/ Home & Energy

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
Guest
Mr Tayto says:
30 January 2015

Thanks for shining a light on the issue, Alex

Guest
Clare says:
30 January 2015

an illuminating post, thanks alex

Guest

I have had a great deal of success with CFLs over the years. The secret of success seems to be to make sure that they are used in well ventilated fixtures or shades to avoid overheating, which can shorten their life. Over the years, I have paid between £20 and 10p for well known brands of CFLs.

The only halogen lamps I have is a bathroom fixture with multiple halogen bulbs. I avoided using a CFL because it would have overheated in an enclosed bathroom fixture. The lamps are not on for long and I have a few spare halogen bulbs for future use.

Although I was an early adopter of CFLs, the reliability, the comments about poor reliability on Which? Conversation and elsewhere has put me off. It’s not just cheap brands that are failing prematurely and causing radio interference. What I would like to see is LED lighting fixtures in which the control electronics are kept separate to avoid either overheating and failing. That works very well in offices, public buildings and street lighting.

I was aware of the impending phase-out of halogen lighting to save energy and have seen higher power lamps disappear from the shelves. It’s time to discuss this topic, so thanks to Alex for starting off the discussion.

Guest

Thanks Wavechange. It’s good to have a well thought-out and lengthy comment 😉 And I agree with you on LED lighting fixtures. Mine have always seemed to burn out prematurely, presumably due to over-heating.

Guest

That was the second attempt, Alex. When I posted the first one the Conversation had gone – as bad as a failed bulb. 🙁

Guest

Hi Wavechange, sorry that was our fault. We had to temporarily take down the Convo to tweak a couple of things. You’re so fast that you commented just before we took it down. We’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Guest
Trent Simmons says:
6 February 2017

Hi Alex: I like that image for this article and was wondering if you could tell me who owns the copyright? I’d like to use something like that for a project I’m working on. Thanks

Guest

Hi Trent, you can purchase the license for the image here: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-illustration/question-mark-bulb-series-74947663

Guest
bishbut says:
21 August 2017

I have used LED lamps for a long time usually £1 lamps from Poundland no failures yet but cheap enough to replace if they do .You can break the outside glass and the lamp still works I do not recommend you do .I have small LEDs in my enclosed bathroom lights .no problems with them either

Guest
bishbut says:
21 August 2017

Too large a wattage maybe ??

Guest
Mr Tayto says:
30 January 2015

Very switched on

Guest

First I think we need to remember that lighting is both for utility and for effect, or mood. It should be chosen to be appropriate for its application.

I am wary of the reliability of LEDs. Made properly, even with integrated electronics, low power ones should be reliable, but seems difficult to find them. For higher power they are best with the complete driver – constant current – remote But remember that if constant voltage drivers are used there are still electronics on the LED chip board to provide constant current. I have only one set of LEDs – 4 strips under kitchen cabinets over a worktop with a remote constant voltage driver, all working well after 2 years – another 25 to go?

For directional and dimmable lighting I use tungsten halogen – a nicer colour than many LEDs and a good deal cheaper but less efficient. However not on long enough to worry.

The main lighting for the rest of my house is from CFLs – in table lamps, uplights and pendants. Using mainstream brands they have performed very well – 5 years life no problem, good colour, virtually instant light. You can use them in enclosed light fittings – just choose a well-known brand and don’t go too high on the wattage. I’ve got CFLs lasting more than 5 years like this.

The obsession with energy saving drove domestic lamps towards GLS replacements and this has been the source of most problems. But of course it’s the cheap and easy short term solution. Both LEDs and CFLs will be more reliable and perform much better – and should be cheaper – if the control electonics are a separate unit that can be located away from the main heat. We should be promoting purpose made light fittings to use these lamps to their best advantage. I would hope Which? might, for comparison, when testing replacement lamps also test properly designed commercial/professional light fittings. These are what non-domestic users buy – they would not tolerate the sort of failures reported in these conversations, so take a leaf out of their book and spend the money. You largely get what you pay for.

Personally when I want

Guest

part 2….. to light and decorate my home with light I want to choose from appropriate light sources. Halogen is currently an important one not easily replaced, so no, I don’t want it banned. The industry has worked hard on low voltage versions with Infra red coatings on the bulb to iincrease their efficacy.

Next we’ll have the EU dictating how many private miles (kilometres) a week (semaine, woche) we’ll be allowed to drive to save energy. Far more worthwhile than light bulbs.

Some time ago I worked out that the unecessary EU requirement for daytime running lights consumed enough energy to light a small town of 300 000. No joined up logic in EU legislative thinking, is there? Just a lot of Sir Humphreys occupying their time.

Guest

Perhaps, but daylight running lights are mainly necessary because so many drivers forget to use their headlights when the visibility is below par, forgetting that the main purpose is to be seen.

If we look at the cost of running the daylight running lights and offset that against costs of hospital treatment, days off work, insurance claims and simple inconvenience I’d be willing to bet they’ve saved money and almost certainly lives.

Guest

The trouble I find with daytime running lights is they can cause glare and obscure something else you should be seeing, and they are quite unnecessary in normal daylight. I did once work out that you could power a town the size of Burnley on the energy wasted on DRLs.

Guest

I can see both sides of the argument here and maybe the glare could be avoided by better design of DRLs. What I find far more of a problem is high intensity headlights. Automatic levelling headlights don’t cope with speed humps so it is easy to be blinded by an oncoming motorist. That’s not clever if there are pedestrians or cyclists around.

Guest

The problem we have in the mountains up here is we need to be able to see vehicles all the time. Now, I agree that if some use them and others don’t that can obscure those not using them. The trouble is the non-users often don’t use them when it’s almost dark, so something has to be done to make sure it’s a level playing field in safety terms. Forcing everyone to use them has been standard in most European countries with our latitude and higher for many years and if everyone does then it improves overall safety significantly.

Guest

I appreciate that this light bulb moment had to come around again before long but I do wish the EC would occupy itself with something more purposeful than upsetting our domestic lighting arrangements all the time. When I look around and see the massive waste of heat from commercial buildings, the lights left on all over the place when there’s nobody there, and shops with thirty televisions using full power continuously for over sixty hours a week I just think they see the domestic consumer as an easy target and go for us.

Most lights in houses only need to be on for short periods in many rooms, and only in occupied rooms anyway, so the energy saving from getting rid of incandescent lamps has not been enormous [although I know that cumulatively it is allowing us to get by with one less power station than previously – which is just as well in our present deficient circumstances].

Going from incandescent to CFL’s has probably been worth while overall although I still don’t like them much where they are visible, and adopting LED’s as and when they are both long-lasting and cheap will be a good move where appropriate, so I thought they could leave us alone with a handful of halogens in fittings that will effectively take no other light source economically at the moment.

Over the years I consider myself to have been quite conscientious in changing over to CFL’s, and using halogens where CFL’s did not suit the fitting, but there is more to domestic lighting than just a source of light; they also have a decorative or ornamental function. So in order to provide attractive and generous ilumination in certain parts of our house we have some fittings that require a number of halogen capsule bulbs for which there is no good and economical substitute at the moment with the equivalent output; we also have some fittings that currently take halogens and could take LED’s but where the cost of re-equipping them, their lesser output, and their uncertain lifespan, have deterred us. With low hours of use the existing bulbs should last way past the time when replacement halogens become unavailable; I do keep a few spares of each type of bulb but buying a stockpile would be too expensive. Mixing types in the same fitting, or matching fittings, would probably be unsatisfactory. The lighting design industry has hardly come to terms with CFL’s yet and produced fittings that look good; the industry is now struggling with the different colour rendering of LED’s and their overheating tendencies – as Wavechange says, it needs a complete functional rethink.

The EC would have us stumble around in inspissated gloom if it had its way. In incandescent terminology [if not in incandescent language] I liked the perfomance of a 150 Watt centre light to give good ambient light levels in a lounge-sized room with subsidiary side and task lighting with flexible options. Achieving that attractively, economically and functionally is becoming increasingly problematic. I hope the halogen phase-out will be postponed to 2018 at the earliest. After all, there are plenty of cost-saving arguments in favour of converting from halogens to CFL’s or LED’s – does it really need the heavy hand of legislation and compulsion to bring it about where people don’t want it?

Guest

I believed that the transition from incandescent lighting (old fashioned bulbs and halogen lamps) should have been done by encouragement and helping people appreciate the energy savings to be made, rather than wielding a big stick. There is still time to do this.

The smaller halogen capsules used in many decorative light fixtures should certainly be given a stay of execution. Why allow fixtures to continue to be sold when there are plans to ban the sale of the lamps?

Now that LED lamps are available with a choice of colour temperature (not everyone wants 2700K), work is being done to improve the colour rendering index, and prices are falling, LEDs are becoming more attractive for lighting. No doubt it will become possible to have LED lamps that become more yellow as they dim – for those nostalgic about the loss of traditional bulbs.

I think you are right about non-residential buildings, John. If you are not paying the bill then there is no encouragement to switch off. It’s time to have another go at Lidl, which has gone back to leaving all the lights on at night, even though the store closes at 8pm and is always deserted when I have looked through the windows.

Guest

“helping people appreciate the energy savings to be made”. We should not be single minded about energy savings but remember it is simply one aspect of living. in the case of lighting its primary job is to light a task, provide a safe environment and to decorate a space with light to make it as attractive as possible. The right tools – lamps and light fittings – need to be chosen to do those jobs for their appropriateness, not with energy saving as the first priority.

If we want to save energy then don’t take foreign holidays, live in the smallest house you can find, walk don’t drive….Ridiculous isn’t it? Live life properly, enjoyably with sensible responsibility and don’t become obssessed with a single “populist” mantra.

here endeth….

Guest
Guest

The three main health risks associated with energy saving lamps (CFLs).

There is a trend in the European Union of promoting the widespread use of energy-saving light bulbs. Moreover, the EU and several other countries across the world have recently decided to ban conventional, incandescent lamps in the near future.

Despite this trend, concerns have been raised on the safety and health effects of energy saving light bulbs, more specifically of Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs), the main type of energy-saving light bulb currently on the market.

You can read more here: https://lowenergylampsinfo.wordpress.com/2009/03/14/factsheet-the-three-main-health-risks-associated-with-energy-saving-lamps-cfls/

[This comment has been edited. Please do not post whole articles. Instead post a snippet and provide a link. Thanks, mods.]

Guest

Dee111, I’d be concerned about the basis for much of this document. Discharge lamps generally – of which CFLs are an example – have been around for decades and all emit EMF and impose distorted waveform on the mains – along with many other electrical appliances. Fluorescent lamps abound in workplaces (and have since pre-war) and I know of no authoritative work that has shown a significant health risk. The same applies to flicker – earlier lamps had 100 hz flicker; later ones operate at much higher frequency and have done for many years without, apparently, health problems.

Most discharge lamps emit UV. It has been demonstrated in the past that you would need to be very close to a CFL lamp for long periods to suffer any significant UV effect – generally conditions not normally experienced.

These sorts of claims have been made for years. Were they backed up by definitive studies we should be worried. So far they have not been.

However, keep off sunbeds – this is an extreme case where you will suffer for your vanity!

Guest

Dee111 – You have found a very biased article containing errors and exaggeration. I support Malcolm’s comments. I am strongly affected by flickering light and have no problems with even the older fluorescent lamps except when they are faulty and flickering at half the normal frequency. Modern CFLs (made after about 1990) operate at far too high a frequency to affect humans.

There is some risk from UV, but that is if you are very close to a lamp. Halogen bulbs used in desk lamps can be a problem, so it is essential that the glass cover is in place over the bulb. It will block most of the UV. If you use a CFL in a desk lamp, the ones with the outer glass envelope will block UV (as stated in the article) and help avoid the risk of breakage.

I believe that LED lamps can emit some UV light but have no idea how they compare with halogen or CFL lamps.

The danger of mercury in CFLs has been vastly exaggerated. They should last for years and the only problem is if they get broken, in which case it is recommended to ventilate the room and clean up the pieces carefully.

Guest
bishbut says:
21 August 2017

My friends “EXPERTS” once again saying anything that comes into their tiny brains

Guest
Jmay says:
31 January 2015

We’ve had problems with Halogen Eco bulbs exploding, most recently just as I switched the light on the explosion was so bad it also badly cracked the glass shade of a multi bulb light fitting showering THREE adjacent rooms with splinters of glass.
The bulbs were from a three pack of B&Q Diall 42w screw cap pack although Internet forums indicate that you should not touch the glass of ANY halogen bulbs as the natural oil from fingers will create a hotspot which weakens the glass when hot. If this is correct manufacturers and retailers should put this on the packaging, according to the forums carpets have been burnt and people have narrowly missed being seriously injured including children and animals as in my experience too the bang was really loud and frightening I was lucky to escape injury, Halogen bulbs are clearly dangerous and should be taken off the shelves NOW.

Guest

Halogen lamps run at extremely high temperatures and it is well established that they can break even without touching the capsule. Someone posted about the same problem in an earlier Conversation.

If it has happened more than once with the same brand of bulb it is worth contacting the manufacturer and informing Trading Standards.

Guest

The capsule in halogen lamps is usually protected by an outer cover to prevent fragments from an exploding capsule causing harm.

Guest

Jmay, you should not touch the small clear quartz bulb that encloses the filament; as you say, natural oils can cause the quartz to stain so handle them with tissue or similar. Many halogen lamps used in place of GLS filament lamps have a second enclosing bulb for protection; this is glass and can be handled normally.

Guest

Halogen capsules are sometimes supplied with a cardboard sleeve to allow them to be installed without touching them. Sadly, it is becoming common to package the capsules in a display pack, without a protective sleeve.

It’s often recommended that fingerprints are cleaned off with solvent (e.g. methylated spirits, but not the medicinal brandy!) before use, but rubbing them with tissue or a soft cloth should be sufficient.

A protective envelope does not guarantee that a halogen lamp will not explode or disintegrate and most of the examples I have read about are with downlighters, probably because they are very common. I presume that the envelopes are made of heat resistant borosilicate glass (think of Pyrex ovenware), but even that might break if hit by extremely hot pieces of quartz capsule.

Search for “halogen bulb explosion” for some reports. My guess is that most relate to substandard products but there is a small risk with all types.

Guest

I replaced most of my lights with LED. It was not possible to replace some low voltage halogens as the transformers providing the power were not compatible with the LED versions and the result was no light. I have also had three LED bulbs from B&Q replaced under a two year warranty after they only lasted 11 months. I am concerned that the claims regarding the life of LEDs is not backed up by the accompanying warranty. My LEDs with a two year warranty were claimed to last five years plus! I note that the same bulbs now come with a three year warranty and the claimed life is 15000 hours. Assuming your lights are not on all the time that could be about nine years actual use expected.

Guest

I totally agree about the problem of claims for long life backed up only by short warranties. I never had a problem the claims for CFL lifetime, though others have. It’s as laughable as Miele saying their products are tested to last 20 years, yet providing a warranty that can be as little as two years. There have been rulings by the Advertising Standards Authority against Miele for making this claim in respect to vacuum cleaners and dishwashers.

Another problem is that to qualify for an advertised warranty, some companies require you to register your purchase. Why on earth should it be necessary to register the purchase of a lamp? If my own experience with a kettle is anything to go by, it might have something to do with marketing. I was asked some interesting questions, including my annual salary.

Which? did not report any problems with reliability when they tested LED lamps recently, but the ones tested were a very small sample of what is available and did not even include any by Philips, a fairly well known brands. Maybe the labs they use don’t have voltage spikes in their mains supply and the lamps are reasonably ventilated so they don’t overheat, or perhaps they have still to test the ones that you and others have had problems with.

In the meantime it’s probably best to ignore the claimed lifetime and focus on the length of the warranty.

Guest

Anyone thinking about installing LED lighting should be aware that radio interference can be a problem. Use the Search box to find the Conversation: “The energy-saving LED bulb that switched off the radio”, where there are currently about 500 comments.

The main points that have registered with me are:

1 Both FM and DAB radio can be affected.
2 Mains LEDs are generally less of a problem than those supplied by a 12V power supply.
3 Some people have had success by switching brands
4 Even well know brands can cause interference

The best advice seems to be to try one LED lamp before buying more of that brand. I spoke to a major online supplier that admitted they were aware of the problem of interference. They had no information on their website and still do not.

In their most recent test of LED lamps, which found no problems with DAB radio interference, but there was no mention of FM radio. The lamps tested were mains voltage rather than the low voltage types commonly used as downlighters.

Guest

Electromagnetic compatibility – one bit of electrical equipment not interfering with another bit – requires careful and extensive testing to international standards to check it is acceptable. Even then the wiring used in a particular installation – length, type, routing – may well be different from the standard test situation and can affect the user’s experience.

An example of testing a domestic LED bulb is attached. I wonder how many of the lamps imported into the UK see this kind of examination?

There is controversy over whether a report for the EU on LED lamps is flawed. Is this the industry protecting halogen lamps, or are they right about the problems with non-compliant imported LED lamps? I suspect the withdrawal of halogen lamps will be postponed to a later date.

http://www.lightingeurope.org/uploads/files/LightingEurope_finds_flaws_in_CLASP_report.pdf

If the “experts” don’t get it right how can we? All I can say is that in principle LED’s are far more efficient, robust and have much longer lives which is why they are widely adopted in commercial and industrial applications as well as public lighting (roads). We need serious attention paid to prevent our domestic market being flooded with rubbish, when any money saved on energy will be spent on early replacements. We need to be able to buy LED lamps with confidence.

Guest

I appreciate that Philips and other well known manufacturers do EMC tests but the Conversation I mentioned above contains posts about radio interference by Philips LED lamps. Radio interference is a difficult problem and weak radio reception will not help.

The best approach is to try one LED lamp and see if it causes radio interference, or stick with CFLs for the time being.

Guest

wavechange, this was not a response to your appropriate comments. It was to draw people’s attention to the general LED problem and uncontrolled sub-standard imports. We should not each of us have to use trial and error to get satisfactory LEDs – we should be able to buy with confidence. Time the importers of sub-standard product were found out and penalised.

Guest

It was certainly not meant as a criticism, Malcolm. I have suffered a lot of radio interference over the years and learned about the complexity of the issue, so I wanted to emphasise that buying well known brands is not a sure way of avoiding the problem.

I absolutely agree that we have to address the problems of cheap imports. It’s not so much durability or radio interference that concerns me but whether or not they are safe. Are the casings fire-retardant and do they contain fuses or other over-current devices to protect against fire?

It amazes me that many people will buy unbranded products from unheard of companies advertising on websites.

Guest

I changed all the bulbs in our house to LEDs and have never looked back! The living room originally had a total of 3600 watts but was put down to 90 watts initially but by replacing the high efficiency bulbs with LEDs, brought it down to less than 60. The lights are instant with no warming up period and there is very little difference in consumption throughout the year.

Light levels are compatible with incandescent lamps and in some cases superior. Certainly never had any problems of any sort. Initial purchases may be expensive but it has knocked £10 or so off our monthly direct debit. All bulbs were directly interchangeable. Incandescent lighting is an out-dated, inefficient technology. Cars have moved to LED technology as have traffic lights etc. Incandescent bulbs will soon be a thing of the past!

Guest

I never understood why the EU phased out incandescents before Halogens. One low-tech, extremely cheap to manufacture 60W or 100W lamp was able to light a whole room comfortably: now I know that many of my friends have kitchens with 10 or more 50W GU10 halogens (total 500W). Another friend is proud of her new modern chandelier in the lounge: it sports 6 x 28W halogens. It all makes the humble incandescent a persecuted innocent.

The EU shouldn’t meddle.

Guest

terfar, ordinary incandescent were phased out first because they are only half the efficiency of halogens. However, halogens could at the time give a lighting effect that other lamp types could not, and it should not be only about efficiency. You couldn’t make a decent spoltlight out of a CFL. LEDs are good if you buy reliable makes (who knows which they are?) but in many cases you’ll have to buy new, expensive light fittings and probably have to pay for them to be installed. In their mania for energy saving the EU forgets the consequences.

Guest

Malcolm – I thought halogen lamps designed to replace incandescent bulbs were – at best – 30% more efficient than the incandescent bulbs they were designed to replace. Obviously it depends on the power because a 100W bulb is (was) significantly more efficient than smaller sizes.

I can see that a bare capsule would be more efficient than a bulb replacement but as you pointed out earlier, these are often used behind glass.

Guest

wavechange, quite right. At the time halogens were around 30 – 40% more efficient than traditional filament lamps, but they had the imminent potential to improve significantly. Currently some low voltage versions with infra-red coating and compact filaments have an efficacy around double that of GLS, with a life around 25% longer.

The EU seemed to adopt a blinkered energy-only approach to this. I agree with the principle of reducing domestic lighting consumption using CFLs and LEDs (if only we could ensure the latter were of good quality!). But lighting is not all about efficacy – it has decorative as well as utility uses and we should be left to choose the right lamp for the job. Current building regulations require the lighting in a new house to meet a minimum overall efficacy. In the main this means most lighting would be fluorescent and/or LED. But it still leaves scope for limited use of less efficient lamps in appropriate locations, which is where halogens would fit.

Guest

That’s very encouraging and I wonder if there is scope to improve the efficiency of mains voltage halogen bulbs that have been used as direct replacement for old fashioned bulbs.

I am aware that the CRI of CFL and LED lamps is lower than that of incandescent lamps, and I understand the reason. Both have improved significantly and with the ongoing development of LED lighting, no doubt we will see further improvement.

Though there was much talk of poor light quality when CFLs came in, they seem to be generally accepted and those who don’t like them have moved to LEDs. Interestingly, there seems to be a greater demand for higher colour temperature lighting, maybe because many of us are familiar with its use in the workplace.

I started to replace my incandescent bulbs in the mid-80s, more out of interest in the developing technology than for energy saving. I’m happy with the light quality and can have bright lighting at little cost. Halogens have never appealed to me, especially since I’m no fan of downlighters. I particularly dislike the dazzling brightness of halogen lamps.

My last old fashioned light bulbs are a reflector bulb in a reading lamp and a ceiling fixture with 60 watt golf ball bulbs. CFLs get to hot because the shade are unventilated. Halogen replacements have the dazzling brightness I mentioned.

Guest

Improvements in mains voltage halogens are more limited as they need longer filaments, and because a filament still produces a good deal of red and infra red they will never achieve what we regard as a high efficacy (you cannot run the filament at too high a temperature as it would be very weak). So I reckon there will be incremental improvements, and low voltage lamps with their shorter, thicker and more thermally-efficient filaments will be the best choice.

They do, however, achieve excellent colour rendition because they emit a continuous spectrum. This is a problem with LEDs which generally use a blue (narrow spectrum) LED with a phosphor that generally gives a mix of continuous and high colour spikes. However for most purposes these are adequate.

As I said earlier, choose the light source for the job. I have two ceiling lights in a living room used occassionally (the lights, that is!) when I want overhead lighting (normal lighting is CFLs in table lamps). These are small halogen lamps in a modern branched light with thick glass shades. It looks good on, is dimmable, and sparkles a little without glare. I don’t want to be forced to replace these because the EU bans me from using halogen lamps. It would cost around £300. This is one knock-on effect they have overlooked, as has been repeatedly pointed out by both industry and user groups.

Guest

The fragility of mains halogen lamps is particularly obvious with G9 capsules, which can fail or short if knocked when lit. The bulb replacements seem better. Low voltage halogens are much better but obviously are not direct replacements of mains lamps.

I am familiar with the type of modern light you mention and like the ones that have shades that enclose the halogen capsules and are sufficiently opaque to reduce the glare. But for me, halogen lamps get too hot and use too much energy for my liking. LEDs seem the way to go and if may have a look at LED-based light fixtures in the near future, out of interest rather than any wish to replace CFLs.

I have a small hand-spectroscope. The LED lamps I have looked at produce what looks like a continuous spectrum not dissimilar to an incandescent lamp. Disappointingly, the superimposed spikes are not obvious, even though the emission bands are very clear with CFLs.

Guest

How many legislators does it take to change a light bulb? The answer may depend on whether anyone uses commonsense.

When the phase-out of incandescent lamps started, many of the fixtures on sale were clearly never designed to take the CFL lamps available at the time. They looked ridiculous with the long stick CFLs sticking out of them. The coming of compact CFLs such as spiral types have improved matters but many CFLs are destined for short life by being used in fixtures or lampshades that provide little ventilation. The brown appearance of overheated plastic is evidence of the problem.

Now we are being warned of halogen lamps being phased out and that information was readily available when the days of ordinary light bulbs were numbered. Yet fixtures designed for halogen lamps are still on sale. Browsing websites, I have not seen any warning about withdrawal of halogen lamps. Some fixtures will be adaptable to take LEDs but that would be difficult or impossible in many cases. If something must be banned, let it be the fixtures that can not be adapted to take LEDs in future, rather than banning halogen bulbs.

I very much support some of the legislation designed to save energy and clean up our environment, and conserve natural resources, but the move to low energy lighting has been handled appallingly.

Guest

Fully agree. And with LED equivalents costing three times the price of halogen lamps the legislators are well and truly blinkered to the main issue. Until the reliability of LED’s goes up and the price goes down dramatically it is wrong to withdraw an affordable option, especially since so many people have invested in expensive but unadaptable fixtures.

Guest

Doesn’t the proposed ban also include a ban (or restrictions) on the bayonet fitting and E14/E27 screw sockets and low voltage lighting?

Guest

Sadly its till difficult to get all the power and size matches required.

eg Halogen Candle lamp 40w e27 (outside light) 90p
they don’t exist in LED format

I did find one decorative stainless steel display one for £13 plus £6.99 postage.

Noooooooooooooo.

Guest

You can get led equivalents to nearly every type of bulb known to man. Try the LED Hut on line: they have at least 4 variations of E27 candles.

Guest
bishbut says:
21 August 2017

HOW MUCH ??? £1 at Poundland I have had no problems with LEDs from there

Guest

Unintended but forseeable events. Just to prove it is not only in the West that rigorous thinking is sometimes lacking. I have posted previously regarding LED car headlamps having the same problem. Which? care to investigate what the auto industry will be doing to make sure headlamps do not get covered in snow when driving?

” Energy-saving LED traffic lights seemed like a cool way to cut back on electricity costs, but Japanese police said Monday they might just be too cool—because they don’t melt snow.
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) account for around 45 percent of all of Japan’s stop-and-go signals and that proportion is growing as local authorities cotton on to their economising possibilities compared with regular incandescent lights.
But in wintery northern Japan the lights have encountered a problem—drivers can’t see them because they don’t get warm enough to melt accumulated snow.
Akira Kudo of Aomori Prefectural Police said snow has to be removed manually between December and mid-February during blizzards.
“We don’t have enough staff members to remove snow as more and more LED lights are being introduced,” he said.
LED lighting is becoming ever more popular in public and private spaces because of its lower energy consumption.”

Guest

DT, presumably a law will be enacted to have heated headlamp lenses. Or auxiliary halogen lamps to melt the snow. What about indicators, stop lights? The law of unintended consequences often applies to keeps our minds active.

Guest

My top priority was to buy a car with a spare wheel, but I was avoiding LED lighting was another factor influencing my choice. I was aware of the problem of snow accumulating on LED lights and I regard the strings of LEDs used as daytime running lights on some models look extremely naff. I managed to get a car with conventional lighting except for a high level brake light, which is at an angle that will discourage accumulation of snow.

Perhaps temperature-activated heaters in the lenses of LED traffic lights could provide a solution to the problem, while saving energy and maintenance costs when there is no snow. I try to avoid driving in snow.

Guest

Anyone considering replacing their halogen bulbs should be aware that a small number of LED bulbs are unsafe and could cause an electric shock. Electrical Safety First has a useful website for checking for recalls of electrical goods: http://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/product-recalls/

On the other hand, LEDs could be less of a fire risk than halogens. Halogen downlighters recessed in ceilings have been blamed for fires because of the amount of heat they generate.

Guest

What prompted me to post the link to Electrical Safety First was reading about the recall of a Crompton LED bulb. I see that Which? has seen this too: which.co.uk/news/2015/02/safety-alert-led-light-bulbs-recalled-396288/

Please could the link to Electrical Safety First be included on this and any future pages about recalls of electrical goods.

Guest
smike says:
8 March 2015

Tungsten filament Incandescents produce the least light per Watt, the halogen Incandescents a little more, whilst the Fluorescents produce about 4 times more and the LEDs typically 6 times more.
However, whilst the Incandescents produce continuous full spectrum light, the Fluorescents flash light pulses at fifty times a second, has gaping light has holes in it’s spectrum rendering colour inaccurately and numerous other problems , and the LED’s whilst fairly reasonable for continuity and colour rendering, have cost, reliability, and maximum power limits currently.

All types of bulbs are 100% efficient at converting electricity to heat and light, and as a rule in a cold country like the UK when light are put on in the evening, the house is for 10 months of the year also in need of heating. When the bulb is producing Radiant and Convected heat, the houses other heat sources will automatically reduce their output by the same amount.

It seems therefore that the current EU which-hunt over ‘energy efficient’ lighting is technically illiterate, misplaced and is needlessly costing the consumer a lot of money to move to inferior forms of illumination.

Guest

smike, if you have gas then justifying inefficient filament lamps because they help heat your house is a spurious argument – 🙂 – as the electricity they use costs around 3 times as much as gas.

The EU has lead to developments in new light sources – CFLs and LEDs – that might otherwise have happened more slowly. Just a pity they have not got to grips with tackling the imported rubbish versions as quickly.

Guest

I agree with Malcolm. Incandescent lighting is not a sensible way of heating houses.

LEDs will probably replace CFLs but it is early days and there are still problems with the LEDs sold for domestic use. I don’t know how to distinguish imported rubbish from imported good quality products. Until I do, I’m sticking with my CFSs.

Guest

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.

Guest

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.

Guest
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.

Guest

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.

Guest

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!

Guest

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.

Guest

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.

Guest

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.

Guest

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 . .

Guest

That’s about it. Mosfet, SMT, SMPS and TCR might be everyday terms for some of us, but maybe they could be considered a bit technical for others.

Guest

To be fair I did say “generally happy,” not “always happy,” at high temperatures. That apart, perhaps what is needed is the adoption of some sort of military spec components for these lamps. The adoption of high spec components for such mass production items as lamps would inevitably reduce component cost and might result in lamps that consistently deliver the reliability that is inhered in LEDs. What would be very interesting would be statistics on the precise nature of LED lamp failures.

Guest

That would interest me too, marlbenn. In my younger days I used to dismantle consumer electronics to find out the cause of failure. I saw evidence of overheating and failure in early CFLs, though in some cases the lamp had come to the end of its life. More recent CFLs tend to be more difficult to dismantle and CFLs are fast being replaced by LEDs.

Some have dismantled LED lamps and found the LEDs still working, but there are so many makes and models that it might be difficult to produce useful data.

I was wary of moving from CFLs to LEDs, not only because of concerns about reliability but because of reports of radio interference but my experience has been much better than expected, with a variety of lamps sold in local shops: Philips, Diall, Status. I don’t like the fabulous lifetime claims made by many manufacturers. Unlike many, I had very good experience with CFLs too.

It would be interesting to test how well LEDs cope with voltage spikes in the mains, because they can cause failure of poorly designed electronics.

Guest

That is interesting, wavechange. I already have a high mains voltage, frequently hitting 250V. All my computer and related equipment is supplied via a UPS, and every few weeks I hear it ding as it cuts in and out for a couple of seconds, and that’s obviously only when I’m nearby.

My original issue was with two identical bulbs failing virtually simultaneously. That makes the supply an obvious suspect I suppose. Maybe I should think about a type 2 surge protection device near my consumer unit? Mmm. Food for thought.

(PS, short, medium, or long?)

Guest

If two lamps fail simultaneously, that could be a coincidence or caused by a spike/surge/transient, possibly thousands of volts but extremely short duration. Lightning is an obvious cause but local inductive loads such as refrigeration compressors can produce smaller spikes.

Like you I use a UPS on my desktop computer. That guards against brief interruptions in supply and the one I have is supposed to provide spike protection.

In the UK our mains voltage is nominally 230 V and the tolerance is -6% to +10%, meaning that a voltage of of between 216 V to 253 V is permitted.

I have wondered whether over-voltage is a problem with LEDs. In the early days it was a problem for those living off-grid and dependent on generators and storage batteries. To cope with over-voltage and spikes, specialist companies introduced 12 V LEDs that operated between 10 and 30 V and included spike protection. I have no idea of the voltage tolerance or spike protection in ordinary domestic LEDs for use on mains power or 12 V (e.g. MR16 downlighters).

I have not heard about surge arresters being used in the home but it’s something I know nothing about.

I suggest having a word with neighbours and see how their LEDs are performing. You might be unlucky.

Guest

My luck continues. I just bought two LED exterior security lights. I installed the first one and switched on. Thirty seconds of light, five seconds of flickering, and then dead. There’s no problem with getting a replacement, but it’s the hassle, especially of something more than a simple bulb change.

Guest

You are not having much fun. All sorts of lamps can fail prematurely. I fitted an outside light for a friend and one of the halogen bulbs failed not long after.

I wonder if you are just unlucky or if neighbours are having LED lamps fail.