Halogen light bulb ban – what you need to know

Halogen light bulbs are to be phased out from the beginning of September 2018, in Britain and across the EU, with consumers being encouraged to switch to more efficient LED bulbs instead. What does this this mean for you and your household? Read on as we answer your questions…

Why the change?

Halogen bulbs are less energy-efficient than LEDs. It is hoped that the change will reduce energy use and cut carbon emissions across Europe. According to the Energy Saving Trust, a typical halogen bulb costs around £11 per year to run, whereas an equivalent LED bulb would cost just £2 – making it over 5 times more efficient. Halogen bulbs also tend to fail after around 2 years; LEDs on the other hand can last for up to 20 years.

Old incandescent bulbs – which were even less efficient than halogens – were phased out back in 2009.

How will the ban come into effect?

Shops will no longer be able to order new halogen bulbs after 1st September. They will however be permitted to sell their current stock, so you might still see them on the shelves for some time afterwards.

Do I have to replace my old bulbs right now?

Don’t worry – you can keep using your old bulbs until they burn out, then replace them with LEDs as and when you need to. The ban prevents shops from ordering & selling new halogen bulbs, but it doesn’t stop you from using the ones you already own.

Which LED bulbs should I buy?

The brightness of LED lights is described in ‘lumens’ – which may take some getting used to if you’ve grown up thinking of bulbs in terms of watts. The chart below compares the wattage of traditional bulbs to the lumen level of their energy-efficient counterparts:

light bulb comparison
The wattage of traditional light bulbs compared to energy efficient versions.

As you can see, an old-style 60W bulb is the equivalent of around 700-900 lumens. Most bulb packaging includes a ‘traditional’ wattage for easy comparison.

How much do LED lights cost?

There’s no getting around it – LED bulbs are expensive. But bear in mind that after the initial purchase, they cost less to run and they will last much longer.

Are LEDs compatible with my current light fittings?

Generally speaking, yes. LED bulbs are available with ‘bayonet’ and ‘screw’ caps, just like traditional halogen and incandescent bulbs. In most cases you can just take out the old bulb and pop in an LED without any issues – however we have heard reports of problems with ceiling lights flickering when the bulbs are replaced with LEDs. You should consult an electrician if you need advice.

Will this be affected by Brexit?

At the moment, the UK is still part of the European Union and therefore the EU rules on light bulbs still apply. And it’s unlikely that manufacturers will make special bulbs just for the UK once we have left the EU.

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