All you need to know about LED downlights

LED downlights have been around since the early 1960s, but they didn’t become mainstream in Australia until around 2008. The move to LED has been slow up till now, but that is about to change once halogen downlights are banned from sale in late 2021.

So if you need to install or replace downlights in the near future, you will have no choice but to instal LED downlights. In this article, we are going to explain more about LED light technology and the benefits it has for your home.

What are LED lights?

LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. They consist of a semiconductor (diode) that emits photons of light when an electric current is passed through them. This is different from incandescent bulbs that emit light by generating heat.

LEDs are used in a wide range of applications including TV remote controls, room lighting, traffic signals, car headlamps, electronic indicator lights, camera flashes and much more.

What are the benefits of LEDs?

LED lamps are more efficient than traditional incandescent or halogen light bulbs. In a typical home, LED lamps use around 75% less energy than halogen light bulbs of the same output.

And because they don’t generate as much heat, they last longer than both incandescent or halogen bulbs. The Department of Industry Science, Energy and Resources estimates that LED bulbs typically last 5-10 times longer than halogen bulbs.

So homeowners can expect to save money on both running and maintenance costs. Replacing all your halogen downlights with LEDs could save you hundreds of dollars a year.

How far apart do LED lights need to be installed?

The number of lights required to illuminate a room is a complex subject. The answer will depend on several factors including the ceiling height, lamp output and the shape of the room itself.

But as a rough guide, take your ceiling height and divide it by two. For example, if your ceiling is 2.4m high, you should look to place your LED lamps approximately 120cm apart. This is a rough estimate, but it will help you to factor in costs.

Can I replace conventional spotlights with LEDs?

Yes, you can, but it’s not as simple as changing the bulbs. LED downlights utilize either a 12v or 24v supply while standard incandescent lamps use 230v. So you need to replace your existing downlights with dedicated LED units that contain a transformer.

Do I need a transformer?

Yes, because LEDs use either a 12v or 24v supply, a transformer needs to be used to convert the standard 230v supply. In practice, the transformer is built into the lamp itself. But in some cases, it may be a separate unit attached to the lamp via a cable.

What is the difference between GU10 and integrated LEDs?

Integrated LEDs are a complete unit that contains both the bulb and the lamp holder, while a GU10 downlight comes with a separate LED bulb and holder, much like a traditional light bulb holder arrangement.

There are pros and cons to each, Integrated bulbs typically last longer but are more expensive to replace. They are also sleeker in design and easier to install. GU10 bulbs are cheaper to replace but don’t last as long as integrated units.

Need help choosing the right type of LED downlight?

If you need help choosing the right type of LED downlight, or you would like a quote to replace your existing halogen downlights with energy-efficient LED bulbs. Get in touch with the lighting experts at Smillie Electrical today.

We are experienced electricians that have been supporting homeowners in the Melbourne area for more than a decade. Get in touch today by calling 03 9069 9660 or complete the contact form here.

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