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ISO advice about recessed, ceiling lighting for kitchen remodel --- incandescent vs. halogen

Later this summer we're doing a complete gut of our kitchen and dining room. Tearing down walls etc. I've been planning on recessed, small halogen lights for the ceiling lighting. Our builder, who is totally cool with going along with me, nonetheless said that halogen doesn't put out as much light whereas I thought they put out more light. Also he said each fixture will run $150 or more. Any advice from those of you familiar with lighting? TIA.

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  1. I can only speculate as to the expense. Halogen burns hotter, so I'll bet those recessed fixtures have to be insulated out the wasoo to keep from burning the house down. Unless you live in the frozen northland, halogens are going to really heat up your kitchen. We were at a friends house a whle back and they had halogen under cabinet lighting. She said she left them on one night and had toast in the cabinet the next morning. They do work well as plate warmers.

    For lighting efficiency, look at the number of lumens per watt, LEDs are great, compact floressents are very good, and neither get as hot. Energy either turns into heat or light in the case of a light bulb.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mikie

      As someone who lives in the frozen northland (Minnesta) the halogens would heat our kitchens too hot as well. (We hit 103° last week). I would put in recessed cans that would fit either incandescents or CFLs.

      1. re: John E.

        Agree. We decided halogens would be too hot, even for under cabinet lighting & went with dual option of incandescent/CFLs and LEDs for under cabinets.

    2. I'm am VERY appreciative of this advice. This house is in Reno which gets very hot in the summer so I definitely don't want to add significantly to the heat.

      Are there incandescents or flourescents (?sp) that give good light and some aesthetic appeal, which the halogen gives.

      4 Replies
      1. re: c oliver

        I personally don't like halogen. They not only get very hot, but the light spectrum is hard on the eyes (at least mine). We had a knucklehead subcontractor who tried to get us to install halogens where ever possible. They're far more expensive per/unit so he may have had other motives. We had a Tech Lighting halogen system in our living room, and my eyes would be bloodshot after a half-hour of exposure, so we had to dictate to him that we were not installing halogen, and that he install recessed incandescent fixtures instead (giving us the option of either incandescent or CFL), and by LA code (2005) we were required to install CFL-dedicated primary lighting in both the kitchen and bathrooms.

        We've been happy with the CFLs in general, but accurate placement above work areas is a must, reflector shape and finish is a serious consideration for practical purposes, and ceiling height will impact the effectiveness of the lighting in general.

        Another consideration is under-cabinet lighting on the bottoms of your wall cabinets above the counters. This will also help in task lighting, and it is actually quite pleasant particularly because it keeps shadowing down when doing precision tasks, and is easy on the eyes when you're first waking up in the dark and putting on the lights. There are low-profile florescent fixtures specifically for mounting under cabinets so the won't be visible from most angles.

        I've been out of the lighting technology loop since our remodel, and LEDs have become more and more available. You might want to at least inquire about those systems as well if you haven't yet.

        Being that incandescents are being legislated out of existence in their current form, become more familiar with CFLs. The technology and choices keep getting better, so I think you'll find some that will give you the color/brightness that you want. As for aesthetic concerns, they can be unsightly, but options do exist where the actual CFL is housed in an outer housing that makes it look like an incandescent, flood or spot light. We've gotten over the look of the CFL though - after a while, we didn't even look at them anymore.

        1. re: bulavinaka

          My sister just did a kitchen remodel and incandescent lights were not on the list since they will probably be phased out and then where are you...in fact building codes might require alternates so better take a look.

          1. re: escondido123

            My CFL bulbs aren't those squiggly kind, so you wouldn't know they were CFL just by looking at them. However, they DO take a few seconds to reach full lighting, so that took getting used to.

        2. re: c oliver

          Part of the reason halogens may appear brighter is the litght spectrum they produce. It's a whiter light than incandescents. We were at a friends house where they had recently remodeled the kitchen, the same one with the halogen under cabinet lighting, and she had LEDs in the overhead can lighting. LEDs generate very little heat and from what I could tell fit in a standard can light. They also last for a very long time and you get the same number of lumens for a fraction of the wattage of incandescents and even CFLs. The down side is they are relatively new technology for house lighting and are quite expensive. $30+ for a light bulb just sends shivers up my spine. However, since they last a very long time and use as little as 3 watts to get 60 watts worth of incandescent light, they save a ton of energy. They too put out a relatively white light, but I think you can get specific spectrums of light just like you now can with CFLs.

        3. Many years ago I put in halogens because I liked the light they produced. But the bulbs were REALLY expensive to replace, and they burned out relatively quickly. I remember feeling like a good citizen as we were preparing to move by leaving a couple of extras behind; then two more burned out the day before we left! I have standard recessed cans and I use CFLs in them. Love that they last "forever".

          1. Don't even consider Icandescents. They're obsolete. Good riddance! We've replaced all of ours, including our many recessed can lights, with LEDs and were very happy.

            1. Lighting is very important to me-not only the functional aspects but the aethetic aspects as well. I have mostly incandescent lighting and have bought a lifetime supply. We have overhead lights placed over task areas. I have a few CFLs in closets and a bathroom and hate the color of the light. We have mostly antique lighting and prefer the warm color of the incandescent lighting. I have halogen task lighting under my cabinets but it is warm and melted some chocolate in the cabinet. I am not sure if I would use something different there next time or not as we don't use it for long periods of time usually. I do more of my work on the island with overhead lights.

              4 Replies
              1. re: wekick

                The primary reason we switched to LCDs was because I hated changing burnt out incandescent lightbulbs all the time, moving furniture and moving it back, getting ladders out and putting them away, standing precariously on furniture. For that and that alone, I'm glad I did it.

                The cost savings over time are real, but a bonus.

                1. re: DPGood

                  We have a recessed can over the stairs going downstairs. There is no way to reach it safely with even a ladder. We bought a telescoping lightbulb changer. It has a suction cup on the end. We bought it before the invention of CFLs. I'm not sure how we would do it. (I have not yet stocked up on various incandescents, but will soon just to have the option available). We will have to try out some LCDs because so far, the idea that CFLs put out just as much light as ibcandescents has not been the case at our house.

                  1. re: John E.

                    How much light...

                    I'm no expert, but my understanding is that there are/were restrictions on how much heat the receptical could take. Therefore, since LCDs put out a lot less heat, you can increase the amount of lumens (light) you install considerably.

                    Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

                  2. re: DPGood

                    Now there is a choice so you can have what you prefer, unfortunately not for long though.