5 LED Strip Pitfalls to Avoid

June 25, 2024

LED strip lights are a versatile and affordable way to add accent lighting, task lighting, or just some fun ambiance to any room. But with so many options out there, it's easy to end up with strips that don't quite nail the vibe you were going for. Steer clear of these five common missteps when find the perfect LED strip light for any space.

Mistake #1: Choosing the Wrong Light Color/Temperature

This is probably the biggest factor that can make or break your LED strip lighting goals. The color temperature of the LEDs dramatically impacts the atmosphere and feeling they create.

Warm white strips (2700K-3000K) give off an inviting, cozy, ambient glow - perfect for living spaces, bedrooms, and lounges where you want to create a relaxing vibe.

Meanwhile, brighter, cooler daylight temps (5000K+) are better suited for garages, closets, or workspaces where you need focused, crisp task lighting.

Don't just default to the cheapest option - really think about the mood and lighting needs for each space.

Mistake #2: Underestimating Your Length Needs

Nothing kills LED strip ambiance like running out of lights before reaching the end of a run! But it's also a waste to buy way more length than required.

Carefully measure your installation spaces and calculate the full length needed plus a bit extra for turns and connectors. Most strips are sold in set lengths or spools, so plan ahead to avoid frustrating gaps or overbuying.

While you're measuring, consider future-proofing for new spaces - it's often cheaper to invest in one long strip spool than multiple smaller ones.

Mistake #3: Overlooking Protection Needs

Basic LED strips aren't designed to withstand excessive moisture or physical abuse. Only using them in open-air, low-risk applications is asking for issues like shorts, burns, or premature burnout.

For damp/humid spaces like bathrooms or outdoors, you'll need at least an IP65 waterproof rating. Areas prone to impacts or crushing require extra protection in the form of housing channels or aluminum strips.

Read the fine print on any LED strip protection specs to ensure they're suitable for the install environment. The extra spend on protection upfront saves so much headache and costs down the road.

Mistake #4: Skimping on Power Supplies

Another common LED strip pitfall? Installing strips that are too long for their underpowered supply unit to handle. This leads to flickering, unstable lighting, and potentially hazardous overheating.

Map out the sizing requirements for your power supply based on the total wattage draw of the LED strips you plan to install. It's usually better to go with a slightly larger supply than risk maxing out the capacity.

Also be mindful that some LED strips may require specific low-voltage power sources or converters. Skimping on a cheap incorrect supply can damage the entire setup.

Mistake #5: Not Budgeting for Connectors and Accessories

Beyond just the strips and power supply, your LED lighting setup will likely require various connectors, mounting clips/tracks, dimmers/controllers, and maybe even aluminum channels or casings.

Factor these accessory costs into your overall install budget upfront. It's an often-overlooked expense that can really start nickel-and-diming you, especially as your linear footage requirements grow.

Having to stop your install midway to re-order extra accessories is a huge time and effort drain, so just plan for it holistically from the start.

The Right LED Strips? Radiant Ambiance Everywhere

With a little foresight around choosing the proper color temperature, installation environment protection, power supplies, lengths, and accessory package from the start, your new LED strip lighting setup will pay dividends.

No tripping over unsightly wiring or worrying about water or impact damage. Just pure, even accent lighting or task illumination casting your spaces in that perfect warm-yet-crisp glow.

Avoid these pitfalls, and you're well on your way to an ambient, energy-efficient radiance transformation that lasts for years to come. Time to start basking in better light!

 

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