Advice on living room recessed light install


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Old 10-28-13, 10:15 AM
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Advice on living room recessed light install

Hello,

I want to add 4" recessed lights to my living room ceiling. I have access to the insulated attic directly above so the cans need to be IC and air tight. Four years ago I put 4" recessed in my kitchen that's adjacent to the living room and used Utilitech cans and trims from Lowes but was not too happy with them. I went to Lowes yesterday to start scoping this new project out and saw the Utilitech cans again and then also Halo cans H99ICAT with 993W trims.

Questions:
1) Is Halo a good brand to go with? I've also heard of Juno but have not seen them firsthand.
2) A main reason I don't like the Utilitech is that the trim kits don't sit flush with the ceiling, which I think it because of a 1/8" thick layer of plaster on the 1/2" drywall. Would the Halo can and trim kits have this same problem (the ceiling thickness is the same in the living room)?
3) For the lights, I'll probably go with either R type CFLs (which is also in my kitchen cans) or R type LEDs. I want the living rooms lights on dimmers so I'm not sure if there's a good dimmable CFL option. But considering the cost of LEDs, I might go with regular old incandescent bulbs. Any advice on this?

I appreciate the advice and help and I'm sure I'll have more questions.

Mark
 
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Old 10-28-13, 02:04 PM
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I want to add 4" recessed lights to my living room ceiling.
Your call, but 4" fixtures usually cost more and have fewer trim options than 6" fixtures. They also, of course, can't take the larger bulbs.

1) Is Halo a good brand to go with?
Halo is probably the leading supplier of recessed fixtures in the U.S.

2) A main reason I don't like the Utilitech is that the trim kits don't sit flush with the ceiling, which I think it because of a 1/8" thick layer of plaster on the 1/2" drywall. Would the Halo can and trim kits have this same problem (the ceiling thickness is the same in the living room)?
IDK. The trims for the ones you already installed should have made flush seals with the surface of the ceiling. Adding 1/8" of thickness to the ceiling should have resulted in a tighter fit.

3) For the lights, I'll probably go with either R type CFLs (which is also in my kitchen cans) or R type LEDs. I want the living rooms lights on dimmers so I'm not sure if there's a good dimmable CFL option. But considering the cost of LEDs, I might go with regular old incandescent bulbs. Any advice on this?
Regular incandescent bulbs are a bit hard to find these days. Dimmable CFL reflector floods are available. There's a 15W Energy Smart CFL flood from GE, for example. I like the results from the dimmable halogens I've installed in our kitchen fixtures. Phillips makes an R20 (2-1/2") that's a 75W equivalent.

Basically, it's up to you. Compare the efficiency (lumens per watt) and total cost - replacement plus operating - to choose.
 
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Old 10-28-13, 02:30 PM
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In my experience Halo is a good brand. There may be other brands that are better but I am not aware of them. The Utilitech are made in China to sell at a low price. Same with Commercial Electric.

I have not had good luck with the R-series of CFL bulbs, they seem to burn out faster than do the incandescents. I have a couple of Lights of American (generally an "also ran" in the lighting business) non-dimmable R-type LED bulbs that I am quite pleased with. The high cost of the LED bulbs along with the less-than convincing "guarantee" they have keep me from outright endorsing LED lighting. I have one GE-branded LED that is in a circuit on a dimmer and it seems okay but I have only had it in service for about six weeks. I do like the quality of the LED light, especially if you get the higher color temperatures (6500 K) but many women prefer the more yellowish color of lower temperature lights.

If you have deeply textured surfaces on the ceiling no trim will fit well.
 
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Old 10-28-13, 03:10 PM
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It seems to me that the 4" trim rings on the 4" cans never sit as flush as the 6" trim rings on the 6" cans.

As an electrician, I don't like installing 4" cans and Halo is my favorite brand of recessed fixtures.
 
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Old 10-28-13, 04:19 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. I'll plan on going with the Halos. We like the look of 4" better than 6" cans. Our walls are only 7.5' tall and the previous owner put 6" cans in a downstairs ceiling and they look pretty big at that wall weight. We like the 4" we put in the kitchen.

They bulbs we'll go with will in the 2700-3000 degree range as neither of us like the cooler temp looking ones. I'll keep researching and planning. Hoping to get this project done before the holidays. I'll check back in as more questions arise. Thanks!

Mark
 
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Old 10-29-13, 08:31 AM
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This might seem like a silly question, but can anyone recommend a good brand hole saw for when I cut the holes in the ceiling?

I ask because when I put the 10 lights in the kitchen, I had to buy 2 hole saws because the plaster on my ceilings is VERY hard and the saw became completely dull and useless after a few holes. I'd like to avoid having to buy multiple hole saws for the 9 lights going in the living room ceiling. All I saw at Lowes was Lenox bi-metal hole saws but I thought that's what I used last time.

Any tips on a good brand hole saw? Thanks.

Mark
 
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Old 10-29-13, 09:21 AM
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I normally do not like using hole saws for remodel can lights but in your case, since your using new construction ones, you might be OK.

This might work for you getting through the plaster: Milwaukee 49-56-0296 3-1/8'' Recessed Light Hole Saw Note the grit cutting edge. It is the wrong size but you get the idea. Cutting the lath you will likely need to switch to a wood hole saw.

When making holes in lath and plaster we like to "break" the plaster with a screwdriver and then cut the lath out with a Roto zip type tool.
 
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Old 10-29-13, 09:50 AM
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Thanks for the tip. The house was built in 1970 and has blueboard/drywall underneath the plaster and lath. But the plaster is as hard a concrete! So the carbide grit cutting surface is the key thing to look for?
 
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Old 10-29-13, 10:22 AM
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I use a keyhole saw to cut the openings for recessed fixtures. The one I have is from Milwaukee It's similar to this one, except that mine doesn't fold: Milwaukee Folding Jab Saw. It has a chuck to mount a reciprocating saw blade in. Including blades with a carbide cutting edge.
 
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Old 10-29-13, 11:53 AM
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Carbide grit edge hole saws are the way to go for cutting plaster and blueboard.
 
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Old 10-30-13, 04:52 PM
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I am planning on installing 9 lights in 3 rows of 3. I want each row on its own dimmer so we can just turn on some or all of the lights on depending on the need (1 row on low at when watching TV or all on medium or high when people are over). I was going to install a 3 gang box with 1 feed wire coming in so that all the lights are on the same circuit but yet each row can be on independently of each other. I was looking to use the Lutron Diva CL DVCL-153PH dimmer but looking at the instructions online has me worried.

Looking at their multigang instructions it talks about having to remove side sections from the switch and doing so causing the switch not to be able to have as many lights on it. Will I be able to set up my install the way I've outlined it even with having to remove these side sections?
 
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Old 10-30-13, 05:37 PM
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By removing the side tabs you reduce the load capacity of the dimmer. However, you are only running 3 lights per dimmer so you will be fine.
 
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Old 10-30-13, 07:10 PM
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Those dimmers are built to handle up to 600W each. Unless you're planning to install a 200W bulb in each fixture, no problem.

Remember when you're installing them to break off as few of the tabs (which are heat fins) as possible. They have 3 tabs on each side, or 6 total. The two on the ends can keep all three tabs on their outer edges. If you break off the one in the center on the right and the top and bottom ones on the left on the other four edges, you'll wind up with 5 tabs on the left-hand switch, 4 tabs on the right-hand switch and 3 tabs on the middle switch. The tabs will inter weave into four stacks of 3 tabs. It'll look so pretty you'll want to put a clear cover over them.

And they'll work just fine.
 
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Old 10-31-13, 05:13 AM
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Good to hear these dimmers will work. At $30 each, are these dimmers worth it? Do they do what they claim and make dimming CFLs or LEDs better than other dimmers?

Also, I know dimmers are physically larger than normal switches, so will 3 of them and all the wiring easily fit in the 3 gang box? The wall is standard 2x4 construction.
 
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Old 11-03-13, 08:34 AM
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Just got out of the attic after investigating where the ceiling joists are. Of course one row of lights falls directly in the center of a joist so that row will have to be moved. Looking at the online instructions for the 4" Halo HC99ICAT lights, it doesn't say how close to a joist it can be, which I need to know so I can adjust my layout.

My joists are 24" on center so the span between them is 22.5." If the light fixture is slid all the way over to one side of its hanger bars making it as close to the edge of the joist as possible, how far away from the edge of joist would the center of the ceiling hole be?

Thanks.

Mark
 
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Old 11-03-13, 12:02 PM
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If the light fixture is slid all the way over to one side of its hanger bars making it as close to the edge of the joist as possible, how far away from the edge of joist would the center of the ceiling hole be?
That information should be in the instructions packed with the fixtures. If not, I would take one of the frames into the attic, set it in place, measure from the joist to the center of the housing opening and add maybe 1/4" for safety.
 
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Old 11-15-13, 05:25 AM
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Has anyone used the Sylvania Ultra SE LED bulbs (https://www.sylvania.com/en-us/produ...LTRA-SE.aspx)? Curious if these need special LED designed dimmers like the Lutron CL or if they work on regular dimmers. Does anyone know?

Or has anyone used these bulbs? If so, do you like them?
 
 

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