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Why You Can't Use Certain LED Bulbs in Enclosed Fixtures

Why You Can't Use Certain LED Bulbs in Enclosed Fixtures

Heat is the enemy of LED light bulbs. Though the LED bulbs may have a similar shape to incandescent or fluorescent light bulbs, the LED chips inside the bulb aren’t that different to the chips in your laptop or other electronics. For this reason they can’t be used in microwaves or ovens, and some of the larger LED bulbs may utilize a passive heat sink or internal fan to keep the electronics from overheating. Enclosed fixtures that don’t allow for proper ventilation can drastically affect the temperature of the LED bulb, causing it to overheat and shortening the lifespan of the bulb. That’s why some bulbs will tell you not to use it in an enclosed ceiling fan or fully enclosed porch light fixture. Today we’d like to address some frequently asked questions about enclosed fixtures or enclosed fixture rated bulbs to help you get the most light out of your light bulbs.

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What is an Enclosed Fixture?

An enclosed fixture is any fixture or application where the light bulb is encased in a way that does not allow for proper airflow or ventilation. This includes but is not limited to porch lights where the bottom is glass or plastic instead of open air, enclosed Mason jar light fixtures, and lensed recessed light fixtures.

How Do I Know if a Light Bulb is Rated for Enclosed Fixtures?

At 1000Bulbs.com, we have it listed on some of the product pages under Specifications. If the value for “Enclosed Fixture Rated” is “yes,” that means the light bulb can be used in enclosed fixtures. If the value is “no,” the bulb should not be used in enclosed fixtures. 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. If the product page you’re looking at doesn’t list this specification, you can call an account manager or email customerservice@1000bulbs.com for assistance.

Can an Enclosed Fixture Rated Bulb be Used in Open Fixtures?

Yes, just because a light bulb is rated for enclosed fixtures doesn’t mean it requires an enclosed fixture. To use a bulb in an enclosed fixture, it has to be designed to handle the heat of the enclosed space. In the open air, that’s not a concern. The other reason to buy enclosed fixture rated bulbs is to use them outside. You may have garden lights or fully enclosed street lamps that require an enclosed fixture rated bulb. Because the bulbs are fully protected from rain and other elements, the bulb does not have to be rated for wet or damp locations to be used in an outdoor enclosed fixture.

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Can I use this enclosed fixture rated bulb?

Indoors Outdoors
Enclosed Fixture yes yes
Open Fixture yes Only if the bulb is also UL listed for wet or damp locations*

Can I use a bulb that is not rated for enclosed fixtures?

Indoors Outdoors
Enclosed Fixture no no
Open Fixture yes Only if the bulb is also UL listed for wet or damp locations*

*Damp location rated bulbs can be used in open fixtures, such as downlights under an eave, but must be protected from direct contact with rain. Learn more about UL ratings here.

Understanding which light bulb is rated for a specific application, whether it be outdoors or an enclosed fixture, is important for getting the most light from your bulb. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you’re still unsure whether you need a bulb rated for enclosed fixtures. You can reach a lighting expert during normal business hours at 1-800-624-4488.

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