New Cabinet Lighting Making Cabinets HOT!!!

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Old 12-01-06, 01:34 PM
J
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New Cabinet Lighting Making Cabinets HOT!!!

Hey everyone... First post here.

Got a question about some surface-mounted kitchen cabinet lights I put in last week. The quick-and-dirty version is that they are making the wood above them very hot, as in too hot too touch for more than a second. Is that bad?

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The longer version is that I purchased a three-pack Hampton Bay Portable Cabinet Light Kit from Home Depot for my wood kitchen cabinets. This package sported the ability to install the lights in either recessed or surface mounts. I was pleased to have the option, so I purchased the product. However, I was immediately disappointed to find that when I opened this package of lighting there were a lot of very restrictive conditions to their use that were not mentioned on the outside of the package. To make it even worse, these conditions were not listed in one place. Rather, they were disbursed in a seemingly random manner throughout the installation instructions.

I went the surface route and installed the lights on the bottom of my cabinets. Due to all of the restrictions, I was meticulous about following the directions to the "t". The first night they were installed, we gave them a go and everything seemed to go fine. Out of curiousity, though, I went ahead and felt the interior of the cabinet to see just how hot these lights really were.

I was shocked to find that I could barely touch the wood for more than a second without getting a burning sensation. I, of course, immediately shut the lights off and haven't turned them on since then. I then turned to the Internet to see if anyone else was having this problem. I was unable to find anything on the lights specifically, but I did find a whole slew of complaints about other products this company makes. The most shocking complaint had to do with a glass-top patio set that would explode in the sunlight. Those complaints were literally in the dozens.

Between the complaints, the shoddy instructions, and the deceptive packaging, I got real worried that I had just installed a product that was going to burn my house down, and that's why I'm here.

Do I have something I should be worried about?
 
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Old 12-01-06, 02:38 PM
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Those are the little round halogen lights, right? Out of curiousity, are they UL approved? Regardless, anytime wood or any other combustible product gets too hot to touch, it has the potential to be a dangerous situation. If nothing else, it will eventually leave a burn mark on the bottom of the cabinet, which would be objectionable if you ever removed the lights. If it were me, I'd take them down and replace with small flourescent under-cabinet fixtures. I have flourescents under my cabinets, and I like them. They will get the wood warm to the touch, but definitely not too hot to touch.
 
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Old 12-01-06, 02:39 PM
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Although you don't say what kind of lights in your post, I'll bet they are halogen. I bought Hampton Bay halogen lights for vanity lights about 7-8 years ago. After a year or so, I removed them and tossed them in the trash. They were so hot the fixtures (cheesy plastic) got so brittle they broke every time I replaced a bulb.
I don't think they are a fire hazard, but they might get hot enough to have a long term effect on your cabinets.

There are other options for under cabinet lights. There are flourescent strips, indcandescent strips and rope lights.
 
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Old 12-01-06, 04:30 PM
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They are indeed halogen lamps. Sorry for leaving that out of the OP.

Thanks for the tips, guys. Is there any sort of insulation I could place between the fixtures and the wood?
 
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Old 12-01-06, 04:43 PM
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Wink

Is there any sort of insulation I could place between the fixtures and the wood?
No way . Like said I took mine out. Burn marks on the wood. Go small fluorecent are white rope lights they work also
 
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Old 12-01-06, 05:23 PM
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I saw an HGTV kitchen makeover. The homeowner bragged about his undercabinet halogen lighting in his dream kitchen. He said that they made for great food warmers and came in handy for melting butter. Hmmm, I thought. That much heat has to take a toll on cabinetry. It could also take a toll on backsplash area if located at the back of the cabinet, which is where it appeared to be on my 13" TV through my trifocals, rather than the recommended front for task lighting

Under cabinet lighting that uses line voltage (120 volts with no transformer) tends to be the hottest type of under cabinet lighting. Fluorescent lighting is the coolest and gives off very little heat. Fluorescent is the most energy efficient. Fluorescent lighting fixtures that use a warm white fluorescent light bulb or one that has a low color temperature of 3200K or lower will provide light similar to incandescent bulbs. The Dept. of Energy identifies halogen undercabinet lighting as a fire risk and recommends fluorescent lighting.

Conclusion: All that being said, go with Mr. Ed's recommendations. When Mr. Ed has spoken on these forums for years, we have learned to sit up and pay attention. The point is that one should never risk one's investment in a home or loved ones to fire. Safety comes first!!
 
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Old 12-01-06, 07:25 PM
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Excellent. Thanks for the advice, all. I really appreciate it.

ps - Ed, how much ice/snow did you get? We got lucky here in western St. Louis and only got 3 inches of sleet and 2 inches of snow. Power's still on.
 
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Old 12-01-06, 10:39 PM
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Have 13" on the ground. Most roads closed . Have drifts to about 5 '. Im at lake of the Ozarks . Lots of big and small docks went under with the boats from the weight of the snow. The TV say you got lots of ice there. We got some ice then the snow with lots of lighting. First time I ran into that. I am from St. Louis many years ago.

ED
 
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Old 12-02-06, 03:26 AM
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Wow... Crazy stuff. The city and the Metro East got hit hard with ice. Over 500,000 are without power - again. I heard someone point out that St. Louis carries the lovely distinction of having lost power to half-a-million residents on both the hottest and coldest days of the year.

Gotta love the midwest!
 
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Old 12-02-06, 05:56 AM
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I love undercounter lights , and have installed many , my preferance is halogen , 12 volt , with transformer in basement under kitchen and the lights are metal strips with 2 mini bulb every 4 " and yes they do get warm but not too hot to touch
the other great aspect is the color match between the hologen hi hats and the hologen under counter lights and the silence.

Fluorescent lighting, hums and gives off the wrong color
terrible choice
 
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Old 12-02-06, 06:32 AM
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I have halogen undercabinet lighting with dimmers, installed. Like William Tell, mine only get warm, not hot. I can't remember the brand and they were a bit pricey, but perhaps that has something to do with it.
 
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Old 12-02-06, 03:43 PM
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Mine are from "seagull", I love them.They will melt butter and I can feel the heat in the cabs, Not obnoxious though,I move it up 1 shelf. Handy plate warmer.

I have had to "retrain" the family to not leave them on when unattended.
They deserve a lot more respect than the flourescents. Unatentive teenagers, You may want to convert.
 
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Old 12-02-06, 04:08 PM
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Yes, Shadeladie, the ones I like are pricey also , as was the 400 watt transformer , and the 10 awg zip cord for the 12 volts .

But cheap and quality are not usually mentioned in the same sentence
 
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Old 02-22-09, 11:30 AM
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Just installed these

I just installed a set of these. In our case we use them only occassionally and turn them off when the evening is over. My question though - I have another set and want to install them on top of an upper cabinet facing UP. I seem to recall someone saying that halogen lights are not a good idea facing up as the dust may collect over time creating a hazard when the lamp heats the lense. Any truth to this?
 
 

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