Whether it’s first time buyers needing to buy older properties and fix them up, or settled families for whom it is more cost-effective to extend than move, the $42 billion DIY renovation industry is a hefty chunk of national annual expenditure.

But as everyday homeowners—in an attempt to save time and money—tackle more tasks that were traditionally left to the professionals, just how efficient, and more importantly how safe, is the finished product?

Thanks to the recent spate of renovation reality TV shows, renovating has never looked easier. However, potential risks such as asbestos, faults in the roof structure, or old wiring or plumbing—will always incur a hefty budget blow-out, as well as the dangers of structural instability or risky situations. Yet with the explosion of big hardware chains and online stores offering simple DIY solutions, homeowners are still seduced by the overwhelming variety of products available that encourage us to ‘Do It Yourself’.

One example is the recent increase of imported DIY LED kits onto the Australian market. Offering a cheap solution, many are proving to be fraught with incompatibilities.

Though an upgrade to LED lighting is of huge benefit, both to your bank balance and the environment, here are a few things to consider:

Check your wiring:

While many kits might claim to be compatible with your old wiring, LED lights are a new technology and therefore in reality are not always compatible with existing iron core drivers. Incompatibility can reduce the lifespan of your globes and even cause your transformer to fail. Lights flickering or dimming when you use another appliance are sure signs that your wiring is not compatible.

Go for low EMI levels:

The electronic circuitry that is housed at the end of the globe emits a small amount of  Electromagnetic Interference (EMI). However, products that do not comply with recognised international standards can emit a higher EMI level that can interfere with your TV antenna and worse, with pacemakers. To keep your ticker and your TV safe, make sure the lights you choose maintain a low EMI.

You get what you pay for:

Though some online stores offer cheap LED solutions, many LEDs do not undergo the stringent testing of Australian Standards and therefore are not designed to meet the rigours of the Australian climate. And with many imported bulbs suffering from poor heat sink design—where the LEDs run too hot leading to a shortened lifespan and possible fire risks—getting it right is important for your wallet and your safety. To reduce fire risk and avoid having your globes fail, opt for a light that is designed and tested in Australia, and one that comes with a warranty. As Ben Wright from cherryLED explains, “Our globes are designed and tested right here in Australia. With five years of research behind them – we know they’re good and back them to perform with a 2 year warranty.”

Use a licensed electrician:

To be safe, it is always advisable to use an accredited electrician to assess your wiring and install your lights. As Ben Wright continues, “Our experts will quickly identify the most efficient and effective solution for your home. Because we provide a fully installed service, the switch to LED is as smooth as possible.”

LED lights are the future and upgrading to LED offers many benefits; from the 80 per cent reduction in your power bills, to the positive environmental factors. But carrying out this switch is one task probably best left to the professionals.

See Cherry LED on stand A16 at the Build & Renovating Expo from 4 – 6 July, 2014 at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. 

For more information, visit www.buildexpo.com.au