an eye out for ‘Enclosed Rated’ LEDs.

This rating means the bulb has certain safety features in place to prevent overheating and continued optimal output.

Some of the features of enclosed rated bulbs include:

  • The chips are designed to withstand temperatures up to 150°C, so they continue working
  • If the temperature keeps rising, the electronic chips will regulate the power output of lumens the bulb is producing. The reduction in power is not obvious to the naked eye but saves your bulb’s life.
  • The bulb body itself utilizes ceramic heat dissipation technology (CHDT).
  • The bulb also has a hollow housing base design to allow greater airflow and keep things cool.

I would suggest you check out SGLEDs (Amazon), one of the more popular enclosed rated bulb on Amazon.

Another company that makes Enclosed Rated LED bulbs is Luxrite, and user reviews have confirmed no issues with heating in their totally covered fixtures.

Final Words

So what does it all mean?

(Video) Trying Some SGLEDs Enclosed Fixture Rated LED Bulbs

Taking the time to read a handy guide like this helps you make the right decision based on solid research that we carry out for you.

Do not let your initial upfront cost of pricey LEDs go to waste and end up with a flickering bulb. Go for the specialized LEDs that are guaranteed to last for years. You will use your correctly rated bulbs with ease of mind in regards to safety and savings.

Now that you’ve read the guide, I’m curious to know a few things from you!

  • Do you have any enclosed light fixtures in your home that need special LEDs?
  • Are your LED bulbs giving you any performance issues?

Looking for an LED bulb but not sure what type you need?

Check out my free bulb picker and select the right bulb within few clicks.



Can you use LED bulbs in totally enclosed fixtures? ›

Yes, but only some brands. The issue is the amount of heat that can build up in the enclosed fixture. LED bulbs are very sensitive to heat; if the air in the enclosed fixture becomes too hot, it will shorten the life of the bulb.

Why are LED lights not suitable for enclosed fixtures? ›

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.

What light bulbs can be used in enclosed fixtures? ›

If you have fully or semi-enclosed fixtures you need to light up, look for LEDs that are approved for recessed or enclosed spaces.

Can LED lights be used in all fixtures? ›

The answer: generally, yes, it is safe as long as the actual wattage of the LED bulb is within the limits of the socket or fixture. What is the difference between an LED lamp's actual wattage and its equivalent wattage? The main advantage of LED lamps over traditional lamps is their energy efficiency.

What is considered a totally enclosed light fixture? ›

Enclosed fixtures are lighting fixtures which keep a tight seal around the light source. This could be for many reasons, such as keeping water out or simply to protect the circuitry underneath. However, even with LEDs, the lighting is also a heat source and in enclosed fixtures the light has less space to spread out.

Do LED lights get hot? ›

Yes, new technology LED lighting can and will get hot, but when compared to the lighting of the past, temperatures are much safer. The heat from the lighting will also warm your surrounding environment but in comparison to old incandescent lighting, this ambient heat is greatly reduced when using LED lighting.

What happens if I use an LED bulb in an enclosed fixture? ›

Using an LED bulb in an enclosed fixture when it isn't designed for that may cause the bulb to overheat, potentially causing damage to the light bulb and fixture. Even a little extra heat can shorten the lifespan of the bulb and keep you from enjoying the full value of your investment.

What is the major disadvantage of LED lights? ›

One disadvantage of LEDs is the high initial cost per bulb. Over time, however, LED lights will pay for themselves through energy savings and incredibly long lifespans. Bulbs from various manufacturers may appear noticeably different in terms of their white light hues, so choose a well-known brand.

What are the two disadvantages of LED? ›

  • High initial price: LEDs are currently more expensive (price per lumen) on an initial capital cost basis, than most conventional lighting technologies. ...
  • Temperature dependence: LED performance largely depends on the ambient temperature of the operating environment – or "thermal management" properties.
Sep 21, 2015

Is it worth replacing bulbs with LED? ›

LED technology is the next best option to turning off a switch. Using up to 90% less energy than conventional halogen bulbs, LEDs are the best value lighting solution, saving energy and dramatically reducing your lighting bills.

Do LED headlights need ventilation? ›

Most headlights generate heat while in operation, and they need ventilation to allow for a more optimal operating temperature.

How can you tell if a light bulb is LED? ›

If you are lucky the bulb will say halogen or LED, but this is not a legal requirement, just good practice. If it does not, it must display the power in the form of wattage. Generally anything over 10W will most likely be halogen (25W, 50W etc) and anything under 10W would be LED.

Do LED fixtures need special switches? ›

Yes, LED lights require a special dimmer. An old fashioned incandescent dimmer switch will not work properly with LED bulbs. You cannot just simply lower the voltage to the LED driver.

Can I put a brighter LED bulbs in regular fixtures? ›

The answer is YES. You can use an LED bulb having a higher wattage equivalent than your fixture allows — provided the LED bulb consumes less wattage than the fixture.

Can I use a 75 watt LED in a 60 watt fixture? ›

If your fixture is rated to accept 60 Watts, you can safely use 75W, 100W, or even 125W equal bulbs (which all draw less than 50 Watts of power) instead.

Can fluorescent bulbs be used in enclosed fixtures? ›

Before using a CFL or LED bulb in a totally enclosed fixture, you should consult the product packaging. Because totally enclosed fixtures do not allow air to circulate around the lamp, it causes heat to build up, which can lead to performance issues.

Which type of lighting fixture is not permissible by code in a closet? ›

Exposed or partially exposed incandescent or LED lamps (bulbs) are not allowed in closets. While utility light fixtures with bare bulbs in a socket were once common in closets and other storage areas, these are no longer allowed. All light bulbs must be fully enclosed in a globe or other housing.

Do LED lights flicker? ›

But most commonly, LED bulbs may flicker or dim in your home when there are voltage fluctuations in your home's wiring. When electrical loads turn on and off in your home, this creates a change in voltage levels, which may cause the LED lights to occasionally dim or flicker.

Do LED lights attract spiders? ›

Do spiders like LED lights? The relationship between spiders and LED lights is simple: spiders like to eat bugs and insects. So, if your LED light is of a spectrum that attracts things spiders like to eat, you're going to attract spiders with it.

Do LED lights attract bugs? ›

Because most LED lights don't emit UV light or generate a lot of heat, they tend attract very few insects. Insects are attracted to light. However, LED light gives off less heat, and also emits the wrong colours of the visible light spectrum, resulting in less insects being attracted to them.

What color light helps you sleep? ›

Research studies discovered red to be the best color light to help you sleep, because it increases production of melatonin as well as full darkness. On the other end of the spectrum, blue is the worst. Despite being a calm-inducing color on most occasions, blue is not suitable for lighting a bedroom.

Do LED bulbs get hot when they burn out? ›

However, LED lights don't create warm in the same way incandescent bulbs do. In fact, you can easily unscrew a LED bulb which has been on for days! You won't get burned.

Can you put LED bulbs in old fluorescent fixtures? ›

You have fluorescent troffers or strip fixtures already, and you're wondering if you can just pop LED tubes in them or if you'll need to change out the fixtures for something designed for LED. Good news: You can absolutely use LED tubes in your existing fixtures!

Does installing LED lights void warranty? ›

You can install an LED headlight bulb replacement, or even an HID conversion kit without having to worry about if the dealer will continue to service your vehicle under warranty.

What is the problem with LED lights? ›

Problem #4: Overheating

Unlike incandescent light bulbs, LEDs don't produce light using heat. This is part of what makes them so energy efficient. The downside is that their components can be sensitive to overheating, which can cause them to burn out prematurely.

What is the best alternative to LED lights? ›

CFL bulbs. Condensed fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs are the biggest competitor to LED lighting and LED light bulbs. However, theses bulbs have some setbacks. If a CFL bulb breaks in your home, your home could be exposed to mercury.

Are there any problems with LED lights? ›

And as a result, they are prone to heating up due to poor heat dissipation. Now: Unlike incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, LEDs thrive in cooler environments. Therefore, using LED fixtures in the same room with heat-producing fixtures like incandescent bulbs might not bode well for your new fixtures.

Do LED lights use a lot of electricity? ›

LEDs consume far less electricity than incandescent bulbs, and decorative LED light strings such as Christmas tree lights are no different.

How long do LED lights last? ›

The average lifespan of an LED is often rated up to 50,000 hours. This is about 50 times longer than a typical incandescent, 20-25 times longer than a typical halogen and 8-10 times longer than a typical CFL. If used 12 hours a day, an LED rated at 50,000 hours will last more than 11 years.

Do LED lights get dimmer over time? ›

LEDs, however, do not contain a filament and instead illuminate using a semiconductor. So instead of just instantly burning out like traditional bulbs, LED lights age over time and progressively get dimmer until they stop working altogether. This is what we call “lumen degradation” or “LED degradation”.

What are the 3 types of LED light bulbs? ›

LED bulbs come in four primary categories: A-shape, reflectors, decorative, and specialty. A-shape LEDs are the most common type and are frequently used throughout the home.

Which is brighter cool white or daylight? ›

At the other end of the scale, cool white lighting emits a brighter, more vibrant light that's more toward the blue end of the colour spectrum. They appear closer to daylight than a warm white bulb. They're best suited for the busier and more lively areas of the home where you need something a bit brighter.

What is the brightest LED bulb? ›

300 watt Aries 3 E39 LED Light Bulb: This is the brightest Light bulb made. It has almost 40,000 lumens with a high efficiency of 138 lumen/watt. It also provides 360 degree lighting and is ideal for replacement of 1000 watt HID/HPS/Metal halide or CFL fixtures.

Why do my LED headlights keep burning out? ›

One of the most common reasons that LED bulbs burn out quickly is when they're used in incompatible dimming circuits. Firstly, remember that LED bulbs aren't dimmable by default. While you can use dimmable LED bulbs in non-dimmable circuits, the reverse is not true, so check before you install a new bulb.

Do you need anything special for LED headlights? ›

LEDs Need Additional Equipment

Unlike standard xenon or halogen bulbs that can be used on a plug-and-play basis (meaning you can unscrew the old bulb and replace it with a new one), LEDs require additional components such as a relay or heat sink under the hood.

Why do LED lights need fans? ›

Led headlights that be equipped with fan use active cooling. It means that fan rotates and reduces heat. It is an important part of LED lighting because they provide the path for heat to travel from the LED light source to outside elements. So there you have it, now you should know why do led headlights need a fan.

Do LED fixtures have bulbs? ›

Integrated LED fixtures come complete with the LED arrays already built into the fixture. They are designed to provide a specific color and Lumen output and they do not have typical “bulbs” that can be replaced. Integrated LED fixtures typically last for many years, often a decade or more.

What to look for when buying LED light bulbs? ›

Nine Things to Consider while Buying LED Lights
  • ITS LUMENS NOT WATTS. Lumens are for LEDs as watts are for CFLs. ...
Jan 28, 2020

How do I choose an LED light? ›

How to Pick an LED
  1. Make a list. ...
  2. What color of light do you want? ...
  3. Know your watts from your lumens (brightness or light output) ...
  4. Calculate your financial and environmental savings. ...
  5. Start with one bulb. ...
  6. Evaluate your test bulbs. ...
  7. Replace the lights you use most to maximize savings. ...
  8. Consider bulb longevity.

Do LED lights need special dimmers? ›

A standard dimmer switch cannot be used with an LED light as you will never be able to dim the LED light either completely or not very well. LED lights need their own special electronic dimmer switch to have a fully functioning and dimming light.

What causes LED lights to flicker on a dimmer? ›

LED bulb flickering can be traced in almost every instance to a non-compatible dimmer switch in the lighting circuit. Modern dimmer switches create the dimming effect by switching the power supply on and off many times per second.

Can I put a 100w LED bulb in a 60w? ›

But there's no problem using a 100-watt equivalent LED bulb, which is only about 17 watts and therefore well under the safety limit of a 60-watt maximum fixture.

Why can't LED bulbs be used in enclosed fixtures? ›

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.

What happens if you put a 60w LED bulb in a 40w socket? ›

Using a light bulb with too high of wattage can lead to overheating of the light bulb. This heat can melt the light socket as well as the insulation of the wires. Once that happens, you put yourself at risk of arc faults, and this is something that could even lead to property fires.

What size LED bulb can I use in a 60-watt fixture? ›

A 60-watt incandescent light bulb can be replaced with a 10-watt LED. E. 150-watt incandescent and 50-55 watt CFL bulbs give 2600 to 2800 lumens and can be replaced with 25-28 watt LEDs.

What happens if you put a 100w bulb in a 60w fixture? ›

Putting a 100-watt bulb in a 60-watt fixture could cause intense heat, melting the light socket and the insulation on the fixture's wires. Any time you have that kind of damage on wires, you're at a big risk for arc faults, where an electrical current falls off its intended path— a leading cause of home fires.

How many watts should a LED light be? ›

Traditional incandescent bulbs use 25 to 100 W, and LED bulbs use 2 to 18 W. Light bulbs draw around 110 volts and usually less than 1 amp.

Can smart bulbs be used in enclosed fixtures? ›

No. The Smart LED bulbs cannot be used in fully-enclosed fixtures.

Can you replace normal bulbs with LED? ›

The same applies to energy-saving light bulbs as conventional or filament light bulbs. You can simply replace them with LED light bulbs without having to change anything about your lighting system.

Can you use CFL bulbs in enclosed fixtures? ›

Before using a CFL or LED bulb in a totally enclosed fixture, you should consult the product packaging. Because totally enclosed fixtures do not allow air to circulate around the lamp, it causes heat to build up, which can lead to performance issues.

Do I need to remove the ballast to use an LED bulb? ›

No LED bulbs require a ballast, although some are engineered to work with an existing ballast. You will find ballast-compatible or "plug-and-play" LEDs that are designed to replace linear fluorescents, compact fluorescents, or HIDs. Incandescent and halogen lamps do not require a ballast.

Will LED lights work in old fixtures? ›

You do not need specialist or new light fittings to enjoy the benefits of LED energy saving light bulbs. Retrofit like-for-like LED bulb replacements are available for many existing light fittings.

How do you replace a fluorescent light fixture with LED? ›

There are various methods for converting fluorescent lighting fixtures into LED ones. However, the simplest way is to use some sort of retrofit kit. These kits attach to already existing lighting fixtures and allow for LED bulbs to be housed in them.

What are the disadvantages of LED lights? ›

Disadvantages of LED Bulbs

Most white LED bulbs emit a cooler, blue-tinted light — rather than the “warmer” glow that is associated with incandescent bulbs. Some people prefer “daylight” or “natural light” LED options. Some LED fixtures may create sharp shadows that may not be desirable in certain places in the home.

Can Philips LED bulbs be used in enclosed fixtures? ›

This is the crucial point: yes, using a Hue bulb inside enclosed fixtures will affect your warranty, but if you accept this risk and you won't be using the light fixtures too often throughout the day, you'll probably be fine.

Can I use a 15 watt LED bulb in a 60w fixture? ›

The answer is YES. You can use an LED bulb having a higher wattage equivalent than your fixture allows — provided the LED bulb consumes less wattage than the fixture.

How long do LED light fixtures last? ›

One of the biggest advantages of LED light fixtures, is their extended lifespan. While incandescent light bulbs were built to last around 1,000 hours, the most enduring LED light fixtures have been tested to last as long as 100,000 hours. On average LED light bulbs will not have to be changed for at least 20 years.

What is a CFL bulb vs LED? ›

Fluorescent, or CFL bulbs, are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, but not as efficient as LEDs. The average lifespan of CFLs is about 8,000 hours, compared to the 25,000-hour lifetime of LEDs. That comes out to about three CFL bulbs for every one LED purchase.

Are LED lights cooler than CFL bulbs? ›

LEDs are cooler.

When you're running fans or an air conditioner this summer, having burning-hot incandescent bulbs just makes it harder to manage the heat. LEDs run much cooler than incandescent bulbs and significantly cooler than CFLs.

Do LED corn bulbs get hot? ›

You probably know that LED bulbs run a lot cooler than their incandescent cousins, but that doesn't mean they don't produce heat. LED bulbs do get hot, but the heat is pulled away by a heat sink in the base of the bulb.


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