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There are various types of heat lamps that you might have in your vivarium. Some are likely to be Halogen Lamps, some might in fact be Cold Fluorescent Lamps. Some may well be ceramic heat only bulbs.
The European Union introduced legislation some time ago that was to ban the use of Halogen Bulbs by 2016. They’ve extended this date now to move the deadline to 1st September 2018. This was primarily to enable the LED technology to improve before the ban took place.
The idea behind it is that incandescent and halogen bulbs don’t deliver light as efficiently as LED bulbs. LED bulbs use a lot less electricity to produce the light than normal bulbs do. Incandescent bulbs have been banned from sale in the UK for some time.
What’s The Problem Then? Why Are The EU Banning Halogens?
As mentioned above, halogen lamps are quite inefficient when it comes to producing light. This means that if you’re using them solely for lighting, they use a lot more electricity than an LED bulb. Standard incandescent bulbs are easy to replace with LED bulbs and the energy savings are quite massive.
The European Union believe that a replacement LED bulb will pay for itself within the first year of installation. Coupled with the fact that halogen bulbs generally only last about 2 years whereas LED bulbs will last upwards of 15 years. It’s easy to see that the impact on the environment is large.
The EU state that switching all households over to LED bulbs will save as much energy per year as it takes to power Portugal… That’s a huge energy saving and a massive reduction in the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere from those power stations. This could save up to 15.2 million tonnes of CO2 in fact, per year.
So, switching to LEDs is better for our pockets, and better for the environment.
What About My Vivarium – I Need Halogen Lamps
In the case of a vivarium for your bearded dragons, halogen lamps are used for normal light, UV light and of course heat.
The very side effect that the EU is trying to reduce in standard home lighting is a very desirable side effect in a vivarium. Your bearded dragon requires a vivarium temperature of around 40.0 – 43.5 degrees celsius at the warm end of their tank. Of course they also need good light to mimic their natural environment.
Halogen lamps therefore are perfect for this.
Fortunately, on this occasion, the European Union has had the foresight to realise that halogen lamps are actually used for things aside from pure lighting. They have, as a result, provided an exemption from the ban for various things.
The legislation specifically mentioned things like halogen ovens and terrariums in the Press Release of 2009. A vivarium would be covered by this exemption in the same was as a terrarium. Having said that, the exemption requires that the manufacturer must specify that the lamp is not to be used for standard household lighting. The manufacturer must also include that wording on the packaging.
In the case of a vivarium lamp, they tend to be huge, compared to a normal household bulb, so they’re unlikely to be of any use whatsoever in a house. As such the manufacturer can easily add such wording to their packaging and you’ll still be able to buy these specialist lamps after September 1st 2018.
That’s great news for your beardy. They can stay warm and toasty in their vivarium with a proper halogen lamp still being a replaceable part with no problem whatsoever. However, you may find that many of the mainstream stores that might have stocked them previously might no longer do so. You may have to look online or at a more specialist pet store to find them. Time will tell on that front.
Section II.2 of the FAQ from the European Commission can be read online if you wish to confirm from the horses mouth that the above information is accurate.