dreamstime m 79610042 halogen downlight EcoMaster

Are you over high energy bills and frequent replacements associated with traditional halogen downlights? Perhaps it’s time to consider upgrading to more efficient and safer IC4 rated downlights. In this blog, we’ll explore the benefits of making the switch and guide you through the process, leaving you with a more energy-efficient and long-lasting lighting setup.

There are multiple reasons why halogen is not a good idea.

High Energy Costs:  

Halogens are generally 50 Watts per light, which is not excessive on its own.  However, we seem to have enthusiastically embraced a vast number of lights per room – well beyond what is actually needed.  In our own home, we had over 50 halogens dotted throughout our home, which equates to 50 lights x 50 Watts x ~5 hours per day.   That would be 12.5 kWh per day at 30 cents per kWh = $3.75 per day x 365 days per year = $1,368.75

Alternatively there are 10 watt tri-colour IC4 rated downlights available now, which would equate to an 80% saving.  With IC4 rated downlights, your lighting costs would be 80% less and cost just $273.75.    

Fast Return on Investment: 

If you shop around you should be able to get good quality IC4 rated downlights for roughly $10 each. If you replaced all 50 downlights, the total cost would be $500 which is less than the cost of running 50 halogens for one year.  

Obviously, this excludes the cost of an electrician.  However, the IC4 rated downlights come ready to plug into a “plug base”.   So the first time you install these lights, you will need an electrician to install the plug bases for you.  In the future, you will be able to change your downlight fixtures without the need for an electrician. 

Halogens Require Frequent Replacement:  

We have all had to replace handfuls of halogens at a time when enough of them have blown to finally make it inconvenient enough to warrant the effort.  IC4 rated downlights can last up to 50,000 hours, minimising maintenance costs and inconvenience. This longevity factor saves you money but also reduces waste.

Degradation of Insulation: 

Halogen downlights insulation degradation EcoMaster

When you’ve got quite a few halogen downlights, you’re going to be missing between 7% and 10% of the insulation, whilst you only need to be missing 5% to halve the effective insulation level.   So your R6.0 insulation, without downlights dotted around your rooms will effectively reduce your insulative value to R3.0 (or less!).

Halogen downlights and insulation EcoMaster

By replacing your halogen downlights with IC4 rated you will be able to achieve full coverage of your insulation in your home. Ceiling insulation is the most effective insulation you can have, so it is a worthwhile investment to ensure that it is as good as it can be.

Fire Risk: 

Fire risk of halogen downlights EcoMaster

Halogens are quite dangerous to your home. When we see downlights hard up against insulation, or joists!, we can see that it has singed the insulation or joists which is actually how some homes burn down. IC4 rated downlights are specifically designed to be installed in areas with insulation, providing a safe and fire-resistant lighting solution. With a built-in thermal protection mechanism, these lights maintain a cool operating temperature and minimise the risk of overheating.

Halogen downlights and overheat risks EcoMaster

Uncontrolled Ventilation: 

When you look at downlights that can tilt (but haven’t been tilted) there is quite a gap around them.  When you have multiple downlights in a home, that’s quite a big gap.   That gap will be sucking your warmed winter air out of your living space and into your attic. 

Halogen downlights and uncontrolled ventilation EcoMaster

By upgrading from halogens to IC4 rated downlights, you not only enhance your lighting experience but also contribute to energy conservation and safety. The choice to switch to energy-efficient and long-lasting downlights offers benefits for both your wallet and the environment. Ensure you engage a licensed and insured electrician to undertake the transition.  While you have a sparky in your home, ask them to install a couple of fire alarms IN your attic space as well.  Early warning of a fire in your attic space can make quite a difference to your family’s ability to safely escape a house fire. 


So, start your journey towards a smarter lighting solution today and enjoy the many advantages of IC4 rated downlights in your home or workspace!

People Also Ask: 

⇒ Where can I learn more about this from an industry expert?

ecoMaster has been working in the energy efficiency / retrofit arena for over 20 years.  During that time we learnt an enormous amount about diagnosing issues, distinctions on various products as well as developing the best installation practices.  We have done the research, so you don’t have to. All that information has now been condensed into a series of ecoMasterClasses.  Click here to gain access.

⇒ What does IC4 mean? 

IC4 is an insulation contact rating used in the lighting industry. It represents the level of insulation protection for fixtures that are in direct contact with insulation. A fixture with an IC4 rating means it is designed to be installed in direct contact with insulation materials, such as in ceilings where the light fixture is in close proximity to insulation. This rating ensures that the fixture can dissipate heat properly and reduces the risk of fire hazard.

⇒ Should I remove all downlights completely?  

From an energy efficiency viewpoint, any hole in your ceiling represents a heightened opportunity for heating and cooling to more rapidly leave your living spaces.   Replacing all downlights with surface mounted, or pendant, lighting would be a good step in the right direction.  However, that needs to be balanced against the cost of removal, new light fittings and repairing, plastering and repainting your ceiling. 

What’s Next?

We hope this article has helped you learn how to the risks of halogen downlights and why IC4 rated downlights are a much better idea.  This in turn will help you on your energy and thermal efficiency retrofit journey to make your home more comfortable all year round, and reduce your costs and carbon emissions.  

Next, explore  How Effectively has your roof insulation been installed?

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