LED Lighting Maintenance

LED lighting is often touted with massive lifetime benefits, some touting that you will never have to replace them.  Sadly, this is rarely the case, especially if the installed property is a commercial or common area residential space where lighting can operate up to 24/7.


Whereas LED is a vast improvement in many ways (including longevity) over traditional halogen and fluorescent lighting, its lifetime can depend on a number of issues including:


  • Quality of lamp (you get what you pay for)

  • Regularity of switching

  • Operating hours (as you can see from the chart above there is a degredation of output over time)

  • Type of fitting in which the lamp is installed (heat dissipation) Ambient operating temperature

Come replacement time, the cost is often less than original outlay in many instances the newer technology is more efficient than the original lamps installed. The replacement cost however cant be dependent on whether its only the lamp or the entire fitting to be replaced.  There are also instances where a flickering or dead low voltage lamp can be simply repaired by replacing just the low voltage driver (where stock is available).

BPL promotes provisioning for eventual replacement of LED light fittings and bulbs wherever possible.  For projects we usually provide a payback estimation which includes the amortization of the lamps installed over the expected lifetime of the lamps.  Whilst this detrimentally affects the life of the payback, it is a more accurate representation of the cost of the lighting vs the current lighting being replaced.  This figure can then be used in budgeting for eventual maintenance or replacement.  Drawing on an already provisioned maintenance reserve if often a lot simpler than getting a new capex approval, so appropriate planning can go a long way to managing everyone’s expectations.

As LED lighting reaches its end of life, you may notice:

  • Flickering (can be a failed chip or Low voltage driver)

  • Dead lamp/failure (driver or lamp)

  • Light depreciation (a LED’s life is generally regarded as 70% of its original brightness or L70)


In the case of a failed chip, the lamp will need to be replaced, but ii could also be due to a failed driver.  This is also possible in the case of a dead lamp, however, where the light output has depreciated to an unacceptable level, the lamp will usually need to be replaced, though this could also be due to an aged driver.  Generally, where there is a driver, mixing the components components with a working combination will quickly help to establish the component at fault.

When it comes to determining if light output (due to depreciation of the light output) is no longer sufficient, this is best undertaken using a lux meter.  The BCA provisions for determining standard of performance are F4.4 and H1.7 and tests should be conducted annually. The Principals and Recommendations for interior lighting for various usage areas are detailed in Australian Standard AS 1680 1-2006 (Table 3.1).

As LED lighting has now been mainstream for over five years and BPL has been installing projects now for 8 years we are beginning to see both maintenance and full relighting requests.  Given the extensive warranties usually offered with new installations, we find some managers prefer to just start again, ensure further years of maintenance free lighting.  Whilst mixing of new lamps with old (short lifetimes and no warranties) was common practice, it may not be such good practice when installing lamps with long lifetimes and extended warranties.

For customers of BPL, it is rare that we cannot supply replacement spares be it for Low voltage drivers, lamps or bulbs, but as time moves on technology does change and in most instances is becoming more efficient.  This at least means that where a 150W metal halide may have been able to be replaced with a 40W LED lamp 5 years ago, this lamp can now be replaced with a 30W or less lamp, given greater efficiency and lumens/W of the LED light source.  It is fair to expect too, that during this time, the cost of the lamp has also fallen.  If installation say of LED tubes required rewiring of the fitting, then at least this cost will nor need to be repeated.

If your LED lighting installation requires maintenance or assessment of the depreciated light output, BPL can undertake a free assessment and quotation by calling 1300 181 090 or emailing info@bestpracticelighting.com.au