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LED Lights for Warehouse: 11 Best Practices for an Electrical Contractor
As an electrical contractor, it’s important to stay current with the best lighting technologies. And on top of that list is LED lighting. LED Lights have become the standard for most new lighting projects and lighting upgrades. They are powerful, high quality light sources that, when you buy correctly, can last a very long time without the need for bulb and ballast replacements.
However, careful consideration is required when buying and installing LED lights for warehouses. Follow these 11 steps to ensure the best results.
1. Understand the Benefits of LED Fixtures
Before you start, it’s important to understand the benefits LED lights have to offer. LED lights are significantly more energy-efficient than traditional lighting technologies – like fluorescent lights, metal halide and high pressure sodium.
Over the 10 + years of use, this will translate into significantly lower lighting bills for your customer. Cost are reduced further when you team these lights with motion sensors and dim / turn off the lights when the area is vacant.
They also last much longer. You should expect 10-15 years of use (assuming lights are on 12 hours a day, 365 days a year).
2. Understanding Light Quality
LED lights also offer superior performance over old light sources. Light quality is much better (color rendering index). This means that colors appear as they should and makes them excellent for assembly and product processing. Look for a CRI of 70 or greater.
3. Dimming and Motion Sensors
Some (not all) LED Fixtures for warehouse applications can dim (it depends on the driver the fixture is installed with). If they dim, then they can typically work with a motion sensor. Depending on the dimmer and the driver, you can dim down / turn off the fixture when the area is vacant. That’s hard to do (but not impossible) with fluorescent lights, and not an option with metal halide and high-pressure sodium HID lighting. Ask your customer if they want to dim the lights or add motion sensors. And if they do, confirm the fixture you are looking for can do these well.
4. Choose the Right Color Temperature
We recommend 5000K, or 4000K for warehouse applications. Anything less than 4000K will tend to be a warmer (yellow) light.
Everything above 5000K will be blue and harsh. By far, the most popular color temperature we’ve sold for warehouse applications have been at 5000K.
Make sure the lights are UL or ETL certified. That will mean they are safe. And make sure they are DLC Qualified, that means there may be rebate money available from the customer’s utility company. Beware of anything that just has a CE certification. That’s not safe for USA installations.
Make sure you understand the voltage of your customers’ lighting service. For the most part, we offer two ranges of LED Driver: 100-277V or 277-480V. The latter is a cost upgrade. Installing the lights without the proper driver will damage the drivers, and not be covered by warranty.
7. Surge Protection
This one is not as obvious, but many are not aware powerful machines can cause surge when they are turned on and off. We recommend an upgraded fixture of panel surge protector to protect the lights from these machines on/off cycles.
8. Emergency Backup Batteries
Typically, in large facilities like warehouses, you might have to install some fixture with an Emergency Backup Power Supply – or – EMB for short. They should keep the lights on, albeit at a lower light level, for at least 90 minutes. They should recharge in under 24 hours once power is supplied back. Keep this in mind. Anything less might mean you are buying an inferior product.
9. Warranties and Customer Support
Be careful when you buy lights from some of the large online retailers. First, you might only have a 30-day window to return the lights. If they go bad 2 years from now, who are you going to call? The reason we say this is not to scare you. We’ve had many calls from electrical contractors claiming lights bought on these sites are failing in mass – and no one is responding to their warranty claims. These lights are cheap for a reason.
With us – you have a partner. If something goes wrong, call us.
10. the Importance of Lighting Plans
What are lighting plans? They are software generated reports done by specialized software programs that can visually model a warehouse space.
So before you buy, you can make sure the lights you are getting will be the ones that make your customers happy.
We do those for free – for our commercial and industrial customers. And electrical contractor partners.
Just a note of caution. Getting a lighting plan done, and then swapping the light out with another has failed more often than not. Optics and lumens play a significant role in lighting success, and no 2 lights are the same.
These lights are easy to install, and the lights should have all the proper documentation. It gets a bit more difficult when motion and EMB’s are used. Make sure the source of your purchase can help you with post-purchase installation issues. (by the way, we have engineers on staff that are here for just that purpose – to help you)
About the Author
Dwayne Kula is President of LED Lighting Supply. On any given day, Dwayne is writing content for the site and helps manage the marketing initiatives that are on-going. He has a Software Engineering degree and still dabbles in writing software for the company as needed. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his family, working out, playing the occasional game of golf and exploring New England.