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Kitchen Recessed Lighting Placement

Posted by Marc12345 (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 27, 11 at 18:56

I've been reading this form for a while and quite often can find an answer to my question first, and I've done a lot of reading before trying to post anything... but I think it's time I ask for some specific help. My main question relates to placing recessed lighting and potential issues regarding where my ceiling joists are but I'll go into my kitchen layout first.

Attached is my kitchen - A galley kitchen with doorways on both end, 8ft ceilings. Previously the kitchen was lit with a single three-bulb fixture in the center of the room and a crummy florescent light above the sink - all of which have now been removed and will be replaced with recessed (Marked by 'R' are potential spots). Right now the center hole remains but I can patch it if there's no use for the lights there. A few key notes regarding the drawing: In the northeast corner is a 15" wall cabinet at 24" deep, and there's a 21" wall cabinet between that and the sink window. Above the refrigerator is a 24" deep cabinet. All other wall cabinets are 12" deep.

I have already replaced the sink light with two 4" pots on a dimmer. They're probably a bit close to the wall but I had a stud in the way and had to choose between going closer than I wanted to or going further away - I chose to go closer. I'm not sure which decision would've been best but it's done and not up for discussion any ways :)

Additionally I will be placing under cabinet xenon lights on a dimmer under all wall cabinets.

I was planning on going with 5" pots but got the 6" lights for dirt cheap as part of a packaged promotion - a fraction of what 5" cans would've cost - so I plan on using 6" cans (65W BR30 incandescence probably) for the main overhead lights instead. These will too be on a dimmer. A lot of sites/people seem to recommend placing the lights 24" centered from the wall and centering them with the upper cabinets - to make sure the uppers get good lighting and that you're not in your shadows when working on the countertops (if there's under-cabinet lighting does this matter?).

My issue with trying to do this is that there's a joist running parallel at 26.75" from the sink-side wall. This means my 6" can will either be centered at 21.75" or 32" away from the wall, and I'm not sure which would be more preferred. On the stove-side wall the joist are at 13.25" and 29.25" so I don't have the same joist issue.

Additionally, considering we have 24" deep cabinets in two locations (pantry and fridge), I'm not sure how to make sure these cabinets get enough light with the displayed placement or how to do it symmetrically (if symmetry matters).

So here are the questions: Considering my options regarding the locations of my ceiling joists, where do you recommend I place my sink-side cans? OR Is there a configuration that would be better that I'm not considering? I know there's not a 'right' answer, but I'm hoping that people have found themselves in a similar situation dealing with ceiling joists and can share what worked for them, or have a similar experience that says I should consider something completely different.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Kitchen Recessed Lighting Placement

If you use Cree LR6 instead of the BR30, 32" would be fine.

1st thing to do is to figure out the total cabinet depth.
Cabinets are usually ~ 13 - 15" deep (including the doors, trim). If there is crown molding, it could add up to ~ 3".

Then you need to consider the external dimensions of the trim ring - add ~ 1".

The placement of the cans will also be affected by the available space in the ceiling.

Symmetry would be nice, but practical considerations come first.

Undercabinet lighting could be used to augment the main overhead lighting. However, it would be prudent to consider the main lighting on its own since there could be situations when one or the other light source (UC or overhead) will be used alone.

The number of sink-side cans could be reduced to 1. Or you could consider using alternatives such as pendants or track lighting.


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RE: Kitchen Recessed Lighting Placement

Thanks for the input!

Molding is 2.5" and assume cabinets should be 13-13.5". Assume 13.5" that gives a total depth of 15". The distances from the wall that I gave earlier regarding the lights' placement were on-center; so the options are placing the edge of the trim either 2.75" or 13" from the edge of the crown molding. Anyone have preference or have ran into similar situations?

I've thought about allowing the UC lighting to compliment the overhead lighting and instead placing three 6" cans centering the hallway... while this would gain symmetry it would mean I'll be working in my shadows unless the UC is also turned on. While it's still better than what was there, I've debated on whether its the best option. I've also thought about placing two rows of three symmetrically down the galley but to do this the two rows would be closer to the center and 2-3' apart tops. Six 6" cans may be overwhelming in this area too? Perhaps others have thoughts on these ideas?

You mentioned Cree LR6. LED's have come a long way. However these lights are cost prohibited for this project so I will opt for halogen or incandescent - at at least for the immediate future.

I originally had considered track lighting, and may not completely closed minded to the idea, but would prefer to see a solution with recessed - or at least hear how track lighting provides a better solution.

Thanks!
Marc


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RE: Kitchen Recessed Lighting Placement

I prefer having the light ~ 1 ft from the edge of the crown molding.

Assuming ~ 600 - 650 lumens per can, 6 cans should provide ~ 3600+ lumens.
With an assumption of 35 lumens per sq ft, the space needs ~ 1971 lumens. Total floor area ~ 56.33 sq ft.
According to the calculation ~ 3 - 4 cans.

If the LR6 is cost prohibitive, the CR6 is available for ~ 50.

The immediate cost of a recessed can light is really
1. Cost of the recessed housing. Could exceed $20 per can.
2. Cost of the lamp/ bulb.
3. Cost of the trim ring.
4. Installation costs ( ball park ~ 100 per can).

Other considerations
1. Energy efficiency laws such as title 24.
2. Feasibility of installation - eg perhaps the space above the ceiling is too shallow or there are too many structural beams in the "wrong" place?
3. Future cost of servicing the recessed can is worth it. For example, CFL cans with an integrated ballast could be difficult to service when the ballast fails.
4. Impact on your energy bills based on the choice of lamps, can housing, quality of installation.


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RE: Kitchen Recessed Lighting Placement

Thanks David! Thanks for the calculations. Your comments have been helpful and I think they're ruling out some ideas while giving me others I haven't considered yet.

Question - when you say you like to install 1' from the crown, is that 1' to the edge of the trim or 1' to the center of the light?

For what it's worth to address the other portions of your post, in my case I am the installer so costs are materials which I largely already have on-hand. As I mentioned I got the cans (and trim) practically free in conjunction with another purchase as a promo. This was a project I was originally going to defer due to budgeting if it wasn't for the promo (hence why LR6 is cost prohibitive). I'm not in California, and above the kitchen is attic space, so there's no structural/spacial issues other than me having no desire to re-frame ceiling joists at this time. The can's don't have an integrated ballasts for reasons you mentioned.... and for energy cost.... since dimmer is important to me LED/CFL are mostly cost prohibitive at the time being though I hope to evaluate them when it comes time to replacing the bulbs.

Thanks,
Marc


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RE: Kitchen Recessed Lighting Placement

Edge of the hole for the can.

If your attic is heavily insulated, the cans need to be rated for direct insulation contact.

CFLs dim in steps and incandescent dimmers will not work.

The problem for LEDs & incandescent dimmers is that each lamp consumes ~ 10 - 11 watts and a number of incandescent dimmers have a min load requirement of 40 + watts.

So unless you have an array of lights, dimming will not work out too well (flicker, narrow dimming range). Examples of such dimmers include Leviton Vizia, Vizia RF, Monet, GE Z-wave incandescent dimmers, ...


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RE: Kitchen Recessed Lighting Placement

David,

Don't want to hijack Marc's thread. But have a question about your post above. I will be posting my plan hopefully later today and was thinking of using Halo Air tight cans with LR6 bulbs. I figure the Halo is the better option if at the end of this project I do not have the budget for the LED so I can use anything. Your post above gives me pause on the dimmer situation since I will want all my cans on dimmers. So are you saying that there is a min number of cans that must be on a dimmer? or is this only for regular dimmers and not the newer Lutron Diva, Skylark, Lumea, or Ariadni CFL/LED dimmers with the adjustment wheel?


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RE: Kitchen Recessed Lighting Placement

David,

Don't want to hijack Marc's thread. But have a question about your post above. I will be posting my plan hopefully later today and was thinking of using Halo Air tight cans with LR6 bulbs. I figure the Halo is the better option if at the end of this project I do not have the budget for the LED so I can use anything. Your post above gives me pause on the dimmer situation since I will want all my cans on dimmers. So are you saying that there is a min number of cans that must be on a dimmer? or is this only for regular dimmers and not the newer Lutron Diva, Skylark, Lumea, or Ariadni CFL/LED dimmers with the adjustment wheel?


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RE: Kitchen Recessed Lighting Placement

It depends on each dimmer. Cree hasn't tested all the dimmers out there.

I got this from Cree
Dimmers have a characteristic known as "minimum holding current", which is the minimum amount of electrical current require to keep the dimmer firing properly. Incandescent(65W) bulbs draw current well above this level... We strongly suggest you should only select dimmers from our online list ...

On other sites, others have used different dimmers successfully. With the exception of Skylark, none of the dimmers you listed are on the list.

Btw, polar-ray is having a 4th of July sale...


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Dimmers

The lutron site has more details than Cree.

However, it probably is not exhaustive.

I suspect that the minimum current required to keep the dimmer working is sufficiently low for others who have successfully used unlisted electronic low voltage dimmers.

Here is a link that might be useful: Compatible lights and dimmers


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