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Why Upgrading Your Halogen Downlights with LED Globes Isn’t Enough

Last updated on May 24, 2022

What are halogen downlights?

Halogen downlights were very popular in the ’90s and early noughties. Although they are a very white, bright light and are excellent at highlighting specific features in your home, they have a number of major drawbacks. 

If you want to identify a halogen downlight you need to turn your lights off and look in the centre of the bulb itself.

If deep in the centre you can see a small cylinder, and there is a cone-shaped reflector around it, then it is most likely a halogen downlight bulb. If the bulb has a flat or ribbed surface this is most likely a LED downlight. 

Advantages and disadvantages of halogen downlights 

Unfortunately, when talking about halogen downlights the cons outweigh the pros. Halogen Downlights have lots of disadvantages that they are now on the verge of extinction.

The most common disadvantage of halogen downlights is that they consume a lot of energy. They can cripple your budget due to their high energy usage.

Also, halogen downlights produce so much heat that poses a great risk of fires in your home.

They are very hard to maintain and don’t last long either hence the need to be replaced frequently.

I guess the only advantage of halogen downlights is that they are cheaper to purchase and can are easily accessible in some retail shops.

They are also easy to install and even anyone without electrical experience can install them.

However, if we look at these advantages more closely, you can realise that they are not cheaper at all since they need to be replaced more often.

Also, poor installations are the major cause of electrical fire outbreaks in homes.

Why is LED downlight better than Halogen downlight?

LED downlights came as saviours to those who had energy saving problems.  Halogen downlights consume crazy amounts of energy whilst LED downlights to use just a third of what halogen downlights use.

Most halogen downlights that are used in homes are 50 watts, whilst an LED downlight uses only 5 watts and produces the same amount of lighting. You don’t need rocket science to see the advantages of using LED downlights versus halogen downlights.

Also, If they are not installed properly,  halogen downlights can be hazardous as they can cause house fires.

They run at roughly 300 degrees celsius, and if they are not adequately ventilated, and protected from coming in contact with combustible materials they can easily start a fire. 

All halogen downlights should be fitted with a heat guard and should be clear of insulation and building materials.

You don’t need to worry about all this if you use LED downlights.

While halogen downlights need heat for energy conversion, LED downlights use electrons that don’t produce any heat.

If one bulb runs at 300 degrees Celsius, imagine if you have 6 bulbs of halogen downlights in your room.

That will be living in a furnace, especially in hot summer weather.

Everyone is switching from halogen downlights to LED downlights because of the vast advantages that LED lights offer. They are energy efficient, durable and they are not a health risk.

Halogen Downlights are the complete opposite of LED downlights and people are now ditching them as they are adopting new ways of saving energy and money of course.

Can you replace your Halogen Downlight with LED Downlight?

If you are wondering if it’s possible to switch from halogen downlights to LED downlights then the answer is yes.

Fortunately, upgrading Halogen MR16 light bulbs to LED is usually an easy job, as most LED light bulbs are now designed to retrofit existing light fittings. 

You just need to swap your old light bulbs out, remove them from the light fixture and fit the new LED light bulbs in their place.

You also need to examine the original fitting and bulb. Most halogen downlights fit into the power supply with small pegs or pins.

Check the bottom of the existing bulb to see how the connectors should look, then measure the size of the fitting as well as the size of the cut-out for the bulb.

 Then take note of all this information when you go shopping for LED bulbs.

You may be able to find the size of the fitting printed somewhere on the socket.

If your bulb has a twist-and-lock fitting with two prongs on the bottom, it’s most likely a 240-volt GU10 bulb, and generally has a 50mm fitting. These can usually be switched for LED bulbs without replacing any parts.

Complete LED lighting upgrade from as little as $33

If the bulb has 2 sharp pins and pushes into the fitting, it is likely a low-voltage MR11 or MR16 bulb. These 12-volt bulbs require a transformer if you’re using them in place of a halogen bulb.

Are Halogen downlights dangerous to use?

Having halogen downlights in your home is like living with a ticking time bomb.

They are the biggest cause of house fires and if you have them, you can be at risk of dealing with a house fire caused by these bulbs someday.

Halogen downlights were used mostly during the ’90s and ever since the introduction of LED bulbs halogen downlights have seen a decrease in demand and it happened gradually until they will be completely phased out.

Most governments are imposing laws that ban the buying and selling of halogen bulbs so very soon halogen downlights will be history.

Even if the governments don’t intervene, most people are opting for cheaper ways to save energy and the planet. LEDs use less energy and they have become everyone’s darlings.

Why you should upgrade your halogen downlight to LED today

With all the things said above, I guess you now have a clear picture of the drawbacks of halogen downlights and the multiple advantages of using LED bulbs. 

This in itself will tell you that you don’t need to wait any longer in order to switch from halogen downlights to LED downlights.

If you want to save energy, save your home from a possible fire outbreak or save money, then switch to LED downlights now.

Thinking of making the switch from halogens to LED, but not sure how to go about it? We’ve got your back.

Already switched from halogen lights to LED globes? Fantastic! However, are you sure you’ve done it the right way?

With new offerings and cheaper solutions surrounding lighting, many of us have taken to quick fixes. Unfortunately, the quick fix isn’t always the best one. So what is?

That’s precisely what we’re going to look into. But first, if you haven’t already, let’s take a look at why LED is the smarter option.

LED vs Halogen Lights

You may have heard that LED is just better for the environment. Well, it is, but it’s also better for you. Here’s a quick overview of just a few benefits LED has over halogens.

  • Lower rates of energy consumption
  • A much longer lifespan than its halogen counterpart
  • Built for instantaneous lighting
  • LED globes are less fragile, and not as easy to break
  • More variety in colours and temperatures
  • Free from mercury, UV radiations, and other harmful emissions
  • Less expensive in the long run

With all that in mind, to be able to get the best out of your LED globes you need to follow the right replacement process.

Here’s why and how you can do that.

Maximizing the Benefits of Your New LED Downlights

Simply installing your LED bulb into an old downlight is not enough. There are other things that come into play.

Why the Transformer Matters

Consider this – was your old halogen transformer originally built for an LED lighting fixture? The answer is likely no, and that’s where your problem lies.

Each light has its own specified maximum loads and specifications and this also applies to halogen globes/downlights. Failing to take this into consideration when upgrading your downlights with LED globes only minimizes the use you will get out of your new lights.

One of the most significant issues is that LED globes require a lower amount of power to run. Traditional (halogen) globes require a much higher amount of power.

By installing only LED bulbs your lights will most likely burn out within a period of six to eight months due to having the wrong transformer.

Most people simply switch from one bulb to the other, without paying much attention to the actual fitting.

However, if you want to get the most out of your downlight upgrade, getting a new LED downlight rather than just switching the globe, is absolutely essential.

Your System Is Pre-Designed for Halogen Bulbs

Secondly, since your entire system caters to halogen bulbs, it is likely that your new LED globes are not compatible with your dimmer. As a consequence, you’re not getting the full range of benefits you should be getting.

The solution is quite simple. Instead of changing ONLY the bulb or the source of light, you have to make sure you change the entire fitting to suit the new LED bulbs you’re bringing in.

This is the exact reason why upgrading your existing halogen globes to LED globes isn’t enough! New LED downlights come fitted with a transformer on the lighting fixture to ensure you get the most out of your new lights!

Looking for an Upgrade?

Looking to replace your halogens with LED downlights? Hire a professional to change your entire system and get the most out of your investment.

Get in touch with us for a FREE consultation on your lighting needs!

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    Gaurav Sharma

    At E-Green Electrical , Gaurav writes about Electrical energy, Solar energy, Energy conservation and electrical product reviews. He is most interested in how we can utilize technology and renewable resources to reduce energy consumption , prevent pollution and save money at the same time.

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