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Can You Leave LED Light Strips on All Night?

Using LED strips as accent lighting can be a great way to light a path, draw focus to an area, or just add some needed light, making them a great addition to your lighting system outside. But, you may have wondered if you can leave these light strips on all night. While LED lights accomplish the same task as incandescent bulbs, they are much different. Consequently, our preconceived notions about lighting don’t quite translate to modern LED technology.

You can leave LED light strips on all night or all the time. LED lights have an extensive lifespan, use little energy, and regulate their heat. Because of these reasons, they make the perfect candidate for accent lighting for furniture and design features.

LED lighting has quietly revolutionized the consumer lighting industry. What was once a novelty item has now become the preferred lighting style for most applications. With advances in materials and production, LED lights have become cheaper and more ubiquitous. Since most people don’t need to understand the technology behind LEDs to use them, they assume they are the same as incandescent or CFL bulbs. LEDs, however, are much more reliable and safe.

Leaving LED Lights On All Night: Go For It!

LED Light strips in a kitchen

LED lights perform so much better than traditional lighting especially when coupled with a dimmer switch (our tutorial on how to set this up). Consequently, they can perform in constant use situations. This means that you can keep them running all night without any issues. Where you would worry about an incandescent bulb, you don’t have to with LEDs.

LED lighting has a number of useful features that make them a great option including the fact they produce little to no heat; they can last for almost 10-times as long as traditional bulbs, and they also draw low power, even with constant use. LED lights operate differently than incandescent bulbs. Instead of a filament that burns hot with an electrical current producing light, you have LEDs. These LEDs are so much more efficient at producing light. 

For example, an incandescent bulb produces around 10% and 90% heat. This is why you need to worry about leaving incandescent bulbs on for too long. If you have ever touched a lamp light after several hours of use, you know how hot they can get. Overheated bulbs are dangerous as they are capable of melting the inner components and starting fires.

On the other hand, LEDs are capable of producing 90% light and only 10% heat. This incredible efficiency allows for them to be kept on for very long periods, moreover, the way the LED transforms the energy from your home into light helps mitigate heat risks. But, how do they do this?

How do LED Lights Work?

If you take a look at any LED light, be it bulb or strip, you will see more than just wires connected to diodes. For the most part, LED lighting requires extra hardware on board to convert the power it uses into light while managing it in an intelligent manner. The LED driver does this. 

An LED driver does three different things primarily, including handling the management of power, converting down higher voltages for regular use, and it also regulates the heat. The driver for a string of LED lights manages forward voltage. This is the amount of power needed to power the bulb. What the driver does is constantly match the forward voltage with the temperature of the light. This allows for the light to maintain a constant temperature and current.

If the driver did not do this, the LED could enter what is called thermal runaway. The idea behind this phenomenon is the hotter an LED gets, the more forward voltage it needs. At a certain point, this cycle can get out of control, eventually burning the LED out. Instead, the driver manages the current, keeping it intelligently matched with the temperature preventing this from happening. 

Because of this power management, an LED light will never get hotter as it operates. This is why they are safe to use overnight. Keep in mind that sourcing a higher quality is the best way to ensure all your LED components work correctly. A high-quality LED strip, like these Daybetter LED Stips (on Amazon), will last for years even with consistent use.

Will Leaving your LED Strip On All Night Wear it Out

Luxury stylish mansion with a roof illuminated by led strips against a dark sky

Now that we have explored how efficient LED lighting can be, we should explore its other excellent quality: long life span. On average, an LED light can run for around 50,000 hours, or approximately ten years. This means that you could leave a high-quality LED strip on for a whole decade before you need to worry about replacing it.

Also, LED lights are by and large the most efficient when it comes to power use. Not only do they convert electricity to light better than traditional bulbs, but they also use less power. How much less? Where your average LED light uses around 400 kWh of electricity in its lifetime, an incandescent bulb will need a whopping 3,000 KWh. 

When it comes to the overall cost, at a price of $0.10 per KWh, you get LED lifetime cost which is around $50 compared to the incandescent bulb equivalent which is approximately $400. Obviously, the difference between the two is immense. It is worth noting that LED will still wear out but it takes much longer before it’s ready for the trash bin.

Leaving your lights on all night will certainly peck away at the total 50k hours of use. If you intend to stretch your LEDs as long as you can, you will want to be more sparing with your light usage. That being said, the best strategy to find the best performing lights is to find the highest quality you can because at the end of the day you get what you pay for.

Great LED Light Strips you can Leave On All Night

If you want to keep your LED light strips shining bright all night on a regular basis, you need to find high-quality ones. Remember that LED lights need other components to work efficiently. The quality of these components, like the driver, will indicate how long your lights can operate. Additionally, the primary cause of LED light problems is poor components.

These will most likely fail before the diode ever burns out. Very cheap LED lights can even pose a risk of overheating due to poor driver power management which you obviously don’t want, especially if you’re purchasing LED lights as a way of getting away from heat-producing incandescent lights. Because of this, it is crucial to find high-quality LED strips.

Here are just a few to help you on your journey: the Phillips Hue Light Strip (on Amazon) is a great product. This is especially true if you want your lights to work with your overall smart home system. The Govee Smart LED Strip (on Amazon) is another smart system designed to work with a smart hub. Lastly, a more traditional LED strip, the Lepro LED Strip (again on Amazon), can make a great addition to any home.

Why you Might Want to leave LED Strips On All the Time

We have now discovered that LED lighting can be used for extended periods of time. Also, we now know how efficient and cheap LED lighting can be. So, where would you want to keep lights on at all times if you choose to go this route? There are a few things that you can do with your LED strips including the following:

  • Light up hallways – Much like the lighting in an airplane, you can easily illuminate walkways, so they are easier to traverse at night. 
  • Under-cabinet lighting – This is great for kitchens. Just set up your strips underneath your cabinets’ bottom edge to provide efficient and reliable light when working.
  • Highlighting furniture – Placing LED lights underneath a piece of furniture can help the piece find its place in the room without drawing too much attention.
  • Behind your TV – This popular location gives a more cinematic feel to the room.
  • Bordering painting or other wall pieces – If you have a piece of art that you want to show off, put some LED lighting on it. 

One thing to draw from this list is how you typically use LED light strips. They are not for providing bright light, but more so accenting light. Light strips are best for this particular application. If you want to replace other lighting systems in your home, you can still use LED bulbs or even smart bulbs. LED stip lights are best as accent lighting. Because of this, they are often in situations where they need to be on all the time. They become more of a constant feature in your home than a utility light. 

Wrapping Up

LED strip lights can be left on at night. Not only do they draw far less power than incandescent bulbs, but they boast an impressively long lifespan. Even when looking at the total cost of running an LED light strip for its lifetime it is relatively cheap. Keep in mind that LED light strips are better for accent lighting. This can be in your kitchen, hallways, or even around your hanging art. If you want brighter, usable light you may want to opt for LED bulbs or smart bulbs.