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Replacing Halogen with LED

Halogen down lights have been used extensively in domestic applications over the last 15 years. Most halogen down lights operate from a 12 volt power supply wired through a transformer with the most common wattage being 50 watts. Halogen downlights have a number of inherent problems. Firstly they are VERY inefficient at converting electricity to light with only about 10% of the power consumed ending up being emitted as light. Halogen lamps usually create light outputs of 10 to 15 lumens per watt compared to LEDs at 80 to 100 lumens per watt. Halogen lamps also operate at temperatures ranging between 300 and 500 degrees Celsius, making them a definite fire risk if not installed and maintained correctly. Furthermore, due to their high operating temperatures, bulb life is short with 1000 hours to 5000 hours the norm. This makes bulb replacement an ongoing problem particularly where they are installed in high ceilings or other difficult access zones.

If the light fitting is in good condition, an LED lamp can in most cases be retrofitted into the existing fitting. HOWEVER, we do not recommend fitting a MR16 12 volt LED lamp to the existing transformer. Depending on the type of transformer in place the LED lamp may not function correctly (light flicker), may not work at all or may work Ok but fail prematurely.

Our policy is simple. Completely eliminate the transformer and install a GU10 240 volt LED lamp with integral matching driver. This ensures there is no possible mis-matching and a full service life is achieved with fully functional efficient operation. We do not use or recommend MR16 12 volt LED lamps for this reason.


LED downlight lamps can be sourced in both non-dimmable and dimmable versions. If dimmable versions are used we must ensure the dimmer unit installed matches the LED lamps requirements. In some cases a new matching dimmer may need to be fitted (approx cost $55.00 to $65.00).


Where the downlight fitting is in poor condition, a range of new fittings are available with most matching the same ceiling cutout opening.


All lights emit a certain “colour” of light which is generally known as Colour Temperature. The colour temperature (CCT) is rated in degrees Kelvin (K). A standard incandescent bulb has CCT of around 2700K which is known as a “warm” light. Warm light in the 2700K to 3000K range has a yellowish hue to it and is very popular for general household and domestic lighting purposes. Many 12 volt halogen lamps have a CCT rating of about 3000k.

Lights with a CCT in the 4000K range are known as “neutral”  or “Cool white”. They emit a very true, clean white light and are less forgiving than a “warm white” lamp. They are a good choice for any sort of task lighting (reading, food preparation, hobbies etc).

Moving further up the colour temperature range are lights with a CCT of 5500K. This  colour temperature is referred to as “daylight”  and is a very stark white light with a subtle ice blue tinge to it. We would not generally recommend daylight lamps for general living areas, but once again they are very effective for detail or task lighting applications.


Downlights are designed to radiate their light spread at varying beam angles dependant on their application. Most domestically applied halogen downlights usually have beam angles between 45 and 60 degrees.  Wider beam angles are best suited to hallways whilst narrower beams are better for kitchen benches or spot lighting of features or displays.


The following pages show a sample of the options available for situations where your existing light fittings are still in good condition and you just want to replace the existing halogen lamp with a long life energy efficient LED lamp.

Click here to download the LED Downlight Upgrade offer