Lighting Fixtures Frustration

txjoyceJuly 8, 2012

We're remodeling the bathroom and really wanted to use LED in the vanity lights. Problem is, all the fixtures we like have Xenon bulbs (50w). How much heat do xenon bulbs emit? We'll have four single fixtures, one on either side of the two mirrors. Can we just replace the xenon bulb with an LED?

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txjoyce: 'All the fixtures we like have Xenon bulbs (50w). How much heat do xenon bulbs emit? ... Can we just replace the xenon bulb with an LED?'

The replacement question depends on the base of the bulb -- the part that (usually) screws in. The most common base is a 'medium' base, also known as an A19 or A21 base. It is the same screw-in base you see on an historic incandescent 40w, 60w, 75w, etc. light bulb.

Halogen (of which xenon is a subset) bulbs run very hot, hotter than incandescent bulbs. If you have halogen bulbs running continuously, your bathroom will not be cold.

LEDs are inherently directional. There are very good LED replacements for flood lights and spotlights. If you are looking to replace a PAR20 or a PAR30 bulb, you will be delighted (no pun intended) with the LED replacement options.

If you are looking to replace an omnidirectional light bulb, however, your choices are either unsatisfactory or expensive. The Phillips L-Prize bulb is the only really good option, and you can pay as much as $50 per bulb for it.

We remodeled a powder room a year ago, and faced the same questions that you are addressing Our solution was to install a fixture where the light bulb sockets faced outwards. We covered the walls toward which the bulbs would face with very highly reflective (textured foil) wallpaper and installed only moderately expensive LED floodlights in the fixture. The light from the LED floodlights is reflected off the wallpaper and diffused by the texture in the wallpaper, yielding a flattering non-directional light with soft shadows.

We are happy with the result.

Here is a link that might be useful: Phillips L-prize light bulb

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 11:12PM
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Thanks so much for the info - the fixture we like has G9 Xenon bulbs. They plug in with a T, so I'm doubtful we can find an LED replacement. So, look like we either deal with xenon, or choose another fixture.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 10:55AM
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I have a fixture with xenon bulbs in my newly remodeled bathroom. Just like you, I had a hard time finding a light I liked with a different option.

It is quite hot close to the light. When I was touching up some paint, I had to turn the light off and let it cool down in order to paint near the light.

However, my light is mounted above the vanity mirror (about 7 feet high) and I don't notice any extra heat when I am standing at the vanity.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 1:14PM
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I am new in this forum and I have checked out your thread. I think that it would look awesome with a good LED light to match the scenery. I hope you can upload the final product!

Here is a link that might be useful: Foscarini

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 4:01AM
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> The most common base is a 'medium' base, also known as an A19 or A21 base.

Nope, it's an E26 base (or E27 in Europe and elsewhere). A17 and A19 refer to the size and general omnidirectional shape of the bulb. The A19 is the traditional 60, 75, or 100 watt bulbs (all currently being replaced by lower-wattage equivalents); the A21 is the slightly longer version of same seen on 150 watt and 50/100/150 three way lamps.

The $50 Philips L-prize bulb is indeed the best omnidirectional LED bulb there is, but Philips also sells much less expensive LEDs - $15 at HD - that are similar in appearance and color warmth and just as omnidirectional as the $50 one. It uses slightly more power (12-1/2 watts vs. 10) to produce somewhat less light (800 lumens vs. 940). It also doesn't render colors quite as well as the $50 bulb; it's similar to a better CFL. But I suspect many people wouldn't be able to tell much difference. There's a 40-watt-replacement version of the same bulb for $12. Another company, Lighting Sciences Group, sells a unidirectional bulb through HD under their Ecosmart brand (the ones with the flat top) which give off a slightly whiter light - much whiter if you get the daylight version. And Lowes recently started selling a Utilitech omnidirectional LED 60-watt replacement for $10.

Most lamp fixtures that specify xenon or halogen bulbs though need special, tiny bulbs with bi-pin or insertable-wedge connectors, and there aren't many suitable LED replacements for these.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 8:16AM
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Update - we ended up choosing a different fixture - one that took a regular incandescent which we replaced with an LED. We're happy with the result, and definitely happy not to have the heat from halogen.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 11:18AM
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