I like the minimalist look of LED downlights but am concerned about the energy impact – losing heating and cooling through lots of holes in the ceiling. We're in Melbourne so we get the extremes - cold in winter and hot in summer! I know you cannot insulate over the light fittings as that would be a fire risk. Anyone got any thoughts as to how you can use downlights but still be energy efficient? I've seen pictures of track lighting in mags but to me it seems a little old fashioned.
I've always been under the assumption that due to the low power output of LED lights that heat isn't too much of an issue. However for peace of mind there are always downlight covers that you can purchase to give a bit of spacing between the downlight fitting and any insulation in the roof.
I've also known of people using old canned food tins as a very low budget D.I.Y. alternative to a downlight cover as well. Just need to poke a few extra ventilation holes here and there.
Hi there snichols,
Bear in mind that I've not read the posts below, all light fittings that fit into a ceiling, need to be rated for air-tightedness, if that makes any sense.
Irregardless of that, if you go for fully enclosed fittings, there should be no issue at all.
The risk used to be with people installing multiple 20 or 50W low voltage halogen lamps in ceilings and then the builders would come in after the electrician and cover them up with ceiling insulation, that used to be a significant roof fire risk.
Because the driver packs for them lamps use to step down from 230V to 12 volts, there was also a LOT of heat lost through them, let alone the actual heat dissipated by the lamps themselves.
However, with LED packs and the way they use a lot less current (and hence power), the heat issue is not there, just make sure you buy good quality fittings and drivers.
If you need any further advice, let me know by all means.
I'll just start of by saying that I'm a licensed sparky based in Melbourne.
I don't think you will have an issue with loosing heating or cooling through the holes of the LED downlights unless they LED downlights are removed from the holes exposing the roof space. I have installed many over the years and never felt a draft below them
In regards to not being able to insulate over the fitting. That's going back to the day of the old halogen downlights that got extremely hot when operating. LED downlights now if they come with a rating of IC4 can have insulation sitting on top of them with no potential for fire risk.
If you have any quesitons please feel free to ask.