How to Replace Halogen Down Lights With LED to Save on your Power Bill

how to replace halogen downlights with led

Old 240/120V or 12 Volt Halogen downlights are a money-draining device. They consume so much electricity. I admit they look great but a side effect is wasted energy via heat. These old halogen bulbs can consume as much as 50 watts of electricity. Changing out your old Halogen downlights can be a simple money-saving tip for your home.

Replacing halogen downlights with led

Old Halogen 50w downlight

Halogen downlights can get so hot they have been known to start fires if not adequately ventilated, in your roof space. Check to see if your halogen down lights has a safety cone or barrier up in the roof space to stop flammable debris from finding its way into the light fitting.

The two common types of downlights shown on the left are the:

  • GU10 which is a mains 240 or 110 volt supplied downlight.
  • MR16 is a low voltage 12v transformer lamp.
  • MR11 low voltage downlight.
gu10 Down Light Replacement
New LED 10w downlight in a GU10 format

Newer LED downlights save power, are just as bright, last longer, and are cool to the tough so safer.

I have saved over 30% of my power bill just by changing out 50 Halogen downlights in my home over to more power efficient LED downlights.

I decided to stick with the 250v down lights rather than the 12v which would require a transformer. This made it an easy changeover process to just replace the globe and not the whole downlight base.

How to change the downlight bulb

Work out if you have a 12v downlight bulb or a 240/110v bulb as the method of removal will be different.

For the GU10 which is a mains 240 or 110 volt supplied downlight just twist anticlockwise 1/4 turn to remove it and pull out.

For the 12v MR16 which is a low voltage 12v transformer downlight, you can pull it out as it is a pugh on fitting lamp.

Halogen Downlight Removal

LED Down Light Hole

The above image shows the removal of the whole downlight base when converting over to a 12v low voltage format.

Remove the old lamp to convert them over to an LED lamp you must first work out which type you have. Just remove your old halogen light by first

  • Isolating our power supply at the main switchboard.
  • Turning off the light switch.
  • Waiting for the lamp to cool down.
  • Twist off the halogen lamp cover ring and pull down the lamp.
  • GU10 lamps must be twisted off anticlockwise whereas MR16 just pulls off.

You can take the lamp to your local hardware and purchase the relevant LED lamp, Bunnings, or online at has a great range.

Thanks to The Ultimate Handyman for the in-depth DIY Down Light Replacement Video

Replace Halogen Downlights with LED Lamp Tips:

Buy the highest-wattage LED lamp you can find or afford. The usual wattage for LED should be 5w and above to get a nice bright light similar to halogens. 6 watts or above are a good start for LED downlights.

If you have a dimmer switch make sure you buy a dim-able LED otherwise they won’t work or your down lights will flicker.

Some MR16  LED lamps won’t work with the old-style iron core transformers that would be inside your roof space. If you find that your 12v transformers don’t power up your LED lamps you will have to get these transformers replaced by an electrician.

Different Shape Light Bulbs and Codes: decoding=

Bulb shapes sizes Down Light Replacement

Colour of LED Lamps:

The Colour of the emitter lamp is also important to the lighting effect you are after downlight replacement colors 

led color temperature chart
  • Cool White is a very light blue type of light that is suitable for kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Warm White is a more orange/yellow type of light and is perfect for the living room and bedrooms.

If you would like to know the procedure to install your own LED lighting kit which is far superior to the GU10 plug-in types check out this DIY step by step Kitchen LED lighting Project

Plug and play LED downlights

Some LED downlights are plug-and-play. These have a higher cost as they already have a power plug on the other end so they just need to be pushed into an outlet in the roof space.

If you already have these outlets in the roof then you can just plug in new downlights otherwise you will need an electrician to wire them up.

How much do downlights cost?

LED light spacing DIY

Expect to pay between $6 to $10 per downlight for an all-in-one solution that includes the LED globe, base, and transformer.

This is like saying how much a car costs. There are so many variables. Are you buying just the globe or the whole metal base as well? Do you need it to be dimmable and how bright do you need the downlight to be? What about colors such as warm white or cool white?

I like to use dimmable LED downlights in the living and dining rooms. This can help late at night when you want just a small light to find your way around.

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