3 July 2023

A 'lightbulb moment' that will bring Canberra household energy costs down

| Katrina Condie
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House at night

LED downlights not only save money, but can also make a statement in your home. Photo: Detlev’s Electrical.

Lighting can account for 10 to 15 per cent of residential electricity usage and Canberra homeowners could save on their power bills by switching to energy-efficient LED downlights.

Modern LED downlights use up to 70 per cent less energy than incandescent and fluorescent lighting, according to Detlev’s Electrical managing director Grae Munro, so making the switch is a no-brainer.

“They’re highly energy efficient and definitely consume significantly less power than traditional lighting,” he said.

“Most new homeowners are choosing LED downlights, and many Canberrans are upgrading to save money and contribute to a cleaner environment.”

LED downlights can be used throughout the home, including in outdoor areas, and provide a better quality of light.

“The light is much brighter and more suitable for kitchens, bathrooms and home offices where good lighting is required,” Grae said.

“LED downlights have better direction lighting capabilities and are ideal for feature lighting and creating a focal point in the home.”

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LEDs can also be used for moveable track lighting, stylish strip lighting in the kitchen or as security lighting outdoors.

“They can be used for both practical applications and as part of your home styling,” Grae said.

With a variety of colour choices including warm white, cool white and bright white, as well as dimming options, homeowners can create certain moods in their homes or in different rooms depending on their use.

“The warm whites are typically favoured in colder climates like Canberra because of the warm glow they give off,” Grae explained.

House with lights on

LED downlights can be used indoors or out and are a popular choice for homeowners. Photo: Detlev’s Electrical

Despite sounding complicated, replacing the outdated lights in older homes with LED downlights is a relatively simple and affordable process.

Grae says LED downlights have traditionally been costly, but they have come down in price, and are available to purchase for as little as $10.

“It’s quite straightforward. For existing homes, it’s just a matter of doing a site inspection, getting an idea of the quantities and locations of downlights and feature lighting, giving the homeowners a per-point price,” he explained.

“It really depends how many lights people want in each room and whether we have to hook up new points.”

He said people could expect to pay between $45 and $70 per downlight for the installation and replacement of existing lights, and up to $130 to hook up each light in a new location – for example removing one light in the centre of the bedroom and putting in four downlights in new points around the room.

“If people are on a budget, they can look at doing a few rooms at a time. You don’t have to do the whole house in one go,” Grae explained.

As well as saving money and providing better quality, contemporary lighting throughout the home, office or commercial premises, LED downlights are safer, more durable and have a much longer lifespan than traditional lighting.

“They last about 50,000 hours, which is 25 times longer,” Grae said.

“Having a far longer lifespan means replacement and maintenance costs are down, especially compared with fluorescent tubes that are very high maintenance and need to be changed frequently.

“They’re much more durable and resistant to shock and temperature, which makes them ideal for indoor and outdoor use.”

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Smart LED lighting systems, which can be operated from a mobile device or remote control, are very popular in new homes, but Grae said existing lights can easily be connected to home automation systems by the addition of a gateway or smart hub.

“Again, people don’t have to connect their whole home at once, they could start with just the kitchen, living, dining lounge and entry and see if they like it,” he said.

“We can set up their garage and entry lights to come on as they’re driving home. There’s so much we can do with smart lighting in houses, apartments, even offices.”

Grae says, as a result of the new minimum insulation standard which has been introduced for ACT rental properties, investment property owners who install insulation will also need to upgrade their lighting to a minimum safety standard.

“New downlights are IC4 rated and are compliant with the insulation requirements,” he said.

“Under the scheme rental properties must have adequate ceiling insulation and, as part of that, many owners will need to change over to LEDs. Traditional forms of lighting, including the older style halogen downlights, get very hot and can cause fires if there’s blown-in insulation put into the roof space.”

If you’re thinking of making the switch to LED downlights, get in touch with the experts at Detlev’s Electrical, who have been supporting Canberra homeowners and businesses with superior appliance repairs and installations, electrical services and building automation for more than 30 years.


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Having used LED lights, I can say they do not last longer than fluorescents or even Halogens. Perhaps they do if you just leave them permanently on, but in any normal use (meaning on and off during the evening), they only last for 3 years or so, while I haven’t replaced halogen light bulbs in many years.

So *this* is their answer to the cost of living crisis, caused in part by their insistence on “green” energy?
Using LED lights will be a drop in the bucket compared to heating here in winter. Which they’re also pushing towards electricity rather than gas.

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