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Can LED Bulbs Explode?

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A lot of people treat LED bulbs the same way they do with traditional light bulbs. However, LED bulbs differ in a lot of ways from your traditional light bulbs. Traditional light bulbs tend to explode if overheated, so can LED bulbs explode too?

Can LED Bulbs Explode?

Yes, LED bulbs can explode, yet they rarely. Only certain factors will cause an LED to explode. You need a combination of thermal and electrical factors that can be caused by any of these:

  • voltage surge
  • faulty capacitor
  • poor heating management

However, if you manage your LED bulbs properly, you would never or rarely find your LED bulbs exploding. Exploding bulbs can be a safety hazard especially if you have kids or pets at home. You should exercise the utmost safety to avoid LED bulbs exploding.

Sparkling bulb

LED bulbs typically last for 10 years or more. If your LED bulbs explode before that, chances are they are cheap quality or defective. 

What Are The Chances For LED Lights To Explode?

You will rarely or never encounter a LED bulb exploding. If you see one, it may be due to negligence or faulty parts. 

Traditional light bulbs like incandescent, fluorescent, and halogen explode when exposed to too much heat. They work differently compared to LED bulbs as they emit light via a filament inside a glass vacuum while LEDs use semiconductors to emit light.

When exposed to too much heat, the sealant around the base of the bulb melts and causes the gas to leak out. This causes the pressure inside the bulb to change and explode. 

What Causes LED Bulbs to Explode?

For LEDs who have different lighting mechanics, electrical and thermal stress causes them to explode. 

Electrical Stress

LEDs use a lower voltage compared to traditional light bulbs. They hover around 2 to 4 volts to work properly. However, the average voltage supply for an American home is 120 volts, and other countries mostly use 240 volts. 

For LED bulbs to work at this voltage you need a capacitor that drops to your ideal LED bulb voltage level. You place a load of stress on the capacitors. 

If it gets faulty, an electrical surge may occur which lets the full current flow through to your LED and cause it to explode. People call this electrical overload or electrical overstress.

This mostly occurs with cheap LEDs that use materials that have less tolerance to voltage fluctuating. 

Thermal Stress

LED bulbs can also explode due to thermal stress. LEDs don’t like heat as they don’t operate well in hot conditions. LEDs even have a heat sink or heat dissipation systems just to have cooler temperatures. 

Light bulb

Heat can store up in your LED bulb if you have a faulty heat sink or when there’s too much electrical current. This causes pressure inside the bulb and eventually explode. 

Sometimes, if the heat stays in one place, it causes melt or breaks the components of your LED bulb. It causes a short circuit and the LED bulb eventually explodes.

Can LED Strip Lights Explode?

LED strip lights and LED bulbs have the same mechanism so of course, they will also explode under the right circumstances.

With regular use, LEDs would unlikely get hot enough to warrant an explosion. However, they do tend to overheat if used for long periods of time especially with cheap components. 

Why Do I Hear Popping Sound When LEDs Explode?

Unlike traditional light bulbs, LED explodes differently. When LEDs explode, you will hear a “popping” sound and some components flying around. 

As mentioned before, LED commonly explodes because of pressure stored inside it. The LED bulb releases this pressure in the form of sound energy and that’s why you hear the “popping” sound. 

However, LED bulbs don’t explode the same way as traditional light bulbs do. LED bulbs use shatterproof glass so they minimize the damage done in some way. You get a bit of crack from the explosion and some components flying.  

Can LEDs Explode in Enclosed Fixtures?

Enclosed fixtures don’t allow LEDs to have proper heat ventilation unless they’re specifically made for enclosed fixtures. 

As mentioned above, thermal stress causes LED bulbs to explode. Enclosed fixtures encourage that explosion because of poor heat dissipation. 

If they don’t explode, they may stop functioning properly. It’s better that you don’t place your LED bulbs in any enclosed fixtures.

LED bulb about to explode

Related Questions

Before we go, we’re answering three more questions we often receive that are related to this subject.

Can LED Light Cause Fire?

Electrical distribution and lighting equipment accounted for 10% of fires in U.S. homes in 2012 – 2016. Traditional light bulbs do tend to get hot and they would likely cause a fire. 

However, LED bulbs don’t tend to get hot as traditional light bulbs. While LED bulbs do produce heat, they’re not hot enough to cause a fire. Unless you’re using cheap and low quality LED bulbs, your LEDs won’t likely cause a fire.    

Do LED Lights Smell When They Burn Out?

Just like any burned object, LED lights will give off a smell. The most typical smell you get from LEDs is the plastic and electronic components getting burnt out. 

If you smell burning plastic or electronics coming from your LED light, chances are it’s overheating and may about to explode. Immediately turn it off and look for the problem.

Most probably the cause is either:

  • Faulty wiring
  • Base touching the bulb socket
  • Wrong voltage
  • Cheap plastic components   

Is it Safe to Leave LED Lights On for a Week?

Depending on the quality and manufacturer, LED lights can stay on for 24 hours, 7 days a week. LEDs produce less heat so they don’t tend to overheat. 

However, like most devices, it’s better if you turn them off once in a while if you’re not really using them. It helps with prolonging its lifespan for long term use. 

Cheap LED lights may be a hit or miss. While some cheap LED lights do last long, they’re very rare. It’s better you go for well-made LED bulbs that use excellent grade materials. 

Conclusion 

LEDs can explode yet you rarely see it happen. As long as you use quality made LED bulbs and check on them, you won’t encounter a LED bulb exploding. Take note of warning signs like burning plastic or electronics in your LED bulb.