Can kitchen lights be reduced? Over Budget!

mirucaMay 25, 2013

Lighting/electrical plan came in $7,000 over budget. Needless to say some intensive time was spent over the last 24 hours to bring that down. I didn't touch the kitchen, however.

I incorporated so many things from GW in this plan especially in the ktichen. ... and now the time has come that I have to ask are there changes that can be made to reduce costs yet still provide sufficient light?

The current kitchen plan has 15 cans ( 5 centered over the counters, 3 centered over the island, 6 to either side of the island, 1over the "nook" cabinet ... and under cabinet lighting for three cabinets, in cabinet lighitng for two. )

The UCL can be limited to just the two 30" cabinets on either side of the range . I'm also interested in less expensive options fo UCL as the electrician said low voltage is $500 which seems like a high price for two cabinets.

I so appreciate all the information and resources from GW ... and any opinions, thoughts, recommendations that you can give me on this one.

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I would consider taking the four out in the family room switching half of each outlet to control table and floor lamps in the room.

If you have undercounter lighting on each side of the range you could skip the two at the counter edge and slightly lengthen the space between the three cans down each aisle.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 8:17AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Get more quotes. Lighting is some place that I wouldn't skimp on. The older we get, the more lighting our eyes need. I'd get laminate counters and cheap appliances for a few years rather than skimp on lighting.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 8:45AM
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You can check out low voltage UCL LED lighting tape, a salesperson quoted me $90 for a reel (it can be cut), can't remember the length, maybe 16'. Also saw it on the Home Depot website for $60 (shorter length).

I just spent $700 for 120" of UCL LED light bars, four puck lights, hardwired cables, two transformers, connecting cables and diffuser covers (my GC will install). Your $500 quote seems a bit high. Does that include install?

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 10:18AM
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You also don't want to have to go back and add wiring once things are done. Fixtures can be easy to change out, but upgrades can be difficult once walls are closed up and good lilghting is important.. You might ask about running the wiring but not installing things like UCL that could be added later (and without his likely upcharge)

I'm not sure about the family room -- we use our recessed lighting in ours and it works for us better than having several lamps (we have one, but it is a narrow room with small tables so we don't have a lot of space for lamps). However, I would put a single chandelier in the breakfast room and nix those four recessed lights. I don't care for fans above my food (I work to get it to the table hot -- why do I want to start fanning to cool it off?), so that would also be a reason for the change.

Depending on your styling, you could chose a single fixture (island fixture or chandelier) over the island rather than three pendants. That is also a fixture you could have wiring for and install later.

What kind of cans is he planning on installing? We have converted out (20+ year old) cans to the Cree EcoSmart LEDs. Buying LED bulbs for the cans runs $65 at the lighting store and the conversion kits run $50-65 at one home improvement store, but at the store of the same name 10 miles away, they were about $30 and we got some on sale for $25.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 10:20AM
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Good information! The cans are Cree 4". My primary focus to reduce is in the kitchen - I have already reduced in the rest of the house.

Interested in palimpsest's suggestion to spread the "island" lights more. Would that create shadows if working at the island? I had it that way originally and from comments I tightened those nine up closer to the island and added the two over the counter. Perhaps I should reconsider that again?

Unfortunately it is our contractors subcontractor. We are not overly excited by his choice. He is on site installing things already - hence the quick intense effort to make changes fast.

Lascatx - lol I could 't figure out the fan comment. That is a chandelier in the dining area ( not a fan) - but you are right the symbol does look fan like.

The $500 is the whole price - materials and install. Would love to DIY on many things but I am a continent away - and the others that are there are swamped with other responsibilities.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 1:02PM
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Palimpsest didn't recommend spreading the island lights. He suggested spreading the aisle lights. I was going to suggest the same. I think you can reduce there based on my experience with my kitchen and our 6" cans. (We already had old 6" cans in the house when we started the reno so stuck with that size to be consistent.)

My lighting plan is below. (Ignore all the green cans in the living room as those were already existing and are overkill. I would have redone those during the whole house reno if it hadn't meant even more $$ drywall work.). The only change from this was to eventually add two more cans in the family room as I am a light junkie and never felt like I could read well enough on the couch there. Maybe when we are able to afford new furniture there and can pick the right table lamps to go with, the situation would have improved. I couldn't wait two more years so find out so I had our sparky come back and add two more cans lined up with the two you see pointing to the FR wall.

Here's a picture that shows the lighting, except for the one center island bulb. I still haven't chosen the flush mount fixtures for the island so bare bulbs have been sufficing.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 1:34PM
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$500 for some nice LED low voltage undercab lights seems reasonable for an installed price, depending on the type.
Lighting is usally about 10% of the budget and 50% of your ambiance, so it's not a great place to try and cut a lot of cost.
Electrical is difficult to assess, there are so many specific situations to every home.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 2:22PM
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That is a huge number of cans for a 14 x 14 kitchen. In my 10 x 18 ,kitchen I have eight of the 6" cree LED's and rarely have them at more than 60 percent intensity. I don' t know if 4" ones have 1/3 less light but even if so the equivalent would be 11-12 cans max.

I havn't seen your prior posting. What about pulling your cans over your sink run to the edge of the counter, perhaps eliminating the aisle cans between the sink run and island and reducing the ones on the aisle on the other side of the island?

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 2:37PM
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There are a couple LED threads in the Lighting forum that could help you out. Look at the threads "led ucl continuation" and "LED recessed cans guide for kitchen ..."

You might be able to save some money by moving to 6" Cree CR6-800L which are 800 lumens, and using fewer fixtures.

I don't know the square footage but you may be able to get by with fewer recessed lights. Have you calculated your lumens / square feet?

For the UCL you could go with fluorescent lights instead of LEDs. If you do low voltage LED then you have to pay for the transformer which is an upfront cost. You could also look at line voltage LEDs, which put the transformer in the light fixture.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 6:55PM
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I would be careful about eliminating because it is difficult to go back and add without the expense of drywall, paint, etc. We wound up putting in end caps for a few fixtures that we can't afford right now (chandelier type items) but know we will want later.

I told our electrical sub about the Home Depot 4" Cree light price and he got his supplier to match it.

Another thing to consider are cable lights - not sure if it is your style. We have a cable system where we can easily add more fixtures and more light as we need it. We installed a Tech Lighting cable system with basic puck fixtures and are starting out with just barely enough to light the kitchen. We're skipping the pendants for now but can easily add them later as they just hang from the cable.

One other thing to consider are wall sconces. I know not everyone likes them - but we used a few reasonably priced ones instead of cans. Easy to wire and not too expensive. We used them in the vaulted ceiling area because my architect did not want to put any holes in the beautiful ceiling (and he very conscientious about energy and didn't want to make any holes where heat/cold could escape).

Just some thoughts...

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 7:14PM
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Breezygirl thanks for sharing your plan and posting pics. I call the nine lights that are to either side of and those centered on the island "island lights" - so I got palimpsest's intent... I could have been clearer on that. I relate to the wait til we can afford it comment too! It's hard to draw the line on what should we do now and what can be left to later. I sometimes feel the pressure of "do it now" or it won't get done.

calumin - oh my.. I read, reread, yellow highlighted and reread again multiple times those threads on the lighting forum for weeks.... it was an education process for sure! Like learning a foreign language. I also posted my original plan on the lighting and the kitchen forum and then incorporated those comments into a revised plan. And was most pleased that davidtay looked at it :). Now it seems i am undoing those comments and heading back to closer to where I started :).

scrappy 25 - it IS a lot of cans, I agree. The lumen calculation was for twelve cans - and this plan has three more than that! The 4" cans seem to make a lot of difference in the number of cans needed per the lumen calculation. A little mind boggling to me but I tried to follow the expert's recommendations and guidelines on that. Oh I just wish I could KNOW what is best and how it will really look.

lauraT88 - I really appreciate your advisement cautioning about eliminating too much. I feel caught between "Is it too much?" or "Will it be to little" if I eliminate some. I definitley do not want pendants or other semi or flush mounted fixtures - other than the dining area chandelier. there is a lot going on visually in the entire space and something else hanging down is distracting and clutter like. I REALLY appreciate the alternatives you suggested too.

Dayton designer - thanks for confirmation on the cost - it's overwhelming how much some of these things are.

I'm going to take everyone's comments, and any more that come, and see what I can do to regroup on this kitchen plan. I am living with the fear of what if I do and what if i don't - both are feeling a little uncomfortable right now.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 1:30AM
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