Winter always seems to eventually swing around, much to the disappointment of some. Its a time when we use more energy for both lighting and especially heating.
Electricity for lighting isn’t the only potential avenue to save energy for downlights, did you know that recessed lighting also affects heating?
Home heating energy efficiency
If this issue is improved, the savings can be considerable. Ceiling insulation is the worst part of the home to turn into swiss cheese. Up to $10 dollars a year per downlight on heating costs, when you fix a 400mm gap in insulation and improve the air tightness of the fitting.
With so many downlights all over Australia, its a very common thought for many, to think about replacing a halogen MR16 globe with an MR16 L.E.D. There are also many companies out there replacing LED’s for free under government endorsed schemes!
Now… due to these types of older style downlights being ventilated, full of cob webs and perhaps leaves and debris, you will also be thinking about how you could make these lights more air tight and insulated, for energy efficiency, while at the same time, reduce the amount of dust and pollen that drops into your home from your roof cavity.
There’s a problem with replacing a MR16 Halogen Downlight with an LED, while focusing on heating energy efficiency and its important to know about it!
You need to make sure your installation complies to Australian standards. LED’s produce way less heat, but you still can’t cover them, because they can fail prematurely. But there are other rules as well.
These are the Australian Standard rules as per AS/NZS 5110(safety standard):
LED/MR16 LED retrofit globes are not allowed to be covered with insulation even if a manufacturer allows it, because if the transformer is still rated for a 50W Halogen MR16 lamp, the fitting must be capable of operating safely with the worst possible lamp replacement. (50W Halogen dichroic globe)
So, the solution is…
when you finally choose to retrofit. Ask your service provider for the following:
Make sure the halogen lamp transformers are replaced with an “up to 20W LED drivers” when they are retrofitting the LED’s. LED’s will last longer when these types of transformers are being used. They are designed for them. From a safety perspective its important because halogen globes won’t work anymore in the fitting.
Buy downlight covers for your LED’s which are insulative and can be insulated in the ceiling while being installed from below the ceiling. They will also allow the LED to breath with some air from the living area through your ventilated fitting.
Make sure these new control gears are not covered in insulation, as per AS3000 Wiring rules. The downlight cover should have somewhere to cable tie them. Allowing them to work up and away from insulation.
Our webshop for buying our downlight covers.