Lighting can be a confusing topic at the best of time and downlighters can just add to this confusing mix, unless you know what you're talking about. A downlight is literally as it sound, a light fitting, or luminaire if you're feeling smart, that is designed to shine its light down from the ceiling to the floor. In recent years there has been a massive surge in popularity for this type of lighting fixture, but why?
Part of the reason is because they move away from conventional lighting design where the fixture hangs from the ceiling and is exposed. By recessing the fitting into the ceiling the fixture is hidden and creates a far more streamline appearance as the fittings sit flush with the ceiling. Some would also argue that it creates an overall better ambience within the room.
Traditionally running this kind of lighting setup has been very expensive, mainly because it requires more bulbs. Most downlighter require a GU10 spotlight and the average GU10 halogen runs at about 50 watts. It takes at least 10 downlighters to properly illuminate an average size room. If you do the math, that is 500 watts worth of electricity to light one room. Not cheap. With LEDs this figure is reduced by a massive 90%.
Also with LEDs it is possible to get an all-in-one unit that does way with the bulb altogether. In effect the bulb and fitting are combined into one unit, making for a more reliable light fitting. One of our biggest sellers is our range of 8W LED Downlighters that are some of the most reliable products we sell with a failure rate of almost 0%. They even have an interchangeable bezel!
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges with downlighters is working out how many are needed to light a room. This is easily one of the most frequently asked questions we get and, as a helping hand, we have prepared this LED downlights quick guide.
Check the fire rating
Fire rating is a phrase that many customers have encountered but very few properly understand. It doesn't, as many people wrongly assume, have anything to do with containing the heat of the bulb. It relates to the fire rating of your ceilings.
All ceilings are designed to stop the spread of fire and a properly fire rated ceiling should contain a fire for 90 minutes allowing you time to exit your home and for the fire services to arrive.
Installing recessed downlighters involves cutting holes into the ceiling which compromises its fire rating. In order to maintain the fire rating, fire rated fittings need to be used. These feature an intumescent material that expands when it gets hot and fills the hole, stopping the spread of fire.
In many instances fire rated fittings are a legal requirement, such as in new builds and extensions. While it isn't necessary to use fire rated fittings in an existing home, it is highly recommended, not just from a safety point of view, but also because it will be taken into account when considering the sale of your home.
Spotlight fittings are generally referred to as a semi-flush fitting. They aren't recessed like downlights, but they are less obtrusive than a pendant fitting. Pretty much all the spotlight fittings we sell use the GU10 fitting and are compatible with our entire range of GU10 LED Bulbs.
It is difficult to suggest just one GU10 fitting over any other. Certainly our customers seem to favour the chrome finish over any other, and this is just one aspect to consider. Other things to consider include the number of spotlights and the general design of the fitting. But really it is all a matter of taste.
LED Panel Lights
Of all the types of LED Lighting available, LED Panel Lights are definitely some of the more interesting. LED Panel Lights were originally designed to replace the 'banks' of tube lights that are commonly found in offices. Most offices of this type use grid systems which are manufactured to standard dimensions. By manufacturing an LED Panel to fit these grids it is possible to replace several tubes with a single panel and at the same time creating a super modern-looking light fixture.
Since then these panels have been increasingly adopted for domestic use and newer designs have been developed to meet this demand. One such type are surface mount LED panels which make it possible to fit an LED Panel directly to a surface without the need to recess. This is particularly important at it isn't always possible to recess a light. Despite being surface mounted these panels are relatively unobtrusive.
Perhaps some of our best selling panels are the blue-edge lit range which, as the name suggests, incorporate a ring of blue LEDs around the edge of the fitting, creating a blue halo effect in addition to the white light provided by the main panel.