Having calculated the frightening cost of running the bulbs in our kitchen and bathroom, I spent part of the last couple of days taking out the MR16 transformers and bulbs and replacing them with GU10 lampholders and LED bulbs.
Our IHD (in-home display) suggests that the current price-cap means our kitchen alone would cost £300 a year if we have the lights on for four hours a day. From October that would have increased to about £550. The LED set-up will cost less than £15, rising to just under £26 in October.
So, all this means that I have more than a dozen used MR16 bulbs along with about the same number brand new, I also have a dozen transformers. Any ideas as to what I can do with them? Do they just get consigned to the bin of history?
One thing I discovered in doing this is that buying a bulb has become a whole science in itself. I thought I'd got to the bottom of it when I'd found the equivalent wattage of LED to halogen and roughly matched the kelvins of the old and new. But then I found that the wattage equivalency method doesn't seem to be the whole story. LED bulbs of the same wattage seem to offer different brightness, when measured in lumens. So what lumens did we want? You can find the lumens output for some old bulbs, but others only offer a measurement in candelas. I've no idea if the candela-to-lumens conversion tool I found online was accurate, but, using it, at least I felt as if I'd made progress.
Armed with this information, I bought a new set of bulbs However, once installed, I was disappointed to find that the new set-up was glaringly bright. A little more research highlighted the fact that I hadn't taken into account the bulbs' beam angle. My new bulbs had an angle almost twice that of the old. So, the beams were crossing over and creating numerous 'hotspots'. Calculating the correct beam angle seems like another whole self-contained science, involving, amongst other things, ceiling height and floor area. So I gave up with that and decided to match the beam angle of new bulbs with the old (which I managed to find online). So, I was then looking for bulbs by six variables:
Finding the right bulb wasn't nearly as simple as I thought a week ago!
I suppose I will never again pop in to the supermarket to pick up a bulb.
I'm tired just reading that! ;o)
I hate LED light. It's ghastly. I would rather live in darkness, as the 1974 advice in your other post, or perhaps have just one low-wattage halogen lamp and switch on a torch for moving around. I kid you not.
That’s interesting, Geraldine. All other things being equal I would probably choose halogen over LED, but the difference is pretty small and the cost difference now so vast, that for me there is no competition. Can you say what it is you dislike so much about LED?
Hi Hugh. I find LED too white, too harsh. Great for an office or shop but at home the 'yellowness' of halogen is easier on the eyes. Still, it depends what I am doing - I use LED lamps for reading fine print and in the kitchen. For background light when watching TV or talking to friends its halogen. Your calculations on the savings are most interesting. I should really regard halogen as a luxury. It is now being phased out altogether. I would buy all your old bulbs if I still lived in Harringay! Perhaps I should say that each kind of light has its own advantage.
It's important to make sure you get an LED which is 'warm white' as this will be a nicer colour than the bright white that they will be otherwise.
I did this some years ago & at that point I had some hassle with transformers, so you did the right thing replacing them too!
Halogens were always a massive issue for energy consumption.
My halogens were 2900K which seemed just right. The new LEDs are 3000K, which is mainly described as ‘warm white’, but sometimes as ‘natural white’. It’s definitely a touch whiter than 2900, but after a few days, I didn't notice it. The first batch I tried were 2700K. Those went back: that was definitely too yellow.
Have you heard of 'warm white' LEDs? LED lights can be any colour / brightness and plenty of colour changing / dimming options exist in LED bulbs. Maybe you're thinking of fluorescent lighting?
I have tried warm white. Yes, it's better on the eye but still not as 'gentle' as low wattage halogen which leads me to think it's the nature of LED rather than the level of brightness. Difficult to explain but to each his own. If you are okay with LED then fine but I am unhappy that halogen is being phased out for reasons of conserving energy when it could be managed by sensible use.
Wow, my going round unplugging charging plugs has a much less impressive saving! I might have to get my daughter to do our calculations as part of her GCSE science revision ;o)
Most more recent electrical goods do not consumer much energy on standby, as the EU regulated this issue in 2008.
However, you should watch older products - we found an old portable CD/Radio that would use at least 20W if it was plugged in, which mounts up. You can get a plug-in power meter to see what individual devices are using.
There can be big differences between the most & least efficient fridges, washing machines, dishwashers (check the EU energy label) - the biggest power consumption is heating and cooling. Air-drying clothing is much better than tumble drying, though make sure the room is ventilated well.
Hot water is a big part of energy consumption, so anything you can do to reduce use will help, e.g. things like low-flow shower heads (the EU was going to regulate & do efficiency labels for shower heads, but there was a political backlash).
And then there is heating and insulation - it's such a pity that there is no decent home insulation programme running in the UK, as this is such an important issue. Energy Saving Trust has some good info, and Heating hub has tips to make gas boilers more efficient.
Any recommendation for a plug-in power meter?
You've got me thinking...
Mine is really old - if you search on Amazon you see large numbers (which is not so helpful!), but places like Argos & Homebase don't seem to have them.
It's also worth noting that some smart plugs also measure power consumption.