Does warm-glow under-cabinet LED lighting really exist?

ivaniphoneOctober 4, 2012

Does warm-glow under-cabinet LED lighting really exist?

I dislike the medicinal harsh white or blue-ish white cast that most LEDs send off.

My kitchen is "Texas country" with maple cabinets, limestone nearby, and highlights of deep reds and greens. I'm looking for a LED under-cabinet light that is truly warm, or as warm as possible.

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motherof3sons

We used Haefle led tape with warm lights.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 11:50PM
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lisa_wi

I used these in warm white on the recommendation of my electrician and I'm very happy with them.

Here is a link that might be useful: LED strip lighting

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 12:26AM
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ivaniphone

Thank you Lisa and MotherOf3Sons!

What did you use for above cab lighting?

I would like to use the same product, but am not sure if they would be bright enough.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 12:52AM
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lisa_wi

I used cheap rope lighting off the shelf from Home Depot for above my cabs :)

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 12:58AM
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deedles

Are those LED tapes bright enough for task lighting or are they just for ambience?

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 1:37AM
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ivaniphone

>> cheap rope lighting off the shelf from Home Depot

Do the tones match (or close enough?)

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 3:07AM
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theresse

I had inquired in a post almost identical to yours and others on this site had lead me to the Seagull Ambiance linear undercab lights. I'm really happy with them. I got the dimmable xenon bulbs because - like you - I can't stand the coldness of the bright LED lights. Even the ones that claim to be warmer don't seem warm to me at all. These ones are wonderfully warm and very thin, too, hiding well. If you don't care about being able to dim them, I'm assuming you can just get them without the dimming. They'll get hotter than LEDs but it's never been a problem for us. I'll stick a picture of ours installed. I wonder how different they'd look over a stainless counter if they were LEDs?! You can pop out the bulbs and put in LEDs if you want in the future (they're interchangeable).

I'll also include a gardenweb link where others are going on about these lights as well.

Hope that helps!

Here is a link that might be useful: Thread with lots aobut Seagull lights

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 4:09AM
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theresse

Sorry - I just realized you definitely and only want LEDs! I'm imagining that maybe they have warmer ones these days compared to when I was looking a couple of years ago. It's possible anyway! :)

These LEDs claim to be warm (they appear warm from the pic, it seems):
http://www.solidapollo.com/warm-white-led-strip/

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 4:21AM
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ivaniphone

Theresse, I am focused on LEDs because I am very fire paranoid and I've seen cabinet burn marks from halogen.

However, that is a beautiful installation; thanks for posting the picture and the link.

re: the Hafale tape and ProLED Products ..

I wonder
1) what minimum amount of "stuff" I would need to buy to test each in my kitchen
2) would the stuff be returnable if I don't like it

I'll try to make some phone calls before end of day today.

My reason for wanting to try before committing to a big order:

I will be removing an existing $1200 LED installation. I used to love my kitchen before replacing my 10 year old undercab fluorescents with LEDs. (I did not love the fluorescents though.) But now, my kitchen feels completely different to me. Medicinal and cold.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 5:31AM
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jakuvall

I now use LED's exclusively on my projects.
Many brands come in warm and white nowadays. Many also come in varying intensities.Note that for many the warm lights are slightly less intense than the white one.
All the better ones are bright enough for task lighting, usually a less intense light is used for accent light ( above or in cabinet)
The Hafele line is extensive (almost too many choices) I carry Hafele, the Lighting division and "Task" brands. Have switched to using primarily Hafele and am currently installing a variety of them in the studio.
If you can't find them on display near you then to try them you could get either one puck or one stick light and one driver. Off the top that should be under $120 and might be returnible. But for kitchens I personally prefer to use the tape mentioned by motherof3sons. That is hard to sample as it comes in longer rolls with seperate channels for mounting and are the most cost effective.
In my own kitchen I have Juno Trak12 and will be changing them out for Hafele tape when I get time.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 7:20AM
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Javachik

I have the same lights as teresse. Have no problems after 2 years with no burning issues even when leaving them on 2 days straight.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 7:22AM
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lisa_wi

The rope lights are usually only on by themselves but they appear warm as well. They are 42" apart though and are the perfect "nightlight" glow by themselves.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 7:23AM
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2LittleFishies

We are doing Seagull LEDs and I'm deciding between the 2700K or the 3000K ?
The electrician says 3000 will be better for kitchen but I hope it's warm enough.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 8:11AM
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jakuvall

3000 is warm- I use 3200

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 8:59AM
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mamadadapaige

I can't even tell you how much I LOVE my LED undercabinet lighting. It is Bali surface mounted lighting by Hafele. I chose this because it comes in an alumninum channel with a diffuser so you don't get the "dots" effect mirroring on your countertops. It also has a very discreet switch which I also mounted under the cabinets - I have three wall cabinets and they all plug into one driver (hafele's vs. of a transformer). The driver can accept up to 6 units and the driver plugs into a typical 110 outlet which I have hidden in an upper section of the cabinet.

re: kelvin... I had looked at a bunch of different recessed lights and far preferred the 2700K to the others... I felt it was warm and looked like incandescent light which is what I personally prefer.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 9:50AM
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beekeeperswife

I think mine are too warm! I wish the light was a little cooler.

we used Maxim Starstrand led lights. They are on the tape strips. They are dimmable. They are the latest ones that Maxim came out with.

The issue I learned about the tape lights is this. The light really does primarily aim in the direction you face the bulbs. So, if the bulbs are on the bottom of the cabinet, facing the counter, that is what is lit. If it is on the light rail facing the bs, then that is lit. The bulbs are small, tiny, so the light doesn't come out the sides--for lack of a better term. Yes, it does bounce around and generally light the whole area, but when we were deciding which way to aim them, it made a difference.

With our Seagull lighting (not LED) in the last house, the bulbs were a cylinder shape and the light hit the bs and the counter equally as strong. I kind of wish I thought about this issue with the tape lighting before we purchased.

But, I do love that it is not a big energy waste, and I can keep them on as much as I like with little grumbling from Mr. Bee.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 10:14AM
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rococogurl

I've been working on switching my whole house out to LED lighting and have found out a few things. First, LED light is brighter than incandescent and way brighter than compact fluroescent -- which I find to be excellent.

Warm light can anything from 2500 K to 3200 K -- the lower the "warmer." Checking the K rating is the way to best know what you're getting. 2700-3000K is the sweet spot.

Beyond 3500 the light starts to get a bit harsh IMO.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 10:19AM
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jakuvall

rococogurl- not sure if it has been discontinued or you have something different...the Hafele lights currently available, that mount in a channel only come in 3200 and 6500k- there are some other lights they have that come in 3000k but none at 2700k. Just checked the full lighting catalog (I'm a Hafele dealer)
The Lighting Division offers either 2800 or a 3500- not so sure about those ratings though based on what I see.The 3500 seams to be higher.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 11:18AM
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jakuvall

Figured I should add a note about installation.
I typically angle LED's toward the backsplash a bit- 15 to 30 degrees seams best (45 when mounting above cabinet)
Typcially do this just with wood blocking or an edge detail added to the back of the undercab molding.
Hafele has an angled channel for this purpose but it is meant to be recessed into the bottom of a frameless cabinet which has been routed out- bit fussy to do on site.

Also they have two depths of straight channel- the deeper one may be what rococogirl is referring to- it is 1" deep to eliminate the dots on your counter- the shallower one is not bad but not as effective- all depends on what your molding is really- I most often end up with the shallow one.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 11:24AM
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Angie_DIY

I used 3000 K. It is warm enough, but it is just a little cold. As you were unhappy with your previous install, I would choose 2700 K.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 11:52AM
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lazy_gardens

I will be removing an existing $1200 LED installation. I used to love my kitchen before replacing my 10 year old undercab fluorescents with LEDs. (I did not love the fluorescents though.) But now, my kitchen feels completely different to me. Medicinal and cold.

Try this less expensive fix first: Photography filters, also called Color Gel filters or Lighting gels

They come in a variety of shades for color correcting and special effects photography.

Converts daylight (6500K) to tungsten light (3800K)
http://goknight.com/lee-filters-lighting-gel-sheet-205-half-cto/

And there are others, warmer colors.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 2:06PM
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2LittleFishies

Lazy gardens
What temp is the LCD you have?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 6:34AM
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lee676

Yes, 2700K LEDs approximate incandescent light bulbs. I've used Ikea's, some of which are 2700K and dirt cheap.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 8:59AM
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Madeline616

MareLuce,

Wanted to share my experience and make a suggestion in case you aren't able to find LEDs that are warm enough.

I went through a whole mess trying to find really warm under cabinet lighting, and ended up going with xenon. We had a fire several years back, so halogen wasn't an option for me, either.

I thought LED was the answer until a lot of money, frustrated electricians and return shipping costs later I realized I jut couldn't find an LED that felt warm enough for me.

The xenon is as warm and bright as any halogen or incandescent bulb. I'm really, really happy with it.

I hope you have better luck with LED than I did, but you might keep xenon in mind if you're still searching.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 10:23AM
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lazy_gardens

I do NOT have LEDs. The post I was trying to quote screwed up.

Should have looked like this, quoting the OP:
I will be removing an existing $1200 LED installation. I used to love my kitchen before replacing my 10 year old undercab fluorescents with LEDs. (I did not love the fluorescents though.) But now, my kitchen feels completely different to me. Medicinal and cold.

And then my reply, about the color "gels" (they actually look like cellophane)

Try this less expensive fix first: Photography filters, also called Color Gel filters or Lighting gels They come in a variety of shades for color correcting and special effects photography.

Converts daylight (6500K) to tungsten light (3800K)
http://goknight.com/lee-filters-lighting-gel-sheet-205-half-cto/
And there are others, warmer colors.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 10:47AM
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toddimt

I have undercounter LED's from environmentallights.com. The ae the high brightness light bars and I think the temp was 3000K (Soft White). They look nice and were not harsh. I also have Cree LED CR6 lights (High Hats) in the kitchen (as well as most of my house now inside and out).

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 12:04AM
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luckymom

I'm weird- I like the cooler tones. Warm is just plain yellow to me- probably due to the skylights I have, I'm used to true bright white. I keep returning LED bulbs for those with higher #'s. Most of the house I've replaced with regular LED bulbs- Learned the hard way the LED GU10's are NOT ready for prime time, but most regular screw in bulbs are good. Just can't find any chandelier base in bright enough/dimmable yet.

Anyway, I do have a question to throw in here. We're in the midst of an unplanned reno (water leak) and I've been checking around about LED undercouter lights. I keep getting mixed opinions- from the dealers. Most that sell the led tape have no clue about them, and readily admit it. One told me that currbtly there are no standards to LED lighting, so he doesn't recommend it at all. At least until after the new "standards" are set - supposedly the beginning of next year. Most LED's Ive run across only carry a 1 year warranty- pretty bad considering they all say their lites will last 10 years or so. Makes me nervous to spend $100's on them.

Don't like halogen- too hot in FL. I get enough heat raising the electric bill already. Am I being to picky? Are we better off waiting? I really need under counter lights in at least 2 deep dark corners.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 7:45AM
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jakuvall

Luckymom -I can't speak to mfg warranty but don't personally put much value to them YMMV.

Standards- I see some cheap LED's play fast and loose with light output and lumens- count bulbs per foot.
I first gave LEDs a try 6 yrs ago and passed. Started usong em exclusively 3 yrs ago.

I have not had the Hafele brand long enough to speak from experience. I did go the 100 miles to the showroom, then spent 2 months with catalog and had the rep come with samples for us all to see before jumping in (with both feet) and installing them everywhere in my (new cash strapped) studio. If they turn into a problem I'll have a big headache and can't say I'm worried.
While I'm displaying quite a few different variations what I like about their tape is that it's easily replaced in the event of a burnout at a reasonable cost SO long as I can offer partial rolls. Much better than replacing a failed fixture or a hardwired set up.
I would suspect there are other good choices that are close to their offering in many ways.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 9:05AM
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rococogurl

We've just been through an energy audit of our home so I've been working on the lighting.

LED uses even less electricity than fluorescent. For task lighting -- or any lighting that is on more than it's off -- it's by far the most cost effective. The trick is getting good quality lights and the color that appeals -- whatever the brand choice might be.

Also, LED is brighter than incandescent or fluorescent so it may not be for everyone (though I am loving it -- I can finally see everything in my closet).

The current rationale is that while LED bulbs cost more, they last longer. This would be important for task bars/strips too since it's expensive to change as someone pointed out up thread. What I've learned: be careful where you buy. I've had two LED ceiling can flood lights -- $39.95 each! -- go dead within a few months. I bought them at Lowe's, which has a house brand. They were exchanged at no cost, no questions asked. These should last 10+ years. I now save all lighting receipts.

Dimmers, which can be great with task lighting, need to be specially made for LED. Plus, the strips or bars need to also be the dimmable type, if that's a consideration.

Right now (who knows about the future) the bulb menu is basically two colors -- "soft" white 2700-low 3000s and daylight 5000-6500. I decided I don't care for the daylight (too blue where I live) except outdoors for my driveway lights where they are whiter at night.

In my house, with incandescent dimmers, I found a workaround. For every 4 lights I use 3 LEDs + 1 incandescent bulb so there's enough juice for the dimmers to work. I did this in our high-use rooms -- kitchen and home offices -- and I've seen a drop in our electric bill.

If I were doing a reno today, I'd go all in on LED, which doesn't have green in the spectrum and gives better quality light IMO than fluorescent or incandescent. Having done this the hard/dumb way I'm stuck with some fluorescent bulbs which are mixed with the others so it's really easy to see how they all function. But that's a whole other story.

Here is a photo I posted before. It's for fluorescent but provides a general reference on the differences in lighting color.

There are many good LED undercabinet choices.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 10:46AM
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numbersjunkie

I did the same as Todds - LED undercabinet lights from Environomental Lights and Cree 6" LED spots. I love my lighting - not cold at all, more than bright enough for task lighting and it all dims nicely for ambiance. And none of it was very expensive.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 5:03PM
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mamadadapaige

I thought you might want to see the light quality of the Hafele Bali Surface mounted LED lighting. I think it is the perfect color - and also it is dimmable. The "switch" is actually a tiny button that you touch your finger to. Touch once to turn on - touch again to dim, touch again to turn off. Very discreet little switch and easy to install as they just plug into the driver which is plugged into a 110 outlet (hidden up on the top of one of the wall cabinets).

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 7:25PM
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donaleen

My neighbor has some sort of incandescent light (that is what she calls it). Now, that is warm. I also like spot lighting better than strip lighting. I like the pools of light it makes.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 7:36PM
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ivaniphone

Thanks so much for your help!

My goal is to get this decision made and installed by Thanksgiving (along with a picking out a small laundry room chandelier that I am for some reason craving. I saw a pic of one here eons ago, and saw one in a lighting store I will roam the lighting stores this week. Rococogurl, that picture is very helpful.

PS: Beekeeperswife, Grey is Good :-).
PPS: Thanks for that post about your backsplash. You made me de-lurk!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 9:01PM
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Madeline616

Mamadadapaige-

Don't want to hijack, but can u share the source/name of that gorgeous diamond pattern cabinet door insert? It's fabulous!!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 11:23AM
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ivaniphone

2 update / comments:

1) Lazygardens, your post was incredibly helpful.

--------------
Try this less expensive fix first: Photography filters, also called Color Gel filters or Lighting gels They come in a variety of shades for color correcting and special effects photography.

Converts daylight (6500K) to tungsten light (3800K)
http://goknight.com/lee-filters-lighting-gel-sheet-205-half-cto/
And there are others, warmer colors.
--------------

I will use those to make these usable in a cabinetry different parts of the house (master bedroom and maybe above some window treatments). Now that I have seen what's available today, i want to put them everywhere!

2) I want the 3000K color but with a lot more brightness.

Could I put 2 strips down instead of 1 to accomplish that?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 3:32AM
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jakuvall

While cool will always be brighter there are plenty of warm options that are bright enogh for undercab task light. Look for brands that offer more than 1 level of brightness to find brighter ones. Cheap brands will have fewer lumens in general.
Just got this yesterday- people can only discern. Variation of about 300 kelvin.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 8:13AM
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rococogurl

When putting bars in under the cabinets there are different placements -- front (just behind the light rail) back and center.

But I'd check to see if there are some wider bars/fixtures that would cover more area. Otherwise, perhaps bars could be placed in front and in the center. Only caution would be to be sure the glare won't be troublesome off the counters or backsplash if that could be a factor.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 2:53PM
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toddimt

As I said in the earlier post I have the LED light bars. My cabinets uppers on my one wall are 15" deep with the counter depth around 29" deep. Under the upper cabinets is a light bar that is about 21/2"-3" wide. The light bars are mounted behind that. The environmental lights LED bars also come with clips where you can angle the bars a little. I may have it on a slight angle but they point mostly downward. The light bars almost run the full width of the uppers, sans another light bar I have on each end. This is important to obtain full coverage of what you are lighting up below.

The model I have is the Ultra Bright. They totally light up the counter under the cabinets. While most of the light is directed downward the backsplash gets lit up as well. About 4" is still shaded. I can work in the kitchen at night, in these areas with just the counter lights on if I really wanted to. Not too bright but does the job. The goal of under cabinet lighting is to put the light where you need it for cooking (task lighting) not the backsplash. If you are trying to fully light both you may need multiple lights under each upper cabinet run and the brightness will go way up as well. Would more then likely need a dimmer in that case.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 3:27PM
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Doba

mamadadapaige -It would be great if you could tell me what color you chose for the Hafele. Was that warm white or daylight? I am getting white cabs and am worried that the warm may make the cabs look yellow. Thanks.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 9:32AM
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dreamojean

I'm in a situation where I'm choosing between Juno NON pro LED bars with dimmer switches on each bar, and environmental lights bars with a dimmer switch at one end of the stretch. Both are 3000 even though environmentalights says it's warm white and juno says it's cool white. For a 5' stretch of bars, Juno involves 2 24" and one 12" and environmentalights involves a 48" and a 12", each lined together.

My electrician is installing the Juno today I believe although strangely enough, I can't find the Juno one on its website - Juno seems to only focus on its pro series. The Juno is at home depot and I sense it's made for home depot exclusively but can't tell.

I like how streamlined the environmentalights bars are, but I really like that the Juno lights have a dimmer bar right on each unit, so we can adjust each unit's brightness as needed. With environmentalights they provided a 2" dimmer unit that would go on the end of the 5' span, so if it is finicky we could end up with a problem.

I'm a little nervous about how bright the LED lights are and don't want to be locked in to having an entire 5' strip on at once, so while I think I prefer environmentalights overall, I like the flexibility of the Juno bars. Since I bought both I'll have restocking fees and return shipping charges with environmentalights vs. an easier return with Home Depot and Juno.

I get the sense that environmentalights is more tried and true and Juno is more what contractors use and less individual residential owners so I'm having trouble getting meaningful feedback about the Juno lights.

I really feel I'm in over my head.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 12:05PM
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dreamojean

To follow up, the Juno lights as installed look good so far (although my kitchen is flooded with natural light right now, so I won't know for sure until it's dark out) - I took a chance but I love that there's an off/switch on each of the 3 bars (2 24's and 1 12) on the left hand side and a dimmer dial on the right, plus the on/off switch on the wall for all 3 (which are connected), so we can very much customize the amount of light is on and off each time we turn the switch on and off on the wall. or we can leave the wall switch on and use the on-bar controls. It's a lot more versatility than any other LED light that I've seen. And when on full blast the lights are pretty bright, and when dimmed they are pretty dim, so far.

What I might do to get around the problem of having reflections on the shiny (Zodiaq cloud white) countertop, is use the stick-on diffusers provided with the environmental lights package, and put those on the Junos and not return them to environmental lights.

One thing re environmental lights - they know their stuff, were VERY helpful and I'd love to work with them. I just prefer a dimmer dial. And Juno's customer service is not 24/7 like some electrical support shops - it's just M-F, which I didn't like as much. And the dimmer-dial LEDs we used aren't even on its website, for whatever reason. I tried to call its customer service line today to ask why they aren't on the website and make sure they still support them before deciding which to install - but they aren't available today (a Sunday).

For what it's worth, the Juno bars we installed have a 5 year warranty and the environmental lights have a 3 year warranty. I'm not sure why the difference and it wasn't a big factor in deciding, but worthy of note.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 2:31PM
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