More and more people are realising that using LED lighting in their homes is energy efficient. This helps everyone work towards a greener planet and will be a huge help in the face of the current cost of living crisis. As we all know energy prices are rising, so lighting your home with LEDs as opposed to traditional incandescent or halogen bulbs is a great way to save some money.
Do you need new fixtures for LED light bulbs?
So, can you put LED bulbs in any light fixture? In most cases, you will not need new fixtures for your LED light bulbs. They are designed to fit easily into existing fixtures. Most LED bulbs come with the same bases as traditional light bulbs.
Replacing existing light bulbs
Whenever you decide to replace a light bulb, the new bulb needs to have the correct fitting and the correct voltage. The process is exactly the same for LED bulbs.
You will be able to replace the majority of the bulbs in your home with LEDs. LED bulbs are designed to work in fittings that everyone has in their home. However, there are a few exceptions and factors to think about before you place a mass order.
The most common fittings in a home are an E27 screw or a GU10 pin fitting. Just like with halogen and incandescent bulbs, there are plenty of LED options that have these bases. It is not rocket science, but a pin fitting will simply not work in a screw fixture, so make sure you know what base you require.
Unfortunately, the dimmer system you already have in your home is probably not compatible with LED bulbs. While there are many LED bulbs out there with dimmer capabilities, they need a different system in place to work at their best.
So if you want to replace a dimmer bulb, it is time to call a professional electrician. They can replace your dimmer control panel so that it can work with an LED bulb. Even if you are the most experienced electrical DIY enthusiast out there, it is always best to call a professional in to ensure your safety.
The enclosed fixtures will not be suitable for LED bulbs. This is because an LED needs enough space to dissipate any heat away. They thrive in cold settings and in an enclosed fixture there is nowhere for that heat to go. Their lifespan may be dramatically reduced or they simply will not work when you install them.
An enclosed fixture is particularly common in the kitchen or bathroom of your home. Many of these spaces have lights on the ceiling that are designed to sit semi-flush to the surface. This is a great design feature but an inhospitable environment for a standard LED bulb. Some lamps can be considered enclosed too. Generally smaller fixtures will not have enough room to comfortably dissipate the heat.
As long as the fixture has good ventilation and is open from all sides, you will be able to use an LED bulb and reap the benefits of its incredibly long lifespan and high energy efficiency. That being said, there are some LED bulbs on the market that are specifically designed for enclosed spaces. The best advice is to carefully check the specifications of bulbs to see where they can be used and to consult a professional if in doubt.
Mixing traditional and LED light bulbs
Simply put, it is never a good idea to mix traditional bulbs with LED light bulbs. You might be thinking of replacing the bulbs on a fixture that has multiple fittings but are unsure whether it will work with LEDs. If you decide to buy one bulb to check, take the other bulbs out of the fixture before you test it.
Incandescent or halogen bulbs emit heat as well as light. LEDs thrive in cold spaces, so the heat of traditional bulbs in close proximity will potentially damage the LED. This could cause it to malfunction, dim, flicker or shorten its lifespan. If you have a chandelier fixture, you might be thinking of replacing each bulb as and when needed. However, if you are converting to LEDs, it is best to replace every bulb in one go.
The wattage of it all
The one rule of lighting is that you cannot safely use a bulb with a higher wattage than is recommended for a fixture. Every fixture comes with a recommended wattage and this is a maximum limit. Using a bulb with higher wattage can pose a safety risk and lead to overlamping. When this happens, you can damage the fixture itself and will need to have a new one installed.
However, things get a little confusing when it comes to LED bulbs. The watts displayed for LED bulbs do not directly translate to halogen or incandescent watts. Whenever you go from a traditional bulb to LED, you need to look at the lumens for comparison.
For example, an 18W halogen bulb will put out approximately 220 lumens. An 18W LED bulb puts out 1300 lumens. So if you are replacing a 60W incandescent bulb which puts out 700 lumens, the equivalent in LEDs is a 10W bulb, which will also output about 700 lumens.
It is therefore perfectly safe to use a higher LED wattage than is recommended by the fixture. LED consumes far less power to put out the same amount of light as a traditional bulb, so a 60W fitting can safely be used with a 100W LED bulb.
Is it safe to use LED bulbs in regular fixtures?
It is absolutely safe to use an LED bulb in a regular fixture, as long as it has the right base and enough space to dissipate heat effectively.
Why do LED light bulbs not work in some fixtures?
An LED bulb will not work in an enclosed or airtight space because, in these fixtures, there is not enough room for the LED bulb to dissipate heat. LED bulbs that are compatible with dimmer switches may not be compatible with the system you currently have in place. It is best to check specifications thoroughly before you commit to a purchase.
Can I use a higher-watt LED equivalent bulb in a 60W fixture?
A 60W fixture needs a bulb that will consume less than 60W to produce light. A 100W LED bulb, and even a 150W LED bulb, consumes less than 60W. This is why you can safely use a higher-watt LED equivalent bulb.