Upgrade Your Extractor Hoods Bulbs to LED!

Cooker hoods are a great asset for a kitchen, removing steam, heat and cooking smells from the room and providing some very useful downlight onto the hob. Most hoods will use halogen or ordinary filament bulbs for this, but with many households moving over to low energy alternatives in the rest of the home we wondered why we couldn’t upgrade the cooker hood too!

LED Hood Lighting

Some hoods, like this Bigblue Hood from Rangecookers.co.uk, come already equipped with LED lighting - most do not

Although the lights on your hood will only be on for a short while whilst cooking it is often the case that people use them for longer periods as ambient lighting for the kitchen, and with typically two 20 or 25 Watt bulbs burning away, these days that seems a bit lavish. With pressure on manufacturers to make these extraction appliances much more energy efficient hoods are beginning to feature LED lights as standard, but to keep costs down many are still supplied with conventional energy-chomping bulbs. They may be cheaper to fit, but their life is short and they will end up costing considerably more to run and replace compared to an initially pricier LED bulb with up to a 15 year lifespan.


Relative Costs, Overall Benefit

For example, a typical pair of 12 volt, 25 watt capsule halogen lamps will cost 50p each to buy and £10.95 a year to run, at 15 pence per unit of electricity, whereas the equivalent pair of 2 watt LED lamps will be around £1.25 each and cost £1.75 per year. You might only get a couple of years out of a halogen lamp before it needs replacing, so although relatively small the numbers are really in favour of LED, as well as the wider and increasingly vital benefits of using less energy.


Lamp Types

The type of lamp or bulb used in hoods varies, it could be the tiny 12 volt G4 capsule bulbs (check the physical size of the LED version and go for something 4cm max overall length), the small two prong MR16 lamps, or the screw-in SES candle lamp. All of these now have LED equivalents which can simply replace the older type.

Compatibility Issues

Warnings are usually given that LED, which draws a lower current, will not always be compatible with drivers and particularly 12v transformers, so it will be worth giving the hood manufacturer a call to check, although it is more than likely they will not know, play safe and say that they do not recommend it. We have changed all of our display hoods to LED now, and there was only one, using a 12 volt transformer, which seemed to struggle and flicker a bit, so we have changed it back to halogen rather than risk the prospect of finding a new transformer. Another hood, also using 12v, seems fine. The choice and risk are yours to take, but if there is any sign of flickering it would be best to take the LED bulbs back to the shop and stick with what you have!

MR16 LED Lamps

Brightness and Light Quality

In terms of brightness, if you aim for the same lumens value of your current lamp, so around 240 lumens for a 20w halogen lamp at around 12 lumens per watt, which translates to a 2w LED lamp (210 lumens at 105 lumens per watt). You may of course go for a brighter 3w or 315 lumens, but this is rather unnecessary and counter-productive. Light quality-wise you can go for a cooler white if you prefer, but warm white gives pretty much exactly the same effect as halogen and is a very safe choice.

Where to Buy

There are many specialist online suppliers of energy-saving bulbs, as well as the usual places like Amazon or eBay, and your local DIY superstore should also have a good selection, so it shouldn’t take long to find something compatible and agreeably priced.

It may be a minor thing in the big picture of energy saving, but migrating your hood to LED seems pretty sensible to us and - after all - every little helps!