Can LED Lights Catch Fire? | On 24/7 Hazard or Not?

LED lights are generally very safe for constant use. They have shockingly long lifespans, lasting for more than a decade with 12-hour/day use. Does this mean that they should stay on 24/7 though?

We know that you may be used to the horrors and risks of incandescent light bulbs, remembering many stories about lights being left on too long and causing fires. But can LED lights catch fire? These concerns are generally not necessary when it comes to LED lights.

They are safe for constant use, with a few reservations. Of course, they present a minimal fire hazard, as do most heat-producing items. With the tips that I’ll be sharing, however, it is possible to almost entirely eliminate the risk of fire with LED lights.

Below, we answer your most common questions about keeping LED lights on and if they will result in catastrophic fire or not.

How Long Can LED Bulb Stay on Safely?

Unlike incandescent lightbulbs, LED bulbs do not contain a filament which is a wire-like substance that can burn and cause a fire when left on too long. LED bulbs do not have this same wire, and therefore present an exponentially lower chance of catching on fire.

In theory, an LED bulb can be left on 24/7, and there will not be a risk of fire. If you want to leave them on for a week straight, so long as they are being used correctly, there is no issue.

There are some cases, however, when an LED bulb can short circuit or burn out. These are a bit more likely to cause danger, but because you can usually notice when the bulb is in the midst of short-circuiting or burning out (it will generally begin to flicker), you can prevent these cases.

There are also cases of user error where the lights could have either become damaged or been installed improperly. In these cases, a greater risk of fire is present. 

But these can be avoided by ensuring that you purchase high-quality LED lights only, install them properly, and monitor them regularly for damage or irregularities.

Operating Temperatures

It has been found that LED lights rarely exceed 122 degrees Fahrenheit. While this is hot and would be bordering on a temperature that can burn human skin, this is not a high enough temperature to cause a fire.

There is a much better energy to light efficiency with LED lights that allows them to avoid producing the high temperatures of incandescent bulbs, which can reach up to 428 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The difference between these two operating temperatures is significant. It could likely be the difference between disaster and safety. Because you can be sure that your LED lights will not be reaching these fire-starting temperatures, you can rest assured that they are generally safe.

LED Vs. Incandescent Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs convert only 1/20 of their energy into light. Most of the remaining energy is converted into heat, making them the most inefficient and most dangerous bulbs out there.

An LED, on the other hand, is very efficient and much less hot. They produce a much lower amount of heat and are not responsible for many fires at all.

The two bulb types are worlds apart. Because LED lights do not contain the filaments that incandescent light bulbs do, they are much safer and well-trusted.

Can LED Light Strips Cause Fire?

Technically, in the absolute worst-case scenario, yes, an LED light strip could cause a fire. Cheap LED lights are often cheaply made, over wired, and undercooled. In this case, it would be entirely possible for a low-quality, poorly made LED light strip to cause a fire.

But in the vast, overwhelming majority of instances? No, LED light strips will not cause a fire. They often won’t even cause a burn to your skin. They can be left on 24/7 and if well made and treated properly, they will likely never cause a fire.

The most important thing is to find high-quality, well-cooled LED light strips that will guarantee better safety for you and/or your family. Additionally, make sure they are placed in a safe spot, away from other fire hazards.

You will always want to be cautious and careful, but you can rest assured that you likely will not be facing any fire risk when using your LED light strips.

If a fire is a serious fear of yours, read on to find out what the best ways to eliminate the few fire risks that remain for LED lights are. You won’t be worried anymore once you’ve personally ensured the safety of your lights for you and/or your family.

Because most of the issues that come from LED lights are usually identifiable well ahead of time, it is easy to know how to prevent and avoid them. 

Is It Safe to Leave LED Strips On All Day or All Night?

Can LED lights catch fire if they are on all day or all night? No. It is safe to leave LED strips on all day and all night. It is important to still monitor them to avoid the rare instances where they can cause a fire, but otherwise, they are ideal for all-day use.

Be aware that you are racing towards their expiration date in this case and perhaps running your electricity bill through the roof. But you do not need to be concerned about the safety of this.

As always, you will still need to ensure they are high-quality and installed correctly, and if they are, then you can feel free to leave them on all day or all night.

Can LED Strip Lights Overheat?

LED lights will heat drastically if left on all day, and this is not ideal. They will not overheat to the point of causing a fire, but it is possible for them to overheat to a burning temperature.

In general, the excess heat produced by leaving LED lights on all day is minimal and manageable, nothing like the fire-inducing heat of incandescent bulbs.

Damaged LED strip lights do present a much greater risk of overheating to fire-causing temperatures. This situation is easily avoided by checking on them often and avoiding putting them in places or situations that would cause them to break in any way.

Eliminate All LED Strip Light Fire Risks

Overall, the minimal fire risks that LED strip lights present can generally be avoided by following a few simple steps to ensure everyone’s safety.

If these are followed, it is highly unlikely that a fire could ever occur from your LED lights. You can rest assured that these tips will allow complete safety.

Buy High Quality LED Strips

As stated above, only high-quality LED lights can be fully trusted. While cheap, low-quality LED lights are still likely a lot more efficient and safe than incandescent bulbs, they still present a few risks and dangers.

For these reasons, it is extremely important to ensure that you are buying high-quality LED lights and/or strips for your home. You will know they are high-quality LED lights most easily by perusing the box or packaging.

In the case of high-quality LED light bulbs or strips, the box will include all the information you need to ensure its quality. For example, the box will likely mention rated voltage, wattage, color temperature, brightness in lumens, and the warranty amount.

In general, be wary of very low costs or outrageous deals being offered. If the lights are able to sell for such astoundingly low prices, it is almost a guarantee that they were produced very cheaply. 

We know it can seem daunting to look at the higher-end price tags of the higher-quality LED lights, but the price will be worth the safety and security the lights will afford you. You want to avoid the lower prices where you can.

Use Channel Mounting

Channel mounting, for example, aluminum channels, is a great way to dissipate and manage heat output from your LED strip lights. They also help the light shine more uniformly and attractively, so it’s a win-win.

The mounting also generally envelopes the LED light strip, reducing even further the possibility of damage to the lights. And when reducing the possibility of damage, you are in turn reducing the possibility of fire.

Do Not Use Damaged or Connected Strips

It is imperative that you do not continue to use LED lights that you know are damaged. In the case of damage and repair, you will broaden the odds that you will cause a fire. Damaged LED lights should be thrown away and replaced immediately.

Be sure to only handle and move the lights when they are turned off and cooled. You do not want to accidentally burn yourself while trying to avoid a fire.

Also, the voltage of too many connected LED light strips can cause burnout or malfunction that may present a fire hazard. It is not recommended to connect any more than two LED light strips, though it is better to avoid connecting at all if possible.

Your LED lights could be very well wired, but if too many are connected, you will still run into a voltage and wiring issue. It is better to avoid testing this at all.

Can LED String or Fairy Lights Catch Fire?

As with all LED lights discussed above, the risk exists, but it is quite minimal. String and fairy lights are not different from LED strip lights and are more efficient than incandescent, filament lights. 

They are very attractive options for rooms or shelves or closets, and they can be trusted to not overheat. Though there are still a few important things to be mindful of, these LED lights will be just as safe as their strip equivalents.

It is still important to remember to find high-quality, low-voltage string or fairy lights to avoid unnecessary risks. Be sure to check the box that the products come in. You want to ensure your lights also aren’t old or outdated.

Of course, there are risks when a string of fairy lights is not high quality or is damaged, and these can easily be avoided by following the same tips and steps above for LED strip lights. It is also wise to remember that these lights are best used indoors, away from flammable things like trees or leaves.

It is common to want to wrap these strings around Christmas trees, and while this is generally not a problem, the dry needles or leaves on the tree do present a small fire hazard due to their high flammability.

If you are hoping to use the string lights for the tree, ensure they are super low voltage, resulting in almost no heat output at all. As always, monitor them closely and ensure they are not damaged in any way before leaving them on for long periods of time.

Verdict: Are LED Lights a Fire Hazard

Can LED lights catch fire? It’s not impossible, but it’s very unlikely. LED lights are incredibly safe and incredibly efficient. The incandescent bulbs that many people are used from many decades ago are becoming obsolete and are outshined (no pun intended) by LEDs.

LED lights can certainly present fire hazards when not cared for properly or when not of high quality, and these are real concerns to keep in mind. Just as it is important to keep in mind that if a light is malfunctioning or broken, you must replace it immediately.

LED lights are not risk-free, but they are a drastically better option than incandescent bulbs for more reasons than one. Their energy-saving benefits make them not only safer but also more cost-efficient when it comes to your electricity bill.

If you were worried about LED lights before, we hope we’ve managed to quiet your nerves. We also hope we’ve put the necessary tools in your hands to feel secure in your lights.

In all, LED lights are safe and very unlikely to catch on fire. They are a good option for keeping on and in use for long durations of time. While you will want to monitor them occasionally, you can leave them on for an extended time and not worry about them much at all.