Recessed Lighting Help Needed

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by homerlanefarms, Dec 14, 2008.

  1. homerlanefarms

    homerlanefarms New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Hi: We are getting ready to build and I have heard so many pro's and con's about different brands of recessed lighting? Does someone want to suggest a good brand to use that won't bankrupt me. We want to use 4" line voltage IC can. What are the advantages of useing low voltage vs. high voltage. Any help you give we will be much appreciated.
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    If you stay with a mainline brand like Halo, you will always be able to find replacement trims, and you will have a wider selection of trims to choose from. Your local electrical supply house may have another brand that they stock. Stay away from the home stores.


    Where are you using this? Many municipal codes do not allow recessed lighting at the main light source in kitchens or bathrooms. It is quite INEFFICIENT in terms of providing general area illumination. It is really meant for accent and mood lighting.

    Low voltage mainly allows you to use smaller cans that use the MR16 bulbs. The bulbs are expensive, and the transformer will occasionally have to be replaced.

    Consider using fixtures which are set up for the plug-in compact fluorescent bulbs.'
  3. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    999
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    This is an oxymoron. 4" low voltage cans are EXPENSIVE! If you are on a tight budget do not even think about using them.
    They are about five times more than "standard" 5" or 6" line voltage cans and trims.
    They are also NOT the correct choice for general lighting. Why are you considering them?




    Sorry Jimbo, I have to disagree. A lot of recessed lighting can be a very nice source of general light if done right. Only thing is IMO using MR16's is NOT doing it right.

    Don't forget, you are in the People's Republic of California. You have some of the strictest rules of any place in the country, and I hope it does not spread. Although NY does unfortunately follow suit with many of CA's stupid laws, rules and codes.

    I am all for using energy saving methods, I just do NOT want to be forced into using something, like CFL recessed cans, that may be obsolete in a few years and do not give any flexibility. I mean, there is not even a "standard" socket for them yet.
    If Ca wants to phase out incan lamps they should simply tax the sh*t out of them and subsidize CFLs. The average person is not about to go over state lines to bootleg 100W/A lamps. :D
  4. Nice Signature SP.


    Get enough people out there doing this and it will put a hurt in their clientell base.


    I'm stuck where I can't reload another card right now and faced with paying the balance down the hard way. :(
  5. jar546

    jar546 In the Trades

    Messages:
    432
    Location:
    USA
    If cost is a factor then stick with 6" cans.

    Budget wise, I use Progress Lighting cans which has a lot of trim options.
    Halo is another choice and the big box stores(which I hate) seem to sell them too.

    There are some nice LED can lighting options which may be more expensive but will save you money in the long run due to energy savings and the fact that they last a very long, long, long time. Much longer than CFLs and more efficient.

    Progress does not have an LED setup that I am aware of.
  6. homerlanefarms

    homerlanefarms New Member

    Messages:
    4

    WE are planning on using these in the kitchen and living areas and they will be the main source of lighting.
  7. homerlanefarms

    homerlanefarms New Member

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    4
    You mention other options? Like what? I'm interested.

    To answer some of the otherquestions...building is in Pennsylvania

    Why 4" recessed? My architect thinks they look better. I might say, my son is the Architect...lives in NYC.
  8. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689



    We use Halo brand although the crap seems to be getting crappier and more flimsy every year. And, I HATE the spring style trim retention method because they don't provide a good place to attach the spring.

    A 5 or 6 inch can will spread twice the light of a 4 inch model. I avoid 4 inch cans for general lighting.

    In the kitchen, place them directly over the counter/work space about 18 to20 inches off the wall. Do not encroach on your upper cabinet crown moulding.

    Also, keep them away from ceiling fans.



    Yes....the old form vs function debate.

    I generally use a combination of 4" and 6" cans in my house. 6" cans do look like hell if you look straight up in them as you can see the interior of the can. 5" cans minimize this.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 14, 2008
  9. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    999
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    This explains a LOT. I deal with the same thing ALL the time.
    They just don't get it. Is he more concerned with how they look on the ceiling or how well they will light?????

    Please don't get me started on architects. :mad:
  10. cattledog

    cattledog New Member

    Messages:
    42
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Last year, I completed a complete electrical remodel where we used six inch Halo cans for general lighting. These were the choice of the electrician who overall did high quality work. We used white trim on a white ceiling. Whether or not you can live with he aesthetics of the 6" cans and trim is a decision you will have to make.

    There is an energy efficiency downside of all the ceiling penetrations but there is some additional sealing you can do with an IC can, and I think that there may be some totally sealed cans (more expensive) available.

    I chose to use non dimmable, standard A base BR30 CFL floodlights everywhere. They have an internal starter/ballast and do not require anything special in the can. After trying may brands of lamps in an single can before purchasing for the whole house, I selected the Home Depot brand N:vision soft white(2700K) 14w (65 watt equivalent) BR30. They are rebranded TCP 2R3014's. TCP is one of the top tier manufacturers. In my opinion these bulbs were the best choice overall with regard to color, cost, and rapid turn on time. I found that across bands, the same advertised color temperature could have different appearance and color rendition.

    I have lost one lamp out of 65 with an early failure, after about one year. Who knows if the advertised five to seven year lifetimes will be achieved.

    You will have to decide if the energy savings and environmental benefits of CFL's are worth the main performance drawback which is the non-instantaneous ramp up to full brightness. Actually, in a bathroom in the middle of the night it is a advantage ;-) There is an "instabrite" version of the lamp available from TCP but they are twice the cost of the standard. I have used a few in closets. I have no experience with the dimmable version of CFL's. Spring lamp CFL's do not work well in recessed lighting.

    Whether or not to go with CFL's now or wait for affordable LED's is another call you will have to make. In my opinion, significant market pentration of the LED's was quite a way off, and I chose to take the benefits and drawbacks of CFL's now.
  11. jar546

    jar546 In the Trades

    Messages:
    432
    Location:
    USA
    Here are some trim options from Progress:
    http://progresslighting.com/products.aspx?Category=70

    Also, I have come across problems when out of state architects do drawings for people. I know he is your son so I will be gentle.

    PA is an ICC code state and right now the IRC 2006 must be complied with. NY takes the IRC and changes it so what he knows about the IRC in NY may not be apply in PA.

    What part of PA will the home be in?
  12. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    Location:
    North Carolina
    I bet it is not Lancaster County, PA
  13. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT
    Okay, heres my 2 cents on the subject...

    6" cans are ridiculous, they look like a meteor came through the ceiling, You can use 5" cans with the same wattage lamp... 4" cans are not a good idea for general lighting, you'll need too many to accomplish the same thing that 5" cans spaced properly can do, 4" Low voltage cans are out of most peoples budget.

    I like brands like Juno, & Lightolier, I dislike Halo, the trims turn yellow after a while.

    I wont discuss that your sons an architect. :D


    Here is a pic of 5" cans spaced correctly in my kids playroom in the basement.

    [​IMG]
    Click to enlarge, I could not get the last two lights in the pic, but you get the idea.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2008
  14. homerlanefarms

    homerlanefarms New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Western Pennsylvania...north of pittsburgh
  15. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Some of you may be in for a surprise. California, also Oregon and Washington, 2 years ago implemented EPACT ( Federal Energy Policy Act of 2005). That limited the wattage available on R bulbs, forcing a shift to more expensive PAR. Also limited A bulb wattage, and completely eliminagted incandescent floods over 100 watts for most situations. WELL, girls and boys, that act is in effect NATIONAL as of Jan. 1, 2009. You will be in for some shockers!
  16. beekerc

    beekerc IT Consultant / Network Engineer

    Messages:
    94
    Location:
    Seattle
    Recessed Can Lights

    Recessed lights can be used equally well for main lighting or accent lighting. In my basement remodel, I am using 4 tube flourcescent troffers as my primary light with dimmable lower wattage (40 ~ 65) 6 inch cans for ambience, wall washing and spot usage.

    5 and 6 inch cans are much more cost effective, have a wider variety of trims and offer a wider range of bulb wattages and form factors. Personally I like Juno, but Halo makes comparable equipment (kinda like the Coke & Pepsi).

    If you have access to Platt Electric supply, they are running a promotion, until the end of the year, for a 6" Cooper can, a 65 watt PAR (i think) bulb and white trim for $7.95. I don't know if they do walk-in retail sales, so you may have to go through your electician/lighting designer/contractor. I picked one up recently for evaluation and it's a decent package. I'll most likely get a bunch of these for my basement once I have a talk with the drop ceiling people.

    My humble $0.02 worth,
    BeekerC
  17. jar546

    jar546 In the Trades

    Messages:
    432
    Location:
    USA
    What? You're not going to do it yourself?
  18. beekerc

    beekerc IT Consultant / Network Engineer

    Messages:
    94
    Location:
    Seattle
    recessed lighting

    many years ago, i helped my dad hang a drop ceiling in our basement. i came away from that experience having learned two important things.
    1) how to properly hang a drop ceiling
    2) knowing that given the choice between doing it yourself and hiring someone to do it for you, that i'd hire someone.
    :)

    hey, at least i'm doing all the electrical work myself. although it's kind of a shame now that the walls are starting to go up, all that work to pull wires, properly secure them, prepping outlet boxes, etc, all the work that i'm proud of, gets covered up.
  19. Bill Arden

    Bill Arden Computer Programmer

    Messages:
    584
    Location:
    MN, USA
    I bought two 7 watt LED lights from W-mart for $35 ea and tried them in 6 inch cans. They are in a Par20 size and put out a 200 lumen spot.

    I've found them to actually look quite nice and put out just as much light as a 60W(equiv) CF light without a reflector since the light is better focused.

    I can't afford to replace all 36 lights with LED's, however as I see it you have two options.

    1. Cans
    2. recessed suspended ceiling light

    Edit:
    If I could redo things, I would either raise the ceiling height or make recessed boxes so that I could use single bulb 4 foot florescent lights.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2008
  20. kate731

    kate731 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Aughhhhh..... I have been reading this thread and now I am more confused than ever about recessed lighting. I am updating my kitchen (in PA) incrementally and I am now ready to do the lighting. The kitchen is small ~ 9 1/2'x12 1/2' and currently has one ceiling light fixture. I WANT recessed lighting - is that realistic? (the bulkhead over the cabinets which are only on one wall takes up ~ 14 inches from the ceiling.) And if I get what I want....how many? Should they be in 2 parallel lines or staggered or what?? Who knew lighting could be such a pain....it looks so easy on TV!!
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