1) Shine a torch up through the gaps in the down light

If you see debris or open space that means you don’t have a heat hood. A heat hood is a metal or fibreglass barrier between the globe and anything in the roof that may catch fire. They are required by Australian standards, if you don’t have them I would recommend replacing your fittings with LED as it is no longer good value to repair halogen down lights.


2) Do your down lights flicker or turn off by themselves?

Flickering indicates a dodgy lamp holder and turning off by themselves indicates the transformer is getting hot, overloading and turning off to cool down. These are easy problems for an electrician to fix. As the fittings get older these problems occur more often until you reach a point where you choose to upgrade to LED.


3) Do your down light globes blow regularly?

Indicates that the fittings are at the end of their lives. This type of maintenance will get more frequent until it is not worth it to keep replacing globes and you make the decision to switch to LED for maintenance free lights.

There are many benefits as to why you would want to install LED and many different types of down lights and brands of LEDs. If you’re unsure as to which LED would best suit your purposes, here is a brief summary that will assist you with your LED needs.

Beam Angle

  • A wide beam of light, it will emit a softer light
  • A narrow beam will concentrate the light to focus on small area


Cool white and warm white

There are two different types of whites you can buy for your LED down light:

  • Cool white – is better suited for areas like the laundry or kitchen.
  • It’ll make warmer rooms feel cooler
  • Mostly used in works spaces, shops and offices
  • Much brighter
  • Can have a slightly white or blue tinge to them
  • Warm white – ideal for bedrooms and living room.
  • It creates a comfortable and relaxed mood
  • Perfect for homes
  • Warm orange/yellow tinge
  • Most similar colour to the old incandescent and halogen globes



The brighter the light, the higher the lumens. This is because Lumen is used to measure the amount of light that is being produced by a light source.

Lumens per watt

Lumens per watt demonstrate the efficiency of the LED product. tt will differ from product to product depending on:

  • The design of the fitting
  • How hard to product is being run
  • Which LED chip the product uses
  • How the heat sink effectively removes the heat


By reducing the wattage of your down lights, while maintaining a similar light beam will ensure that you are saving energy. There are halogen globes that use 55 watts, whilst an LED can use anywhere from 4.5 watts to 14 watts. Be careful! A higher wattage does not mean a brighter light.

“Down lights are more energy efficient if they have a lower voltage”

This is a false statement!

To reduce 240 volt electricity to 12 volts, you will need a transformer to ensure that your down lights are low voltage. An alternative to a low voltage downlights are the GU-10; they are slightly more energy efficient, however they are known to last a very short life span, shorter than advertised. I do not recommend any gu10 fittings as oftem the maintenance costs are so high it negates the cheaper cost of the fitting almost as soon as the warranty period is finished.

Advantages of LED down lights:

LED down lights offer many advantages:

  • They are energy efficie
  • Longer life span – compared to CFL’s and halogen bulbs
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Instantly reach its full brightness

My personal favourites are the Philips MR16 range.They is the most reliable down light range that we use, and we would not recommend any other. Our clients have not had any problems with this lamp, when we do a down light upgrade


Here are some of the features of the different Philips MR16 range:

Philips Master LED MR16 (GU5.3) 7 Watt Dimmable

  • It’s top quality and economical
  • Is a direct replacement for all the low voltage down lights that you already have installed. These use a standard mr16 fitting.
  • Is dimmable
  • Emits almost the same brightness as a 50 Watt halogen globe (but will give you 85% energy savings)

Another advantage of the MR16 range:

  • Comes with a range of standard MR16 frames. These frames have been made for the past 30 years and they will continue to make them for the next 30 years
  • Whereas some of the new cheaper ones – the globe and the frame are all one component and it’s attached to the driver by some special plug
  • If you have a warranty problem or the product has failed, there’s no individual part you can use to replace it
  • You have to try and buy the model of the year you purchased, of the brand of lighting you purchased and this has the potential to become a difficult prospect because there is no new standard yet
  • Every manufacturing company has got a slightly different layout and it’s all one sealed unit
  • Unless they standardise their methods, this has the potential to become an issue.
  • This is why the Phillips MR16 is a very good globe. They are on the cutting edge of innovative LED technology. They were the first to release a very high quality dimmable LED globe, that was readily available. They are on their 5th generation on the same light globe, and every upgrade allows it to become more energy efficient and for it to last longer
  • It works with a standard red-back transformer (this is a very high quality transformer and it sues a standard frame)
  • Until there is another product that is proven to perform better, that it more reliable with lower maintenance, we will continue to use this product
  • We’ve have many happy clients that are satisfied with this LED globe

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