Light-Emitting Diodes strips (known as LED strips or LED strip lights) are a versatile form of lighting. A LED strip consists of small LEDs mounted on a thin strip of a flexible circuit board. There are usually about 60 to 120 tiny LEDs attached to the strip (per meter). These strips are about 1cm in width with a customisable length. They usually have adhesives placed behind them too which allows for easy installation.You've likely heard arguments for replacing halogen and incandescent bulbs with LED. This is because LED lights are quickly becoming a popular and affordable option for consumers.
Why Should You Use Led Strip Lights?
If you're interested in replacing your bulbs with LED lights, you've come to the right place. Here are some more reasons why you should opt to get LED strip lights for your home:
Ease of installation
Usually, LED strip lights are packaged in a kit. A complete kit contains a reel of the LED strip (between 1 and 5 meters, depending on your choice), a 12-volt plug ‘n’ play power supply, and a remote controller.
The installation also makes use of little connectors, requiring no soldering. To cut the strips, use household scissors to cut across marked intervals.
If you're keen on saving as much energy as possible, LEDs are your best option. It would only require one-tenth of the energy needed to power a traditional light bulb.
LEDs generally have a longer life span compared to other forms of lighting. An average LED strip light has a lifespan of 50,000 hours, lasting longer than traditional lights.
Factors To Consider When Purchasing Led Strip Lights
If you're going to be replacing your old bulbs with LED strip lights or you want to replace your LED light, you should consider some of the following factors:
Ingress Protection (IP) Ratings
IP ratings show how many fixtures are protected by a silicone coating that blocks dust and water.
Fixtures with high IP ratings are more resistant than those with low IP ratings and are best suited for areas like the bathroom. Some of the common IP ratings are:
The IP20: This offers protection against solid objects larger than 12mm, but not against moisture. It is commonly used for general lighting and cabinet lighting.
The IP44: They fully protect against objects above 1mm and splashes from water.
The IP65: This is a splash-proof strip suitable for areas exposed to moisture, water, and steam. They're used in the kitchens, bathrooms, and gardens.
The IP67: This is a dust-proof and water-resistant strip. It can last in a meter of water for up to 30minutes.
The IP68/68 Nano: Offering the highest form of protection, they're used in swimming pools and ponds. They can be fully immersed in up to 1.5 meters of water.
When choosing a lighting style, use this as a guide for the number of lumens to purchase.
For accent lighting, 150-250 lumens per meter.
For under-cabinet lighting, 175-450 lumens per meter.
For task lighting, 250-400 lumens (if it is close to the source of light) and 350-700 lumens (if it is far from the source of light).
For indirect lighting, 375-575 lumens per meter.
LED strip light colours usually depend on individual preferences.
These are some common kinds of LED colours:
RBG STRIPS: These are perfect if you like colour effects or you cannot settle on a particular colour. They consist of red, green, and blue diodes mixed to create effects and different colours. They're also very nice for accent lighting.
ULTRAVIOLET (UV) STRIP LIGHT: This is a nice option if you want to create your black light. It is suitable for UV applications.
SINGLE COLOUR STRIP LIGHT: Depending on your choice of length, you can get either 12V or 24V strips. Also, as the name implies, they are available in single colours like red, blue, pink, and also, warm (3000K), daylight white (4000k), and cool (6000K). With 4.8W to 14.4W, they're often used for general lighting.
DUAL COLOUR: This has a 4W strip light with warm and cool white LEDs. It produces 1020 lumens of light (80W) and is used in both domestic and commercial settings. LED strip lights come in different temperatures, allowing you to perfect the vibe of your space. Some types of colour temperature are:
WARM WHITE(3000K): This is used in living and family areas in homes. It is a calming and convenient colour for spaces like lounges and bedrooms.
DAYLIGHT WHITE(4000K): It is a natural-feeling colour popular for use in office spaces.
COOL WHITE (6000K): This light has a bright and clear quality that would be great for task lighting styling. Consider using this in the kitchens and bathrooms.
Input and Voltage
Many LEDs are programmed to operate at 12V or 24V DC. A standard main supply power source is usually 120/340V AC, which means that there is a need to convert this energy into a low voltage DC signal, This is easily achievable with a DC power supply. You should also check to see if your power supply has enough capacity to power the LED strips.
How To Connect LED Strips
To connect LED strip lights, follow the guideline below:
- Start by measuring. Use a tape measure to determine the length of strip that would be needed.
- Remove the LED strip reel from the kit and unwind the strip based on the length you need. Trim or cut the strip according to the measurement taken earlier.
- Thoroughly clean and dry the area where the light is to be installed. Dust combined with moisture could cause the adhesive not to stick.
- Peel off the adhesive backing of the LED strip and press the sticky surface firmly on the marked spot. If your strip does not come with adhesive backing, use double-sided tape.
- Connect the strip to the power supply.
- Use the remote control from the kit to test the various setting options.
Generally, LED strip lights are a very stylish and versatile form of lighting. They bring life to a space and dictate the ambience.