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Are you still using halogen bulbs?

While we’ve already seen the EU phase out energy guzzling traditional incandescent bulbs, the time is now coming for a decision on the end of not-so-eco halogens. The question is, when?

The Member States of the EU will vote on whether to go ahead with the proposed 2016 ban of all bulbs with an energy classification of C or lower, which will effectively ban halogen bulbs, or delay the phase-out until 2018.

The reasons for the debate are simple enough. There are concerns over the price and quality of the bulbs that would remain on sale.

In a show of the European Commission’s willingness to compromise and remain flexible on eco-regulations the proposed delay was suggested by the Commission themselves.

Energy saving light bulbs

The aim of the long-running programme is to ensure all bulbs available in the EU have at least an energy efficiency class B rating. That means halogen bulbs wouldn’t be up to scratch, only using about 10% less energy than an old-style bulb. This would leave the market with only CFLs, using 60%-80% less energy than incandescents, and LEDs, using 90% less.

While the next stage of the programme will undoubtedly save huge amounts of energy for Europe, it may raise a few concerns if your house is lit with halogen bulbs.

In our survey of more than 1,000 Which? members, half told us they still have halogen bulbs and more than two in five have halogen spotlights. However, Chris from our previous light bulb Convo was pleased when he made the switch:

I replaced 14 halogen bulbs (50W GU10) a year ago with the LED equivalent. They have always been perfectly reliable and just as bright as the halogen originals […] Any lamps that I buy from now on will definitely be LED.’

What would be left on the market?

How will the halogen phase-out affect you? While you can get a Best Buy LED for less than £5, it’s still a large jump from the cost of a halogen bulb. Although, it’s worth noting a LED’s lifespan will stretch far beyond that of any halogen so there’s still be money to be saved.

Then there are the issues of compatibility. LED and CFL bulb technology still isn’t up there with that of halogens in some key areas. You may find issues with compatibility with existing circuits and dimmer switches. And the warm up time of some CFL bulbs mean you may spend the first few minutes in the dark, even though you switched the lights on. Plus the colour rendering of LED bulbs can still leave a little to be desired.

Do you think the EU commission should hold off until 2018? Or is bulb technology ready for a 2016 ban of halogen bulbs? If you use halogen bulbs, are you now going to invest to get them replaced?

Comments
Member

I see that the ban on halogen lamps has been delayed until 2018 and then will only apply to certain types of lamp: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2015/04/ban-on-inefficient-light-bulbs-delayed-by-two-years-401170/

While I believe that LED lamps will ultimately be the way forward, there are problems with reliability and radio interference, which have been discussed in various Conversations.

I’m surprised that the Which? article is not doing more to promote CFLs, since they are cheaper and have fewer problems than LEDs.

Member

Essentially it has been recognised that LEDs will not be be fully available to replace halogens by 2016 – including on price and quality. Common sense in the EU for once.

Member
marlbenn says:
20 August 2017

I am quite happy with the idea of moving to LED bulbs just to avoid the unnecessary heating they supply during warm weather. LEDs themselves may have a long life but it seems to me that the weak link, where quality seems to suffer, is in the embedded electronics. I have yet to buy an LED bulb which has lasted more than six months – not economically viable. For example, I bought two 12 watt Paul Russells bulbs off eBay two months ago and both have failed within the last week. Manufacturing reliability has a way to go yet.

Member

You could start with replacing the lower power lamps first. Lower power lamps produce less heat. Electronic components work best if not overheated. I have noticed lamps equivalent to 100W disappear from some shops, so maybe there were problems.

Member

Electronic circuitry should be designed for the anticipated environment. In fact modern consumer electronic components are generally very happy at temperatures exceeding 100 degC or so – they have to be able to withstand temperatures much higher than that during the PCB fabrication process. Yet of the bulbs I have bought, oddly, it is the higher power ones which have seemed to me to be more reliable. Still, the direct experiences of myself are far from being statistically significant!

Member

As a hobbyist, I have seen plenty of premature failure of electronic circuitry that has run hot, and thermal cycling may be partly to blame. I have not studied domestic LED lamps but it worries me that the caps can become too hot to touch.

I would like to see more light fixtures where the LEDs and electronics is separate, since that will prevent the heat of the LEDs affecting the electronics, and this is common in commercial lighting. Obviously that’s not easy with lamps that are direct replacements for the old fashioned light bulbs. The popular ‘filament LEDs’ seem a good design because the LED strips are at a distance from the electronics in the lamp cap.

It would be very interesting to find out which makes, types and styles work best. So far I have been lucky with various brands – all familiar brands – but I have kept every receipt just in case.

Member

I’ve been using LED lamps for about 10 years now. In my house LEDs are gradually replacing compact florescent lamps. Only a few, infrequently used. lamps are still filament or halogen types.

I’ve never suffered a failure of any LED lamp but I can remember one or two early failures of compact fluorescent ones.

However I do not, and would not, ever buy lamp bulbs on eBay. As I see it, there is no need to do that, because I can get these items from local shops.

Member

I use local shops too. I often use eBay for inexpensive products and have rarely been disappointed, but would not take the risk of buying mains voltage electrical goods from an eBay trader, an unheard of Amazon Marketplace trader or a market stall. I would rather pay more and hopefully avoid the risk of buying dangerous or counterfeit products.

I investigated the light in my old Bosch cooker hood because I thought one of the bulbs had failed. It is marked 2 x 15W but there is only one lampholder. There is plenty room so I fitted a LED lamp and that has made a great improvement.

Member

Marlibenn states that component in electronic circuitry are “happy ” at 100 degrees C . Not the capacitors I have seen and fitted 105 degrees C are the good ones cheap are 85 degrees C . Only Mosfets have a negative heat/current safety feature -ie- more heat less current. . Resistors have a normal heat range of 55 degrees C to 70 degrees C taking a 1 watt average over tat they de-rate drastically – have you seen the graphs ?? . Now consider the fact we are talking about SMT components ( miniature ) and squeezed into a hot container part of a SMPS . TCR is a constant carbon decreases with heat ,metal resistances increase with heat so does semiconductor components ( low resistance -blow out due to heat increase. Manufacturing standard in free air is 70 degrees C . above that stress de-rating comes into effect . Stress Ratio= operating power /rated power 80 % de-rating for fixed resistors . I don’t want bto go on as I have been accused of being “too technical ” although it seems others can post it okay . .