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What Does Maintenance Factor Mean?

When it comes to buying LED lighting products for an industrial or commercial facility, there are various factors to consider. Among all, Lighting Maintenance is the most significant one.

The Maintenance Factor or MF is referred to the lighting design that results in the yield reduction of the luminaries employed within a lighting installation. This factor assists in accurately predicting and ensuring the right lighting level is being distributed at the lighting fixture’s end life.

In order to calculate Maintenance Factor, lamp depreciation is taken into account. Plus, it even considers the impact that the environment is going to be on the lighting installation. If you have heard about LEDs before, you may already understand that these lights have a lower lumen decline and longer lifespan than other bulbs out there.

As Maintenance Factor standards were premeditated before LED lighting became prevalent, they need slightly diverse calculations as compared to other kinds of fixtures.

Packing Plant

Maintenance Factors (MF) for LED Lighting Solutions

Because of the intended design of LED lighting options and the performance statistics for LED luminaires, the way elements, that are included in the MF calculation, are employed an LED luminaire is quite different from the traditional source luminaires.

As with other bulb types, the MF for LED lighting solutions is a figure. Now, this number describes the lighting level or lumen reduction over time. Using this number, one can regulate how illuminated a place will be.

Also, one can plan the effective way for installing the lighting options. With the onset of LEDs, MFs have significantly increased over HID and fluorescent counterparts. This makes sense as LED lighting solutions were developed to be an effective option. These lighting options were so fruitful that they have to come up with a new method for measuring MFs.

Lighting needs to be developed for the needed light levels at a life’s end. The lumens significantly decrease over time of an average lighting fixture or light.

This is something normal as no lighting options last forever, including LEDs. So, lighting standards like maintenance factors assist in selecting the perfect fixture for diverse places for maintaining the right lighting levels.

How Are LEDs Different?

As the MF standards were developed for conventional lighting solutions, they seem outdated when assigned to LEDs. The main reason is that the baseline maintenance factor is 0.8. Lighting engineers use shorthand techniques for turning out specifications. However, there is a danger to apply such quick ways in a comprehensive manner.

Here, an 0.8 MF is a perfect example. It has become the standard. However, it does not reflect new lighting technology. LED lights do not experience similar issues to that of other lights. Thus, LEDs shouldn’t be calculated with it.

Lighting MFs look into the matter that the lighting products will diminish the lighting amount they offer over some years gradually because of dirt, lumen depreciation, failures, and many more. The Maintenance Factor refers to a fraction of the entire light yield at the installation life’s beginning as the yield may fall eventually. This factor tells how much lighting level you should increase at the beginning for staying ahead of the needed light over the installation’s lifetime. 

Therefore, if the needed lighting level of a project over a lifetime is about 500 lumens, where the MF is set to 80 percent (or 0.8), then a primary 625 lumens need to be put up in that area. This is important for maintaining the required lighting level.

As compared to other kinds of bulbs, LEDs are not much affected by exterior factors. Also, the light produced by LEDs is of higher quality. Due to this, if you are employing LED lighting, then you can look for a lighting fixture that offers similar results with fewer lumens produced.

Scheduled Maintenance and Lighting MF

As all facility managers know, planned maintenance is important for keeping the lighting options running efficiently. However, this is not true only for lights.

A facility manager needs to strategize how frequently they need toproperly clean the luminaries and the room. Also, they retain daily equipment maintenance, such as lamp changing requirements. Plus, it is significant to look for a judicious balance between operating hours and maintenance.

Maintenance interferes with the daily procedure. Not just that, but maintenance routines are even linked to expenses. More luminaries equal a long operation period without upkeep. A high frequency of upkeep cycles is equal to a high maintenance factor.

LED lifespan

Lighting MFs are pretty crucial 

When planning to install lighting solutions, the most significant consideration is a maintenance factor. The Society of Light & Lighting Code for Lighting remarks that a lighting plan needs to be planned with a global maintenance factor measured for the chosen lighting equipment, detailed maintenance schedule, and environment.

Meaning that if one takes into consideration all the factors carefully by taking some time and plan a nice maintenance schedule, the lighting options will shine longer than on average.  

A Maintenance Factor of Around 0.8 isn’t great for all projects

Although an 0.8 MF is a good factor, it is quite an arbitrary number, especially in cases of LED lighting solutions. Having said earlier, every lighting setting is quite different and thus, each lighting project too.

It does not make sense if you are employing the same MF for a factory and an office space. This is because a factory has harsh lighting conditions with robust machinery and remains, whereas offices are usually clean and calm. 

For such reasons, it is believed that the MF needs to be changed for fitting both the light technology and circumstances. However, how to do that? The formula given below illustrates the measurements for the total MF of lighting indoors.


So, as one can see, the formula gets affected by various things. It does not only depend on the lifespan of the lighting fixture that you are using. Later, we are going to discuss these points in detail. However, for now, the following are some details that can affect the MF measurements.

LLMF – lamp lumen maintenance factor

LSF – lamp survival factor

LMF – luminaire maintenance factor

RMF – room maintenance factor

SMF – surface maintenance factor

What factors have an impact on the Maintenance Factor?

As stated above, LED lighting solutions feature the longest life. Also, they show lesser lumen reduction than other lighting types. However, the lighting level decreases with time, even with LED lighting options.

There are various things responsible for this, including fixture failure and dirty surfaces. However, the most significant thing to consider is that people can take relevant measures for lessening the effects of such external factors. 

LED lifespan

Room Surface Maintenance Factor

This is a ratio of the surface reflectance after and before you clean. As per the room’s soiling, there is a reduction in the light level. If the surfaces are not clean, light reflects less and gets lost more. So, this maintenance factor is lower when your room is dirtier.

Luminaire Maintenance Factor

This is a ratio of the luminous flux after and before you clean. It largely hinges on the design and construction of the luminaire. Also, on ecological conditions too. So, this maintenance factor is higher when your room is cleaner. While setting up your maintenance place, take into consideration the luminaries’ accessibility.

Fixture Maintenance Factors

This is a ratio of the luminous flux or fluctuation at a particular time to the new bulb. It describes the light intensity’s reduction over time.

Fixture Survival Factor

This factor largely rests upon the lamp’s service lifetime. The lifetimes of some lamps are reduced through frequent switching. If a bulb does not work, you need to decide about a group replacement or immediate replacement.

The decision can be for replacing lamps in group-wise or special terms. This is true in the case of very huge galleries, where you require machines for reaching the lights.

LED’s Should Outlive Your Expectations

Definitely, this is a novel issue. However, it is not actually a problem as such. Having a wrong LLMF (Lamp Lumen Maintenance Factor) for finding the right maintenance factor features other benefits too for an illumination project.

Now, these benefits could be in the form of planning as per the client’s requirements. For instance, with such an amazing long lifespan of LED lighting options, clients may like to consider them if they require a lifespan of 50,000 hours when it comes to the lighting system

Now, many may be wondering that it is good when life is longer. However, if you are taking an office space on a lease for only seven years, then it is best to invest in a lighting solution that can last about 12-15 years.

So, in that case, we recommend you take a glance at the various other benefits that LED lighting solutions have to offer.

This is because even when you are spending your money on LED lighting options and vacant the area before these lights are dead, you have made your investment back many times over already.

LED lighting solutions save a great deal of money on energy charges. Plus, they are often escorted by rebates. Also, you are going to experience a high-quality, bright illumination with a constant lumen output if you choose LEDs for your facility.

An MF Over 0.8 Is Not Essentially Incorrect

If you are concerned about higher maintenance factor digits, you should be. However, just because this digit goes over 0.8, it does not essentially mean that it is incorrect. In fact, this high figure can provide you with a more precise number.

It is unavoidable that in the project’s early stages, whether refurbishment or new-build, engineers are frequently asked to work with not all details at hand.

So, it is irrational to expect precise numbers at all times. However, there are standardized methods to verify LSF (Lamp Survival Factor) and LLMF (Lamp Lumen Maintenance Factor) present out there.

Also, there is guidance available on how you can directly compare these two. There’s no solid reason why you should solely employ 0.8. It is just that it has been done this way always.

On several occasions, illumination engineers, that employ an exact MF of around 0.88, have their estimates turned back with a special request to employ 0.8. This is even when this is a wrong number.

This practice inspires all to use 0.8 MF as the industry standard. Therefore, this figure should be refrained from using. This is because it does not offer the complete picture. Also, it can even lead to wrong predictions.

Warehouse LED

Poor Planning Wastes the Advantages of LEDs

So, as pointed out by the SLL Code of Lighting, the Maintenance Factor impacts energy efficiency greatly. If you specify excess light at the beginning of an illumination project due to inaccurate MFs, then the customer has to pay heavily for that through the electricity bills.

Also, light is being referred to as a low-hanging berry in the universe of energy savings. This could be due to the fact that light’s been over-stated for longer or too often.

Examples of Lighting Maintenance Calculations

We completely comprehend that such detailed information could be extremely confused. This is true especially when we discuss numbers. Below are some examples to show how you can calculate the Maintenance Factor or MF in diverse settings.

Also, this provides you with a nice depiction of how performing little things, like ensuring that you have a clean facility, can enhance the lighting lifespan and decrease maintenance requirements.

Open-Plan Office (50 employees)

Working hours: 5 days per week, 16 hours a day, 50 working weeks per year (4000 hours each year)

·         Office renewed after 10 years (40,000 hours total)

·         Rooms are cleaner

·         The room and the surfaces are regularly cleaned

·         Lighting System: 4 ft led lights closed luminaries (IP40)

·         LED lighting sources

    Maintenance Factor MF:

    MF =

    Room Surface

    Maintenance Factor (xm)


    Maintenance Factor (xe)

    Lamp Survival

    Factor (x)

    Lamp Lumen Maintenance Factor
    very clean room closed luminaire Good – no chance of damage LED luminous flux degradation over 50,000 hours
    MF = 0.97 0.92 1 0.9

    Total Calculated Maintenance Factor = 0.8

    Factory Location (2000 sq ft) with LED Lighting

    Working hours: 7 days per week, 18 hours a day, 54 working weeks per year (6,800 hours each year)

    ·         One renews the factory floor after 15 years (102,000 hours complete)

    ·         Rooms are quite dirty

    ·         One cleans the room and the surfaces every 5 years

    ·         Lighting System: pendant closed luminaries (IP64)

    ·         LED lighting sources


      MF =

      Room Surface

      Maintenance Factor (xm)


      Maintenance Factor (xe)

      Lamp Survival

      Factor (x)

      Lamp Lumen Maintenance Factor
      dirty room closed luminaire (IP65) Good – no chance of damage LED luminous flux degradation over 100,000 hours
      MF = 0.9 0.94 1 0.7


      Total Calculated Maintenance Factor = 0.6

      Same Factory Location (2000 sq ft) with HID Lighting

      ·         HID lighting sources

      ·         Lamp replacement every 2 years (13,600 hours)


        MF =

        Room Surface

        Maintenance Factor (xm)


        Maintenance Factor (xe)

        Lamp Survival

        Factor (x)

        Lamp Lumen Maintenance Factor

        dirty room

        closed luminaire (IP65)

        HID service lifetime

        HID luminous flux depreciation over 13,600h

        MF =






        Total Calculated Maintenance Factor = 0.46

        LED Industrial and Commercial Lighting and Maintenance Factor

        When we talk about lighting installations, then the maintenance factor becomes a significant factor to consider. However, if you install LED lighting solutions, then this should not be the primary focus of yours.

        That’s because LED lights have a great lifespan with non-prevalent lumen reduction. So, these two factors are the most significant ones when you calculate the MF.

        However, this does not mean that one should ignore the Maintenance Factor altogether. However, LEDs were designed especially for overcoming and eliminating maintenance requirements.

        Also, this is not the only factor that Maintenance Factor takes into account. As stated above, the Maintenance Factor even considers the facility’s conditions, the housing of lighting fixtures, and also the walls. So, all these factors affect the lifespan of a lighting option, including LEDs.

        For such reasons, you have to take some precautions while designing a maintenance plan for lighting installations. All the information should be accurate for offering a precise assessment.

        This begins with the decision of choosing lighting sources. As mentioned above, LED Lighting Modules are pretty efficient and likely to not fail. Also, they provide long lifespans for about 50,000 hours to 100,000 hours. These lighting options go well with diverse control features, such as photocells and dimmers.

        All these factors can affect the Maintenance Factor rating. So, think carefully to make sure that you take everything into consideration. However, despite MF factors, LED lighting options are the perfect way for upgrading the lighting system in an industrial or commercial setting.

        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.

        See more posts by Dwayne Kula