Balancing incandescent 75w can with 50w par lighting

chris2009February 24, 2009

I currently have three 75w incandescent 6" cans that house 2700k screw in CFL's.

I would like to covert TWO of the 6" to THREE 4" 40w Par 16 or 50w Par 20's.

Question: will three of the 4" lights cover the same area as two of the 6" lights, as far as counter coverage goes, and will I see a significant change in color (the 2700k CFL's lean towards yellow light, not blue).


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I can't answer all of your questions and I don't think anyone else can either because you don't always provide enough information in your posts. To have a hope of getting accurate help you need to include specifications such as brand names, model numbers or in the case of this fluorescent question at least the wattage of the CFLs and how far apart the cans are.

Par 16 and Par 20 lamps are available in limited beam spreads from narrow flood to spot. The fluorescent are a wider beam spread. You could end up with more light in a concentrated area on the counter below each fixture with less light on the counter between each fixture unless the fixtures are spaced for some overlap of the beam. You will lose light up higher in the room because it is being directed more downward.

2700K fluorescent is similar to incandescent in color but if near each other people will notice. There are even slight differences between 2700K fluorescent lamps from different manufacturers that one can notice. Color temperature is only one factor. Colors are not as accurately reproduced under compact fluorescent lighting compared with incandescent. You'll notice a color change in your counter top. It will appear to be richer in color under incandescent lighting and may appear to be a slightly differrent overall color. Fluorescent does not produce all of the colors in the visible spectrum in the same intensities. If color is not produced in the same intensity then a surface can't reflect or absorb that color at the same intensity.

This is why so many rebel against Title 24 going to great lengths and expense to work around it. No one wants to waste energy but neither do they want to pay $$$$ for pretty stuff then put inferior lighting on our pretty stuff which takes away from the richness of the stuff. Fluorescent has improved over the decades and LED is rapidly improving.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 4:56PM
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Thanks for the advice - I have little choice, it's Title 24 all the way. I found some nice 4" cans today, both incandescent and CFL 26w, so I will be able to have four incandescent. lights spaced out over the counter space (U-shaped) that will be the main lights. The CFL's will be primarily to satisfy code. Halogen cabinet lights and flourescent over/under cabinet lights round things out to make the wattage totals equal.

I think my room is small enough (12x12) that 4" cans will give enough balanced coverage throughout.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 1:24AM
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One of the loop holes in Title 24 is that there is no maximum wattage that one can have in a kitchen. So people that want more incandescent on their work surfaces put more fluorescent in other places.

An example is to put 4' dual lamp dimmable T5HO fluorescent on top of cabinets which is 108 watts per 4' section. You don't need that much up there but the dimming makes it useable.

Another trick is to use MR16 halogen fixtures with 35 watt limit and to use Philips IRC 35 watt MR16s which have a light output close to a standard 50 watt MR16.

You can have what you want but you have to be a little more clever than the cooky cutter designers and electricians.

There is only one "nice" 4 inch fixture that holds compact fluorescent lamps and it is made by Iris. The lamp is mounted horizontally in a well designed reflector. This is part of their square line, the new Iris squares. There are severe optical limitations to trying to put a 26 watt vertically mounted compact fluorescent in a 4" trim that some manufacturers just don't care about.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 11:09AM
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Great idea with the 4' - I found a Nora lamp that seems to fit the bill:

I'll take a look at the Iris

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 2:01PM
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by the way, what are the "severe optical limitations to trying to put a 26 watt vertically mounted compact fluorescent in a 4" trim"?


    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 7:46PM
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What does 4 feet and the link to the Nora product have to do with each other?

A reflector trim is needed to project the light out of the fixture. With a vertically mounted lamp this can't be done well in a 4 inch diameter space. If you see a 6", 5" and 4" fixture with 26 watt vertical lamp demonstrated it will be more clear.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 11:38AM
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Now that I have six 4" vertically mounted CFL cans installed, the light projection is much greater than I would have imagined. It is enough light for my small space (12x12).

However, the 26w, 2700k CFL lamps I bought from Home Depot (their house brand), still look much too "blue" for me. Does anyone here recommend a 4-pin 26w CFL that leans more towards a "yellow" cast?

I have found good compact flourescent substitutes in the screw-in variety that mimic the look of incandescent, but there is very little available where I live in the 4-pin (Title 24) variety. Yellow = mellow... :)


    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 9:06AM
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