Tips From Our Experts

Margot asks: Can you please advise how I can draft seal and upgrade my halogen lights so they are all energy efficient? I have many halogen light fittings that are 20 years old.

Upgrading Halogen Lighting

Margot asks

I would like information on “how to” achieve the following actions in my home: Upgrade my halogen lights so they are all energy efficient. I have many halogen light fittings that are 20 years old. I already have retrofitted with cfl’s and led where there was an incandescent fitting (bayonet and screw fitting).

Our expert’s answer


Thanks for your enquiry.

The area of draft sealing is a big one – the average Australian home has the equivalent of a 1m2 hole in the wall were you to add together all the points of leakage. Sealing these up is a great idea. There are walls of product available from your local hardware store devoted to doing just that. The range of product makes giving you a definitive answer very difficult. I would suggest browsing (dare I say “spend an afternoon”?) acquainting yourself with what’s available for which purposes. Remember also that quality of product varies and that spending a bit more initially on a higher quality product can reap dividends down the track (check out our draft sealing info).

As far as heating and cooling goes, make sure you “zone” your home as much as practical – doing so will reduce your energy consumption and can save you considerably on your energy bills.

Halogen lights are a pet hate of mine – not only are they an inefficient form of lighting (as a light source they make great heaters!) but because they generate so much heat, you need to remove your insulation from around them creating points through which heat can leave (and enter) your home. LEDs are a much more efficient method of lighting your home and I see that you have already embraced them (at least to some extent).

They also contain no mercury unlike CFLs. You can now get reasonably priced LED downlights that are dimmable and, once you have retrofitted, you can, using a product like the DownMitt, restore your insulation to a much better state. The best solution would be to bring the lamps into your room completely thereby letting you completely restore your insulation.

I hope this answers your question adequately.

John Knox

John Knox

The technical advice provided by the Alternative Technology Association as part of the ‘Ask an Expert’ forum/website, in relation to home and building sustainability improvements, is general in nature only. The impacts of specific energy or water saving or sustainability products will depend on how and where the are used and located, and particularly for larger investments, we would always suggest users seek a specific assessment from an appropriately qualified building designer or service / product supplier.

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