12 Jul Landscape Lighting LED warranty
by Mike Gambino
I had a question from a prospect recently about the warranty on my 3 watt LED which is an alternative for and equivalent to a 20 watt halogen lamp. I was asked why my LED was only warranted for 3 years when they had met with a competitor who told them that their 4 watt LED was warranted for 10 years.
Let’s break this down. First of all in this highly competitive marketplace there are some wild claims being made by some regarding the light output, color and projected lamp life of LED’s. That’s right projected lamp life of LED lamps. No one has ever placed an LED lamp in a landscape lighting fixture outdoors in the elements and waited 10 years to see if it was still working. The same can be said for 5 years as well.
The technology is still too new. In addition most of the ratings are for LED’s outside of fixtures, in laboratory conditions without fluctuation of temperature, moisture or shock like from being kicked by a gardener.
None of these issues have ever been factored into these ratings.
I have even heard of some who are making 15 year claims. I have also heard that there have already been failures reported. This does not surprise me.
Furthermore there are very few LED lamps that are manufactured specifically for outdoor lighting fixtures. In the case of our LED it was specifically designed and tuned to operate in the confined space of our enclosed landscape lighting fixtures.
There are several problems with these extraordinary claims that are being made by others in the industry.
Who is responsible? Gambino LED lamps are all date coded and have our logo on them for identification. I insisted on this from the manufacturer however I was shocked to find that this practice is not standard in the industry as most LED’s have no markings or brand on them for identification.
So in the case of failure who do you go to in the event that your original installer is no longer around if you don’t know where the product was purchased from or whom manufactured it. And this is not uncommon. Gambino landscape lighting has been designing and installing landscape lighting systems for 21 years and I can think of no one who is still around today when we started in 1990. In fact I don’t know of many competitors still around who started only 5 years ago.
What are ratings anyway? In the world of halogen lamps, incandescent or florescent light bulbs and diodes (LED’s) an hour rating is given to each particular lamp after testing is done under controlled laboratory conditions. In the case of our LED MR-16 we were given a 50,000 hour rating. What does that mean? It means that x number of lamps are tested and after 50,000 hours of operation half those lamps will still be working and half will not. So ratings can be somewhat misleading. The other intangibles which we spoke about earlier are not even taken into consideration like weather extremes, rough handling, exposure to moisture etc.
Performance– LED manufacturers are saying that it is typical that their products will lose up to 25% of their efficiency over time. In other words LED lamps will grow dimmer and color shift as they age. So they are admitting to some form of light depreciation and degradation. But when does this happen? After 5,000 hrs ? 500hrs ?, 50 hrs ? nobody knows and they aren’t saying. I’m sure that certain exposure conditions and lamp environment will have something to do with it. So realistically if the lamp is no longer accomplishing its task, but it is still turning on, does that mean that you will live with it as the manufacturer won’t replace it because technically it is still working albeit ineffectively?
Bottom line is we feel that we are being very reasonable regarding our LED warranty and are not making claims that are totally based on untested and unproven claims by others.
Furthermore we feel that the product is so good that it really needs no hype or exaggerated warranty in order for it to sell.
In 3 years of use the product will have paid for itself in energy savings alone compared to its 20 watt halogen equivalent. This fact in and of itself makes it a tremendous value. Any other benefit from this LED and existence beyond 3 years will be just icing on the cake. And we are confident that a very high percentage of our LED’s will be viable long after 3 years.
This landscape lighting blog is published by Mike Gambino of Gambino landscape lighting inc. all rights reserved. Mike is a professional landscape lighting system designer/ builder and has been designing, installing and maintaining landscape lighting systems for more than 20 years. Mike resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 2 sons. To visit his website go to www.gambinolighting.com . To inquire about hiring Mike please click here .
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