Is cheap the way to go when you buy a critical piece of home equipment like light fittings? If you think that price does not matter, then you should consider the risks you are taking by buying electrical light fitting from far away countries. Do they comply with any British standards of manufacturing?
There are so many questions about cheap light fittings and the problems they can cause. In this article, we will dive into the subject to give you the necessary answers.
If you think there are wiring problems like not including an earth check this post.
What regulations do light fitting have entered the UK from overseas?
This is a great starting point and one that should make you sit up and wonder what’s going on.
Good old Brexit, everything is going to be much better, but in reality, for light fittings made overseas in far-off countries that once upon a time needed the rigours of a CE mark to be sold in good old blighty has gone.
UKCA (Uk standards) will be responsible for ensuring cheap light fittings comply with the less harmonised standards of the UK. But never fear. The UK has it covered.
This should have come into effect on the 1st of January 2023, but as with most, things have been placed on the back burner while Brexit is yet to be finalised, something to do with a declaration of goods that prevents goods from being imported.
If you think that cheap lighting comes from China, you will be on the right track, but China has been manufacturing UK lighting for decades at a cheap price.
So what is the problem with cheap light fittings?
You can start with the poor insulation that is absolutely lethal in fault conditions and can cause electrocution and fires.
Did you know that in 2020/21, there were around 33,00 domestic house fires, and 11% of those fires were attributed to faulty electrics and appliances?
It may not seem a lot, but a cheap light fitting with poor insulation and generally not fit for purpose is dangerous in your home.
Is it safe to buy lights from far away countries?
Lights from countries with manufacturing plants in Asia can be less desirable for use in your home.
Many of these manufacturers are forced to source the cheapest materials possible together with the cheapest labour possible to produce a light fitting.
The light fitting is compromised from the moment it comes off the production line as the manufacturer has cut processes trying to make a meagre profit.
Components such as capacitors can overheat, reducing the life of the bulb, and some bulbs explode! The cheap components also increase the risk of a fire in your home.
Are cheap LED lights worth it?
No, and here is why. You can not always go on the price you paid for the light fitting. The initial cost of an LED light fitting is high even if it is poor quality and is made in China or some other Asian country. A percentage will now be import duty which has increased the price of poor-quality light fittings.
Cheap LED light fittings are renowned for causing problems with bulbs failing due to the inability to regulate heat.
Is it worth the risk to buy cheap uncertified light fittings?
No, look, light fittings in the UK have always been regulated to a standard that is thought to be safe, and there are still problems with these light fittings from time to time.
Buying an uncertified light fitting is out and out dangerous. It is akin to standing in the middle of the train tracks waiting for your train. You wouldn’t do it under any circumstances.
Ok, times are tough and will become even more challenging, but if you use a cheap light fitting and burn your home to the ground, how challenging will life be then?
Are Chinese LED light fittings any good?
If you have a decent light fitting, you can assume it will be ok, but don’t assume it is going to be cheap regardless of the manufacturing costs.
The main concern is going to be the illumination of the bulb. Chinese LEDs have less power, hence a dimmer bulb. This is due to the 1-32 watt LED emitters; they are not up to the job.
Let’s be honest; the Chinese are always in for a fast buck and will copy and reduce specifications to sell you a product that looks the same but performs worse. That’s been their business model for decades.
Do lights flicker in cheap light fittings?
Yes, and here’s why cheap light-fittings cut back as much as possible on quality over quantity and even use low-quality soldering and wire bonds.
Once these items are exposed to heat and they will be the components start to break down, interrupting the circuit and causing your lights to flicker.
There is almost an interminable amount of issues in cheap light fittings due to the poor design and manufacturing process.
You may inadvertently buy a light fitting for the now obsolete incandescent light and fit an LED. The heat sinks are different and poorly designed from the beginning of the process.
This results in increased heat that cannot be dissipated in the typical manner, which increases the number of bulbs you will need to buy, and you run the risk of a catastrophic fire.
Should you buy expensive LED bulbs? No, it is the light fitting where the problem is located and has nothing to do with the light bulb.
For some reason, the circuits of cheap light fittings can be overly complex; if your light fitting and bulb are not on an intelligent system, the complexity of the circuit will translate into more problems.
Should you buy a cheap uncertified light fitting?
In many respects, it’s a fool’s errand, and the outcome will result in you buying a better-certified light fitting from a reputable outlet with a guarantee.
If you are unsure if the light fitting is suitable for your home, seek help from a professional and use specialist electrical hotels where the counter staff have in-depth knowledge of the light fittings.