LED inrush current


Active Member
There's a long thread (345 posts) from 2013 on LED bulb options, with quite a bit of discussion about LED inrush current and the affect it can have on switches and dimmers. Just wondering what reality has shown over the last nine years, and whether or not I should be concerned about LED usage at a new home. To date, my only experience with LED bulbs are incandescent replacements, with only one or two on any given switch.

The home will have most (maybe all) LED lights. Some will be LED bulbs in fixtures. Others (quite a few of them) will be can-less recessed lights that each have their own driver. I doubt any will be more than 12W (60W incandescent equivalent?), and most will probably be less. Although initially I won't be using any smart dimmers/switches, I will gradually install some as we get used to the home and figure out where smart dimmers/switches will do the most good.

Since the fixtures containing LED bulbs will have at most three 40W equivalent bulbs, I'm mostly concerned about the recessed LED lights that may have as many as eight 12W recessed LEDs on a single dimmer/switch. Seems like most LED dimmers and switches, smart or not, have a maximum of 150W of LED lights (or 600W of incandescent) per switch. Are the manufacturers taking LED inrush current into consideration at 150W maximum? If so, it seems like at a maximum of eight 12W LEDs on a switch gives me a lot of breathing room.

Or, am I missing something that further limits how much "LED wattage" I can put on a switch?

Along the same topic... I'm being very conservative on what is on each individual circuit, and every non-appliance circuit will be 20A. Assume I have eight 12W LEDs on a single switch, but there are additional outlets/lights on the same circuit. Do I need to be concerned about turning on the eight LEDs when there is already maybe 12A of consumption on the circuit causing the breaker to trip due to the LED inrush current? Or is the inrush current time so small that the breaker can handle it?

I doubt you will have a problem with LED bulb inrush. Breakers are very slow to react typically. Just as an educated guess from my experiences a household breaker reated at 15 amperes will trip about 22 amperes after minutes of sustained load. The inrush from an LED bulb power supply is not likely to last more than a cycle or two.

Trial and error is usually your friend here. Not much to hurt if in the error phase.
I agree with Larry. Breaker is not going to be an issue.

If you are worried about the dimmers get ones that ramp up the voltage rather than switching it on immediately at full output as that will virtually eliminate inrush. The ramp can be so fast it's not observable. Not sure if that's a common feature.
I use Insteon dimmers in many spots. They do not seem to have any problem with LEDs unless you get the cheap "non-dimmable" type bulbs. Insteon dimmers can be set to ramp to full in 0.2 sec - 8 minutes. The faster ramp times are not really visible, or annoying, to the human eye. In fact, I now find the switched on, sudden burst of light, annoying now, especially at midnight pee runs. with programmable dimmers, well Insteon anyway, you can remotely set the max brilliance they will acheive so you don't get blinded by 3 x 100W LED bulbs in the middle of the night. Override is just a tap away also, for that late night pimple pop that has been keeping you awake. :)