Monday, June 30, 2014

3000°K LEDs Do Attract Bugs

I have ended nearly a year of wishful thinking that LEDs might not need to be sealed against admission of bugs, determined to be guided by a fragment of starlight. 4" Glimpse, except poorly sealed against bugs, seemed a wonderful replacement for 50-watt halogens, dead in cans, on front soffits of an upscale 1998 home. Such an easy way to improve a home, with more than 80% reduction in energy use.

This is the usual appearance of the halogen can. Dead.

This is appearance with a 9.5 watt 4" Glimpse can retrofit, a jewel in early-morning light. I have recklessly done these difficult second-story replacements having no light to use, but 4" Glimpse.

So pretty!

Now I must take off the blinders, and be responsible for what I have done. After eleven months, five first-floor soffit lights all have brown peppering, clouding still-pretty lenses.

Yes, bugs are compelled to find that guiding light.

Quite a collection on the rim and lens!

Big bugs died too, seeking the light, including a pesky attic-dwelling stink bug and a cricket.

I am liable for what I have done, knowing better, and have promised to take back the 4" Glimpse, mostly at my loss, when a better product arrives. I continue to buy 4" Glimpse, with great restraint. I will not again install one outdoors. Where lights will last a lifetime, it is worse than absurd, to use them in a way that commands difficult annual maintenance. 

A message then to lighting manufacturers: don't leave paths to be explored by bugs. Most lights I will use do well in this. Lighting Science Group, please fix and upgrade diode boards in 4" Glimpse. Your four-year old product deserves to be killed by a little competition.

And now after dispensing more anger against manufacturers who don't constantly improve their products in a time of rapid evolution, I see I have overlooked my ticket out of trouble in this job. I needed only two strips of my Nashua Foilmastic tape over the two keyholes, to cover the light leaks. I will go back immediately, and fix all ten lights. I will stop thinking maybe there is an A19 LED light bulb that would have been a better retrofit. All cans, be damned!

Thirteen days on, I am taking down all ten exterior soffit 4” Glimpse lights, to cover slots that attract and admit bugs, applying strips of Nashua 367-17 foil-mastic tape. This is the fifth of five treated this morning, twenty five minutes into the task. Now-practiced, I will photograph the process. Thirteen days of bug accumulation is large, already visible as browning of the lens.

Lots of little bugs in just thirteen days!

The dusted and reassembled light is sealed with ~1” strips of Nashua 367-17 tape. Tape adhesion seems fine and durable on these new surfaces. Adhesion will be much less satisfactory on year-old surfaces, perhaps plasticized by bug traffic.

For Glimpse lights installed at first-floor level a year ago, I attached the green tethers. That attachment is now a nuisance. I will detach the tethers to take down lights, and will not reattach them. Note the can light hacking of soffits to 6 1/2” diameter. What a shame. In the future, penetrations will be minimal, in low voltage DC circuits. A house will last much longer than technology in its lighting.