Why do LED Strip Lights Turn Yellow

Why do LED Strip Lights Turn Yellow?

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LED strip lights are innovative and exciting ways to illuminate your home. An LED strip strewn around the base of your computer will make it look sleek and futuristic. They’re also great underneath cabinets, trim, and wherever you need light.

Yet, if you’ve owned LED strip lights for a while, you may have noticed a slight discoloration.

What was once a brilliantly white strip of lights is now faded and yellow. It can be a real bummer to witness, as the discoloration takes away from the appeal.

So why do LED strip lights turn yellow?

There are numerous reasons why LED light strips begin to turn yellow, but the result is always the same. The diodes burn out and change color whenever the strip lights get too hot. It could be due to a lack of ventilation, corrosion, overuse, etc.

If you want to learn more about why your LED strip lights turn yellow and how to prevent it, you’re in the right place. Read on to discover the science behind what’s causing your strip lights to lose their luster.

Why Are My LED Strips Turning Yellow?

Something is off if you’ve only had your LED strip lights for a few weeks, and they’re already discoloring. First, it could be the quality of the lights that you bought.

Cheaper LED strip lights use poor-quality materials. Their silicone layers are weak and begin to wear out immediately.

That means within a few weeks; you’ll already get that ugly yellow hue. However, if you bought quality lights and still have discoloration – something else is at play.

Lots of factors can affect the diodes in your LED strip lights. For one, LED strip lights will burn bright and require a lot of power for each diode. As such, you’ll need a significant power supply capable of generating a good current. Without taking proper care of the power supply, issues can arise.

Your LED Strip Lights Are Overheating

Since LED strip lights use a lot of power, they need many ways to dissipate the heat. The adhesive tape will have cooling properties if you buy quality LED strip lights.

It has ceramic particles inside the tape that wick away excess heat from the diodes. Cheaper-quality LED strip lights don’t contain cooling adhesive tape. That’s why it’s worth spending money on high-quality LED strip lights that won’t discolor in a few weeks.

Other forms of heat dissipation include:

  • Casings and conduits. You can buy optional casings for your LED strip lights that will help dissipate heat. Aluminum casings act as a makeshift heat sink for your strip lights. That will keep your LEDs cool, so the diodes won’t overheat.
  • The location and surface type. It will make a significant difference where you choose to install your LED lights. If you place them in a cramped area without much air (i.e., in a drawer), they will overheat quicker. Also, surfaces like wood are insulating and will retain heat from the LEDs. That’s not good as it will cause your strip lights to overheat. Ideal surfaces for LED strip lights are plastic, ceramic, and metallic.

Your LEDs Are Old and Need Replacing

LEDs are built to last, but they aren’t invincible. It’s natural for LED strip lights to show degradation or discoloration over time. Age is likely the culprit if you’ve had your strip lights for many years before they discolored. In this scenario, the best thing you can do is replace them with a fresh set.

If you’re attached to the old set, you can choose to re-lamp them. However, that process may be costlier than simply replacing your lights. It depends on the overall cost of your setup.

Paint Got Inside the Circuits

Did your LED strip lights discolor straight after you painted your apartment? If so, you may have gotten paint inside of the circuits. If you didn’t adequately protect your LED strip lights, paint can quickly get inside and discolor the diodes. Trust us; it doesn’t take much paint to discolor an LED. Even the tiniest paint speck (smaller than the point of a pen) will cause the diode to fade or discolor.

If paint gets far enough inside the circuitry, it can completely ruin your strip lights. If you plan on painting your home or apartment soon, make sure to cover your LEDs with something protective. Commercial sealing sprays will effectively seal your LEDs and protect them from paint and moisture.

Your LED Strip Lights Have No Air

LED strip lights require proper air ventilation to prevent overheating. There must be plenty of space to dispel warm air and bring in cool air. If you have your LEDs behind the couch, between a wall and a panel, or any other tight area, they aren’t getting enough air. As a result, you may notice your lights discoloring over time.

The ideal spot has enough room for air to move in all directions. If the lights don’t have any ‘breathing room,’ so to speak, they risk overheating. Do your best to install your LED strip lights in areas with ample airflow.

How to Fix Yellow LED Lights

By now, you should understand why LED strip lights turn yellow. It all has to do with the diodes overheating and changing color. For the most part, the best fix is to prevent your LEDs from yellowing in the first place. But if your LEDs are already yellow, there are a few ways to fix them.

If the yellowing is only due to dust or water stains, low-concentration alcohol wipes will do the trick. If the problem is more severe, you need to re-lamp or replace your strip lights.

Here are some tips for preventing your lights from yellowing:

  • Keep your LEDs away from surfaces like wood and plastic
  • Use aluminum channels to dissipate heat
  • Improve the airflow of the area where you install strip lights
  • Purchase LED strip lights with an IP rating to ensure their quality and durability
  • Avoid placing LED lights in wet, hot, or humid areas

If you follow these best practices, you shouldn’t run into any problems with discoloration.

Final Thoughts: Why Do LED Strip Lights Turn Yellow?

The diodes in your LED strip lights are sensitive, especially to heat. If your LEDs are in an area that has poor airflow, some discoloration can occur. The same is true if your LEDs are on a non-conductive surface such as wood or plastic. Lastly, it would help if you strived to purchase high-quality LED lights with an IP rating. That way, you know you’re getting premium materials that won’t start to discolor in a few weeks.