Flat Panel LED Lights Guide
Many homes and workplaces feature rooms with overhead fluorescent lighting. While fluorescent lights are more energy-efficient than incandescent lighting, they are far less energy-efficient than LED lighting. Consequently, many homeowners and businesses are switching from standard straight fluorescent tube light fixtures to flat LED lights.
Despite being around for decades, flat panel LED lights are still a relative newcomer in most buildings. For this reason, you may not have heard of them or know much about how they offer an improvement over fluorescent lights. If you’re like most consumers, you probably have a lot of questions that need to be answered before you even consider making the switch.
For example, how do LED flat panel lights work? How long do they typically last? What do you need to do to install flat LED lights? Finally, where in your home or office should you install these lights?
In today’s guide, we will answer all of these questions and more, but first, let’s examine what flat panel LED lights are and how they work.
What Are LED Flat Panel Lights?
LED flat panel lights are aptly named, as they are essentially installable flat surfaces that emanate light directly from the front of the fixture or along the edges. In either case, many flat panel LED lights are customizable at the time of installation, allowing you to pick both the temperature and wattage. Similar to the fluorescent tube lights that they replace, flat panels typically come in two sizes: 1x4 or 2x4 (feet). The LED 2x4 panel is the most common, as it can easily fit into the space that would otherwise be used for a standard, rectangular fluorescent light box.
As previously mentioned, LED flat panel lights have been around for decades. In many ways, flat LED panels are a lot like LED televisions. They both have flat surfaces that emit light, though LED light panels are far simpler in nature, as they cannot display moving images. LED technology was first introduced in 1962, while flat panel LED lights and LED televisions came along more than a decade later.
How LED Flat Panel Lights Work
LED flat panel lights can work in different ways based on the type of lighting produced. That said, every LED flat panel light has some kind of LED driver. This device converts a high-voltage alternating current into a low-voltage direct current. From here, an LED flat panel light will have several different panels and films to properly disperse and control the light.
With an edge-lit panel light, you can expect to have a frame and back panel. These not only make up the exterior structure of the light, but they also help dissipate heat and contribute to the aesthetic appeal of the light fixture. Between the back panel and the exterior frame are various layers that help control the light. For example, an edge-lit panel light usually has a reflector film to improve light efficiency, a light guide plate (LGP) to control the direction(s) of the light, and a diffusor plate to make the dispersion of light more uniform.
A backlit flat panel light works in much the same way, though it will typically have fewer panels and layers for dispersing light. Instead of deflecting light to the edges, the frame will direct the light straight down through the face of the LED display and frame. This way, the backlighting is allowed to travel straight without being heavily dispersed in different directions.
How Long Do LED Flat Panels Last?
One of the greatest advantages of LED flat panels is their lifespan. The average fluorescent tube will last no more than 20,000 hours, with most growing weaker over time. Fortunately, LED technology allows you to enjoy anywhere between 50,000 and 100,000 hours with no loss in power or quality. Additionally, LED flat panel lights do not require maintenance. This means that you could use the same LED flat panel light for nearly half a century without needing to call an electrician or do any DIY maintenance.
How To Install Flat Panel LED Lights
The process for installing flat panel LED lights will vary based on the qualities of your ceiling (or whichever surface you choose). For instance, you may have already planned for flat panel installation and have ceilings with receding segments to fit flat panels. This allows them to be flush with the rest of the ceiling. If you are installing the lights in a standard office building, you can create the same effect by simply removing the necessary ceiling plaster slabs to make space for the light panels.
Alternatively, you may have a flat ceiling where you want to install your LED flat panel lights, in which case the panel will stick out from the ceiling. Edge-lit panels tend to be thinner, so if you don’t want your panel to stick out very far, you should choose edge-lit over backlit.
Lastly, you might want to arrange your flat panel lights so that they hang from the ceiling. Naturally, the process for installing lights in this way will differ substantially. In any case, we will go over the basic steps you should follow if you plan to install flat panel LED lights on your own:
- Disconnect the power supply to the LED driver before installing the flat panel
- Connect the panel light to the LED driver
- Fix the panel light into the ceiling based on the desired position: receded, flat, or hanging (keep in mind that you may need a separate suspended installation kit to complete this step)
- Reconnect the power supply and turn on your light panel
These are just the basic steps you will need to follow to install your flat panel LED lights. There will almost certainly be additional installation steps, particularly if you need to use a separate suspended installation kit. If you are unsure how to correctly wire your flat panel lights or set them firmly in place, it is always best to hire a professional electrician.
Where Are Flat Panel LED Lights Installed?
As you may already know, LED flat panels are becoming an increasingly popular option in offices and commercial buildings due to their energy, maintenance, and cost-saving benefits. However, they also serve as long-term investments, which makes them a great option for residential buildings as well. With the ability to control temperature and wattage, you no longer have to worry about flat panel lights being too cold, too warm, too dim, or too bright for any given room in your home.
That said, flat panel LED lights may not always fit the aesthetic of every single room. For example, many homeowners opt for flat panel LED lights in kitchens, larger bathrooms, home offices, and laundry rooms. These are rooms that typically require less change in lighting over time, ensuring that you can set it and forget it. However, if you’re sure that you want to keep the same lighting fixture in your living room, bedroom, or another room in your home, flat panel LED lights offer you some of the best long-term value of any kind of light setup.
We hope you found this guide on flat panel LED lights both fun and informative! Are you interested in learning more about flat panel LED lights? Are you ready to purchase high-quality light bulbs at affordable prices? If so, be sure to check out the products available at Bulb Center today!