I visited a home yesterday to do a few unrelated repairs and happened to notice the lighting was dreadful. The home was an apartment with no natural in the hall or bathrooms. Most of the lighting in these rooms was downlighters using GU10 type lamps where over half of them had been converted to “low energy LED”. But the choice of LED lamps was the worst I have seen. The lamps were the type with three LEDs in each lamp which in itself was not the main problem. It was the colour of the light and the spread of light that was awful. The colour was clearly a blue tinge and of a very narrow bandwidth wavelength. The result was a very depressing atmosphere in the hall. In the other rooms the downlighters were a mix of lamps being halogen, cheap LED and a couple of quality LEDs. It looked very odd with all the different shades of “white” light.
I found in the home a stack of six more of these GU10 LED replacement lamps ready to fitted at sometime in the future. I suggested to the owner they should get rid of those spares without using them.
I carry in my van demonstrators for quality lamps LED GU10 lamps to show customers why it is worth changing to LED downlighter lamps and to encourage spending a little more to get quality lamps. I tried one of my demonstrator cool whites in a bathroom and a warm white in the hall. What a difference, a vast improvement to the lighting! The owner immediately asked me to replace the lot with my chosen quality lamps.
Moral – Be wary of unbranded cheap LED replacement LED downlighter lamps. If you are doing it yourself and are not sure then buy one first and try it before replacing all of them. Or find an electrician with some experience in these matters to chose the most suitable lighting for your situation.
If your home or business premises has the GU10 type halogen downlighters and spot lights then it is seriously worth considering changing all of them to low energy LED lamps instead of the halogen type. Often the halogen GU10s have a 50 Watt energy use whereas an LED type could between 5-7 Watts. Not only is the energy use wasteful but it can create heat in the home when you don’t need it. As an example a kitchen with 8 of these halogen GU10 lamps in downlighters would be producing 400 Watts of heat output into the kitchen.
Not all replacement GU10 LEDs are the same. For example I looked at the two specifications of two GU10 LED lamps that a home owner had recent bought that were both 5 watts energy rated, I noticed the initial Lumens output was 450 on one and 250 on the other. This in effect is 44% less light produced for the same energy use!
Reliability should be considered as well. Halogens lamps may last 2 years or less (1,500 hours) where as an LED could last 5 years (30,000 hours). If the occupant of a home can change the lamps themselves then the cost to replace is small. But if the home is rented or is occupied by persons unable to replace ceiling lamps, then the cost to change lamps is high.
When choosing LED lamps be sure to select the correct colour of “white” light. Many manufacturers offer a “warm” white which is similar to the old style incandescent lamps or a bright “cool” white which is popular in kitchens. But be careful because I have seen “unbranded” “cool white” described lamps that look a distinctly bluish white.
Similar to the low energy compact fluorescents the LED type of lamps also very slowly reduce their light outputs of the say 30,000 hours of use. Manufacturers indicate that a 30% reduction in light over a service life would be acceptable to the users. This means homes owners might enjoy slightly too bright light levels when first installed, then just about acceptable after 30,000 hours of use. It is worth noting that an excessive build up of heat in the light fitting can accelerate this light reduction over time. Once more the electrician specifying a lighting solution will choose lamps suitable for exact location/fittings installed and will ensure the installations are appropriate for the lamps.
Take care to avoid poor quality LED lamps as they could have a high initial failure rate. Quality “branded” products are an assurance for reliability.
A good electrician will be able to advise to ensure replacement low energy lamps are reliable, good service life performance, are of suitable colour, an appropriate level of brightness (lumens), and have the correct beam width for the installation.