- Some downlights come with spring clips
- Some downlights have twist front faceplates or flexible push-in clips
- For other downlights, the faceplate comes off or downlight with a removable faceplate
If you’re looking to upgrade your space lighting, LED downlights are a great way to achieve a nice and modern look. Although changing an LED downlight bulb can seem to be tricky, it is a simple task that could be done as a DIY project.
WHY ARE LED DOWNLIGHTS BETTER THAN HALOGENS?
More people are deciding to implement LED downlights in their homes. This is due to the fact that they are energy efficient. They conserve energy and can produce more light compared to halogen counterparts.
They’re also versatile as they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs.
Not only this, but they have incredibly long lifespans (about 50,000 hours i.e 11-year lifespan) whilst being very easy to maintain.
BEFORE YOU BUY LED LIGHTS
As mentioned above, LED light bulbs come in a variety of colours and configurations. As a result, it may become tricky to choose a perfect LED light for your space if you are not very familiar with them.
You may also need to know what type of bulb is required whilst additionally evaluating the brightness of the lighting.
There are two types of downlight bulbs commonly used, the MR16 and GU10 light bulbs. We advise that you check your old sockets before purchasing these LED bulbs.
The MR16 globe has a “push-to-fit” installation system that uses two sharp pins. It is a simple option if you do not want to hire an electrician. It commonly operates at 12 volts, which means that it also requires a transformer. It is usually not as bright as other LED lights, and it has a lower voltage compared to GU10. However, it might not be an appropriate option if you want to use dimmer switches.
The GU10 globe is installed using a twisting mechanism. It usually operates on high voltage (about 120 volts) and has two prongs instead of pins. You can swap it for halogens without the need of an electrician.
Regarding the brightness, the intensity of the light can have a strong impact on the ambience of your room(s). You should select the most appropriate brightness when aiming for a particular vibe. LED lights are usually rated in lumens, which differ a little from regular bulb lights rated in watts. The higher the lumen output, the brighter the space. However, it is quite easy to convert watts to lumen.
INSTALLATION OF LED LIGHTS
After you select the perfect downlight, the next phase is the installation phase.
It is important to observe precautionary measures to protect yourself from accidents like injuries and electrical shock.
You should also get extra help from someone watching over you if you’re going to be using a ladder.
Unplug the power source of the lighting circuit
This step is very important and should always be your first action. This is done to avoid electrical shocks. Electrical shocks can be very hazardous and deadly. The best way to avoid them is by turning off the particular breaker which controls the power flow to the light. For extra caution, you could wear rubber gloves too.
Wait for the downlight to get cool
Downlights generate a lot of heat during operation, making them hot after use. They are so hot that they can cause a first-degree burn. It is therefore advised to wait until the bulb is cool.
If you’re changing from one LED lightbulb to another, you may have fewer problems because they emit less heat.
Remove the old downlight from the ceiling
For G10 downlights, twist the fitting in an anti-clockwise motion until it is free enough to pull out. Once the old bulb is out, remove it from its lamp holder.
For MR16 downlights, you may need to be more careful.
- MR16 lights use a pin mechanism that pushes straight into the fitting. So to remove it, you should be able to pull it out of the socket too.
- Afterwards, you need to use a screwdriver to loosen all the screws holding the fitting in place. Using the wires as a guide, locate the transformer (it is usually above the light fitting). You can also find it in your attic.
- Try to find the transformer’s minimum and maximum load ratings. You should find this information on the transformer.
- If you find a range of numbers, say, for example, 30-50VA. The 30 is the minimum load rating, while the 50 is the maximum load rating. The total power consumption of your new bulb must be within this range.
- If it is a definite number, assume it is your maximum rating and don't install a bulb with higher consumption.
- MR16 bulbs usually use 5-6watts of power, which is below the minimum load of a transformer so you would most likely have no problems.
- You might need to disconnect and replace your transformer if there is a load mismatch. To disconnect, hold the wire in place and then unscrew the wires attaching the bulb fitting to the transformer.
Replace old bulbs with new LED downlights
For G10 downlights, fit the bulb with the old clipping. Attach the bulb to the socket twisting it in a clockwise direction until it is well-fitted in the ceiling.
For M16 downlights, gently place the new bulb on the outer ring. You should plug the pins into the socket, and push the outer ring until you hear a click. This would be indicating the downlight is firmly locked in place.
After this phase, all that is left is to test your work by turning on the main switch. Usually, the downlights should light up instantly. If they don’t, wait for a few minutes for the lights to warm up and then check again if you’ve followed all the steps correctly.
If you're considering replacing your old lights, LED downlight is a very good alternative.