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Can Philip Hue Lights Be Used In Enclosed Fixtures? 

By  Bob Thom

QUICK ANSWER

Philips Hue themselves do not recommend putting their bulbs into an enclosed fixture, doing so will void your warranty if the bulb does become faulty. If you do decide to do it anyway keep in mind that your bulb lifespan may be reduced, but some people have done it with no issues, while others have had issues.

Enclosed Light Fittings 

Enclosed light fittings, that is light housing where the light bulb is sealed off, allow the control of lighting in selected areas and are particularly good for forcing light downwards rather than spreading the light evenly around a room. This is particularly popular in bathrooms and kitchens.

Enclosed light fittings are great for creating mood-lighting in the bedroom and useful for illuminating areas you need more intense spots of lighting, such as in the bathroom and kitchen.

These lights tend to have a low profile or even be set into the ceiling or wall and often look very sleek.

They are the modern way of lighting an area.

A variety of bulb fitting options have been used in recent years and you may find that your bulb requirements differ from room to room.

The most commonly used fittings are the B22 (The common Bayonette fit), the E27 (Screw fit) and the GU10 (two legs, with small feet).

The bulbs are fitted behind glass which is often partially opaque, to give a slightly more diffuse glow and prevent you from seeing the internals of the bulb.

Note: Although LED bulbs generate much less heat than traditional bulbs, they're also much more sensitive to it and if the heat cannot be dispersed you're likely going to run into problems, the Hue bulbs being no exception. 

The enclosed fixture in my bathroom, which does not have a Philips Hue bulb in.

LEDs In Enclosed Lighting Fixtures  

The problem with modern LED lightbulbs is that they are more than just the glowing metal loop of the previous generations of lightbulbs. Instead, they have multiple components all working to regulate the power to the Light Emitting Diode, or LED.

One of the greatest enemies of electrical components is heat. Unfortunately, an LED lightbulb working in a sealed environment is going to generate heat and this may be difficult to dissipate from the enclosure.

Whilst LED's give off much less heat than older lightbulbs, they are also much more susceptible to damage caused by heat.

Heat may cause the LED bulb to become less efficient and mess with the voltage passing through the lightbulb. This can cause flickering or a change in the brightness or colour of the light being emitted.

LED bulbs, therefore, rely on having a relatively low temperature around the bulb for heat to dissipate and allow the bulb to continue to function normally.

Given the price of smart lightbulbs, we want to keep them working in the best order for as long as possible.

So, given all of the above, what if you want to go ahead and fit Philips Hue lightbulbs into enclosed light fittings? Read on…

The Philips Hue Warranty 

Philips Hue bulbs come with a warning to not use them in enclosed fixtures. This can be on the box, the bulb or in the accompanying leaflet.

Reading through numerous Reddit threads and Amazon reviews, it's clear to see that problems can and do crop up in bulbs that are being used in enclosed fixtures.

If you turn to Philips for help with a bulb that has burnt out much earlier than you expected, you will be asked how you were using it. 

Their responses to being informed the bulb had been in an enclosed space will be along these lines:

Currently the Hue bulbs are not designed to work in ceiling fan fixtures or enclosed fixtures. Having your Hue bulbs in these application will cause your Hue bulbs to fail and void their warranty. With your bulbs being used in this application we will not be able to warranty your Hue bulb at this time.

Philips Customer Service email to an Amazon customer, July 2017

While over on Reddit their response was:

based on the information provided, bulb being used in an enclosed fixture which is not recommended. Therefore, warranty voids on the product.

Philips Customer Satisfaction Department, February 2019

Whilst enclosed fittings are not specifically mentioned under the Philips Hue Warranty, they do state that they will not cover you for neglect, abuse or misuse. Given the warnings on the bulb or packaging, using a Philips hue light bulb in an enclosure will be deemed misuse.

The Philips Hue Gu10 LED Light Bulbs

Philips Hue does have a range of smart light bulbs for the GU10 fitting.

GU10 bulbs tend to be the most common lighting fitting for downlighter/spotlight in recesses and often operate on a lower wattage compared to their bigger brothers.

Philips Hue GU10 light bulbs operate on a range of between 5 and 5.7 watts, whilst the B22 and E27 bulbs are between 7 and 9 watts. This means they generate less heat and, whilst still not recommended based on the warranty, they can be used more reliably in enclosed fittings at your own risk. 

Fittings

Wattage

E27

7 - 9w

B22

7 - 9w

GU10 

5 - 5.7w

Conclusion 

Given the information above, it's easy to be scared off of laying down good money for light bulbs that may not last as long as advertised on the box. Creating a smart home can be a money pit at times, but the rewards are enjoyable when it all works well.

If you use your Philips Hue light bulb in an enclosed fitting, you will invalidate your warranty. If you are fine with this then go right ahead, though do bear in mind that we're not Philip hue, we're just people who enjoy smart homes. 

I've personally not put any of my Philips Hue bulbs in my enclosed fixtures.

Bear in mind that how you use your lights will have some bearing on their lifespan. if you are a good energy-conscious soul and turn off your lights every time you leave the bathroom, then chances are you'll have a GU10 in any spotlights and the heat build-up will be short and sweet, leaving plenty of time for it to dissipate.

However, a landing or lounge light might be on all day. This will significantly increase the chances that the bulb will end its life uncomfortably warm.

In the end, the risk is yours to take.

Philips Hue bulbs are great around the house. We would heartily recommend them for all your non-enclosed spaces.

For enclosed fixtures, if you decide that you do want to go this route, consider the 800 lumens older versions of these bulbs, as they will have a lower heat output than their newer, brighter replacements.

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