Ask G

Ask G: Alternatives to halogen downlights

Giving halogen the heave-ho

Is there an energy-efficient plug 'n' play replacement for halogen downlights? I'd rather avoid getting in an electrician if I don't need to.

Marc, WA

LED downlight

LED downlights are one alternative to halogens.

Credit: Wikimedia

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First you need to know if your downlight fittings are 'standard voltage' (240 volts) or 'low voltage' (12 volts, with a transformer).

240-volt downlights (GU10 lights) can be directly replaced with 11-watt compact fluorescent downlights.

Standard 12-volt (low voltage) or 50-watt downlights can be replaced with 20-watt infrared coated (IRC) downlights or three-watt LED downlights.

Note that the light emitted from LED downlights appears a little dimmer and cooler than the halogens they replace, but they also produce far less heat.

These downlight alternatives are available from some hardware and lighting stores and online eco-retailers.