LED strips are a great way to add some extra light to your home. They come in a variety of colors and styles and can be used for a variety of purposes. But do you know what happens when they come into contact with steam? In this article, we will explore the effects of steam on LED strips and provide some tips on how to keep them working their best.
To briefly answer the question of the day: Yes, steam can affect LED strip lights. Why? Because led strip lights cannot withstand high temperatures. When exposed to high temperatures above 140°F the semiconductors of the led strip lights will degrade leading to a lifespan less than the stipulated 50,000 hours.
However, this also means steam temperatures below 140°F will not have any effect on your LED strips. You can safely use led strip lights in high steam temperatures between 100°F and 140°F. So led strip lights will be great for infrared saunas, bathrooms, kitchens, or other rooms with relatively high humidity.
But the honest truth is that led strip lights work best in cooler environments.
To learn more about how steam affects led strip lights, how to keep your LED strips in top condition, and the perfect ways around steam, read on!
How Does Steam Affect Led Strip Lights?
Steam can have a lot of impact on LED strip lights. Below are some of the ways that steam can affect LED strips:
1. The Led Strip Light Will Have A Short Lifespan
To kick things off, let’s look at the most common way that steam affects LED lights – by shortening their lifespan.
As we briefly mentioned before, when exposed to high temperatures above 140°F, the semiconductors of the led strip light will degrade. This process is known as “thermal runaway” and it essentially means that the led strip light will stop working long before its expected lifespan.
The good news is that this only happens at temperatures above 140°F. So, if you’re using your led strip lights in a room with steam, as long as the temperature doesn’t exceed 140°F, you should be fine.
However, it’s worth noting that the lifespan of your led strip lights will be reduced the closer the temperature gets to 140°F. So, if you’re using your led strip lights in a room with steam and the temperature is regularly reaching 130°F, you can expect them to only last for around half of their expected lifespan.
2. The Adhesive Backing Becomes Less Effective
Another way that steam can affect LED strip lights is by causing the adhesive backing to become less effective.
The adhesive backing on led strip lights is designed to hold the lights in place, even in high temperatures. However, when exposed to a lot of steam over a long period, the adhesive can become weaker and eventually stop working altogether.
This means that if you’re using your led strip lights in a room with steam, you may need to reapply the adhesive every so often to make sure that they stay in place.
We can all understand how frustrating this can be, which is why we recommend using other methods to secure your led strip lights if you’re going to be using them in a steamy environment.
3. The Waterproofing On The LED Strip Light Can Be Compromised
When you’re using LED strip lights in a room with steam, there’s always the possibility that some water could get onto the lights.
Steam particles are small enough to penetrate the waterproof coating on most led strip lights. Once the waterproofing has been compromised, it’s only a matter of time before the water starts seeping in and causing problems.
The good news is that this usually only happens if the led strip lights are directly exposed to steam for long periods of time. So, if you’re using your led strip lights in a room with steam, make sure that they’re not in direct contact with the steam source.
Better yet, use a led strip light that has been specifically designed for use in high humidity environments. These lights have a much more robust waterproof coating that can withstand long-term exposure to steam.
A good example is led strip lights with IP ratings of 65 or higher. IP65 led strip lights are designed to be used in high humidity environments and can withstand direct contact with water for long periods of time.
4. The Light Output of the LEDs Can Be Diminished
Steam can also affect the light output of the LEDs. When exposed to steam, the lens on the LED can become foggy and cause the light output to be diminished.
This is because the water vapor in the air condenses on the cold surface of the lens and causes a film of water to form. This film of water then diffuses the light that is emitted by the LED, causing it to appear dimmer.
The good news is that this effect is only temporary and will go away once the lens has had a chance to dry. However, if you’re using your led strip lights in a room with constant steam, you may need to wipe the lens down every so often to keep the light output at its maximum.
5. The Color of the LEDs May Change
Lastly, steam can also cause the color of the led strip light to change. When exposed to steam, the wavelength of the light that is emitted by the LEDs can shift.
This is because water vapor absorbs and scatters light in a way that changes its wavelength. The result is that the light that is emitted by the LEDs will appear to be a different color than it did before.
Again, this is not a permanent change and the led strip lights will return to their original color once they are no longer exposed to steam.
How To Prevent Steam From Affecting Led Strip Lights?
Now that we’ve looked at how steam can affect LED strip lights, let’s take a look at some ways to prevent it.
- Use Led Strip Lights Designed For High Steam Areas
One easy way to prevent steam from affecting your led strip lights is to use an led strip light that has been specifically designed for use in high humidity environments.
As we mentioned earlier, there are now led strip lights on the market with IP ratings of 65 or higher. These lights have a much more robust waterproof coating that can withstand long-term exposure to steam.
If you’re going to be using your led strip lights in a room with a lot of steam, make sure to choose an led strip light with a high IP rating.
- Position The Led Strip Light Close To The Ground
Another great way to prevent steam from affecting your led strip lights is to position them close to the ground.
Since steam rises, positioning your led strip lights close to the ground will help to keep them out of the path of the steam. This will help to protect the waterproofing on the led strip light and prevent water from getting inside.
- Mounting Surface or Installation
Another important thing to take into consideration to prevent steam from affecting your led strip lights is the mounting surface or installation.
If you’re going to be installing your led strip lights on a wood surface, it is important to know that wood is a poor conductor of heat and it’s a porous material. This means that it can absorb water, which can then lead to the wood swelling and warping.
You want to mount your led strip lights directly on concrete and aluminum surfaces as they do a better job of dissipating heat and are not affected by water.
- Use A Diffuser To Prevent The Light From Becoming Dimmed
Another way to prevent the light from becoming dimmed is to use a diffuser. A diffuser is a piece of clear plastic that goes over the LED and helps to spread the light evenly.
It also prevents the water vapor in the air from condensing on the lens and causing it to become foggy. You can find diffusers for led strip lights online or at your local hardware store.
- Wipe The Lens Down Regularly
If you’re using your led strip lights in a room with constant steam, you may need to wipe the lens down every so often to keep the light output at its maximum.
You can do this by simply taking a clean, dry cloth and wiping the lens down. Make sure to do this gently so as not to damage the lens.
- Use A Dimmer Switch
If you’re going to be using your led strip lights in a room with a lot of steam, we recommend using a dimmer switch.
Dimmer switches give you the ability to control the light output of your led strip lights and can help to prevent the lens from becoming foggy.
By reducing the light output of your led strip lights, you can help to prevent the lens from getting too cold and condensing water vapor.
Alternative Light That Are Not Affected By Steam
Finally, if you’re looking for an alternative light that is not affected by steam, we recommend using Incandescent lights and fluorescent lights.
Incandescent lights are not affected by steam or humidity as they themselves produce a lot of heat with up to 90% of the energy they produce being heat and only about 10% light.
This heat helps to prevent the lens from becoming foggy and condensing with water vapor. This is because incandescent lights can produce even higher temperatures than steam.
Although fluorescent lights are not very energy efficient when compared to LEDs, they are a good alternative to led strip lights if you’re going to be using them in a room with a lot of steam.
If you have ever seen a steam room or sauna, you know that the air is thick with steam. This can be a problem for LED strips because they are not designed to withstand high temperatures. When exposed to steam, the led strip lights will start to degrade and their lifespan will be shortened.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to prevent this from happening. By following the tips above, you can help to protect your led strip lights and extend their lifespan.
We hope this article has helped you to understand how steam can affect LED strip lights and what you can do to prevent it.