What are L.E.D Down-lights
L.E.D downlights are a recessed ceiling light fixture and direct light down in the form of a narrow beam.
They are one of the most popular lighting sources used in the home today and help improve the light quality in areas where they are installed. LED downlights have a metal or plastic frame housing consisting of a microchip to emit the light, a transformer that will the step down the voltage from 240v to 24/12v and a 10amp plug-top to insert into your plug-base.
Where can L.E.D Downlights be used?
Your LED downlight installation can be used almost anywhere in the home, either interior or exterior. When installing down-lights , you will firstly need to consider the function of that room. Using downlights to light up mirrors in the bedroom or bathroom works very well, mainly when trying to apply make-up and shaving. The kitchen where task lighting for food preparation is needed, under cabinetry to light up the bench-top and the ceiling to light up the kitchen island. Also recommended is to keep downlights on separate switches, not all lighting needs to be on when going to the fridge to consume a quick snack. The boundary of rooms such as the living room, artwork and pictures can be highlighted and down-lights over an armchair, where reading takes place are also great places to install downlights.
Why you need to install L.E.D Downlights
Energy Efficient – L.E.D downlights are evidently more energy efficient than your hot halogen globes. Your L.E.D downlights have a lifespan of 30’000 to 50’000 hours compared to your dangerous halogen downlights of 1000 hours. A staggering 80% energy savings can be made when replacing your halogen downlights to the energy efficient L.E.D downlights.
Save On Maintenance Costs – A common problem with halogen downlights is the constant changing of globes. One of the qualities of the energy efficient downlight is they have a longer life, up to 10 years or more lighting hours. Less continual replacement of halogen globes means two things, lower costs in terms of being charged labour to replace the globe and the cost for replacement parts.
Reduced Fire Risk – The heat produced by the halogen globe can reach up to 200c making it to Hot to touch. When switching a halogen globe on, it instantly produces only 20% of light with the other 80% turning to heat. If anything above the ceiling was to come into contact with the 80% of wasteful heat, especially cabling, could result in a fire. A way of preventing this to happen is to install L.E.D downlights.
Environmentally Friendly – L.E.D downlights do not contain any mercury or any other harmful gases and do not emit any damaging UV rays. The compact fluorescent lamp [CFL] contains the deadly gas mercury and when deposited into rubbish waste facilities and not handled with care, this lamp could discharge into the ground causing the mercury to contaminate our waterways, effecting our water supply and horticulture. Installing L.E.D downlights would eliminate this dangerous scenario from happening.
Inexpensive – When most people are thinking of changing their globes, cost is the biggest factor in making their decision. Buying one L.E.D globe will last you 10 years compared to buying a dozen that keep burning out over the same period of time. So in the long run spending the bigger money today will have substantial savings in the future and that does not include the running costs of electricity for the halogen globe.
What you need to know when choosing L.E.D Downlights
With a staggering amount of different brand types of downlights in today’s market, it can be quite daunting choosing the correct L.E.D downlight for your home. There’s a great deal to consider when deciding on buying downlights compared to your incandescent or halogen globe. From choosing the right location, to how much wattage will be needed, will they be dimmable or non-dimmable, what shade of colour, a narrow or wide beam angle and of course what do you want your downlights to do.
Here we will take a closer look at choosing the right L.E.D downlight for you.
Location – A practice I like to consider is locating L.E.D downlights 1.3square meters apart which will provide high levels of lighting dependant on your ceiling height. Downlights can be positioned to provide light on a specific spot within a room or a number of downlights can be integrated to light up an entire area. Also worth noting, installing downlights to close to a wall will create shadows that can end up making a room look smaller than it already is.
Colour Temperature – Selecting the right colour temperature is a personal choice as will help set the ambience of the room. Colour temperature is how the light looks coming from the downlight and is measured in degrees, kelvin. Most L.E.D downlights come in tri-colour and have 3 selector switches to choose from to see what colour suits your needs, warm white, cool white and natural white.
- Warm white – 3000k
- Cool white – 4000k
- Natural white – 5000k
Lumen & Wattage – The higher the lumens the brighter the light while your wattage only measures the amount of energy used to produce the light. A standard 9 watt down-light will produce 7 – 9 hundred lumens depending on the light colour. When replacing halogen or incandescent bulbs to L.E.D always compare the lumens and not the wattage. If replacing a 50 watt halogen globe, an L.E.D downlight of 9 – 12 watts that produces about 800 lumens will be a sufficient amount of illumination to replace that halogen globe.
Beam Angle – A beam angle measures on how your light is distributed and the wider the angle the more spread out the light will be. Incandescent bulbs would usually have a beam angle of 360 degrees with your standard downlight having a narrow beam of near the 40 degree range. Choosing the right beam angle for your room can make a big difference in light distribution but unfortunately this option is often limited to just a few L.E.D downlight brands.
IC & IP Rating – IC and IP rating are two completely different used terms, IP means the protection against solids and liquids and IC meaning insulation contact and whether downlights can come into contact with flammable materials or not. So when a downlight is tagged with an IC rated sticker, yes you can safely allow insulation to come into contact with your downlight. Most downlights have an IP ratting of 44, commonly used in wet areas such as bathrooms and underneath.
Have you got a compatible dimmer for your L.E.D downlights?
A dimmer switch works on the principal of reducing lighting levels to your light fixture. There are two standard types of dimmers on the market today, the leading edge dimmer for switching and reducing lighting on 240 volt supplies and the trailing edge dimmer for reducing lighting levels on electronic circuitry such as L.E.D downlights and any other type of lighting that drops down in voltage.
The dimmers work by cutting the RMS [root mean square] voltage to the lighting source and this happens so fast that the human eye cannot see it. The L.E.D load on a transformer will be much higher than of a halogen or incandescent bulb due to its high inrush currents and high current spikes. Even though it consumes less energy it still needs to treated as if has a much higher voltage than your normal 240 volt loads.
Trailing edge dimmers are specifically designed to work with L.E.D downlights but are more expensive and more complicated than the leading edge style. The trailing edge dimmer has many more features over the leading edge dimmer such as smooth control, silent running and soft start that will enhance the life of your L.E.D downlights.
Always check when buying downlights that your transformer is dimmable, your transformer is an electronic device and has to be designed to work with a dimmer switch. Using a dimmer switch with a non dimmable transformer will cause lighting to flicker and switch off while being dimmed. Sticking with the same brand of dimmer and downlights is a good way of making sure lights don’t flicker and cause problems in the long run.
The Downlights we use
The brand we use comes with an incredible 6 year warranty from the date of purchase. It uses 9 watts of energy and produces 800 – 900 lumens depending on the light colour you choose. Has the 3 selector switches on the back giving you the option of choosing between warm white 3000k, natural white 4000k and cool white 6000k. It is IC approved meaning insulation can be rolled near or over the downlight, it also has an IP44 rating which can be installed in wet areas such as bathroom and underneath out-door soffit areas. And finally it is dimmable, has a 90 degree beam angle and the L.E.D driver comes integrated with the downlight.
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