Lighting is an integral feature of any home and a poor lighting choice can ruin an otherwise lovely room. Some lights are easy to change. For example, switching one table lamp for another is a simple job, but swapping out a chandelier for a set of LEDs is a different ballgame. In this article, we are going to look at the issues you need to be aware of before you replace the lights in your home.
Different Lighting Options
There isa huge range of lighting options available for modern homes. For example, LED ceiling lights are a great choice for kitchens and bathrooms, as they are energy efficient and last for thousands of hours, but if you want to make a good impression, nothing beats beautiful chandeliers. There are some stunning examples of decorative chandeliers, from burnished metal to art-deco masterpieces. Shop for something that fits your budget.
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Choose the most appropriate lighting type according to the room you are decorating/renovating. Are you after decorative lighting or something that is purely functional?
For example, the type of light you choose for a bedroom is going to be a world away from a lightfor the workshop. Bedroom lighting is often decorative whereas workshop lighting is strictly functional. Make a list of the type of lighting you need. You may find that more than one type of lighting is required, such as task lighting in an office nook plus a feature chandelier in the middle of the ceiling.
Energy Efficient LED Lighting
Many homes have older-style halogen lights. These draw a lot of energy because they give off heat, so it makes sense to replace them with energy efficient LED lights instead.Whether you can swap out halogens for LEDs depends on the type of circuitry you have. Halogen lighting is either low-voltage or mains voltage. Take a look at the bulb – if it has pegs, it is mains voltage, whereas pins are low-voltage.
Mains voltage halogens are easy to replace, but low-voltage halogens work with a transformer, so replacing them requires an electrician.
Be careful when choosing LEDs. They come in a range of temperatures, by which we mean light temperature, not literal temperature! You will see LEDs listed as warm, daylight, and cool. Warm LEDs emit a yellow light, which warms up a room. Daylight is somewhere in the middle, whereas cool LEDs emit a cold, blue light.
To a degree, the light temperature is a personal choice. Some people like the blue glow of cold LEDs, as it fits well in a modern, all-white kitchen or bathroom, but others think it’s too clinical. If in doubt, try a couple out first. If you think you might change your mind, look for LED lights that let you switch between cool and warm.
Do I Need an Electrician to Change Lights?
There are many electrical jobs you can do in your own home, as long as you are competent. Swapping one light for another is a relatively simple task that anyone can do. Most modern light fittings have straightforward connectors that don’t require any knowledge of electrical circuitry. They come with a diagram and it should take minutes for you to switch over.
You are also free to replace light switches and fit new dimmer switches, replace spotlight transformers, and make essential repairs to loose wiring in a light fitting.
Be mindful of health and safety when working with electricity. Always turn off the electric at the consumer unit and use a sturdy ladder if working at height.
There are instances where it isn’t advisable to change light fittings unless you are a qualified electrician. Under Part P of the Building Regulations 2013, if you have a faulty light, i.e. one that keeps tripping out, you want to install outdoor lighting on mains electricity, or you need a new lighting circuit in a kitchen or bathroom, the work must be completed by a qualified electrician.
Choosing an Electrician
If the work you require falls under Part P, or you don’t feel confident doing the job, look for a qualified electrician. Electricians must be registered and work to BS7671 safety standard. Check this before you hire them. This ensures their work is checked and they are insured. If you use a qualified electrician to do the work, they will give you a certificate to confirm the work has met Building Regulations. This is essential if you plan to sell the property.
Don’t hire Bob from down the pub, who reckons he’s an expert at wiring stuff; the work he carries out could be a fire hazard, and the insurance might not cover the damage because you didn’t use a qualified electrician.
The Dos and Don’ts of Replacing Lights in the Home - Let's Fix It