led lightsConverting to LED lights everything you need to know

LED retrofit bulbs are great you get a nice warm light instantly when you click the switch. However, the advertised service life of an LED is years, and in my experience, they have lasted months, if not weeks. So, I have a few questions . How can you be sure that LEDs will last the reported amount of time? . Can bulb longevity be affected by the quality consistency / voltage etc of home electrical supply? . Is there anything that needs to be done with the home lighting circuit to prolong bulb life?

LED lighting is finally coming of age, but many of us are still nervous of this relatively new technology. Thanks to campaign group, Simon Brammer of theAshden Foundationis here to illuminate us all

Generally, it is worth remembering you get what you pay for, so with a few exceptions, very cheap LED bulbs wont perform well or last long.

Lots of people tried LED lighting when it was first available and it often produced dim, cold puddles of light.

Fri Mar . GMTFirst published on Fri Mar . GMT

If you are happy with the light there is no need to, but as you replace them you could go LED. You can buy a good quality nondimmable spot for as little as now IKEAs range are well priced and produce a great quality light. The other benefit, as you mention, is they are instantly on no hanging around while your bulbs warm up.

Throw them away or recycle them if you can. You can find more information of where torecycle here. Please note that you should never throw CFL compact flourescent tubes into your general waste, as they contain mercury another good reason to replace them!

You can buy them in many places now all DIY stores, lighting shops and online. Have a look at my guide at the end to the right choices for you. There is nothing wrong at all with using modern lowenergy bulbs the new ones come on instantly too if that is what our budgets lends itself to.

It depends if they are lowvoltage or mains. You can tell this as low voltage bulbs have pins right see below to connect them and mains have pegs left. If they are pegs its not a problem, but Id suggest you replace them all anyway. Halogen bulbs use so much electricity for the light they produce just feel their heat that its a lse economy to wait until they blow to replace them.

I have dimmable lights in my kitchen and living room and they work perfectly. Just make sure, when you buy bulbs, they have the dimmable logo on the box or that it states they are dimmable.

Finally, when you are changing your lighting, think of it like redecorating a room, where you would buy a paint tester pot to see if you like the colour first before you paint the whole room. When you are investing in new bulbs, buy one first to see if you like it before you replace the rest. And remember, most places will exchange the bulb if it is the wrong one for you.

Next, choose the light output you want. As a general rule of thumb most people know that a w bulb is bright and suile for a main light, that a w bulb is suile in a lamp, and w bulb works where we want soft and gentle light. LED bulbs use about of the energy of traditional bulbs so w will give you the equivalent light output of an old w bulb, w of a w bulb, and so on.

This one, from Ikeaagain just a personal suggestion might suit your purposes. If not, armed with the information above, you should be able to get what you need.

I see what you mean you only have to stand under those bulbs in a bathroom or kitchen to feel the heat pouring off them!

They are not quite as cheap as low energy bulbs yet but they are getting there.

When you are replacing very specific bulbs, see you if you can get an exact match or perfect fit labeled bulb so that you know they will fit into the existing aperture.

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You will have to pay a little more for dimmable bulbs, but they are available across the range. Look for the dimmable symbol on the packet. Just a word of warning occasionally, because LED lights use so little energy, you may need to change your dimmer switches too ask a qualified electrician to do this for you.

If they are low voltage pins its a bit more complicated. They will have a transformer either in the ceiling or light fitting. Some LED bulbs, like thePhilips Master LED range, have inbuilt circuitry that can deal with most but not all transformers, so you dont have to change them.

But this would be an incredibly inefficient way of heating your house, for a number of reasons. First, you dont always want heat, so in the summer for instance, you are heating your house when you probably want it to be cooler. Second, heat rises, so heat from ceiling lighting will stay close to the ceiling and therefore wont benefit the occupants of a room at all. Third, its much cheaper to heat by gas, or biomass, than electricity, and your boiler will have a thermostat to control the level of heat.

Is it possible to replace GU halogen bulbs the sort with two thin pins at the back with LED lights, without ripping out the entire system? I have asked this question before, and was told no, but technology is changing all the time.

Poor quality, cheap bulbs dont last long. My experience is that if you buy quality they do last.

There are still some challenges on packaging that dont make it easy to choose right bulb for its purpose, but theres a growing lobby for nonnonsense labelling, so hopefully things will change. Take a look at my guide at the end of these questions for a stepbystep approach to getting it right.

Its interesting that folks from colder climates tend to vour a warm light, while folks from hotter climates prefer something more white or blue. Now I understand the colour I like, I generally get the right bulb each time.

Converting to LED lights everything you need to know

How do we answer those people who say that the heat output of a tungsten or halogen lamp is part of the heat input to their house? Changing the lighting to LED will reduce this heat input, so the heating system will have to run that bit longer to compensate.

My personal preference is for . A nice warm light.

Some bulbs have builtin circuitry to manage dimmers; some dont. They best way to find out is to install them and if they dont dim well, or flicker, you will know to replace the dimmer. They are no more expensive than regular dimmer switches.

Incidentally, if your fitting is a bayonet fitting, you can easily buy converters on places like eBay that allow you to use a screw fitting in your bayonet lampholder. In this case you would need a B to a E converter.

One of the reasons I switched to LED is that I have solar panels on my roof, which contribute to the electricity demand of my house during the day. However after I bought a realtime energy meter I quickly learned that I was using a crazy amount of electricity at night when my panels dont help. With a bit of investigation I realised my lighting was drawing a lot of electricity. But my electricity bill for my threebedroom house is now a month, and upgrading my lighting played a big role in that. Even if you dont have solar panels, lighting uses a lot of power. The good news is, its one of the easiest things to change.

So it is simply a matter of finding an LED replacement bulb that meets that specification.

Light temperature colour is measured in Kelvin K. The lower the number, the warmer the light. Because I like a warm light, K is my preference its like the light from an oldshioned bulb. K is less warm, and then as you go up the light becomes cooler and whiter anything approaching k will be nearly blue. Sometimes these are called warm white or cool white. So, depending on your preference, check the packet to make sure have the right colour for you.

Yes, it is possible. The GU tells us that the base has a bipin cap, meaning that it has two pins and the number, the distance between the pins in your case mm.

Yes dimmable LED lights are very reliable now. There are a few things to bear in mind.

The elusive perfect bulb a quest close to my own heart!

You will have a range of light bulbs in your home with different fittings just make sure you match the fitting to the one you are buying. The best way to do this is to take the old bulb along with you. If you are replacing downlights or spotlights, take one out when it is cold and switched off and see if it has pegs or pins. If it has pegs, this is mains voltage a GU fitting and is no problem to change. If it has pins, this is low voltage lighting and is a little more complicated. You may need some advice from a professional as to which bulbs will work in your home.

Is it ok to replace bulbs in a circuit eg a four bulb kitchen light as they go, or would I have to replace all four at the same time? Can LEDs exist alongside halogen bulbs?

The most important lesson has been light temperature. This is measured in Kelvin youll find it on the packet of any light bulb. I like a warm white, much like the oldshioned tungsten bulbs. This is about Kelvin K.

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Light is measured in lumens, but this is too complicated to work out every time you buy a bulb. So as rough guide, if you want the equivalent of an old school w light bulb, go for w, w w, w w. The mathematicians among you will spot a rough rule. For spotlights, replace a w GU with a w LED bulb.

It sounds obvious, but the best place to start is to work out which lights are on the most, and replace them first. In this way, you will maximise your saving.

While there are energy efficiency advantages to voltage optimisation this lowers the voltage in your house to about v, which nearly all appliances now work on and thus saves money, I suggest you find out whats causing the problem, as these systems cost a ir amount and may not solve your issue.

I always find it hard to recommend suppliers as its really a personal choice.

The energy you save by replacing them will r outweigh any embedded carbon in the production of the old lightbulbs.

I am assuming that these are the spotlight bulbs.

I andledhutas they have great returns policy and a good choice. I am also a n of IKEAs newLEDARE rangeas they produce a warm and bright light. Do bear in mind this is just my personal recommendation.

You may have to get your dimmer switch changed to a leading edge or LED compatible dimmer. This is because they handle much lower loads. For example if you changed a x watt bulb central light to LED you would go from switching a load of watts to nearer watts.

Some of my LED bulbs are more than years old and still going strong. If your bulbs are blowing on a regular basis there may be something else wrong loose connections in lamp holders, ulty connections to light switches, overheating a bulb in a small confined space and so on. If this happens elsewhere in your home it could be a general issue; if it is in just one room, a local one. In either case it might be worth contacting an electrician to investigate it for you.

I had a quick look online and it is possible to source them as more and more LED bulbs are now being introduced. Remember, these are generally low voltage bulbs so you will need to ensure that they are compatible with your system. See my other answers and guide below about replacing low voltage lighting.

In other cases, you need to replace the transformer with anLED driver. This is because the transformers are too overpowered for the small amount of electricity that LEDs need. You will need an electrician for that.

If I have already replaced halogen with CFL spot lights, is it worth me changing to LED versions? I know that they will turn on immediately, but there doesnt appear to be much of an energy saving to be made. Is it worth just replacing the CFLs as they die?

Im LED now even my fridge light is LED. You dont need to go that r Im a little obsessed! It has taken me a couple of years of learning to get it right.

When I think about how much a bulb costs, it is also worth thinking about the running cost. For example, lets say you have four spotlights in your kitchen, it costs a year to run those, whereas LEDs will cost a year to run. The payback time calculation is important. It might be tempting to buy the cheap non energyefficient bulbs, but in the long term you will be better off.

Once you have changed your bulbs, you can sit back you wont need to get up to change them for an average of years and bask in their glow and be smug in the knowledge youre quids in.

Ok, first things first if you want a warm light you need to choose something with a Kelvin count of or less. Any higher than this and it will be a colder light.

Those memories still persist, so in ct a lot of what I do is to persuade people that this is no longer the case. I take a selection of bulbs to peoples homes so they can see the range of colours, brightnesses, fittings and so on, so they can try before they buy. That way they get what they want without costly mistakes. It blows the old bad bulb stereo to bits and the people I know have so r been universally delighted.

There are still some energy savings, as LEDs do use less energy than CFLs. But you are right, they are nowhere near as great as if you were replacing oldshioned light bulbs.led lightsConverting to LED lights everything you need to know

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