This is definitely an FAQ for me. My tongue in cheek reply is that “expensive” is a subjective thing and that “what’s expensive to one person is cheap to another”! However, I do get what they mean. It is usually “Why do LED lights cost more than halogen ones?” and most often crops up when we look at the prices of LED ceiling downlights. This question has replaced its previous incarnations which were:
- Why are IP rated downlights so expensive?
- Why are fire-proofed downlights so expensive?
Both of these also cropped up when either the building or electrical regulations changed. Those both had the same simple answer which was there’s more that goes into them than previously. IP rated and fire-proofed downlights need the water proofing or fire proofing and those extra materials (all the research and development, testing, certifying, etc.) add to the cost. As these products have become mainstream the requirements fade into people’s memories so these are questions that come up rarely, if at all, these days.
My favourite analogy when explaining the additional costs of LED light sources is that comparing them to halogen lamps (bulbs) is like comparing a car to a bicycle. A halogen lamp is a small amount of glass and metal with a fine metal filament which glows when electricity is passed through it. An LED light source is a semiconductor that emits light when electricity is passed through it. I am not going into detail about the nature of semiconductors other than they are sophisticated electronics and that’s where the additional cost comes from.
However, whereas IP rated and fire-proofed downlights “just” provided extra safety, LED light sources are far more energy-efficient than their older counterparts – often 80-90%. Although they may cost more money to buy and that’s usually at the time you are buying everything else for your home (like the contents of a kitchen, utility room, bathrooms, etc.), the more you use them the quicker you will get a return on your investment. There will come a time when they have cancelled out their purchase cost and you are purely saving money.
Now your only decision is whether to have the “Rolls Royce” version with all the bells and whistles or the “Kia” version that will do the job without the frills? I’ll cover what you need to look out for in next week’s blog. In the meantime, I’m on 01525 382682 if you want any more information.