So just bought a house and it's one of those newer houses where every frigging room has got halogen downlights. Seriously I've probably got about 30-40 of them all over the house.

Not sure what the point of downlights are – is it just supposed to look good? Cause from my research, they seem to be incredibly wasteful and can be a fire hazard.

Anyway, so I've been considering a number of choices.

1) Convert them all to LED – this can be expensive but I don't have to do them all at once – maybe the main areas first. I've estimated at 50W – it's costing me ~$23 a year to run EACH light if I turn it on 6 hours a day (0.05kW * 6hrs * 365 days * $0.259 per kWH) compared to a fraction of that to run LED lights. So if they cost $20-30 each, I should be able to re-coup the costs of the main area lights in one year.

This seems like an ok choice but I don't have the nice GU10 types, I have MR16s and I've been told that changing those ones can be tricky and some lights may flicker and I may need to get new transformers etc. Whatever solution, I'd prefer not to have to climb up in the attic.

On top of that, I've noticed that the downlights aren't sealed and there's obviously no insulation above them. So on top of the waste of energy from the lights, I have 40 holes all over my ceiling to let out heat. And I've been told even with LED downlights, I'll still need to leave the gaps in the insulation because otherwise the heat will damage the LEDs and shorten its life.

Does anyone know how much heat actually escapes due to downlights and the lack of insulation? Is this a negligible cost? I live in a place where I would need to turn a heater on for most nights during winter.

2) Convert my downlights to just normal lights

Anyway, given these problems with downlights, is it possible to get some sort of product that I put into a downlight hole that'll seal the hole and have a light under it (basically so that it's no longer recessed). I don't care if it looks ugly – as long as I can use the same light switches to turn it on and off. Maybe I can put a light cover over it or something.

  • 1
    What exactly is the question? Are you simply looking for a product to plug in and cover up the existing fittings, or are you looking for suggestions/instructions on how to change out the fixtures?
    – Tester101
    Aug 20, 2014 at 12:46
  • If your lights are not "IC" (insulation contact) rated, you may still be able to use a cover like this to stop the drafts. Whether the LED replacement bulbs will be happy without that draft may be dependent on which specific bulbs you choose.
    – TomG
    Aug 20, 2014 at 14:28
  • Just wanted to say that having MR16 with a separate transformer is more energy efficient than GU10 bulbs with the miniature transformer in the bulb that has to run in much more strenuous conditions. You can also get higher lumen LED MR16 then GU10.
    – s0rce
    Nov 18, 2014 at 21:22

2 Answers 2


Your cheapest option is to purchase MR16 LED bulbs that are available online. The MR16 cans are usually too small for any other type of bulb/retrofit and would require a complete replace to do anything else in them.


I presume you are trying to understand the feasibility of changing the halogens to Leds for energy conservation. The ans is simple yes it does make sense to convert halogens to led. 1) because it last longer, way longer if they are good quality 25000 Hrs + compared to 3000-6000 Hrs for halogens 2) Saves energy and cost payback is usually lesser than two years. 3) Fewer hassles in changing the burnt out Halogens as well. On the down side it does get tricky if dimming is involved.
But may I recommend (cause I do this for a living) you start with the areas you plan to spend most off your time in like the Hall room, kitchen etc and then move on to areas where the burning hours are lesser. Good luck with your decision Noor.

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