lighting help please!

Tricia21January 12, 2013

Please don't tell me to go no the lighting forum. My head is spinning from 3 hours of reading it and i have made no progress.

We are gutting our galley kitchen and will need to replace 5 recessed lights and add undercabinet lighing. I keep reading on the lighing forum that LED is best but the local lighing store thought we should stick with halogen b/c it's cheaper, has nicer lighting and in the very near future, will just be able to take out the bulbs and replace with an LED bulb if we wanted to. For all of you with finished kitchens, can you tell me what you have (brand, size, type) and if you like them? Our kitchen is in the basement so there is no natural light, HOWEVER, i do not like super bright kitchens. I like warm light that is dimmable and bright enough for cooking but not lit up like a football stadium. Also, the store showed us those LED tape strips from WAC for undercabinet lights. any experience with them? My space is not big and the ceilings will be about 7 1/2 feet in the kitchen area. I attached the space that is going to be redone. The ceiling is going to raised about 6" so we can do whatever we want with lighing. Thanks!

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momto3kiddos

I have been researching, too, for a new build, and despite several years of calculus and physics, I had lots of difficulty understanding the lighting info from the lighting forum. I will tell you what we are planning.... 6 inch led recessed cans... Ecosmart brand from home depot currently $30 each in nc. They fit inside any 6" recessed housing and the trim and bulb are all one piece. I would go ahead and get the led... It has an expected life of 35-50,000 hrs. I suspect any led bulb that comes out in the near future will cost close to the same amount as these can lights.

I also gather that the Phillips ew under cabinet lights are recommended. We are planning to use a dimmer on the recessed cans, and the Lutron dimmer has been suggested.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 12:19AM
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EATREALFOOD

I have Philips eW profile powercore LED bars, they are direct wire. The transformer is built in. I like the light as is so I didn't bother to dim. I am so glad that I got the LED bars since I do not like Led strip lighting. The brand the electrician showed me looked too yellow/dull.
I have pendants on a Meastro dimmer-LOVE this dimmer.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 8:26AM
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MarinaGal

We just installed Cree LED dimmable recessed lights in our kitchen and LED undercabinet lighting (not dimmable). The quality of the overhead light is warm - but we have a combo on LED recessed lights and semi-flushmount lighting with incandescent bulbs. The overhead LED lighting was very affordable, the LED undercabinet lighting was more expensive. I could look for the prices I paid to have these (product and installation) if you are interested. I am really happy that we are going all LED - I had halogen undercabinet lighting in my old kitchen and I hated changing the bulbs.....

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 8:53AM
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fouramblues

Since you've been over to the lighting forum, you might already know this, but... The color temperature of the bulbs you get is very important. When you say you like warm light, that's color temp. You should really go to a lighting show room and look at the differences. I like light in the 2700K-3000K range (warm), but that's me.

Also consider the lumen output. There's some formula about lumens per foot, but I can't remember it. You've identified that you want lots of lumens on dimmers so that the lighting is effective as task lighting, but can be dimmed for ambient lighting. In order to accomplish this effectively and attractively, I think you have to have "layers" of lighting. For instance, I have pendants, UCLs (Environmental Lighting), over counter cans (4" EcoSmart from Home Depot), and wall wash cans, all LED except for the pendants. The levels on the dimmers can be tweaked for different tasks/effects.

It really is pretty overwhelming, and I wish you luck untangling all the facts!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 2:05PM
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Tricia21

Ok so we're definitely going led. I think I was getting confused by the ecosmart bc it was under bulbs and not lights. So basically, if I use these, I just need to buy the housing? I think all the terms were throwing me off. If it says kit, does that means you get all the pieces together? Is it just more affordable to buy the trim with the bulb or is it the same to use those bulbs with a different housing/trim? I assume we should get the 9.5 watt for general lighting? It comes in 2 sizes for the same amount of light so I guess I should just go look at them. Fours blues - yes, I like warmer 2700 light for the kitchen. The only lights in that space will be the 5 cans and the UCL but we will have a large drum pendant over the table which is in the other part of the "L" shape in the kitchen. The ceiling is a bit higher there.

I looked at the strip lighting and is it me or does it produce little dots of light on the counter? I think I'll check out the bars. Also, do you have to have lighting under all your cabinets or just where you prefer?

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 7:46PM
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ginny20

I have a small (8 x 15) galley kitchen. I love my Ecosmart 6" dimmable recessed LED's from HD. I have 6, plus two pendants with LED bulbs in them. That gave me the 35 lumens /foot that the gurus recommend. I also have Seagull Linear LED, which are strip lights, under two sets of cabinets. Under the third set of cabs is my toaster oven and microwave, and I didn't think I'd want to illuminate the tops of those unlovely appliances. Now, I kind of wish I had put them in anyway, because it would have illuminated the granite counter and backsplash. this is just aesthetics, though. For task lighting, the UCL over the cutting board are the most useful.

I love my lights, although I rarely dim the UCL. I don't think that's as important as being able to dim the ceiling lights. My kitchen is well lit, but the light is not harsh. I don't remember, but I think it was 3000K. The 2700K will get you the warmer light you want. Remember that as you get older (as I am), you will need more light to see well.

The Ecosmart takes just a regular ED housing. The bulb is self trimming. I seem to remember that there were two different kits, depending on whether it was new build (where you had access from above) or a remodel. I didn't do it myself, though.

My UCL strip lights do produce little dots on the shiny black induction cooktop, but they only show up in photos. The UCL aren't actually over the cooktop, it's just the reflection at a angle. IRL, I don't see dots on the counters.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 8:29PM
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Tricia21

Thanks Ginny - my kitchen run is the same size. Can someone tell me what "self trimming" means? What's a regular "Ed" housing? I need the remodel kits...

That's why I was seeing dots! It's the pictures!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 8:39PM
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fouramblues

Self trimming means you don't buy the trim ring separately, it's included with the bulb. ED is short for Edison, or the screw base that we're used to. (I got GU10 bases, which are sometimes a bit of a pain when it comes to clipping, rather than screwing, the bulb in, but no biggie.) The new construction/remodel thing that Ginny mentioned refers to the *housing*; the bulb is the same for both.

Clear as mud?

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 8:45PM
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Tricia21

Ahhhhh..thank you....I'm getting closer....a few more days of this and I'll be an electrician!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 8:51PM
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ginny20

Those rings around the outside of the lights, flush with the ceiling, that's the trim. The Ecosmart apparently includes that ring, so you don't have to buy it separately. My GC indicated that this saved a little money. My understanding is that ED refers to "Edison" or the regular light socket that we all know and love. Fluorescent lights sometimes need a different socket, and there's another kind of light bulb (R something) that has two posts instead of a screw thingy. But ED will work for either halogens or LEDs like the Ecosmart or Cree.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 8:51PM
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ginny20

Holy redundancy, Batman! Sorry, my email wasn't working right and I didn't see that fouram had already answered.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 8:55PM
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linzvirgo

I think your question has pretty much been answered but I wanted to chime in and let you know I got the cree 4" (I liked the look of the smaller cans) from HD. I couldn't be happier. We have them on a Lutron dimmer and you can dim them so low and they still look great. The light is definitely warm and while the actual bulbs are expensive ($50ish) apparently the last for like 40,000 hours. I bought the remodel housing as well, my electritian helped me with most of this. I'll attach a picture of the size of my lights so you can see. The size is just preference.

What have you come up with for under counter lighting? I have heard about pick lights, strips, bars....so confusing. I've had wires under my cabinets for months now!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 11:14PM
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Tricia21

Hi Linzvirgo = the more people that answer, the easier it is for me to figure this out and the more i learn! i like the 4" as well b/c our space is small. We measured our current lights and they are 3.5 inches across the middle. Do I assume this is a 4"? If so, I'll stick with that size b/c they work well. With cree, i think you buy all the pieces separately? I'm gonna go to HD and Lowes and see what I can get. Haven't decide on UCL yet...I want to figure out the ceiling first and then pick those but I'll let you know...

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 9:56AM
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a2gemini

Tricia - I also have LED cans - initially, the can on a separate Lutron dimmer would flicker - I thought maybe not enough power but Sparky came back and determined it was a defective dimmer so now I am happy. The Lutron dimmers are designed for the low wattage without needing a transformer.

I could be wrong - but I believe the Cree is a complete kit (except for the can)
Light and trim come as a package.

I have Cooper - similar to Cree. We wanted the whiter light (DH says light should be white, not yellow...) so ours are 3000K vs the 2700K - but we do have decorative incandescent lights (which are in the 2600 range).

The neat thing about the LED - the quality of the light and the color stays constant when you dim - it just gets lower.

We aren't getting younger and in time, I will appreciate all of the lights that we put into the kitchen - you will also!

When you are ready to talk LED UC, we will chime in again.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 11:00AM
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linzvirgo

That's right! The Cree 4" lights I got were a kit-bulb and trim all in one. The only additional thing I had to purchase was the housing which was about $15 a light. So, the total per light was about $60.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 1:38PM
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mountaineergirl

I too had (and will have again after remodel is complete) LED light bars from Environmental lights.com and installing the LED retro fit lights for the cans. (They are "Halo" at HD and made by cooper). I have 9 counting the one over the sink. All of these will be on a dimmer. I also have a pendant over the island and chand over the table.

Three of the 9 have been installed just so I could check them out and I love them. Very bright but not bluish at all. I am 50+ and agree about needing brighter lights as one gets older. When I'm working in someone's kitchen who doesn't have UCL I just can't see anymore :(

I want to add that altho I had dimmers on my LED UCL and will again, I rarely used it. I liked them on bright all the time. But I did like turning all the other lights off and leave them on at night

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 1:42PM
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Tricia21

Just so I'm clear, there are 3 components to a light: bulb, trim, and housing. Sometimes you can get all 3 in 1 kit, sometimes trim with bulb and sometimes each component separately. Is this correct? I'm assuming in a remodel, it's always better to get a complete kit or at least the trim and bulb? And then for under counter, the bars seem to be a good bet. Don't kill me but if anyone has a pic of their actual ucl lights installed, please send! Or a link to the actual lights would be good. Thanks so much....

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 2:25PM
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ginny20

As requested, this is the link to the UCL I have. You can get the cable in white or black. I have white, although at the time I thought I should have had black, and in the end it mattered not a bit. I had my GC put them in, so I don't know how complicated it is. Seagull shows other types of UCL on their website.

I also talked to Environmental about UCL. They looked really good, and reasonably priced, too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ambiance Linear Lighting

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 4:53PM
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autumn.4

Tricia - not sure what kind of view you wanted. LOVE LOVE LOVE the UCL. I can't believe how much we use it now that we have it. They are used daily (ours are on a dimmer and we use that as well).

Lights off:

Lights on:

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 5:15PM
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NYMK

Thanks to everyone who posted. I was also researching lighting in the lighting forum. After researching for three hours, my eyes were numb and I was very confused. I definitely like the idea of LED tape and will go in that direction. Autumn_4, is it possible that is WAC lighting? I think that is what I saw in the lighting store.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 5:56PM
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autumn.4

Ummm, I will have to ask my hubby who isn't home right now. I know almost NOTHING about them (he did all of the research on it) except that they are LED and don't get hot. I don't think they are difficult to install - hubby did it with a little instruction from the local electrician who also gave his opinion on what kind to look for, etc.. I will ask him and post back.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 6:04PM
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autumn.4

Yes they are WAC (I just checked the controller). Our electrician actually gave us the model # of what we should order and told us who to get them from, which was Kendall Electric. Website isn't really geared to residential consumer but I included it anyhow in case you know exactly what you need you can compare pricing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kendall Electric

This post was edited by Autumn.4 on Mon, Jan 14, 13 at 18:23

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 6:19PM
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Debbi Branka

We have the same UTC lights as Autumn. I LOVE them! Ours are on a dimmer. I put them all the way dim at night at leave them on. I like the brighter "blue" lights, but these come in the softer "yellow" color, or the brighter blue. Yes, if you stare at the shiny counter, you can see "dots" reflected in the counter, but unless you are looking for them, you honestly don't notice them. I'm attaching a few pix for you. Full lights on; dimmed all the way (although there are pendant lights on the the left of the cabinet); what you can see in the reflection when full on; what you see in the reflection full on if you step back a foot.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 6:35PM
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autumn.4

deb-you can see our 'dots' if you look too!

We use ours as task lighting, night lights if someone is out late, during the day for kitchen regular use lighting. I use my overhead lights when it's dinner time and dark outside but otherwise it's the UCL's the majority of the time.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 6:58PM
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Tricia21

Thanks for postings pics and links. I can't tell you how much this all helps. I hope to return the favor when we're done! I'm gathering no matter what type of UCLs were used (tape or bar), you all seem happy with what you have. Is there a clear advantage to one over the other?

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 7:12AM
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linzvirgo

And what about puck/disk lights? Does anyone like or not like them?

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 1:58PM
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Debbi Branka

I tried LED puck lights (battery). They didn't even lighten up the counter at all. Were basically useless, and they lasted about a week.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 3:18PM
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Tricia21

I spent some time at a lighting store today and then went over to home depot. I asked about the disk lights and I think they're mostly used where you can actually see them ie in a cabinet display case. You can get the lowest profile with them as you can literally mount them into the cabinet base....He said he doesn't sell them too often though and mainly sells the tape lights (WAC or Lumens) and or seagull for the linear lighting.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 3:28PM
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Tricia21

Hi All,
I'm resurrecting this convo as I have some more info. So I'm onto UCL. My contractor wants to do direct wire (120V vs the low voltage) which I'm fine with. The two lighting stores i looked at both suggested the WAC LedMe bars. Does anyone have these? thoughts? I also see a lot of the Philips eW direct wire bars recommended. Anyone has any thoughts on these to options? Thanks!!
tricia

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 1:58PM
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