When it comes to lighting, you want the option that will last the longest. This factor is communicated on the package from the manufacturer as the Average Rated Life (ARL) and varies from light to light. Many consumers will purchase lighting based on this important factor of ARL because the longer a light lasts, the better the value in their minds. However, there are a few things to keep in mind about this aspect of lighting.
The Discrepancy Between Lights
One of the most important things to keep in mind is the expected life will vary based on the light type. For example, a HID bulb might have an ARL of 10,000-24,000 hours while a fluorescent bulb has a life expectancy of 24,000-36,000. There are other lights such as halogens and compact fluorescent with varying ratings ranging from 2,000 hours to 20,000 hours. LED’s carry the highest ARL with an average of 40,000-50,000 hours. It is important to remember that when considering this factor of lighting, while the ARL is relevant, it is not the only factor to consider. For example, you may think the longer the life expectancy, the better, but you should also keep in mind how often you intend to turn the light off/on, lumen output, location, and more.
Why Don’t Lights Live up to ARL?
While the ARL listed by manufacturers is how long the light should last before at least half the bulbs expire, many consumers notice the lights may not last as long as listed. This is not necessarily the fault of the manufacturer. These listings are not set in stone since many factors affect the longevity of a light solution. To further explain this, think about the environment in which ARL’s are determined. It is most likely in a relatively controlled environment in a lab. In real life situations, lighting undergoes varying pressures and outside influences such as heat, cold, moisture, wind, and vibrations. This doesn’t only apply to exterior lights. Interior lights experience these same outside influences. While a lab setting will take these factors into consideration during the testing phase to determine ARL, your location and lighting might be experiencing higher levels of outside disturbances than what was originally expected by the manufacturer.
When it comes to lighting and life expectancy, the key to meeting the suggested expectancy will depend on the environment and conditions your lights experience. If you find lights aren’t living up to their expectancy, consider the influences around your light and ways to reduce them for a longer lasting light.