Many modern lighting fixtures come with integrated LEDs. This offers various advantages like new design options or a higher lumen output. But what if one of those integrated LEDs blows or becomes dysfunctional? Can it be replaced as simple as the old light bulbs? In most cases this is not possible. Below we will evaluate the options you have with these irreplaceable integrated LEDs.
- What is an integrated LED lighting fixture?
- What are the advantages of integrated LED lighting fixtures?
- What are the disadvantages of integrated LED lighting fixtures?
- Can integrated LED lights be replaced?
- Replaceable LED arrays
What is an integrated LED lighting fixture?
What most of us are familiar with is a typical LED bulb that you screw into a light fixture. The bulb and the fixture are two separate units. But with an integrated LED lighting fixture, you have a single unit where the LED bulb is built into the fixture.
It is not like LED ready fixtures. In integrated LED fixtures, the diodes already have a specific color temperature and lumen output. They are connected directly to the mainline voltage and they don’t need other accessories or components.
If you are familiar with LED lighting, you know that it is energy efficient. The same is true with integrated LED lighting. This helps you save money on your energy bills.
What are the advantages of integrated LED lighting fixtures?
Very high convenience
When you buy an integrated LED fixture, you can simply ignore it in your home until it eventually dies. You don’t have to worry about changing the light bulbs every now and then. It is very ideal for places that are difficult to reach because blown-out bulbs will be difficult to replace.
Higher lumen output
When compared to other light fixture options, integrated LED light fixtures offer a higher lumen output. This output is often equivalent to 35 to 50W halogen. It can conveniently give your home the light that it needs.
Matchless design options
And not only that, but this also adds great value to the light fixture. They can come in modern designs and shapes, unlike retrofit LEDs which have limited designs since they need to be well-matched with conventional light fixtures. LED fixtures can be designed to be smaller and more solid than retrofit bulbs.
This is beneficial for places where the clearance space between the floor above and the ceiling space is very limited. The heat management system of an integrated LED is also much better. They can effectively manage the dissipation of heat. This is why it can last for 50,000 hours, much longer than regular LED bulbs can.
Better value for your money
Their lifetime rating is often longer than for screw-in light bulbs. This is because they have more components which are designed to last. This is also why they are quite expensive. But even if an integrated LED is expensive, you don’t need to replace them frequently. So it offers better value for your money in the long run.
Even though integrated LED fixtures may cost much, LED bulbs will pay for themselves throughout their lifetime. Since they can last for over twenty years, you can largely disregard the cost of installation.
Your home can have some unique styles with integrated LEDs. Their designs are perfect for every area of your home, both indoors and outdoors. They are beautiful, functional, and energy saving.
What are the disadvantages of integrated LED lighting fixtures?
It has a more complicated installation process than a retrofit bulb. On the other hand it is comparable with the installation process of an old-school lighting fixture.
If you are on a tight budget, then these types of lights may not be for you. While they mostly pay for themselves in the long run, their initial costs are higher than the standard retrofit bulbs.
No customization or upgrade
With retrofit bulbs, it is possible to choose sizes, colors, and shapes as long as it is well-matched with the fixture. Not so with integrated LEDs. It is the manufacturer that controls their features which you cannot change once you purchase it.
No easy replacement
It is difficult to replace a blown integrated LED just like a retrofit bulb. You might need to disconnect the entire fixture from the power source and replace it. It is disadvantageous since even if your fixture is still healthy, if the diode is busted, then you have to let it go. This could be inconvenient and wasteful as well.
Can integrated LED lights be replaced?
You can easily remove traditional light bulbs from their fixtures. This is not true for integrated LED fixtures where the LEDs are built into electrical circuit boards. Here you might need to replace the whole fixture with a blown-out bulb. In the past, since traditional light bulbs have a short lifespan, manufacturers made fixtures and light bulbs separately. With this, light bulbs could easily be replaced without needing to replace your fixture.
But LEDs last much longer. So they don’t need a replacement for many years. And this is why many customers find it more convenient when LEDs are integrated into the fixture. But if one of the diodes stops working, then it becomes a problem since you cannot easily remove and replace it. However this does not mean, that you need to throw away your fixture right away.
Check your warranty
One thing you can do is to check your warranty. Most manufacturers give a long warranty to integrated LED lights since they are incredibly long-lasting. In fact, the warranty for LED fixtures is longer than the warranty for a standard retrofit LED. If you still have a valid warranty, then you can simply ask the manufacturer to replace or repair your faulty fixture.
Even if the warranty has expired or you don’t have proof of your purchase date, you can still contact the store the manufacturer for help. This is especially true if you bought a popular brand of the LED fixture. Sometimes, they can replace your defective LED by a specialist workshop. There are also independent repair shops which can replace defective LEDs in your fixture. This way your fixture can often be revived at a low cost.
Sometimes you can even revive a defective LED yourself. There are instructional videos on YouTube that can be useful for you.
If none of the methods above works for your and you cannot think of another way to repair your integrated LED, or if it is not worthwhile to do so, then you must replace your entire fixture. LED lights do not contain mercury, but they have other electronic components in the fixture.
So, if you are going to dispose of your LED fixture, it should be disposed of as an electrical waste and not as household waste. Look for collection points or recycling centers. You can also find shops and DIY stores that accept defective LED fixtures.
Replaceable LED arrays
There is another type of LED lights available in-between the retrofit light bulbs and fully integrated LEDs. These are also fixtures with integrated LEDs but they are not soldered into their electrical circuit boards which would make irreplaceable. Instead the LEDs are fitted on an array or module which can be replaced.
When LED fixtures are designed, manufacturers are faced with different options when it comes to an LED light source. One option is to custom design an LED array or module that will fit the conditions of the fixture. With this option, one can create a small, solid LED array that matches the distinctive requirement of the fixture.
Ready-made LED arrays
Another option is to use ready-made LED integrated arrays and modules that are designed specifically to suit various kinds of fixtures with different requirements. This is less expensive than custom-built ones. It is also easier for customers to replace their LED modules in case of a defect. The factor that will limit manufacturers is looking for the modules that will fit the requirement of their specific fixture.
Whatever option that manufacturer takes, their LED fixture does not end up with a light bulb but with an LED module or array. When customers need to replace their busted integrated LED lighting, they can just purchase a new LED module or array.
By the time you will need a new LED array, there might be new types of LED fixtures in the market. LED arrays for fixtures are beneficial but most manufacturers recognize that as technology improves, these arrays may also need to be upgraded or replaced. LED technology is rapidly changing and in a few years, these things may have become obsolete.
LED fixture manufacturers today are going for replaceable LED arrays or modules. In practice, this means that more fixtures are manufactured with replaceable LED arrays. You can now switch out your original LED array with a new one. It is just like what you do when you change a light bulb.
If you are going to purchase a new LED fixture with LED arrays, make sure to know beforehand if the LED array can be replaced. You should also ask for how many years the replacements will be available. Otherwise you may end up with a replaceable fixture but without the option to really get a new LED array.
LED fixtures with integrated LEDs offer more advanced designs and innovations. In many cases the LEDs will last a long time and you don’t have to worry about replacing them. But if an integrated LED blows up most likely you are not able to replace it yourself. With the options mentioned above you probably get your fixture repaired. Overall LED technology brings lot’s of advantages such as greater functionality and cost-effectiveness.