Tuesday, April 29, 2014

here's something bulbous you may be interested in

Allow me to introduce my Great Kitchen Light Bulb Experiment. Our kitchen is lit by, among other things, twelve recessed spotlights in the ceiling, which take the little screw-in R50 spotlight bulbs. All great, and very illuminating, but I suspect that they were wired in (probably by my predecessor, whose enthusiasm for DIY considerably exceeded my own) to a circuit that previously serviced a couple of fluorescent striplights or something similar. What that means is that the circuit is a bit overloaded, the practical upshot of which is that the bulbs tend to blow a lot and it's a constant running battle keeping enough working lightbulbs installed to see what you're cooking.

Normally we buy these standard incandescent 40-watt bulbs from B&Q, though elsewhere in the house we've gone energy-saving wherever possible. So I thought I'd try an experiment: buy a range of different ones and keep a log of when they fail. It's not especially scientific, but it keeps me off the streets. Here's the smorgasbord of illuminatory delights I purchased from B&Q yesterday:

A quick run-through from left to right:
  • these 28W halogen bulbs at £4.28 each
  • the standard 40W incandescent bulbs we've been using already at £1.49 each
  • the 25W version of the same thing at 99p each
  • the 9W full eco-warrior energy-saving version at £7.98
There is another bulb option available - LED bulbs, also available from B&Q at an eye-watering £10.98 each. The only reason I didn't purchase one of these was that I happen to know IKEA sell them at 4 quid a pop, so I'll wait until I can get a couple of those. There were four bulbs still working when I started, so I filled the remaining 8 slots with two halogens, two 25W bulbs, the single energy-saver and three 40W bulbs, distributed as randomly as possible. Here's a handy pictorial representation of the distribution:

The way to visualise this is to imagine yourself lying on your back on our kitchen floor with your head pointing roughly north, towards the utility room at the back of the house. I did try to take a (pre-bulb-fitting) photograph from exactly that position, but the ceiling isn't high enough to get it all in. This is the best I could do (same orientation as the diagram):

My intention is to keep a log of which bulbs fail and when and track which ones last the longest. As I say, it's not particularly scientific, because the two banks of bulbs (left and right in the stuck-together photo above) are separately switchable, so some may get more use than others, plus of course some of the individual fittings may be particularly prone to frying bulbs owing to the vagaries of the wiring set-up. But it's the best I can do. I'll probably post individual updates as comments here and then summarise at some later date in a separate post.


The black rabbit said...

I'm sure people will have already told you that LED lights are the solution to constantly blowing spots. Or if they haven't. ... I am now.
We replaced ours with LEDs after visiting beeandqueue every weekend for bulbs for a while.
Haven't had one blow since.
The two drawbacks are I suppose initial outlay and slight "coldness/blueness" of light.
At least that's what WE think...

electrichalibut said...

I'm sure you're right about the LED bulbs; I got a work colleague to pick a couple up while she was in IKEA today so I'll collect them tomorrow and fit one whenever one of the existing ones blows. I suspect that won't be long.

Also: "constantly blowing spots" sounds a bit too much like "constantly blowing chunks" for my liking.

Smeg said...

We've got the GU10 spots in our kitchen. I've recently ordered 10 from 7dayshop for a bargain 37.50. They're supposedly the 'warm' white as well, so hopefully not too cold/blue. Should see a noticeable difference in the electricity consumption, although thankfully we don't have the blowing issue that you have.