Improper LED Retrofits Pose a Risk

April 4, 2016

Uncertified upgrade kits could be hazardous.

While LED retrofit kits for commercial buildings can help FMs and owners save on utility bills, UL is warning that some kits could pose a fire or shock hazard to users. The report stems from the safety organization receiving an increasing number of reports showing that LED retrofit kits that are uncertified or incorrectly installed could be a hazard in facilities.

“The common thinking is that LED retrofits are low-voltage. This is not true. All retrofit kits will include branch circuit connections and should be treated with proper safety precautions,” says Bahram Barzideh, Principal Engineer for UL’s Lighting Division. “A retrofit kit is more than just parts. When a luminaire is modified using off-the-shelf parts, there is no way to know if the luminaire is compliant or even safe.”

UL notes that a kit may use parts that are individually certified for safety, but there’s no way to know that the whole kit is safe if the entire product (including its installation directions) isn’t certified together. To avoid putting occupants at risk, the organization recommends that a qualified electrician should perform all upgrades as well as using retrofit kits that are third-party verified as safe for use.

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