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7 common LED grow light myths

on December 14, 2016

LED lights, or light emitting diode lamps, are becoming extremely popular. More and more people understand the benefits of using LED grow lights in their indoors gardens, but still there are many who think that LEDs are just a marketing trick due to the myths that are circulating around. So to clear up any doubts that you might have about LED lighting, the www.LEDwatcher.com team offers you 7 of the most common LED lighting myths and the facts that prove that these statements are false.

1. Light from LED lamps aren’t bright enough, so it is not worth installing LEDs

 Many people think that LED lights aren’t bright enough, because they believe that the more watts a light bulb consumes, the brighter it is. Since an average LED bulb consumes only around 8 watts, but incandescent lights of the same lumen output chews up 100 watts, it is easy to see how this wrongful assumption arose. But this claim is not true, nor should one use wattage to measure the useful light that your plants receive. Wattage should only be used to measure electricity consumption of a fixture. To see how much useful light the grow light will emit and how much your plants will actually benefit from the light, you should consider the Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) of the grow light. Only wavelengths from 400 to 700 nanometers can be used by plants to perform photosynthesis, and since LED grow lamps emit light that is mainly in this range, we can conclude that LEDs are not only efficient but can definitely be powerful enough to serve as grow lights.

2. LEDs contain hazardous materials

Another misconception about LED lighting is that LED lights contain many hazardous materials such as mercury, lead and others, but this myth is so far from the truth. LED lights are completely safe! According to a study published in the Environmental Science & Technology journal, almost all LED lights are not hazardous. The only exception is low-intensity red LEDs, because they leach a small amount of lead. But this lead leak barely exceeded the regulations and therefore is nothing to worry about. On top of that, LEDs are also fully recyclable, so they also won’t do any harm to humans or the environment at the end of their lifespan.

 3. It is too expensive to switch to LEDs

 A common LED lighting myth is that LEDs are lot more expensive than other lights and therefore it is is too expensive to fully switch to LED grow lights. This misconception is partly true, but it also doesn’t provide you with the full story. Yes, LEDs are more expensive upfront than, say, fluorescent grow lights, but their costs in the long run are actually much less than those of any other bulb types. The rated lifespan of an LED bulb is 50,000 hours which equals 10+ years of average use; whereas fluorescent lights only last for 20,000 hours. In addition, the electricity savings from LED grow lights will quickly pay off the higher upfront price of the lights. You’ll be paying a lot less for electricity without sacrificing quality and yields.

 4. LEDs aren't vibration-proof

There are no moving parts used in LED diodes, and the glass is not very fragile, so the bulbs won’t break very easily. It will take vigorous shaking to get a LED to crack. Besides, LEDs undergo a vibration test before they can be put on the market, so really there is no reason for concern.

 5. LED lighting runs completely cool

Many people think that LEDs don’t give off any heat because they stay mostly cool after hours of operation. However, this statement is partly untrue. Since most LED grow fixtures don’t give off infrared light past 730nm like other types of light bulbs do, they don’t heat up as fast. But they still produce some heat, so LED bulbs do not run completely cool. The amount of heat they produce is a small concern so you don’t need to worry about the lights burning your plants, even if they are very close to the canopies.

 6. Light emitted by LEDs are harmful to our eyes 

There is a myth that LED lights harm our eyes and even can cause blindness. Of course, if you stare directly at a LED bulb for hours, they, just as any other artificial light source, will be harmful to your eyes. But if you use LEDs normally, they are completely safe. CELMA (Federation of National Manufacturers Associations for Luminaires and Electrotechnical components in the European Union) have released a paper stating that LED products are strictly designed to meet all photo-biological safety standards, meaning that LED lights, including LED grow lights, won’t cause blindness or any other harm to your eyes as long as you use them as intended.

 7. LED lighting can't be dimmed

The last misconception is that LED lights can’t be dimmed, because no matter what dimming technology you use, the bulbs will stay as bright as before. Although some LED fixtures are not designed to be dimmed, some LED lights nowadays are dimmable, allowing you to adjust the brightness of the LED grow light to give your plants the right amount of light.

Now that you know some facts about LED lighting and have read the explanations as to why these LED myths are just that – myths, we encourage you to try growing with LEDs. You will see how beneficial it is to make the switch to LEDs; not only for the energy and money savings but also to increase your plant quality.

5 comments
by George McGarvey on October 12, 2018

When I glance at or look at a led light bulb lite I see dark spots on a wall or what I am looking for a minute to a few mins. I was wondering if a small child or baby stars at one for a period of time can it do damage to their retina?

by George McGarvey on October 12, 2018

When just glancing at a lite led bulb on I see dark spots on the wall when I turn away from it. The spots will last from a minute or two or longer. What would it do to a young child or baby that stared at one for a period of time> Can they cause damage to the retina?

by virginia moses on March 28, 2018

when i am in my grow room with the Led light on. and i come out everything is green.for about 30 seconds .

by Eye Burns on March 18, 2018

All I know is, when I glance at my LED grow lights—which are only 20 watts when both turned on—for a split second, I’m blinded for several MINUTES afterward. It’s almost like being stunned or disoriented. Much worse than staring directly at the sun when I was a (stupid) kid. The bulbs contain 6 pieces red & 4 pieces blue light.

I’ve had LASIK surgery on my eyes—would this have any effect at all? I truly feel these lights are damaging even after only a few seconds of glancing at them.

by Fred Zappa on July 26, 2017

CELMA Study focuses on " white-light sources used in households, and evaluates the photo-biological safety of LED lamps and luminaires"
That means that we can´t take it for granted for blue and red LEDs !!!!

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