Tips to Stop LED Lights From Glowing When Off

People not used to LED lights are often caught off guard by their dim glow that often persists even after the bulb is turned off. While not inherently harmful to the bulb or the installation, this effect can be both annoying and slightly bump up your energy consumption.

So, why do LED lights continue to glow after switching off, should you be concerned, and what can you do about it?

The quick answer is that some diodes in LED bulbs – particularly in lower quality bulbs – can pick up even the slightest electric supply and light up because of it. This is something that other types of light bulbs can’t do.

So, essentially, if your LED bulb is giving off a dim light even when it’s turned off, this isn’t an indication that there’s something wrong with the bulb but rather that your lighting fixture still has a slight electrical current going through it even when it’s off.

Why do led bulbs glow when turned off?

The main causes for this phenomenon are the following two:

  1. There is a neutral wire within the electric circuit that isn’t bonded with the earth.
  2. There is an electromagnetic induction causing an electric pick-up along the cable wires.

Either of these can cause a LED bulb to light up slightly. This isn’t really damaging to the bulb. Yes, it’s “wasting its lifespan” but LED bulbs already last ridiculously long anyway. The other minor drawback is that this consumes a bit of electricity but again – that’s not too significant given the small consumption we’re talking about.

Nevertheless, if a LED light bulb glows when switched off, that is an indication of an irregularity in the system so you might want to fix it.

How to stop led lights glowing when off?

There are several ways to approach this and they are all pretty simple. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Replace the light bulb with a higher quality LED bulb. This won’t fix the underlying cause of the problem but if all you care about is getting rid of the annoyance, that’s the quickest way to go about it. Just make sure that the new bulb is of a trusted and high-quality brand.
  2. Grond the wiring. You’ll need to get a Zener diode for this method – that’s a diode that regulates the circuit’s voltage and blocks any excess charge when the system’s turned off.
  3. Install a neon indicator to soak up the extra charge. These indicators can be bought on Amazon and need to be connected between the neutral and lone bulb at the end of the string. Essentially, this way the indicator will glow instead of the bulb.
  4. If the light fixture is still in warranty you can and should contact the manufacturer as what you’re seeing is literally a faulty lighting fixture and not a faulty bulb. Alternatively, you can also call an electrician if this all sounds too complicated.


Blogger, editor, developer who loves green living. Interested in photovoltaics and solar lighting. Reviewing solar products since 2013.

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