With new technology comes new fears. Smart lights are awesome, yes, but are they awesome enough to risk catching fire and burning your house down?
Smart lights are usually LED lights, which means that they produce less heat than fluorescent bulbs and are not a fire hazard (unless used improperly). However, they increase the production of EMF radiation and they might increase the risk of someone hacking into your network.
Leaving a LED light on isn’t nearly as dangerous as leaving a fluorescent or iridescent lightbulb on for 24 hours. But the benefits of having a smart bulb also come with some disadvantages as well, which could be even more dangerous.
LED Heat Sinks
Iridescent bulbs are what most people use. They are the least efficient bulbs out there–but they’re also the most commonplace and cheapest, which is probably why they’re so popular. Ah, the American Dream.
Out of all the energy iridescent bulbs use, 90% of it is turned into heat, and 10% of it is turned into light. So if you’ve just turned off your lamp, don’t touch the bulb. That’s a good way to scar your hand.
LED lights use different technology than other lightbulbs. They’re more efficient than common lightbulbs, which decreases the amount of heat they give off. No matter how much heat it produces, there is a heat sink at the base of the bulb that will prevent the heat from being emitted. LED lights don’t heat up.
Because of this, LED lights are not fire hazards. And unless they’re not functioning properly, they will not catch fire. They can be left on at all times with no fire or heat problems.
The only problem that it might cause is putting a dent in your wallet because you’ll have to pay for all the power you’re using, even if the lights stay on while you’re sleeping.
That’s why we recommend using a scheduling feature, which is a built-in feature for most smart lights. It will turn them on and off at certain times of the day no matter what you’re doing, so even if you forget, you don’t have to pay to keep them on all night every night.
Even though LEDs can be left on at all times without burning up, it’s possible that they might be broken or malfunctioning, so if you start noticing something smoking or your LED lights heating up enough that they burn to the touch, unplug them and request a replacement.
They’re not working properly if they’re doing this. And they very well could burn something up if the problem isn’t addressed.
EMF Radiation and Blue Light
Smart lights are usually LED lights, and LED lights have some other problems that have nothing to do with heat–but rather with the light and radiation they’re emitting. LED lights are really efficient, which means they don’t use a lot of the power they draw from the house.
So, essentially, they send it back through the house’s wiring. This is called “dirty electricity” and it’s dangerous because it emits extra low-frequency (ELF) EMF radiation.
ELF EMF radiation has been shown to increase the risk of leukemia in children, and it can have negative effects on the rest of your family if they’re exposed to it for a long time. To see if the levels of EMF are too high in your home, use an EMF reader (there are ones specific to ELF-EMF). Or, if you’re not sure you know how to use one of those readers, you can call your power company to do a scheduled reading and check-up.
EMF radiation isn’t the only thing you should look out for. Most lightbulbs produce warm light, but LED lights produce high amounts of blue light, which can have dangerous effects.
High levels of blue light come from electronic devices as well (such as phones or tablets), which is why it might be hard to fall asleep after hours and hours of staring at a screen. Blue light suppresses melatonin production in the brain, and melatonin is a hormone that helps us sleep.
But blue light can do more than screw up your sleeping schedule. Multiple studies have shown that prolonged exposure to LED lights can cause irreversible damage to your retinas and macular degeneration, which is basically just the deterioration of vision, so you can’t see in the center field of your vision anymore.
As cool as smart lights are, they’re not worth it if you can’t see them anymore–because you won’t be able to see anything anymore.
Smart Devices and Hackers
This problem doesn’t have anything to do with the lightbulbs themselves–just the fact that they’re smart lights. The more smart devices you have hooked up to your network, the higher the risk you have that hackers will be able to use them to hack into your network and find your personal information.
You might think that turning the lights off for longer periods of time will decrease the chance of you getting hacked, but unlike the fire risk and EMF radiation, whether they’re on or not doesn’t change the risk. The smart lights are still connected to your network, and therefore, hackers can still use them to get into your system.
The best way to keep this from happening is by creating strong passwords with a lot of random characters. If you make strong passwords for the apps that connect to your smart lights, then you should be safe from information stealers.
Home Streamliner’s Take
Smart lights aren’t a risk when it comes to fire. You can basically leave them on whenever you want-even when you’re on vacation you can still use timed lights that will make it seem like someone is home. We don’t recommend that, but you could.
The real problem comes from advanced technology and dirty electricity. But as long as you’ve got a strong password and you’re monitoring the EMF levels, you should be fine. Just be sure to schedule them so they’re not on all the time, so your eyes aren’t exposed to high levels of blue light all the time.
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