Frequently Asked Questions on LED Lighting Upgrades for Car Wash Locations

Kyle Mann, Vice President of marketing at ELEDLights was asked to interview for "Professional Carwashing & Detailing Magazine." Here are a few of the questions and responses:

What are the first steps a car wash owner should take when they're ready for an LED lighting upgrade?

First step should be to count the total number of different fixtures they want to replace and determine the wattage if possible. Then, a company like ours can review the best replacement options, total cost, and calculate a realistic payback period. It's important to remember, carwash owners have lots of different lights on their entire property, both interior and exterior (tunnel, offices, sign lighting, waiting area, parking, driveways, etc.) and they should upgrade their entire facility to get maximum energy savings as well as maximum rebates.

What is a probable return on investment timeframe for the typical carwash tunnel?

There are a few factors to consider here:

  1. Are you eligible for any rebates from your power company? We can evaluate that for them, but rebates will reduce payback time.
  2. Who is handing the install? If your staff can handle it, that will shorten the ROI timeline.

On average, I estimate a payback period of 12-18 months without a professional installer, and I would add 6-12 months if you hire an installer. Most ELEDLights.com products carry a 5 year risk-free warranty, so there should be between 30-48 months of positive ROI while covered under warranty.

What regular maintenance is needed once an LED lighting system is installed? How does this compare to traditional fixtures?

LED lighting systems should be maintenance free, provided you purchase the right types of fixtures. Everything anywhere near the wash areas and on the exterior, should be IP65-rated at the very least. Our vapor tight lights, our parking lot lights, our wall packs, are all IP-65 rated and will withstand direct spray from washing equipment, let alone inclement weather and the elements. The LEDs should easily last at least 10 years without replacement or maintenance, as compared to the standard 6-month replacement time of traditional fixtures.

In what ways will LED systems improve lighting performance inside and outside a carwash?

Not enough can be said about the appeal of an attractively and well-lit business establishment. LEDs provide a cleaner, brighter, more natural light than incandescent, fluorescent, metal halide, or high-pressure sodium lights. They also don't degrade and lose their brightness over time the way other lighting technologies do. The fact that they're so much more reliable, combined with their energy efficiency, will allow car wash owners to save time and money and put resources into other areas of their business. On average, LED lighting will improve the overall amount of footcandles (light level) at no less than half of the power of traditional lighting methods.

How are LED fixtures a better fit for the carwash environment?

As we've already touched upon, they provide better lighting and consume far less energy than traditional lighting. We also offer lights specifically made for car washes and harsh environments, so they will last much longer than traditional lighting fixtures. The electronic dimming capability of LED lighting systems has also opened the door to a wide variety of easy-to-implement, automated control systems for convenience and additional energy savings.

How do LED lights affect energy consumption and energy costs for carwashes?

Upgrading to LED lighting will reduce energy usage more than 50%. We offer a free energy savings calculator on each product page to help customers get a quick and clear understanding of their energy (and cost) savings.

Do utility companies offer any incentives for businesses that convert to LED? If so, how do they work?

Yes, they do. Typically rebates are larger if a business retrofits all of their lighting. Each power company offers different rebates. If a business is interested in learning about the rebates they are eligible for, we can provide a free consultation. They can email: Lights@eledlights.com

What are some LED best practices that owners should follow once the lighting systems are installed?

Nothing major here. As we've already mentioned, LED lighting is virtually maintenance-free. It's always good to turn off lights that are not in use, even though energy consumption is less with LEDs than standard lighting, it's generally a good practice not to run lights longer than needed. Advanced control systems, of the type we mentioned earlier, will also contribute to additional energy savings and extended life by automatically reducing power usage when it's not needed.

For any other questions, give us a call at 215-355-7200 (East Coast) 858-581-0597 (West Coast) or visit our website.