Should I change to LED bulbs?
Is it worthwhile changing to LED lights? This is the question I am most commonly asked as an electrician. As you might expect the answer starts it depends. For the moment let’s assume you are asking the question because you want to reduce your electricity bill. If this is the case the most important thing that the answer depends on is what type of light bulb are you thinking of changing. Below I have considered the potential savings when changing an incandescent (filament) bulb for an LED and when changing a compact fluorescent bulb for an LED. For both cases I have made the following assumptions: the cost of a good quality 7 watt LED bulb is £7.50; the light is on for 5 hours a day; and electricity costs 14p per unit. Let’s first look at changing a 60 watt incandescent bulb for a 7 watt LED which are roughly equivalent in terms of light output. In this case you will save approximately 3.7p per bulb per day. At this rate it will take about 200 days to pay for the new LED bulb and you will save about £3.30 per bulb on your quarterly electricity bill. It therefore seems clear that there is a good financial case to change incandescent bulbs for LED ones. However if saving money is what has brought you to this blog then it is worth remembering that in most cases lighting makes up quite a small proportion of your energy bill and there may be better ways to save money. For instance if you have not insulated your loft doing so will almost certainly give you a better return on your investment than changing your bulbs. If you have everything else covered then it is also worth remembering that turning off lights and other electrical items that are not being used is always going to be the easiest way to reduce your electricity bill. Let’s now look at the case for changing a 10 watt compact fluorescent bulb for a 7 watt LED which are roughly equivalent in terms of light output. In this case you will save approximately 0.2p per bulb per day. At this rate it will take about 3750 days (more than ten years) to pay for the new LED bulb. 3750 days is approximately 19000 hours which is only slightly less than the 20000 hours which is often claimed as the life expectancy of a LED bulb. This means that you would expect to have to renew the LED bulb soon after it has paid for itself leaving very little opportunity to save any money. In conclusion there does not seem to be a financial case for changing compact fluorescent bulbs for LED bulbs. Aside from saving money it is worth noting that LEDs switch on at full brightness straight away unlike compact fluorescent bulbs which can take several minutes to warm up. If this warm up period is a problem for you then LEDs could be a good solution. The main other point to consider is that LEDs often do not play nicely with many dimmer switches. Incompatible dimmer switches can cause LEDs to buzz flicker interfere with radios and switch on unreliably. If you are updating a light operated from a dimmer switch you will have to get a dimmable LED which will be more expensive and you may well have to change the dimmer switch which could cost approximately £15. As mentioned above a life expectancy of 20000 hours is often claimed for LED bulbs. However I have heard of cases of cheaper LED bulbs only lasting a matter of weeks. If you have decided to make the change I recommend that you stick to products from reputable manufactures. As always if a bargain seems too good to be true then that is probably the case. One last point to consider is the colour of the light given off by a LED. Typically manufactures sell bulbs producing a warm white light which should be similar to the light given off by an incandescent bulb and cool white which is harsher. Manufactures and retailers may also refer to colour temperature which may seem a little confusing in that the lower the temperature the warmer the light. For instance temperatures of approximately 2400 K and 3500 K are respectively roughly equivalent to the warm white and cool white referred to above. If you are confused take a look on the packaging which often displays a colour chart to help clarify things.
Electrical Safety in the Garden
Although electricity makes gardening much easier wet conditions and contact with the ground means that the risk of injury or death from electric shock is much greater than the risk from using electrical equipment indoors. Electricity and water don’t mix – so whether it’s pouring from the heavens or there’s still dew on the ground don’t use electrical equipment outdoors until it is dry. By following simple safety rules every time you work in a garden you can easily avoid a serious accident. Fit RCDs (Residual Current Devices) An RCD is a potentially life-saving device that protects against electric shock and reduces the risk of electrical fires. Without it if you cut through an electrical lead a simple job like mowing the lawn could kill you. Any socket that may be used to plug in a lawnmower hedge trimmer or other power tool should have RCD Protection. Lawnmowers hedge trimmers and other electrical equipment To stay safe while using electrical equipment in the garden follow these suggestions:
Electrical Safety in the Kitchen
More than half of all accidental house fires start in the kitchen. Government statistics show that the largest number of reported accidental fires caused by electricity in the home is due to people misusing electrical cooking appliances including microwaves. So it’s important that you take special care when using electrical appliances. The mixture of water hot surfaces flexible cables and electricity can be very dangerous. Follow these tips to stay safe. Sockets and switches
Keeping DIY safe
Nearly half of all severe electric shocks are caused by DIY attempts with the main errors including cutting through power leads drilling into wiring and repairing electrical items while they’re still switched on.
Reduce the chance of receiving an electric shock while DIYing by following these tips:
Keeping your Christmas lights safe.
Follow these simple recommendations to avoid problems with your Christmas lights and enjoy a safe and happy festive season.
read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions; check your Christmas lights are not damaged;
if you need to replace a bulb only use the same type and rating as those supplied with the lights;
if the lights are going to be outside make sure you connect them to a socket protected by a 30mA RCD;
replace defective lamps immediately;
make sure power supplies are located indoors even if the lights are suitable for use outside;
switch your Christmas lights off before you go out or go to bed;
keep your lights away from flammable decorations and other materials that can burn easily.
Use lights outdoors unless they are specifically designed for such use;
connect different light sets together;
change lamps while connected to the supply;
use damaged lights;
attempt too repair broken lights - replace them.