Are you looking for a way to save energy and money? If so, you may want to consider using LED strip lights. LED strip lights are a great way to light up any space, and they use a fraction of the energy as other types of lighting. What’s more, LED strip lights are UL listed, which means they meet safety standards set by the United States. So if you’re looking for a safe and energy-efficient way to light up your home or office, LED strip lights UL listed are a perfect choice.
What is a UL listing?
UL, formerly known as Underwriters Laboratories, is a company that creates product safety standards and tests them to see if they fulfill those criteria. Although UL develops many of these standards, other Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTLs) could also test against them. Many manufacturers prefer to use alternative NRTLs because they provide lower prices and faster turnaround times. Other test agencies and certifications, such as ETL and TUV, may be encountered.
When a producer submits a product for testing, it is tested against the UL standard that the product is categorized under. For example, 12V and 24V LED strips are covered by the UL2108, Low Voltage Lighting Systems standard. If the product passes the test, it is regarded as “listed” and will bear the appropriate label to indicate this. The UL or ETL logo and the matching file number are usually printed directly onto the surface of the LED strip substrate.
What is an LED strip light and what can they do?
A flexible circuit board packed with LEDs that you can attach practically anywhere you wish to add intense lighting in a variety of colors and brightnesses is known as an LED strip light.
You can cut the strip every few inches, giving you the freedom to create your project any way you want without worrying about space constraints. LED strip lights are bendable and can be twisted up to 90 degrees vertically. This allows you to bring light into areas previously thought to be dark. LEDs may be made to emit a wide range of single colors and color-shifting options. LED strips with a thickness of 1/16″ (2mm) can be fitted in various confined areas and discreetly hidden from view. A durable 3M tape is attached to the back of the strip, allowing you to peel and stick lights to various surfaces.
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Who says LED strips require UL listing?
Before a construction project, including new structures or renovations, can begin in the United States, various permission and inspection requirements must be completed. Particulars and Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) vary by region and locale. Still, most would refer to the National Electric Code (NEC), which establishes basic standards for protecting people and property from injury and damage caused by electricity usage.
Article 411 of the NEC specifies the criteria for lighting systems that operate at less than 30 volts or are linked to a Class 2 (less than 100 watts) power source.
Specifically, article 411 says:
Lighting systems operating at 30 volts or less shall comply with 411.3(A) or 411.3(B).
(A) List System. Lighting systems operating at 30 volts or less shall be listed as complete. The luminaires, power supply, and luminaire fittings (including the exposed bare conductors) of an exposed plain conductor lighting system shall be listed for use as part of the same identified lighting system.
(B) Assembly of Listed Parts A lighting system assembled from the following listed parts shall be permitted:
(1) Low-voltage luminaires
(2) Low-voltage luminaire power supply
(3) Class 2 power supply
(4) Low-voltage luminaire fittings
(5) Cord (secondary circuit) for which the luminaires and power supply are listed for use
(6) Cable, conductors in conduit, or another fixed wiring method for the secondary circuit
The luminaires, power supply, and luminaire fittings (including the exposed bare conductors) of an exposed plain conductor lighting system shall be listed for use as part of the same identified lighting system.
In other words, LED strip lights must be listed as part of a documented lighting system (e.g., LED strip lighting kit) or independently as one of the components of a completed system (UL/ETL or otherwise).
Are LED strips exempt from UL requirements under NEC because they fall under Class 2?
Class 2 refers to circuits that are, by definition, limited to a specific voltage (60V DC) and power (100W). As a result, compared to circuits that connect directly into a conventional 120V/240V AC mains power supply, the risk of electrical shock and fire is significantly reduced for Class 2 circuits. As a result, the safety precautions that must be taken are less strict. This is reflected in NEC article 725, which specifies the types of wires and connecting procedures permitted.
Any designation exempting components in a Class 2 circuit from the requirement to be listed as lacking. Many people mistakenly believe that UL508a covers lighting circuits, although this standard exclusively covers industrial control panels.
Following the NEC criteria, we can conclude that LED strips are subject to UL listing requirements and that the UL2108 (IFDR) standard should be utilized to evaluate LED strip goods.
How do I know if a product is UL listed?
Any UL-listed product will bear the signature UL marking and the appropriate file number.
Because all of our electrical goods (ribbon, controls, and power) are UL rated, it’s easy to tell if a product is UL listed at Nova Flex LED. Our LEDs are safe and ready to use in the applications they were designed. Indoor, outdoor, and fully submersible applications are all covered by our solutions. Contact your local distributor if you’re concerned about getting excellent UL-certified supplies for your next job.
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The limitations of NEC requirements and situations where UL listing would NOT be needed for LED strips
It’s crucial to remember that the NEC norms and requirements aren’t mandated by law; therefore, installing non-listed LED strips isn’t illegal. Instead, as previously stated, construction and renovation licenses are granted, and installations are examined by the appropriate authority (AHJ). In essence, the AHJ is responsible for interpreting and enforcing the NEC.
The NEC itself lays this out thus:
The authority having jurisdiction for enforcement of the Code has the responsibility for making interpretations of the rules, deciding on the approval of equipment and materials, and granting the special permission contemplated in a number of the rules. By special permission, the authority having jurisdiction may waive specific requirements in this Code or permit alternative methods to ensure that equivalent objective can be achieved by establishing and maintaining adequate safety.
In other words, if an AHJ considers that LED strips are intrinsically low-risk and represent almost no shock or fire threat, they are perfectly within their rights to approve non-listed LED strips for use in an installation, effectively rendering the NEC article 411 standards worthless.
It is frequently a business choice involving development and insurance firms and their willingness to assume liability for potential property damage and personal injury. While installing a non-listed 120V light bulb may pose a significant shock and fire danger for which corporations are hesitant to accept responsibility, LED strips installed on an isolated Class 2 circuit may be deemed low enough of a risk for a non-listed LED strip product to be approved. In the unusual event that an LED strip causes a fire, they may be able to retain a strong position in court by arguing that LED strips in a Class 2 circuit should have been intrinsically safe.
What if there isn’t an AHJ or inspector present? This is frequently the situation for end-users who buy non-listed LED strips directly from the manufacturer. Neither the seller nor the customer is breaching any laws. This is frequently the case with lesser-known companies and online retailers, and there is nothing intrinsically wrong or illegal about it. In truth, buying and selling 120V AC light bulbs without a UL listing is legal as well, but the risks are far higher; therefore, you’ll see very few vendors do so, and buyers of these unlisted products take on significant injury and financial risk, with likely no legal redress.
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If I’m not required to use LED strip lights UL listed, is it still better to choose UL-listed ones?
Receiving a UL listing (or equivalent) can be expensive for manufacturers. As a result, you’ll typically discover that UL-listed LED strips are more expensive. But, if the LED strip isn’t going into an installation that requires it, are there any advantages to paying the UL listing premium?
While there are specific critiques and concerns about UL’s program, notably in regards to their fees and pricing practices, the overall benefit of UL is that it helps to mitigate legal and financial risk. If the non-listed LED strip, for example, causes property damage or personal injury, both parties face legal troubles. The seller would have to demonstrate that their product was free of defects or design flaws that contributed to the damage. In the case of the buyer, their insurance companies may refuse to pay for damage claims incurred as a result of using unlisted goods. In other words, lawyers could argue that both the buyer and the seller were negligent.
If a UL-listed LED strip causes property damage or personal injury, on the other hand, both the customer and seller can make a strong case that they believed the UL label reflected a certain level of confidence in the product’s safety thereby avoiding the danger of any negligence claims.
Remember that UL standards have nothing to do with product performance, durability, or quality. While a UL-registered product may have undergone more rigorous testing, this is based on whether the device poses a shock or fire hazard. As a result, it’s a good idea to consider all aspects of an LED strip product, not just the UL listing.
Whether you’re a manufacturer, distributor, contractor, or DIYer/consumer, understanding the rules and regulations surrounding UL listing for LED strips can be difficult but crucial. For some projects, UL listing may be a requirement for clearance, in which case you’ll have no choice but to look for LED strip lights UL listed.
However, in other cases, it’s less black-and-white and more about your evaluation of the hazards. While it is true that LED strips reduce the risk of electric shock and fire, this does not mean that they are entirely eradicated or nonexistent.