Our Field Services team has installed hundreds of LED panels for businesses across the UK and here’s our advice on what to consider when choosing them.
LED panels are very efficient and quality of light is higher so take time and expert views on how many panels you will need. For example, you might have nine fluorescent tubes but would need only six LED panels to achieve the same lighting effect.
It pays to invest in quality. Think twice before purchasing a budget price LED panel. In our experience, the cheap-as-chips models have poor light render and manufacture quality is often not good, which means more failures with more maintenance and replacement expense.
You are effectively buying an electronics device with LEDs and the build quality of the chip in particular is crucial. Investing in quality LED panels means you should gin the most benefit of the energy savings they deliver – up to 50%.
What are your emergency requirements? You need is to ensure that you meet the regulations for the area in which you plan to install it. Not all panels meet the fire ratings stated in Part B Building Regulations. Make sure your panel is IP44 rated and compliant with Part B Building Regulations for office spaces, foyers, corridors and exit routes in the event of a fire.
The fully compliant panels have a separate live feed which charges a battery that kicks in when there’s an emergency to give lighting for up to three hours – and they should be simple to install.
Dimming is a big consideration. Most panels do come with a dimmable driver but there might be problems with how that driver dims. You can get standard 1-10 Volt dimming which is on a rotary dimmer but because LED is a lot less electrical load than a standard tube, some dimmers cannot sense there is any light there as the load is so low, which leads to flickering. That’s why it’s best to get an LED compatible dimmer.
We recommend the Lutron Energi TriPak, a wireless energy saving solution. The wireless controls install up to 70% faster than equivalent wired systems and can be adjusted and maintained easily to minimise disruption. Find out more here.
In our experience, one of biggest challenges to overcome is getting old light fittings out of the ceiling but we have learned the most effective ways to resolve any issues.
Expert knowledge also is handy in unexpected situations. For example, we installed LED panels in a hotel conference room and found the existing lights were sealed in and recessed in the ceiling, which meant that there was no way to fix the new panels, after removing the old fittings.
We employed a local fabricator who built recessed panel mounting frame fittings in a week and we could then surface-mount the LED panels.
You also need to be prepared for a bit of muck. Replacing lights in busy environments, especially kitchens needs careful planning – fittings collect a lot of dirt and debris over the years. For example, we have installed LED panels during the night in hotel kitchens to avoid disruption and any potential health hazards.
Wiring should be pretty straightforward. In some cases the cable sheath might have degraded but it’s a straightforward task to replace it. This should not be an issue with LED panels as there is much less heat, because there is no controlling ballast like in fluorescent fittings where a lot of the heat comes from.
Another maintenance advantage with panels is that they are not insect bug traps, unlike a lot of tubes which emit you get UV light that acts like a magnet for insects.
Our range of quality LED panels are an extremely effective and energy efficient way to light a working environment. Providing a higher, more consistent flicker-free light, they are the perfect replacement for the traditional 600×600 modular luminaires and fluorescent tubes, commonly found in most commercial installations.