LED Safety – The Safety of LED Lights & Signs

In this post, I will cover LED safety. LED neon signs have revolutionized how businesses and individuals light up their spaces. They are the go-to choice for many, but the safety aspects of LED neon signs and the LED lights used in those signs are poorly understood.

Let’s dive deeper into the world of LED lights, their safety aspects, and anything we should be concerned with.

  • LED lights emit very little heat and are safe to touch after many hours of use
  • LED lights are durable and safe to transport in the post
  • LED lights are energy efficient and consume very little energy
  • LED lights use 12 volts and are much safer to work with than 110volts for regular appliances
  • LED lights typically last 40,000 to 80,000 hours, or 15-25 years
  • LED neon lights emit blue light, which can harm the eyes with long exposure

What are LED Lights, and How do they Relate to Neon Signs?

LED neon signs are a modern take on traditional neon signs, offering many benefits, including energy efficiency, durability, and safety. They’re versatile and available in many colors and shapes, making them perfect for diverse applications – from business advertising to improving home interiors.

LED neon signs use LED lights in their manufacture, so we should assess the safety of LED lights to determine the safety of modern neon signs.

An LED light is a light-emitting diode – LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are electrical semiconductors that are supplied with an electrical current and emit light.

Examples of Blue LED Lights & Signs

Energy Efficiency and Environmental Impact of LED Lights

LED lights are lauded for their energy-saving capabilities. They consume less power, which translates to reduced electricity costs and a smaller carbon footprint. This makes LED lights, and therefore LED neon signs, an environmentally-friendly choice, aiding in conserving our planet’s resources.

The Durability of LED Lights vs Traditional Neon

LED lights are long-lasting, durable, and cheaper to manufacture. LED lights are designed to be robust. Some LED lights have a life expectancy of up to twenty years, minimizing the need for frequent replacements. This extended lifespan makes LED neon signs a cost-effective solution for long-term usage.

The Safe Use of LED Lights

LED lights are user-friendly and require minimal maintenance. Their flexible design allows them to take on various shapes, broadening their application possibilities. Plus, they can be remotely controlled, enabling users to adjust their brightness levels conveniently.

The Cost of LED Lights

Though LED lights offer numerous benefits, they might have a higher initial cost than traditional neon lights, hollow glass tubing filled with argon or neon gas (read our fun facts about neon). They might also require professional installation and maintenance, adding to their overall cost. However, the long-term benefits, such as energy savings and durability, often offset these initial costs.

Electrical Safety of LED Lights

LED lights operate at a lower voltage than traditional neon lights, making them safer to handle. They don’t emit hazardous gases or excessive heat, making them safe for indoor and outdoor installations.

Do LED Lights Burn Out?

LED lights are designed for durability. With proper care, they can last for over 35 years, almost double the lifespan of traditional neon lights. Their low heat emission also adds to their safety, making them ideal for crowded spaces.

Having said that, LED lights do “burn out” – typically, they slowly dim and stop working. Under certain circumstances, when exposed to water, LED lights and LED light bulbs, for example, will actually burn out in the literal sense. See below for an example of an actual LED light-up sign burning out.

Example of a Burned-Out Neon Sign

This is what a burned-out LED neon sign looks like

Examples of Burned-Out LED Bulbs

This is what burned-out LED bulbs look like.

What burned-out LED bulbs look like - notice the discoloration on the plastic

What do you do when LED lights or LED neon signs fail?

If an LED light fails, unplug it immediately and make sure the area is safe. Once the LED light has been turned off for a few minutes, it can be safely removed and either disposed of or taken for repair—this might be important as it could be part of an LED neon sign.

LED neon signs are typically more costly to repair than to replace the entire sign.

There are three main reasons complicating finding a repairer:

  • There are very few local repairers in the United States.
  • Of those, few want to deal with a piece of electrical equipment (an LED neon sign) that has failed.
  • Even fewer of those want to work with an LED neon sign that was built by someone else.

Cleaning and Maintenance of LED Lighting

Cleaning LED lighting is straightforward, thanks to the LEDs being encased in a silicone sleeve. Regular cleaning can keep the signs looking brand new for a long time. However, using the right tools and high-quality LEDs is crucial to avoid potential damage during the cleaning process.

We try to keep it simple and recommend dusting on a regular schedule. Here is our more comprehensive guide to maintaining LED neon signs and lighting.

LED Lights and Heat Emissions

LED lights are known for their low heat emission, making them a safer option for businesses and homes. They are safe to touch even when they have been on for hours, in direct contrast to regular light bulbs, which get very hot after only 5 minutes.

Weatherproofing

One thing you can consider when buying a custom neon light sign is making the sign and lights weatherproof – this is vital if the sign is going to be used outdoors. A waterproof and durable design makes them suitable for various environments, even harsh ones, without risk of damage.

Examples of Outdoor Specification LED Light-Up Signs

Blue Light – Impact on Eyes – LED Safety

Humans are exposed to blue light with natural daylight. LED lights replicate the light spectrum of the sun’s rays—the UV-A and UV-B are all the same as the artificial lighting from LED lights (yes, artificial, but not different from real sunlight).

While LED lights are generally considered safe, high-intensity blue light exposure can lead to macular degeneration. Unlike natural light, artificial blue light exposure in the late or even early evening hours can impact the body’s circadian rhythm, leading to sleep issues and other human health effects.

To ensure the eyes remain healthy and prevent eye strain, we recommend that blue lights be minimized or turned off in the early evening. Using blue light filters on electronic devices, including phones and computers, will create less blue light and can reduce health risks—these software changes change the color tones on the screen and reduce the amount of blue light emitted.

LED lights emit high amounts of blue light, which can cause retinal damage and other vision problems if not managed properly. It’s recommended to avoid direct exposure to LED lights and signs and use eye protection when necessary.

We recommend turning off the LED lights about one hour before going to bed to help with circadian rhythms and enhance sleep patterns.

Environmental Impact of LED Lights

LED lights are known to have a low environmental impact. They are energy-efficient, use recyclable materials, and don’t require gas refills. Moreover, LED lights don’t get very hot, making them safer to operate than other lights.

Customizing LED Light-Up Signs

LED Light-Up signs can be customized for various applications, from advertising to event decor. They offer many color options, allowing you to maintain your brand’s integrity. Their versatile design allows them to be used in various ways, adding to their appeal.

Conclusion

In conclusion, LED lights, and therefore LED neon signs, are safe, energy-efficient, and versatile lighting solutions. While they may require a higher initial investment, the long-term benefits they offer make them worthwhile. LED lights have undeniably paved the way for safer and more efficient lighting solutions, making them a preferred choice for many.

If you want to create custom LED lighting, please use the link below to contact our team.

FAQ

Are LED neon signs safe?

  • LED neon signs generate low heat and are safe to touch and handle even after many hours.

Are LED neon signs safe to send in the post?

  • LED neon signs are durable and safe to transport in the postal service.

How much energy do LED neon signs draw in volts?

  • LED neon signs use low energy, typically 12v, meaning no electrical shock problems or issues exist.

How long will an LED neon sign last?

  • LED neon signs typically last 40,000 to 100,000 hours or 15-35 years.

Are LED neon signs safe for the eyes concerning blue-light exposure?

  • LED neon lights emit blue light, which can harm the eyes when exposed for a long time. We recommend limiting exposure to blue light in the evening to limit sleep and health effects.

Are LED signs a fire hazard?

  • LED neon signs are perfectly safe for use in the home – they are a low voltage (12v) light, which makes them very low energy; they are cool to the touch and last for a decade or more.

What are the safety precautions for LED lights?

  • There are no specific safety precautions for LED lights—in fact, they are safer than any other form of lighting, use lower power, and don’t get hot like other traditional forms of lighting.

Are LED lights safe for a bedroom?

  • Perfectly safe. LED lights are the safest form of lighting you can use. They are safe to the touch and energy-efficient. The only issue to consider is blue light exposure, which is identical to the sun’s own blue light. The recommended advice is to limit exposure to blue light in the early evening to prevent any sleep issues.
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Author

Christopher is our main author, with over 10 years working with businesses and consulting online.  Christopher has a deep understanding of LED lights, LED neon flex, and neon signs and how they can be best used to help business, home, and event decor.

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