As of 2020, Halogen lightbulbs will become strictly regulated within Australia, much like incandescent today. Lighting suppliers will no longer be able to import old lighting technology, and halogen will be phased out.
This push by the government to move toward more energy efficient LED lighting means that replacing your lights is going to mean figuring out which LED alternative is best for you.
Smart LEDs, retrofit downlights, the options are growing every year. With so many options and brands on the market, how do you decide what’s best for you? Below, we’ll go over some alternatives for the most common household lighting:
Not sure why LED is such a big deal? Read our previous blog to get a grasp on the ever-evolving technology: A look at the rapid growth of LED technology
Replacing LED Downlights:
Downlights are perhaps the trickiest to replace, given the way they’re installed and the variety of options on the market. Replacing downlights will almost always require an electrician, as it isn’t as simple as changing a lightbulb – many times you will require rewiring and even new transformers.
Below, we’ll go over your LED alternatives.
MR16 Retrofit (GU5.3 Base): - Example – Philips Master LED MR16 7W 60D 3000K Dimmable
MR16 LED light bulbs are compatible with 50W halogen downlight transformers, and many, such as the Phillips Master MR16, are fully dimmable. This means you can retrofit your MR16 globe to your old transformer – no replacement needed.
The GU5.3 base can directly replace standard MR16 halogen lamps with a do-it-yourself bi-pin push-fit design.
This makes the MR16 a convenient, direct replacement for your old Halogen MR16s. They are cheaper to replace if any fail (which is rare) and are in long term more reliable.
However, issues begin if the transformer isn’t compatible. Meaning either new transformers are needed, or we move onto our next option – the GU10.
GU10 Retro Fit: - Example - Verbatim PAR16 GU10 6.5W Dimmable 3000K
Like the MR16, the GU10 is another retrofit solution to the old Halogen downlights. Unlike the MR16, the GU10 comes with its own transformer built in, meaning it’s a good solution if your previous halogen transformer isn’t compatible with MR16s.
Unlike the MR16, this means that if the light fails, it must be replaced completely. GU10s also run much hotter – and run a risk of failing earlier than an MR16.
This leaves the final, and most comprehensive option – a Downlight Kit.
Downlight Kit: - Example - LED Downlight Tri-Colour Back Switch 9W 750LM
Downlight kits are a full replacement for old halogen lights. Rather than retrofitting to the old transformer, these have their own dedicated driver, and can plug directly into a power socket.
While this will require an electrician to install, they have the highest lumen output, work with dimmers, and are the best solution for anyone concerned about the misgivings of a retrofit solution – such as the replacement bulb not completely fitting the ceiling hole.
One of the newer innovations in this area is the Tri-Colour downlight. As the name suggests, this downlight comes with a tri-colour option, using a switch at the back to choose between three of the most common colour temperatures. No need to shop around for different bulbs based on your preference, as this light gives you the option of changing it from warm white, daylight and cool white.
Replacing Compact Fluorescents, GLS, candle bulb, fancy round and other bulbs:
CFL used to be the energy saving option, at least if you didn’t mind the odd design. These days, LED has far out done it in terms of saving on your energy bills and looking good.
Even if you’re looking to replace candle bulbs, or replicate the heritage look of old incandescent bulbs: LED has you covered.
LED Candles: https://www.lightonline.com.au/led-candle-lights can be bought for as low as $8 each, even replicating the warm glow of halogen and incandescent bulbs.
GE Heritage Bulbs: Is an ideal replacement for traditional incandescent filament bulbs, replicating the look at feel. Perfect for your pendants.
GLS LEDs: These lights come in a range of regular bulb shapes and smart lights – even bulbs that double as a speaker!