Recessed Kitchen Lighting

Old 02-06-05, 08:02 PM
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Recessed Kitchen Lighting

I have an average sized kitchen that is well-lit by a 2x40 watt FL fixture in the center of the ceiling. I want to replace the FL fixture with recessed lighting. The kitchen is on the ground floor of a two-story house and has a standard 8-foot ceiling finished with drywall.

How much wattage would be sufficient to replace the 2x40 watt flourescent lighting I now have?
Old 02-07-05, 12:03 PM
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I'm debating a similar scenario myself, would be interested to hear your results. I haven't found any definitive guidelines yet, but...

A couple of generalities:

1. bigger flourescent bulbs (T8/T12) are more efficient (lumens/watt) than smaller compact fluorescent bulbs (which are still more efficient than incandescent bulbs)

2. surface mount fixtures spread light more widely/evenly than recessed, so may require less wattage to achieve the same level of general illumination

So, assuming you're sticking with FL recessed, you may need more than the existing 80W due to smaller bulbs and recessed fixtures. Maybe 100W fluoresecent (perhaps 4 27W bulbs?). If switching to incandescent, figure you'd need 3X the wattage (240W total, perhaps 4 60W bulbs?) just to match your surface mount fixture, then if recessing it, perhaps a bit more, say 4X (320W total, perhaps 6 60W bulbs?).

For general illumination with recessed fixtures, you'd like lots of smaller wattage bulbs, rather than fewer higher wattage bulbs. Regardless, you'll want wide diffuser trims.

Our city planning department recommends a minimum of 1.2W/sqft of high-efficiency (required, >40 lumens/watt), which works out to 48 lumens/sqft. Perhaps round up to 50, multiply by your sqft, check the output of your intended bulbs, see how many fixtures required (assuming ~27W fl bulbs?).

All those numbers are just guesses, I'm no lighting designer!

Here's a cool site with some plans:
Old 02-12-05, 09:10 PM
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Thanks for the comprehensive answer and the link. I really appreciate it!
Old 02-16-05, 11:42 PM
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Just a quick note about lights in general:

T12 tubes are just about the least efficient bulbs on the market, and put out less Lumens/Watt. T8 tubes are a marked improvement in efficiency and brightness and put out quite a bit more lumens/watt. Compact Fluorescent bulbs are just about the most efficient bulbs on the market and are available in countless configurations of color and wattage.


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