Technology Reports:

LED Bulbs - What do I need to know?

TechReport (UK)

Payback Time…


Although many of us do have environmental considerations in replacing conventional lighting with low power versions, most of us will inevitably be considering the long-term cost savings first.

So just what is the ‘payback’ period in making this replacement? Well of course, that depends….

If we take a simple straight like-for-like swap of a single light bulb, done by the end user, with no requirement to change any switches, transformers etc, we can say:











So a very simple decision, especially as in subsequent years the LED bulb running costs would be 6 times less than those of the traditional bulb.


But what about if we swap downlights?













Seems like an even more obvious decision?


However, in many cases, the existing bulbs may be 12V (MR16) versions utilising non compatible transformers – the householder is then faced with a decision of whether to try and replace like with like (MR16 LED bulbs for MR16 Halogen bulbs -physically fairly easy), but then have to purchase new LED compatible transformers, which would have to be wired to the mains within the ceiling void, or to change to the GU10 type (technically a much better solution), which means purchasing new downlight holders and removing the transformers and connecting the holders directly to the mains.


In both cases, it would be better to ask an electrician to perform this task, obviously adding to the cost.


Even after all these additional costs are taken into account, payback should still be achieved in about 3 years, with annual running / replacement costs for the LED solution amounting to little more than 10% of that for the older bulbs.


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