What Causes LED Lights to Burn Out: 5 Reasons LED Lights Burn Out and How to Prevent It

What causes LED lights to burn out?

After all, these lights cost way more than regular lights.

And isn’t their lifespan one of the bulbs’ strong selling points, not to mention many other great features that make them superior to other lights?

Yet, sometimes, even after following the guides strictly, LED lights can burn out long before you expect them to.

Read on to learn five reasons LED lights burn out and how to ensure your LED lighting system lasts as long as it should. 

How Long Should LED Lights Last?

Typically, LED bulbs last 5 to 20 years, a specification you’ll notice on the bulb labels.

However, some factors may maintain or shorten the lifespan of LED lamps. These include:


Undoubtedly, how you use your bulbs also determines how long they last.

For example, how frequently and for how long the lights stay on.

For this reason, manufacturers don’t specify exactly how long a LED bulb will last before burning out.

Instead, they give a range. 

External Factors

Additionally, external factors such as extreme heat, frequency, and changes in humidity affect electronic devices, and LED lights are no exception.

For example, the design of LED lights is such that they work best at room temperature.

Therefore, temperatures higher than room temperature at a higher frequency may significantly affect a bulb’s life span. 

It increases the temperature of the semiconductor, which in turn increases the degradation rate of the diodes.

On the other hand, cold conditions tend to maintain your LED bulbs’ temperatures.

And this increases the lifespan as the internal elements hardly get degraded. 

(Caption: Light-emitting diodes)


LED lights are sensitive to the amount of current flowing through them.

See, a high amount of current increases the bulb’s brightness.

As a result, the bulb uses the available energy to maximum levels, which reduces its lifespan. 

In addition, a high amount of current induces overheating and, by extension, burnout. 

5 Reasons LED Lights Burn Out So Quickly

Using the Wrong Dimmer Switch

Besides being dimmable, your bulbs must be compatible with the dimmer switch.

So if the dimmer switch is incompatible or faulty, it increases the chances of your bulbs burning out. 

Dimmer switch

(Caption: Dimmer switch)

High Voltage

If your voltage is high, it may cause your LED bulbs to burn out.

And a tell-tale sign of this is multiple bulbs throughout your house, only lasting a few months before they burn out.

So check your bulb’s voltage and ensure its rating matches your voltage supply’s.

For example, the UK’s voltage requirement is about 230V at 50Hz. 

Incorrect Connections

Another common cause of LED lights burning out is incorrect connections.

When something’s wrong with the connection, it affects the voltage your bulb can receive. Here are three common cases of faulty connections:

  • Loose bulb: A loose bulb can cause your bulb to burn out. Therefore, try tightening your bulb to ensure the contact points are more snug. 
  • Bulbs screwed in too tightly: Many are unaware that overly tight bulbs can depress the socket tab. To resolve the issue, first cut out the power to the fixture. Then, remove the bulb and loosen the metal tab at the bottom of the socket to fit correctly. 
  • Loose wires: When the wires are loose, they can cause a short circuit. So consider seeking the service of a professional electrician to fix the loose connections. But if you have electrical work experience, it’s reasonable to do it yourself. 


Along with the incompatibility of dimmer lights with bulbs, another common reason LED bulbs burn out fast is overheating.

Remember that even with the best of components, overheating will cause damage to your LED lighting system. 

Substandard Light Bulbs

Believe it or not, it’s not unusual to find that you bought a substandard bulb.

Usually, it happens when you buy a bulb that originated from a bad batch.

Or it could be that a bad bulb somehow managed to slip through all the quality checkpoints.

If that happens, first check its warranty to see if you can get a replacement from the manufacturer. 

How to Stop LED Lights From Burning Out

Thankfully, there are measures you can take to help stop your LED lights from burning out:

  • First, is the voltage of your power supply compatible with your LED bulbs? Mind you, the only way you can be sure of this is to have an electrician test the voltage at your home. 
  • Second, is the dimming switch compatible with your LED lights? Because not all dimmers will work with your bulbs. 
  • Additionally, are your bulbs the non-dimmable kind? Or is it unclear as to whether or not they are? Because a bulb should specifically indicate that it’s dimmable. Also, aiming for as many bulbs equipped with dimming features would be best. And that may mean purchasing them separately.  
  • Another vital thing is to check that the connections are in order. That includes the wiring and fitting. That way, if there are any faults, you can identify them and take appropriate measures to fix them. 
  • Also, LED bulbs don’t come in a one-size-fits-all. So rather than randomly choose a size, select one that’s right for your fixture. Because it ensures there’s sufficient air circulation. Another good idea is to buy semi-enclosed bulbs as these reduce overheating. 
  • Further, don’t just settle for any bulb. Instead, go for a high-quality one. The trick is not to be guided strictly by price. In fact, as a rule of thumb, avoid cheap bulbs. And to be on the safe side, buy a reputable brand. Besides lasting longer, high-quality bulbs adequately illuminate a space. 
  • Lastly, the type of heat sink you use can help reduce the amount of heat the bulb emits. Ideally, it should protect the circuit from excess ambient temperature. 


What Is the Most Common Problem with LED Lights?

Interestingly, the main problem with LED lights is their frequent burning out.

Often, these bulbs don’t last as long as they’re intended. 

What Do LED Lights Do When They Burn Out?

Often, the bulbs may at first flicker or slowly grow dimmer over hours of operation.

Then eventually, they can no longer illuminate or light up the room. 

What Causes LED Lights to Fail?

LED lights fail for several reasons, including: 

  • Faulty or dubious dimming components. 
  • Exposure to a high voltage that exceeds the recommended value. 
  • Faulty connections. These include but are not limited to loose bulbs, excessively tight bulbs, loose wires, and corroded contact points. 
  • Additionally, overheating is due to a faulty or substandard heat sink and heat dispensing system. 
  • Substandard LED bulbs.


So now you understand what causes LEd lights to burn out.

For example, it could be incompatible dimmer switches, poor-quality bulbs, poor connections, or voltage irregularities. Granted, there’s no exact time your bulbs must last.

Still, having complete manufacturer details and appropriate installation will increase your chances of enjoying the intended long service of your LED lights.