As you may already know, the European Commission decided that the manufacture and export and sale of mains-voltage, one-directional halogen light bulbs has been discontinued within the European Union. The ban on manufacture came in on September 1 this year, but some existing bulbs are still available for sale. This type of bulb is the most commonly-used light within Europe, so this ban represents a great chance to lower energy use within the EU.
There are some halogen bulbs that will remain in production until 2018, though, mainly the non-directional type found in chandeliers and similar light fittings.
I have several halogen lights in my house, so do I have to remove them now?
Not at all. If you have halogen bulbs or lights in your pool, you can keep them in your fittings for as long as they’re still working. Once a bulb burns out, remove it and replace it with a LED type. This way of swapping over takes time, of course, but it spreads the expense out and makes the most of the halogen bulbs you have.
Of course, you could go all out and change all your bulbs at once – retailers like cartridgepeople offer some great deals on multipacks of many types of LED bulbs. In a lot of ways, it’s better to buy enough LEDs to refit your entire house in one go because buying in bulk will lower the cost.
However, if this is prohibitive for you, or you like your halogens and don’t want to see the back of them just yet, then wait until they give up the ghost.
How do I dispose of my old halogen bulbs once they’re spent?
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to recycle halogen bulbs at the moment because the fine wire filaments in the glass are too difficult to separate out. You may dispose of your bulbs in your household waste. However, before you throw out the bulbs, remember that they are made from glass and make sure you dispose of them safely. At the very least you should double-bag them or place them in an old plastic pot which is clearly labeled so that waste disposal staff don’t injure themselves.
What are the benefits of swapping over to LED bulbs?
Whether you change over one bulb at once or your entire house, you’ll find that a LED light pays for itself within a year. These lights use less than one-tenth of the energy a halogen bulb uses and so you’ll soon see the savings reflected in your electricity bills. Remember, lighting accounts for around 18% of a house’s energy costs, so reducing this to around 2% will make an appreciable difference.
Even better, LED lights are designed to last for up to 35,000 hours, which is around 15 years in normal household usage. You may have reservations about going over to LEDs, fearing that they won’t be as bright or as flexible as incandescent or halogen bulbs, which can be dimmed. The tech has improved quite a bit in recent years, so you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you finally take the plunge!