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Condensation in LED well lights?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by PaperCutter, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    A client of mine (I do landscape design and consulting) had a low voltage LED system installed by a professional landscape lighting company this summer. The FX Luminaire well lights are all producing a ton of condensation inside the lens. I met the foreman on site this past week and he said that because the lamp itself is a sealed beam unit there's no longevity issue, which is great, but it kind of looks like crap. Is this common to these fixtures? Is there a fix, short of just leaving the lens off?
  2. JHFMX

    JHFMX LawnSite Member
    from Georgia
    Messages: 13

    He is correct and it is common because what happens is when it cools then heats and cools then heats it creates a vacuum , which sucks the moisture in but doesn't release any do to the water tight seal. Leaving the lens off is not ideal because you will shorten the life of the LED. What type of lamp is it? If the LED itself is sealed from moisture then maybe it would work? You would still have to worry about fixture/ pin corrosion over a long period of time though.
  3. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    Yeah, between understanding the basic science and having dealt with lighting for years I get why it's happening. What I'm trying to cipher out is how to get it to stop happening. Up till now all the well lights I've had installed have been PAR36s with no lens besides what's on the lamp. Aesthetically speaking the perpetual fog and water droplets on the inside of these lenses doesn't look great and the client (who is super picky anyhow) is complaining.
  4. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    My first suggestion is to use better quality fixtures. In-grade well lights are one category of fixture that I strongly encourage people to spend money on. Spec. grade, no less.

    That being said, send me a private message here or an email and I will provide you with a solution.
  5. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    I just realized my reply may have sounded snotty - sorry if it came across that way, JHFMX.

    Thanks for the comment, James. PM sent.
  6. Illumicare

    Illumicare Inactive
    Messages: 148

    Hi PaperCutter,
    I would look for the type of wire coming into the fixture, and whether the wire entry is sealed also. Some fixtures use a paper wrapped 3-conductor wire. The fixture can be completely sealed, but water can wick up the paper, causing the fixture to have water or moisture inside. If this is the case, completely seal the wire entry into the fixture, but also seal the supply side of the wire, so that no moisture enters.
    Another solution, is to use large silica gel packs. The same kind you get with your shoes or electronics, just a lot bigger! These will absorb any moisture that gets in the fixture, and stop it from condensating (Is that a word?) on the lens. If the fixture is flooding..these won't help, but if it's just atmospheric moisture, they should do the trick...just don't eat them! lol
    John Higo
  7. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    Given all the warnings, those gel packs must taste awesome. And do very bad things to you.

    I'll def check for that. Standing water isn't an issue. Are issues like this more prevalent in areas with heavy clay soils that hold water like a champ? Because that would describe Virginia.
  8. Illumicare

    Illumicare Inactive
    Messages: 148

    If it is wicking, it definitely would be, because the clay holds th moisture, the paper would sit in it longer, thus having more time to wick the moisture.
    If it is purely atmospheric, soil type shouldn't matter, but humidity would. If you have a lot of condensation you might need to swap out gel packs after the first couple of days.

    John Higo
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. steveparrott

    steveparrott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,276

    Wicking may be an issue, but even IP68 (completely sealed) fixtures will have this condensation problem unless the atmosphere within the fixture was extremely low humidity when it was sealed. Sealed lamp mfgs. flush the air out with near zero humidity and certain gases. Sealed fixture mfgs. most likely don't do that.
  10. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    The lights were installed in Virginia in July. It's not quite as bad as Arkansas was, but it's still pretty darn swampy, so it sounds like humidity at time of install really is playing a role.

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