Can LED Lights Catch on Fire?

As electrical fires are one of the top causes of home fires in many countries, many people are giving a second thought regarding the various electrical products they use in their daily lives. The very same items that give us so much convenience unfortunately also leads to our doom sometimes.

So, are you asking yourself, “can LED lights catch on fire?” If so, you might be surprised by the answer!

The short answer is that they generally won’t. However, one cannot completely shrug it off as completely safe either. While incandescent bulbs do tend to become hot quickly and even catch on fire, the risk of an LED light doing so is very small but possible.

To understand how the risk is so low when it comes to an LED light, we need to dive a bit deeper into the topic. Without understanding how traditional bulbs work and how LED ones work, you won’t be able to completely understand or alleviate any doubts or fear you may have.

How Does an LED Light Work?

Can LED Lights Catch on Fire

LED lights, when compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, are very sophisticated in terms of design and functionality. Light is not emitted from a vacuum as with traditional bulbs.

LED lights utilize a semiconductor which considerably brings down the risk of it overheating to the point where it will catch on fire.

These lights also utilize a heat sink at the base which draws the heat to a single area and keeps the other parts relatively cool. This is why you can hold an LED light in your hand even if it was lit for several hours. Doing the same with a traditional incandescent bulb is guaranteed to burn your hand.

Due to less heat retention overall, they also last significantly longer than traditional ones. To put things into perspective, the hottest part of the LED light is only half the temperature of an incandescent one. However, they both emit the same amount of light which makes LED lights the best type of light source to use.

How Does an Incandescent Bulb Catch Fire?

An incandescent bulb can lead to home fires as it becomes extremely hot when used. The filament inside the bulb reaches a whopping 216 degree after just three minutes of usage while the glass surface becomes nearly 134 degrees.

This makes it insanely hot and a serious fire hazard especially when it comes to accidental fires. They also lose about 60 to 95 percent of their power to the heat they generate making them very inefficient as light sources.

So how do these bulbs catch fire? It could happen due to several reasons. The wire used might get brittle over time due to the consistently high amount of heat inside. If the wattage exceeds the standard specifications, then it could cause the bulb to catch fire.

Similarly, the use of the glass scone or globe results in effective retention of heat. Such a concentrated amount of heat can damage and even melt the socket inside, leading to the bulb catching fire.

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Can LED Lights Catch on Fire?

Yes, they can. However, the probability of that is very low. They don’t generate so much heat nor do they retain it as inefficiently as incandescent ones.

In some rare cases, LED lights may catch fire but you can take preventive measures to reduce the chances of it happening to almost zero.

Here are some ways in which you can ensure safety when it comes to LED lights:

  1. If any heating issue happens, it will most probably be due to the usage of non-compatible parts. So make sure you are following the manufacturer’s specifications.
  2. Never obstruct the heat dispersion system of the lights. So if your home utilizes enclosed fixtures (where the bulb is covered by glass or plastic), then make sure you buy LED lights that have the enclosed fixture rating.
  3. Always buy good quality lights which are either UL or ETL listed. Buying a subpar light that doesn’t meet the established quality standards may come with inferior parts. There is a good chance that they will catch on fire.
  4. Make sure that there are no flammable materials kept near the lights. This issue usually happens during Christmas time when decorations and lights are kept close to one another. You should also try to not leave lights on for extended periods, especially when you don’t need the light. This will prevent the bulb from heating up too much and burning down any flammable decorations nearby.
  5. LED lights come in two types, in-line voltage, and low-voltage. Low voltage ones require a power adapter to work so make sure that you are using one with the right wattage.
  6. If there are lots of LED lights on the string, more heat will be generated. So during festive occasions, make sure you have a good cooling system to balance it out.

How Long Can You Keep the LED Bulbs on?

If you have installed the LED bulb properly and are using the right wattage, you don’t have to worry much about how long it should be turned on. Unless any objects obstruct its heat dispersion system, the bulb can be kept on 24/7. They don’t deteriorate when kept on for a long time or if you switch them on or off regularly.

The only way deterioration can happen is if the temperature reaches abnormal levels. One way to prevent it from reaching such high temperatures is to use timers or sensors, especially if you have lots of LED bulbs in your home.

For exterior lights, you can use motion sensors. The lights will be turned on only when any movement is observed. When it comes to cost-saving as well as extra heat prevention, it would be wise to switch any LED bulbs after 12 hours of usage.


While LED lights are extremely safe to use and far more efficient than incandescent ones, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and follow basic safety guidelines such as the ones mentioned above.

By using them cautiously, you will not only be able to prevent them from overheating but you will also be able to save a lot of money in the long run from reduced power bills.

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