How much do CFLs or LEDs cost and can you simply change halogen down lights to one or the other?

Asked by Bill

4 answers

  • There are typically two types of halogen downlight - 12V MR16 ones (skinny pins and you'll have transformers - these are the most common) or 240V GU10 ones (fatter pins and you have to twist them a bit to get the globes in/out).

    If you've got the GU10 fittings, you can either go CFL or LED. CFL will typically cost you $20 (non dimmable) and $40 (dimmable) for 210 lumens output and 12W power, and LEDs will typically cost you about $60 for a decent one (non dimmable) for 300 lumens and 6W power.

    If you've got the MR16 fittings, you're limited to LED options. These will be similar to the LEDs mentioned above, just with different fittings. Some LEDs and transformers don't like eachother. Get one to test first (ideally with a guarantee so you can take it back if it doesn't work, otherwise you'll also have to upgrade your transformers ($15/light).

    For an LED as bright as a halogen and dimmable try the D900 ($120) 900 lumens, 16W.

    Hope that helps!

    Answered by Ewan Rating: 1
  • CFLs:
    - containing mercury (serious health issue when they break), contaminating soil and ground water if they go into general waste
    - poor light quality
    - even if labelled "dimmable": this technology is not meant to be dimmed & will fail quickly
    - more expensive (operation and replacement costs) in the long run than LEDs

    - If you use a dimmer ask yourself how often you use 100%. If most of the time the lights are dimmed you can go for less lumen. This way the costs come down (~700 lm @ ~$90).
    - To be on the save side replace globe and transformer. LEDs may work with the old stuff. It definitely reduces their lifespan.
    - All-in-one solutions (like D900) are better than globe and LED-driver from different brand
    - operating an LED on a halogen transformer can mean you don't have any warranty, therefore testing won't work
    - most important is the LED-chip and who makes it (not the name of the globe)

    For more information feel free to contact me (via profile).

    Answered by Harald Grabner
    Green Beret
    Rating: 0
  • Bill the cost will vary depending on the wattage of the CFL or LED. It is possible to change LEDs for halogen as the 2 pin configuration is the same . CFLs are different as they have different oin configurations

    Answered by Craig Sproule Rating: 0
  • Bill, no doubt the future of lighting is LED. Ewan has provided some good info. on the dangers of getting it wrong with MR16. LED dimming is not as simple as it should be... From a cost perspective I use a rule of thumb - if you are lights are on more than 3 hours a day, LEDs offer a saving over time and less hassle as you are no longer replacing them. Halogen GU10s only last 1500-2500hours and quality MR16s 5000 hours. Having installed MR16s - the lamps that require a transformer - I initially thought that straight retrofitting was the answer. After thinking through the issues such as the condition of the transformer and its level of efficiency I have moved towards total replacement when the infrastructure is more than 5 years old. This ensures optimum performance throughout the life of the LED and warranty. If the LED is rated to 20,000 hours at 90% efficiency than you have a light source for 20 years when used at 3 hours a day. As Ewan said test or get a demonstration first ;)

    Answered by David Winterton
    Green Beret
    Rating: 0

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