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.