Energy isn’t a cheap thing. On average, a UK household will spend over £2,200 on electricity alone in one year – more if the winter is particularly long and cold. That’s a lot of money, and in such a challenging economy, making sure your home is as energy efficient as possible is a great way to cut down the bills and save some pennies. But while a lot of people are switching things off at the plug or  buying new energy efficient appliances, they are forgetting that one of the biggest cost savings is actually hanging above their heads. Yes, energy saving bulbs can save you around 80% of your electricity bill! It’s a simple switch, and the savings have got thousands of homeowners rushing to unscrew their light bulbs and install energy saving models in their place.

But there are a few things you need to think about before you run out and buy your new light bulbs.  So today, we’ve got a complete beginners guide to energy-saving light bulbs, and some advice on buying your first one.


This is the simplest part of buying a bulb, but you really don’t want to get it wrong. There are hundreds of different fittings out there for light bulbs, but the odds are that you only have a couple spread throughout your whole home. In general, there are 6 common types of light bulb fitting, one of which is being fitted below.

Now, you don’t need to know what they all mean, but take a look at the base of the light bulbs you remove and note down which fitting they are before you go and buy any LED replacements.

What Shape Bulb?

Now a more difficult question – which shape of bulb do you want? Just like normal light bulbs, LED’s come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. And it’s not just so that they look pretty on the shelves. The shape of your light bulb actually affects the way the bulb throws out light and the direction the light goes, which has a huge impact on the feel of the room. There are a variety of shapes LED bulbs tend to come in, including the very popular globe bulb, as below:

Each bulb will do something slightly different, and we won’t bore you with all of them here. But if, for example, you want a nice bright light to illuminate a room from a lampshade on the ceiling, then an omnidirectional bulb shape like the stick, spiral or traditional arbitray would be best. If the bulb is going in a side table lamp, you’d be best with a candle bulb, which throws light up and down, and if you’re opting for inset ceiling spotlights, then a reflector style bulb is what you need. Choosing the right bulb shape might seem unimportant, but it can have a huge impact on the way a room is lit, and can be really annoying if you get it wrong. If you want some advice about choosing the right bulb shape, get in touch with us today.


Gone are the days when an energy efficient light bulb meant it took an age to ‘warm up’ to its maximum output or was particularly feeble. Now, there are a wide range of brightness options, from the super powerful to the sultry low glow. But the easiest way to work it out is to convert your original lightbulbs wattage into lumens. That way, you’re not going to have a new bulb that’s significantly brighter or darker than the one you started with. There are loads of different charts to help you convert from watts to lumens, but we recommend this one to begin with.

Colour Temperature

Then there’s the colour temperature of the bulb. In simple terms, this means do you want a very warm light (with a rosy orange glow a bit like a candle), a very cold light (similar to daylight), or something in the middle? This might sound complicated, but it’s actually really simple, and it’s one of the great things about LED’s. Colour temperature is measured in Kelvins, with very warm light (like candlelight) measuring at 1,500K, and very cold light (like daylight) measuring above 5000K. The colour temperature of your lights can have a huge impact on the feel of your room, and certain rooms always look better in certain light temperatures. It’s also worth considering from a health perspective. Some people can have adverse effects, like headaches or dizziness, from lights of a certain colour temperatures, and this is actually one of the reasons that some people who suffer chronic headaches or migraines only get them at work – it’s a reaction to the colour temperature of their office lighting or their computer screen. So it’s definitely something important to think about.

Cost Savings

LED lighting is still, hands down, the most efficient form of lighting out there. Do you remember that 80% we mentioned they could save you earlier? This is how that breaks down.

  • In a typical fluorescent or incandescent light bulb, around 80% of the energy used is wasted as heat, while only 20% is channelled into creating light.
  • In an LED bulb, 80% of the energy used goes into creating light, while only 20% is lost as heat.

So if your electricity bill is £100 a month and you’re using fluorescent/incandescent bulbs, you’re spending £80 of that heating the room instead of lighting it. But switching to LED light bulbs cuts that out, and could reduce your electricity bill by 80% in the process. So while they might cost a touch more to buy, LED’s are by far the most cost-effective option.

At HR Hislop we are a big fan of LED bulbs. They are great for the environment, save you money and are much more versatile than their fluorescent counterparts. If you’ve never bought one before, why not try one in a single fitting, just to see the difference? If you’d like to know more about anything we’ve discussed in this article, or to ask us advice about lighting options for your home, just get in touch with the team today.