Will my LED landscape lighting melt snow?

It seems that winter is finally coming to central PA, and if you are anything like me, you are probably thinking "I wonder if my new LED landscape lights will melt the snow?"  OK, so maybe you weren't thinking it before, but you are now, right? Well, the answer is yes.  And no.  Most professional grade LED fixtures generate enough heat to melt any snow that falls when they are on.  Many less-expensive LEDs on the market do not produce very much light since they are under-powered.  Because of this, there is not a lot of heat generated, limiting their ability to melt snow and ice as it hits the fixtures.  So the answer is "Yes" if you buy high quality LED fixtures, but "Maybe" or "No" if you buy low-quality LED fixtures.

Quality LEDs (the ones that quality landscape contractors install) will radiate more heat.  Why is this?  These fixtures are designed with internal heat sinks that pull the heat away from the LEDs and out into the housing.  This is done to increase the longevity of the LEDs, with the added benefit of heating up the housing. While they won't get hot enough to burn you (unlike incandescent light fixtures), they will heat up enough to melt the kind of snow and ice events that we typically receive here.

Now if we get completely buried in snow or ice, particularly during the daytime when the lights are off, it might take some time (hours or possibly even days) for the melt to occur after the lights come on.  This kind of snow event is rare enough around here that most people are not going to worry about what their landscape lighting looks like for that short period of time.  The benefits of LED lighting far outweigh this concern in most peoples' minds.

So the bottom line is this... Have a quality designer install quality LEDs, and you can enjoy the benefits of LED landscape lighting all year long, including during all but the very worst of snowstorms that come along.