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 have one of these
I did have one of the non-smart ones but it wasn't great to use, you had to get right down level with the screen to read it which could be awkward.
Thanks Andrew! And also michaelw,
Very helpful adice! The smart one looks like a good (and cheap!) option.
I moved into my new flat to find that half the lights weren't working, the previous owner having neglected to fix/replace them. They are all LED downlights. On further investigation it turned out to mostly just be the drivers that weren't working. Replacing the drivers is cheap but replacing the bulbs would cost a fortune!
Sadly they are all quite bright so I will want to replace them with "warm white" bulbs at some point. Can I bear to do them one by one and have mismatched bulbs until I've changed them all? It would take a lifetime - in my old flat I only needed to replace one bulb in 8 years.
Shopping around for new bulbs, I found a very wide range of prices. The wide angle bulbs I bought were Aurora brand (a top contractor brand). I found those locally for about £5.50. I then found them from a non-loval electrical distributor for £2.70. The narrow angle bulbs I eventually settled on are Sylvania brand and by far the cheapest supplier was Amazon. They cost £1.40 each in packs of 10.
This is more the sort of thing I need https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09JSPLN1M/ref=syn_sd_onsite_mobileweb_...
Waterproof because a couple of weeks ago water started pouring through the ceiling, making me wonder if that's why so many of the lights are out in the first place... And in two different sizes, then for the living room dimmable would be good as I plan to have a dimmer switch installed at some point.
All the research is something I just don't have time for yet! As the days get darker that will motivate me.
To be honest, I am greatly disappointed by the lifespan of LED lights. My existing CFLs last longer and cost a fraction of the price. Regarding power consumption, the difference is not so great, maybe 4W.
at 52p per kWh, that's a lot of hours to offset the price difference.
Yet, you are hard pushed to find CFLs anymore on supermarkets or other places.
LEDs should last longer than CFLs, but it is also true that some fail surprisingly fast.
The difference in consumption between CFL & LEDs is not so much, the big difference is with halogens (which use massively more electricity, particularly given that they are often used in groups in one ceiling) and incandescent.
Which? has some info on the different types & the colour issues:
Lighting designer here. I can recommend Philips warm glow GU10 3.8W, it has warm dim technology to match traditional lamp sources. Colour rendering is ok. So far it has worked with our standard rotary dimmers so it was a simple case of just swapping out the lamps. However this will depend on how many lamps you have on a rotary dimmer, if the load is too low then the dimming is unlikely to work well. £18 for a pack of 6 from Argos. I think they only do a 36deg though I’m afraid. It’s not halogen but at these energy prices it will do.
I think there’s yet another factor to consider. I believe pattern glare — associated with flickering lights, stroboscopic effects, rapid flickering shadows from trees when driving, amongst other things — can be a serious problem with LEDs, as I gather they actually operate at a very high flicker-rate (unlike halogen and old incandescent filaments) which can create eye-strain or potentially more serious problems in sensitive people. I think there are variations between LED makes here, too, with cheaper all-in-one sealed units less user-friendly than separate lamps. I’m really not (yet) an expert, but will have to bone up on it as strobe lighting affects me, so I’m holding on to my stock of halogen lamps as long as possible. If anyone has proper technical advice on this, I for one would appreciate it!
Most interesting post Hugh. Life has become so complicated. My advice would be to go down to your local hardware store and purchase four candles !! Good luck.