An integrated LED bulb is usually built into a fixture. There are many electrical circuit boards used instead of the regular light bulb. So, if the diode blows or becomes dysfunctional, then you cannot easily replace it. However, this may not really be a common issue since most LED bulbs have an extensive lifespan.
- What is an integrated LED lighting fixture?
- What are the advantages of an integrated LED lighting fixture?
- What are the disadvantages of an integrated LED lighting fixture?
- Can an integrated LED light bulb be replaced?
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 Kelvin 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 an integrated LED lighting fixture?
They are very convenient.
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.
They have a higher lumen output.
When compared to other light fixture options, integrated LED light fixtures offer a higher lumen output. This output is equivalent to 35 to 50W halogen. It can conveniently give your home the light that it needs.
They offer matchless design options.
And not only that, but this also adds great value to the light fixture. They can come in modern designs and shape, 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 a regular LED bulb can.
It offers better value for your money.
Their lifetime rating is longer than screw-in light bulbs. This is because they have more components and that these are designed to last. And 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.
They are beautiful to look at.
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.
It saves you money.
Even though integrated LED fixtures may cost much, LED bulbs will pay for themselves throughout their lifetime. And, since it can last for over twenty years, you can largely disregard the cost of installation.
What are the disadvantages of an integrated LED lighting fixture?
It has a more complicated installation process than a retrofit bulb.
It is more expensive
If you are on a tight budget, then these types of lights may not be for you. LED track heads typically cost from $25 to $75, but integrated LED track heads cost around $110 to $350.
It cannot be replaced easily
It is difficult to replace a blown LED bulb 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 is very inconvenient and wasteful as well.
You cannot customize nor upgrade it
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.
Can an integrated LED light bulb be replaced?
You can easily remove traditional light bulbs from the fixtures. This is not true of integrated LED fixtures. The bulbs are built into electrical circuit boards. 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 can easily be replaced without needing to replace your fixture.
But LED bulbs last longer. So, they don’t need a replacement for many years. And this is why customers can find it more convenient if LEDs are integrated into the fixture. But if the diode stops working, then it becomes a problem since you cannot easily remove and replace it.
This does not mean, however, that you need to throw away your fixture when the diode stops working.
One thing you can do is to check your warranty, Most manufacturers give a long warranty period to LED bulbs 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 after many years, then you can simply ask the manufacturer to replace or repair your faulty fixture.
If, however, the warranty has expired or you don’t have proof of your purchase date, you can still contact the manufacturer or the store for help. This is especially true if you have bought a popular brand of the LED fixture. Sometimes, they can replace your defective LED by a specialist workshop. A defective LED can often be revived at a low cost.
Or, 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 will work 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 the 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.
A better way – a replaceable LED array
If you are going to buy an LED fixture, you might want to inquire from the store if you can replace the LED array inside. Inside an LED fixture, you will find an LED array or module that looks more like a circuit board that is printed than a light bulb.
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. But custom-built LED arrays need expertise and they are quite expensive.
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. This will also make it easier for customers to replace their LED modules, if necessary. 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.
This can happen after 10 years of LED fixture use, instead of replacing your LED bulbs every now and then. And perhaps, 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.
Thus, 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.
With this development, if you are going to purchase a new LED fixture, make sure to know beforehand if you can replace the LED array. While your LED fixture may not malfunction until years from now, it is still good to find out if it is easy to find a replacement array and install it. You may not require a replaceable array with your LED fixture, but it is good to know what your options are.
As LED technology advances, the problem of integrated LED light bulb’s irreplaceability will soon be resolved. We can expect more advanced designs and innovations which will make LED faults quite rare. But even before that happens, we have our long warranties to ensure that our faulty fixtures can be replaced. With integrated LED technology, we have the advantage of having a lighting fixture that has greater functionality and cost-effectiveness.