LED lighting technology has developed at a staggering pace over the last several years. Products that were deemed cutting-edge a few years ago have been superseded by others that are superior in every way.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the realm of LED downlights.
These lights offer a stylish, unobtrusive alternative to traditional halogen spotlights, and they can be used for a wide range of domestic and commercial applications.
If you’ve not considered switching to LED downlights before, read on to find out why you should.
What are LED downlights?
LED downlights are essentially spotlights that are recessed into a ceiling, offering a bright directional light. As the fitting is set back into the surface of the ceiling, it is much more unobtrusive than traditional spotlights and can finish any room stylishly.
Once installed, all you would see of the downlight is the lens of the light bulb and the circular bezel that rings it. Many downlights offer you a choice of bezel finishes, from brushed aluminium and brass to black or white ceramic, so it is easy to match the light with a room’s decor.
LED downlights now offer all the benefits of LED lighting, including longer lifespans, superior energy efficiency and, in some cases, the ability to tune the colour or colour temperature of the light.
How do LED’s work?
LED lighting (light-emitting diode) is a type of semiconductor that converts an electric current into a light source. Due to their small size, they are commonly grouped together to create a more powerful light source.
Replacing your halogen downlights with LED’s
Replacing or retrofitting halogen downlights with LED downlights is an increasingly popular option, with energy savings and longevity the obvious drawcards. The first step is to determine if your existing downlights are 240V (GU10) or 12V (MR16). This will determine what type of LED bulb you need to buy. If you are planning to retrofit here are some factors that may affect the cost of your project:
• straight swop of the bulb or entire light fitting
• number of fittings to be replaced
• ease of access to your ceiling cavity
• health of your wiring and electrical system
In terms of a direct comparison, 10 LED downlights would use 75 per cent less energy and save you in the region of $270 over a year if you replaced 10 x 60-watt halogens.
Improperly installed downlights have been implicated in a number of house fires. And while LED bulbs do run a lot cooler than halogens, they still generate some heat – which is why they often have a heat sink built-in (see image below). If you are installing LED bulbs in an enclosed space – such as a ceiling cavity, you need to look for units that are approved for this purpose.
Incidents of fires caused by improperly installed downlights became such a problem, government authorities issued warnings, and Australian Standards for downlights were tightened. Authorities made these recommendations to all Australians considering installing downlights:
• Only use licensed electricians like Allyn White Electrical to install downlights
• Only buy downlights that meet or exceed Australian Standards
• Ensure that only non-combustible materials surround the downlights and/or a safety-tested mechanical barrier is included in the installation
• Consider replacing halogen downlights with LED downlights or installing LED lights instead of halogens
For this reason, electricians are the only tradies qualified to install downlights.
Hiring an electrician
Unlicensed electrical work is not only unlawful in Australia; it could also pose a serious threat to the health and safety of your home. And even though each state and territory has slightly different regulations and classes for electricians, they all must be a licence holder before they can undertake work in your home. When it comes time to hire a sparkie you need to make sure they are right for your job. Some questions to ask them including:
• Are you licensed?
• Are you insured to work in my home?
• Can you provide a written quote?
• Do you have references I can follow up?
As an electrical contractor, Allyn White Electrical does all kinds of industrial and commercial electrical installations and repairs as well as home electrical services and emergency electrical repairs. We are a small family-owned and run business with over 40+ years’ experience so please call us on 0416235641. We are here to help.
sources: blog.lightbulbs-direct.com, hipages.com.au, brillare.net.au