Cost of having recessed lighting installed?

zone4newbyNovember 2, 2012

We're trying to figure out lighting for our main level, and have been looking at using recessed "can" lights (maybe mixed with some recessed spotlights) instead of a central ceiling light in our family room. The recessed light fixtures are dirt cheap compared to the ceiling light fixtures that appeal to me, but we'd need at least 4 recessed lights to replace one center light, and I was wondering how the installation costs compare.

This would be probably be 4 lights on the same switch, if that matters. We'll have a flat ceiling 9' high.

Thanks!

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Sophie Wheeler

Average costs here for the install is around $120 per can, which is up from the $100 per can a few years ago. You really should do LED cans and not incandescent, as those are going away entirely LED will save you a lot of money because it's unlikely that you'll need to change the bulbs for 15-20 years and they use less electricity as well.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 4:32PM
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athensmomof3

I think ours were 75 a can. Is there a good LED light that casts naturally not blue? I have bought LED lights in the past and had to return them. . . Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 4:52PM
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david_cary

You can go to Lowe's and buy their basic utilitech branded LEDs. I have a ton and they are acceptable to me (and wife) everywhere but a bathroom vanity. They are $20 for the 60 W equivalent (and $10 for the 40 W equivalent).

Here cans are $90 and that includes the fixture and a basic bulb. There is little question that cans are more expensive than other options because you need more of them. For us, the surface mounts are installed as part of the package electric price and you can find $20 surface mounts. So nothing is cheaper than surface mounts. You can even get a decent surface mount and come out ahead of cans.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 5:10PM
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renovator8

I don't know what the difference is between a recessed "can" and a recessed spotlight.

Prices vary quite a bit by region, by quality (Halo, Lightolier and upward), by voltage (line or low voltage), by trim kit (deep specular reflector, step baffle, pin spot, etc.), by housing type (insulation contact or air seal, or both), by type of lamp (LED, PAR, R, or CFL) and by opening size (more smaller ones or fewer larger ones) so all I can tell you is the installed cost with the appropriate lamp is between $75 and $250 each.

You need to tell us and the contractor what you want.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 7:06PM
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chispa

CREE LED recessed light provide a nice "white" light. Home Depot carries some retrofit versions, but if building new or remodeling your local lighting supply store will have more models to choose from. We did retrofits in the house and new ones in our recent addition. They are not cheap.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 7:12PM
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kirkhall

I just had a quote for 6 installed 4" cans with Cree LEDs--$135 per light. New construction.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 9:01PM
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david_cary

I think Cree is ground breaking and my builder built the CEO's house. But the cost of alternatives makes Cree's pricing a bit ridiculous. They are good quality but mostly made in China now (there is some assembly locally).

Unless Utilitech's prove to have some longevity issues, they are a total bargain. I still haven't had one give me an issue but they aren't 10 years old yet either.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 8:40AM
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athensmomof3

Do the utilitechs look like regular lightbulbs from the top? Would like to put them in cans but don't want them to look blue, have a grid, etc. Frosted white is my preference.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 9:19AM
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david_cary

There are 2 types at that wattage - typical bulb appearance and typical canned light frosted white. At one point, they charged $30 for the canned light style but I think that has gone down to $20. The regular style is down to $18. Now there is a chance that our local utility helps with some of their costs since I know they partner together at various times - free CFL's etc. Lowes is based in NC and NC pays our utility's to reduce use.

Either way, they look more like typical incandescent bulbs than anyone elso.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 11:10AM
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gaonmymind

Recessed lighting is one of those things that are over my head. I know I want LED's but they are more than I can afford right now. So I had the electrician loop like crazy and add switches so that I can easily install accent lighting in the future. Only cost $20 each! So I went hog wild with loops and switches. That will give me flexibility and time to shop around and get the fixtures cheaper and really learn what is best for the space.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 12:10PM
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gaonmymind

Recessed lighting is one of those things that are over my head. I know I want LED's but they are more than I can afford right now. So I had the electrician loop like crazy and add switches so that I can easily install accent lighting in the future. Only cost $20 each! So I went hog wild with loops and switches. That will give me flexibility and time to shop around and get the fixtures cheaper and really learn what is best for the space.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 12:28PM
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Beth Parsons

Just got the invoice from my electrician - hall cans were $40, shower cans were $50.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 12:30PM
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energy_rater_la

reguardless of what type of bulb you put into the recessed
lights, you should buy only Insulation Contact Air Tight
(ICAT) recessed lights.
these cans have no holes in the housing to allow
attic air & insulation particles into the house.
IC lights have these holes in the housing.

As the air moves through the insulation surrounding
an IC can, it lowers the efficiency of the insulation.
one IC light = 1 sq ft of uninsulated attic due to
the air movement.

purchase price by case of ICAT is not much
more than IC. but to retrofit to AT with trim
kits and inserts will cost about $15 per light.

the stickers inside the recessed lights can
be decieving. halo for instance has a red sticker
that says in big letters AIR TIGHT..in smaller
letters ..when used with the following inserts/trims.

a true halo ICAT light has an orange air tight sticker
inside the can.

shop wisely, so that you don't add to heating/cooling
load of house & compromise both insulation & indoor air
quality.

best of luck

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 1:39PM
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Xclusive

I can't believe some of the prices you all got on cans. We wanted them but had to cut cost somewhere and that was it unfortunately. Our builder charged $175.00 per 6" can and that wasn't even led's. I'd hate know what they would have charged for led's. Needless to say that is on my diy list in the future as I do have access from the attic above.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 12:33AM
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Beth Parsons

Xclusive,

I have a friend of a friend that just built a house with Norwalk in the Stonewood subdivision and she had many of the same complaints as you, including the HUGE markup on things like adding can lights. $175/can is ridiculous.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:45AM
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Beth Parsons

Oops, I meant Norfolk...

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 12:53PM
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Xclusive

Posted by parsonse (My Page) on Mon, Nov 5, 12 at 11:45

Xclusive,
I have a friend of a friend that just built a house with Norwalk in the Stonewood subdivision and she had many of the same complaints as you, including the HUGE markup on things like adding can lights. $175/can is ridiculous.

Oh ok, I looked at that house in Stonewood as it was being built and YES Norfolk markup on somethings is absolutely crazy. You already have an idea of what things should cost but when the GC leaves the order sheet laying around and you see what they are acutally paying for items and the upcharge, it makes you furious!

Here is a link that might be useful: Our home build/sell blog

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:01PM
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renovator8

I think you may be confusing the cost of retrofit LED kits from Home Depot (Cree rebranded as Ecosmart) that fit in some but not all types of incandescent recessed housings with the cost of integrated fixtures from Cree and others that come in various configurations to light walls, showers, etc. You might also be confusing the low cost of retrofit kits and lamps with the price an electrician charges for the entire fixture including the housing, wiring circuit and switches.

A price with no explanation of what it includes is pretty much meaningless.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 8:31AM
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