Are Smart Bulbs a Fire Hazard?

Smart Bulbs Fire Hazard

Smart Lightbulbs can be controlled by a remote, app, or voice command to respond to its owner through the process of home automation.

With the LED Lighting Market (also known as the Global Micro Light-Emitting Diode Market) growing by 389% in the next 4 years – there will be a significant increase in the amount of LED Smart Lightbulbs on the market. With this major increase, should we be concerned about a rise in the potential fire hazards?

Are smart bulbs a fire hazard? All light bulbs have some fire hazard potential; however, LED lights convert more energy into light than fluorescent or incandescent lights, which convert up to 90% of their energy into heat instead of light. Since LEDs require the lowest voltage and are efficient lightbulbs that does overheat, they pose a smaller fire risk. 

It’s no longer a ground-breaking idea to control your home from anywhere in the world, but you never want to worry about a potential fire risk. Smart lighting could be a game changer, but only if you know how to use it.

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We will cover popular questions you may have on the topic such as the types of lighting you’ll be shopping for, what makes Smart Lighting the safest for your home against fires, and most importantly – how to minimize your risk for any potential fire hazard when using Smart light bulbs or any lighting at all.

Are All Smart Lightbulbs LED?

Yes, thankfully, for you as the consumer, all smart lighting will be LED lighting. I have written a complete article on this. Go check it out.

In case you were uncertain on the specificities – a Smart Bulb can be defined as:

“An internet-capable LED light bulb that allows lighting to be customized, scheduled and controlled remotely,” as defined by IOT Agenda.

This is good news because LED lighting offers the following benefits:

  • They are less of a safety-hazard or fire-hazard compared to other lights because they don’t overheat. This is because they remain low in voltage and waste less heat energy than other light forms.
  • LEDs are not as affected by their environment or temperature; therefore, they can be used in small spaces or temperature-controlled environments.
  • 95% of the energy is converted to light, and only 5% is wasted through heat (very minimal)
  • Use 90% less energy than other lighting types (CFL Fluorescent and Incandescent)
  • Will lower your electricity bill
  • Will last you longer (nearly 3-10xs as long as other lights)
  • Will require the least maintenance
  • Not made of mercury and therefore are nontoxic

Since all Smart Lights will be LED, you will receive all of the above benefits along with being able to turn lights on and off from anywhere through a home automation app, Echo Dot, and/or Alexa

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LEDs will stay dimmer and less hot to present your home with less fire hazards than any other option on the market today.

Why LEDs Remain Cooler Than Other Lights

The reason why LEDs are so much less of a fire hazard than these other options is because of the following attributes:

  • Light does not form due to a vacuum or infrared radiation (as occurs with incandescent lights) or due to a gas (as with fluorescent lights)
  • It occurs from a semiconducting solid material
  • Produces light at lower temperatures
  • The watts are often lower, so they require less power
  • The heat is held internally while other light types send heat outwards with 70-95% of their energy being lost in the form of heat
  • The heat is pulled out through the base of the lighting which is pulling the heat from its source. This means that instead of moving into itself (which would cause a fire), the heat moves out from the source to cool itself off. This keeps everything cooler and also helps the light last for 25,000 hours while fluorescents last for 8,000 and incandescent for only 1,200.

Experts agree that LEDs are safer because of these attributes.

How to Minimize Your Risk for a Fire

These will be ways to prepare yourself and educate against the most common causes of fire. Some will be regarding Smart lighting, while many of these tips can be applicable for all home lighting.

The ways to reduce your risk of a house fire when placing or utilizing your smart lighting are:

  • Always confirm the wattage on the lightbulb you’ve purchased and that it will not exceed the electric-capacity of that socket.
  • Always be sure your bulbs are the proper voltage for that lighting system.
  • Always check that your lightbulb is labeled to be ‘used in enclosed fixtures,’ or wording along these lines.
  • Always check the IP rating (Ingress Protection Rating), which will tell you what conditions that bulb is suited for.
  • Always practice safe placement when placing your bulbs. One of the leading causes of home fires is to place your lighting near flammable objects that do overheat, despite believing that your LED lights won’t overheat. You will need to move your LED lighting if it is too close to:
    • Other power strips
    • Behind the TV
    • In places that get extremely hot/cold such as a basement, attic, or wine cellar
    • Touching flammable materials such as fabrics, clothes, or lamp shades.
  • Check your wires. Faulty wiring is one of the most common causes for house fires. Before plugging in any lighting, have an electrician check your home and assess the wires. This is especially important if you are moving into an old home or renovating an older property to have smart automation.
  • If you see mice/rodents, this is an indication you may have a wiring issue. Have an exterminator and electrician come out in this case, to lower your risk for potential fire hazards.
  • Connect LEDS in a series not as a parallel.
  • Try not to overload the current by plugging too many things in one outlet at once.
  • Don’t overload one outlet with multiple extension cords, surge protectors, or multi-outlet adapters.
  • Don’t enclose your lights and give them no way to release the heat. If you seal it in, it may overheat and raise the risk of a fire hazard.
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Lastly, I’ll leave you with the tip of purchasing quality lightbulbs. You do get what you pay for in most instances, and quality isn’t usually the cheapest option on the market.

There are some things we can go cheap in, but your lighting and home safety should be one area you avoid trying to cut costs. Don’t penny pinch when it comes to your family’s safety. Buying cheap could lead to a malfunctioning or unregulated bulb from overseas that was ready to blow before it left the factory.

LEDs may be a bit more expensive upfront, but keep in mind that they last significantly longer and lower your electric bills, so you will see savings relatively quickly after the investment.

Final Thoughts

Fires are preventable more often than not, so pat yourself on the back for seeking to educate yourself and protect your home against unnecessary risks.

However, any and all lighting can be a fire hazard if used in an irresponsible or incorrect way.

Always keep this in mind for all lighting because an LED can still catch fire, despite it having a considerably lower risk of doing so.

Please – do not trust that since you’ve purchased smart lighting or LED that you have zero risk for a fire. That is simply not true.

Responsibly and careful handling needs to always be taken for these home fires that can be avoided.

I hope this guide has helped to inform you on lighting safety as well as expand your thoughts on the overall electric-safety in your home.

To read more about home automation, click through our guides, and learn how you can begin to move your home towards a more efficient, environmentally-friendly, and safer future!