Ecobulb Spiral FAQs

Got a question about the Ecobulb®? Check out our frequently asked questions below:

What is an Ecobulb®?

An Ecobulb® is an energy saving light bulb (Compact Fluorescent Lamp or CFL), that uses 80% less electricity than an ordinary bulb for the same light output.

This energy saving is achieved by wasting less energy as heat. Whereas an incandescent bulb produces light (and considerable heat) by the heating of a tungsten filament until it glows white hot, an Ecobulb® contains electronics that excite the phosphor coating inside the tube in order to emit visible light .

What are the benefits of replacing ordinary bulbs with Ecobulbs®?

There are several benefits:

  • Each ordinary bulb replaced with an Ecobulb® will save approximately $130 in power over the life of the Ecobulb®
  • Replacing five ordinary bulbs with Ecobulbs® will therefore save approximately $650 on your power bill
  • Ecobulbs® last up to 15 times longer than ordinary bulbs, so you do not have to change them very often
  • The power savings from Ecobulbs® reduces the risk of power cuts in winter
  • Every Ecobulb® installed prevents 9 ordinary bulbs going into landfills

Are Ecobulb® light bulbs bigger than ordinary bulbs?

The Ecobulb® is a similar shape to ordinary incandescent bulbs and the new range of T2 spirals are designed to be more compact and aesthetically pleasing than traditional spiral CFLs.

How can I safely dispose of Ecobulbs®?

Disposing of energy saving bulbs at the end of their life:

  • Energy saving bulbs need special disposal, do not dispose with household rubbish.
  • Dispose at your local refuse station; ask staff if they have recycling facilities as most materials can be recycled.

Disposing of Energy Saving Bulbs if the glass breaks:

  • The primary hazard associated with broken Ecobulbs® is broken glass, so be sure to wear gloves when collecting fragments.
  • Broken bulbs fragments should be swept into a bag (NOT VACUUMED) and taken to your local refuse station for recycling

See our Technical Safety page for more information or read the following document from the Ministry for the Environment:

See also Ministry for the Environment - Safe Disposal of CFLs


How do you respond to environmental and landfill concerns?

Energy Mad works hard to ensure that the Ecobulb® light bulb has one of the industries' lowest mercury content: typically 1.5mg or about the size of a grain of salt. This amount is half of what most energy saving bulbs contain (usually 2-5mg). With 2 times the typical life, an Ecobulb® will send as little as � of the mercury to landfill compared to other energy saving bulbs.

  • The mercury in an Ecobulb® light bulb is an "amalgam" solid form at atmospheric temperatures, meaning if it broke in a landfill, the amalgam in an Ecobulb® will most likely remain inside the light bulb.
  • NET Mercury: It is the NET amount of mercury which should be considered. About a fifth of the electricity generated in New Zealand is from coal fired power stations, which discharges mercury straight into the atmosphere. The amount of mercury being dispersed into the atmosphere, local environment and ecosystem as a result of an ordinary 'incandescent' light bulb, is 4 times that which is bound up in solid state inside the glass of the Ecobulb®. Furthermore the Ecobulb®can be safely disposed of and recycled, whereas the mercury released from power stations cannot.


What if my Ecobulb® breaks?

The primary hazard associated with broken Ecobulbs® is broken glass, so be sure to wear gloves when collecting fragments.

Broken bulbs fragments should be swept into a bag (NOT VACUUMED) and taken to your local refuse station for recycling

See our Technical Safety page for more information.


How do you respond to personal health concerns?

  • Mercury: All compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and other forms of efficient lighting, such as the fluorescent lamps found in most office buildings, have small amounts of mercury in them.
  • The mercury in most dental fillings contains up to 50 - 100 times the mercury of an Ecobulb®. Ecobulbs® contain much less than most household thermometers.
  • If an Ecobulb® breaks, the biggest risk is cutting your hands on the glass. Follow the instructions on this website to clean up the broken pieces (open a window, sweep up the glass, wrap in newspaper and a plastic bag and dispose of at your local service centre.


Where can I purchase Ecobulbs® from?

Ecobulbs® can be purchased from your local Pak 'N Save, New World and Four Square Supermarkets. If Ecobulbs® are not available in your local Pak 'N Save, New World or Four Square supermarket please ask the manager to order Ecobulbs® from their distribution centre.


How are the power savings of energy saving bulbs calculated?

An average New Zealand family uses 1,100 kWh of electricity per household on lighting each year. This costs them approximately $200 on their power bill. If they replace their 5 highest-use incandescent bulbs (in locations such as the lounge, kitchen, hallway, bedroom, outside light...) with Ecobulbs®, they can save up to $100 per year.


What size ordinary bulbs can a 20 or 15 Watt Ecobulb® be used to replace?

A 20 watt Ecobulb® can be used to replace 100 watt and R80 watt ordinary bulb as it provides the same light output, while only using 20 watts of electricity. A 20 watt Ecobulb® can also be used to replace a 150 watt ordinary bulbs. A 15 watt Ecobulb® can be used to replace a 75 watt and 60 watt ordinary bulb.

Can I get replacement Ecobulbs®s for 12V MR16s, R80s and GU10s?

Below are pictures of 2 halogens. The one with the pins is a GU5.3 base (12V) and the one with the knobs is a GU10 (mains voltage).

35W and 50W MR16 halogen lamps can be replaced with the new 12V 15W Ecobulb® halogen replacement*

Downlights using R80s or GU10 halogen lamps can be replaced with a 15W Ecobulb® energy efficient downlight, which consists of a fitting and replaceable lamp.

At this stage there is no direct Ecobulb® replacement for a GU10 halogen lamp.


Can an Ecobulb® be used in downlights or enclosed fixtures?

If the light fitting is fully enclosed we don't recommend it, but if the fixture has ventilation holes it should be OK.

The 15 watt or 20 watt Ecobulb® can be used in downlights to replace 75 watt or 100 watt R80 (spot lights). The light output will be less using the Ecobulb® since there is no reflective mirror, however it should be more than adequate and the compact spiral shape doesn't protrude. In the unlikely event that a 20 watt Ecobulb® does not fit inside the existing fitting, try using the smaller 15 watt.


How do I install Ecobulb Energy Efficient Downlights?

Energy Mad recommends that Ecobulb® Energy Efficient Downlights are installed by a registered electrician. If a home owner wishes to install them in their own home, then we strongly advise that the installation is tested by a registered electrical inspector before being connected to the electrical supply.


How do I replace a halogen downlight with an Ecobulb® Energy Efficient Downlight?

Electrical wiring work that can be undertaken by a home owner in New Zealand is covered by Regulation 47 of the Electricity Regulations 1997, which states that any work that involves altering subcircuits requires testing by a registered electrical inspector. IN the case of 12V downlights the installation of an Ecobulb® Energy Efficient Downlight involves removing the transformer. While this is not particularly difficult for a competent DIY'er, we do not advise the customer to install the downlights themselves and always recommend that they are installed by a registered electrician.


How do I replace an Ecobulb® Energy Efficient Downlight lamp?

The lamps (bulbs) use a propriety twist and lock fitting and can be purchased separately. Anybody capable of changing a light bulb should be able to do this without any problems.

Due to the proprietary fitting of our 15W Energy Efficient Downlights, the bulb will not be able to be fitted into any other type of downlight.


I am having difficulty fitting an Ecobulb® - can you help?

If it is a screw fitting then it may be the location of the lamp holder within the light fitting. The plastic base on some models has a bigger diameter than normal incandescent bulbs and this can foul on the housing, thus preventing it from being screwed in further. The 15W Ecobulb® tends to be better than 20W because the diameter is smaller. Things to check include whether or not the ballast is fouling on the housing and whether or not the existing lamps are R80's (which have a much thinner neck).


How do I avoid the risk of damaging an Ecobulb® during installation?

Installing the lamp by holding the ballast eliminates the risk of injury or other damage resulting from breaking the tube. Unfortunately this is not an option for the Energy Efficient Downlight which is distinctly different from the general service lamps in so far as the lamp is separate from the ballast (and hence there is minimal risk of damaging the ballast by holding the tube rather than the ballast), and also because it has a proprietary twist and lock fitting rather than a screw fitting (where the risk of damage resulting form over tightening of the lamp is much greater).


My Ecobulb Energy Efficient Downlights are getting hot - should I be concerned?

Ecobulb® Energy Efficient Downlight lamps do get hotter than the normal spirals, however, the temperatures are still much lower than that of a halogen lamp.

Always allow the bulb to cool before attempting to remove it.


How do I use Ecobulb® Energy Efficient Downlight adapter plates?

Adapter plates or flanges can be used when the existing holes from previous downlights are too large for the Ecobulb®Energy Efficient Downlight. The adaptor plates have an outside diameter or 150mm to fit existing holes up to 135mm in diameter.


Can I use Ecobulbs® outside?

Most energy saving bulbs can be used in outside locations, provided that the fitting is ventilated and that the lamp is adequately protected from the elements. The Ecobulb® uses the latest amalgam technology and will maintain light levels even at low temperatures.


Are there a variety of wattages for Ecobulbs®?

The Ecobulb® is available in:

  • 8W (equivalent to 40W incandescent lamp)
  • 12W (equivalent to 60W incandescent lamp)
  • 13W (equivalent to 60W incandescent lamp)
  • 15W (equivalent to 75W incandescent lamp)
  • 20W (equivalent to 100W incandescent lamp or R80 spotlight)
  • 15W Energy Efficient Downlight (Suitable replacement for 35W and 50W halogen lamps)


How long do Ecobulbs® take to reach full brightness?

An Ecobulb® takes approximately one minute to reach full brightness. This is considerably faster than most other Energy Saving bulbs available in New Zealand, since it is designed particularly for the New Zealand power supply.


Does the light emitted decrease over the lifetime of an Ecobulb®?

The light of an Ecobulb® does decrease over its life, however this rate of decrease is less than that of an ordinary bulb.


Since Ecobulbs® produce less heat than an ordinary bulb won't I need to use more heating and therefore not save as much electricity during the heating season??

It is a common misconception that additional heating will be required to compensate Ecobulbs® producing less heat. As most light bulbs are located at ceiling level, the increased heat of an incandescent bulb is lost directly through the ceiling and does not contribute significantly towards the heating of the room.


What if my Ecobulb® fails? Is there a warranty?

Each Ecobulb® sold for residential lighting purposes carries a 2 year warranty. If it fails inside this 2 year period, it can be returned to the supermarket where it was purchased, for a replacement free of charge.


Can Ecobulbs® be used with ordinary dimmers?

Using Ecobulbs® in dimmers is not recommended. Even if the dimmer feature is not used, it is likely that using it with a dimmer will shorten the expected life of the Ecobulb®.


Do Ecobulbs® emit less light in cold conditions?

Ecobulb® uses the latest amalgam technology which maintains its luminous flux (light output) even at low temperatures.


Do Ecobulbs® flicker and/or buzz?

Ecobulbs® should not flicker or buzz under normal circumstances on circuits without dimmers and have passed all the required New Zzealand safety requirements.


Do Ecobulbs® produce Radio Frequency interference?

No. The Ecobulb® has been tested and passed CISPR 15 and has the C-tick.


How does turning an Ecobulb® on and off affect wear and tear?

Our product has been tested to standards which include switch testing.


What is the difference between 2700K and 5000K?

The K stands for Kelvin. The Kelvin temperature of a bulb refers to the actual colour of the light and is a comparison to natural outdoor light. A 2700K lamp has a warmer tone than a 5000K lamp. Typical colour temperatures are 2700K for an incandescent lamp, 3000K for a warm white fluorescent lamp, 4100K for a cool white fluorescent lamp and 6500K for outdoor sunlight. The 2700K matches the warm soft light colour of candlelight, firelight or an ordinary incandescent bulb. The 5000K lamp produces a much whiter light more closely associated with sun light. The advantage of this 5000K light colour is that it increases contrast. Black becomes blacker, white become whiter. Printed material (black type on white paper) is easier to read under 5000K light. Therefore, this lamp makes an excellent reading light and can help reduce eye fatigue.

The colour temperatures and colour coordinates of Ecobulbs® are as follows;

Colour Temp Name Colour Coords (X,Y)
2700K Warm white (0.463, 0.420)
5000K Bright (0.346, 0.359)
6500K Cool white (0.313, 0.337)

Most people prefer warm white as this is closest to a normal incandescent bulb. The higher colour temperature is closer to natural daylight, however, indoors it has a colder (more blue) appearance.


Can I use Ecobulbs in dusk to dawn & electronic timers?

Photo cells contain a chip that converts radiant energy into electrical current. Most photo-cells do this in a manner that is incompatible with energy saving bulbs resulting in a shortened lamp life. Timers are devices that allow trickle voltage to cycle through the lamp when it is off. This causes the lamp to try and start itself when there is not the proper supply voltage present. This can also reduce the lamp life.