Dimmable UC lights necessary for control freak?? Help!

mebryNovember 2, 2010

Help! I am doing a total kitchen gut and renovation & must make under counter lighting decision now.

I'm the kind of girl that likes control over everything, especially lighting, lol. I like ALL my lighting to be dimmable wherever possible (ambiance, anyone?). Is this a critical feature in UC lighting? My KD & lighting showroom seem to be telling me only LED UC lights are dimmable from a wall switch. My electrician is trying to sell me on xenon that have a low & high setting, but you must switch each physically at the source, i.e. not on the wall switch.

Which is best? I'd prefer wall dimming, but those LED lights are pricier. Does it even matter? Am I losing it? Thanks for any input!!

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David

Pros
1. Running the lights at less than full power will help extend their life.
2. You can control the amount of light from all sources.

Counter arguments
1. LED lifespan is sufficiently long and the general usage pattern is such that the style could go out of fashion/ some major remodel occurs before the actual light needs replacement.
2. UCL is usually turned on for task lighting which means that you really want to see what you're doing.

LED pricing will continue dropping over time, so a good deal today may be not be such a good deal several months later.

Ultimately, it is a personal decision.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 4:23PM
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dim4fun

If you entertain in the kitchen and like to create the right mood you must dim all light sources or turn non dimmable zones off for dim scenes. The brightest light in the room causes your iris to reduce the pupil size and won't allow anyone to see as well as if all of the lighting is dimmed. Once all of the lighting in an area is under your control you'll find that one can create more romantic or cozy scenes.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 8:14PM
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smithy123

you can dim xenon uc lights. mine, from utilitech@ lowe's use 120v ac(work on dc, too) can be plugged into a receptacle controlled by a dimmer (rec in the cabinet). just plug the lights in!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 4:41PM
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DavidR

It is a code violation (because contrary to installation instructions) - and it's unsafe - to have a receptacle controlled by a dimmer.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 4:51PM
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texasredhead

I have low voltage hockey pucks that are totally dimmable and provide excellent lighting. There is IMO, a tendency to get a little fussy with undercounter lighting.

There is a downside. This type of lighting does emit some heat.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 10:32AM
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roadbike

I would go with undercounter xenon lights because they are cheap, reliable and can be dimmed. When entertaining I leave them all on dim and only flip them to high in the area I'm working.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 3:25PM
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brickeyee

Still trying to figure out the purpose of "undercounter lighting."

Under-cabinet I understand, but under-counter?

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 6:05PM
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DavidR

The big downside of xenon is the heat. A friend of mine has them and has learned the hard way not to store chocolate chips on the bottom shelves of the cabinets!

I also wouldn't store spices there, as the heat will cause them to age faster.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 12:06AM
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texasredhead

Sorry about that. Undercabinet! Had a senior moment.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 7:55PM
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dancingsams

We just built a new home and are finishing up the lighting. Our UC lights are LED. I recommend them highly. They are definitely dimmable, and available in many different shades of white (I prefer the warmer tones). They should last at least 30-40 years, so the cost will be nothing compared to replacing the xenon lamps down the line. Our electrician has learned a great deal from us and is now a proponent of LED. None of our contractors were familiar with our type of lighting, so we had to do a lot of education. Our company makes controls for entertainment lighting, and we are using our own products in the house. Our lighting bill is almost nil, since almost every light in the house is LED or high quality dimmable fluorescent.

Good luck, and don't assume the electrician knows everything.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 9:37AM
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barb50

dancingsams what is the brand name of your UC LED lighting. Can you also tell me where you purchased them?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 9:43PM
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