Weekend Warrior Recessed Lighting Project, Part Two

Weekend Warrior Series: LED Retrofit Lighting, Part Two

During the course of May, our team celebrated National Home Remodeling month by doing some simple lighting projects around the house and sharing them with our readers. We called it our “Weekend Warrior” series because all of the projects can be completed in a weekend (or less!). 


 

Weekend Warrior Retrofit LED Lighting Project

Project Two – The 1-Hour Project

In my last post I shared how we installed recessed lighting in our bonus room. Once I installed the LED retrofits there, I was hooked on the quality and energy-efficiency of the lighting. I decided to change out our seven 75-watt PAR30 halogen recessed lights in our kitchen with seven LED retrofit modules. The 7 halogen recessed lights used 525 total watts of electricity. By switching to LED retrofit modules I would reduce that wattage use to 87.5 watts! HUGE energy savings! In addition to the LED retrofit modules, I also changed out my dimmer switch to a Lutron Maestro C-L dimmer.

This was one project I was able to very easily do myself. In fact, I finished this one in less than an hour. (more…)

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Weekend Warrior LED Recessed Lighting Project

Weekend Warrior Series: LED Retrofit Lighting, Part One

This is the fourth post in our Weekend Warrior blog post series, part of our quest to bring customers unique products and creative ideas for DIY lighting projects around the house. We previously covered how to install security lighting, a custom pantry lighting solution, and creating a kid’s book nook with a wall mounted reading light.


Weekend Warrior LED Recessed Lighting Project

Since moving into my home in 2009 I have completed a number of lighting projects. In fact, I started a New Home Project blog post series documenting them. I am happy to report that a couple of those posts helped others with their own under cabinet and over cabinet lighting projects.

It has been a couple of years, but recently I embarked on two new projects with one overriding theme — Saving money by adding and/or replacing existing lights with LED. The first project that I’d like to share is adding LED recessed lighting to our bonus room to add more general illumination to this room, and the second one switched out our halogen recessed lights to LED. In both projects I installed 6-inch LED retrofits.

Project One – The Weekend Project

My bonus room’s general illumination came only from the lighting on our ceiling fan. For the size of our bonus room this was woefully inadequate. So, jump forward 6 years and we are finally getting around to painting this room and making it more than a “holding area” for random stuff. We decided it was a good time to increase the light level in this room with four LED recessed lights in the 4 corners of the room.

Bonus room with overhead light
Before we installed recessed lighting in our bonus room, our ceiling fan was the only light in the room.

When our house was built in 2009 I used PAR30 halogen light bulbs in our recessed lighting. At the time LED recessed lighting was still a little pricey and there were not many options. Now times have changed. LED recessed lighting, specifically LED retrofits, have come down in price and there a number of options available. (more…)

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Low Voltage Lighting: Advantages, Disadvantages, and Straight Up Myths

low voltage lighting

Low voltage lighting got its start in American residential settings in the 1950s. Originally developed to facilitate landscape lighting, low voltage lighting soon made its way indoors and is now very common for lighting applications like track lighting, recessed lighting, under cabinet lighting, strip lighting, and more. So, what’s the deal with low voltage lighting? What does low voltage lighting do that regular line voltage can’t? And why do people disagree on matters as seemingly straightforward as to whether or not low voltage light bulbs last longer?

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How to Light a Vaulted Ceiling

lighting for vaulted ceiling
image via houzz.com

Vaulted ceilings can be great assets to any building, giving rooms a much more spacious, airy feel. But all that extra space can also be a challenge to light. What’s the best kind of lighting to use on a vaulted ceiling? We’re glad you asked!

Start with recessed lighting. If your ceiling has any kind of slope to it, it will almost definitely benefit from a healthy spread of can lights. You really can’t go wrong with recessed lighting in a vaulted ceiling because their versatility, inconspicuous design and customizable illumination. There are many kinds of recessed trims you can pick from, and we recommend choosing fixtures with housings specially designed for vaulted ceilings, like these. There are a lot of different ways to space your recessed lights, so take into consideration what effects you want the light to have. You might choose to spread recessed lights across the whole ceiling, or keep them mainly around the wall border. There’s no right answer here, and for extra help, check out our blog post on laying out recessed lights. Recessed lights do great as the primary source of illumination, especially when paired with interesting pendant lights that create a beautiful layered look in your vaulted room.

Use pendant lights to fill the extra space and jazz up the room’s style. Pendant lights and recessed lights are the dynamic duo of vaulted ceilings, so make sure you take full advantage of both! Pendant lights don’t work in every room, so if you have a vaulted ceiling, go crazy. If you prefer something a little more practical (like a ceiling fan) or dramatic (like a chandelier), who’s to stop you? Your vaulted ceiling gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to what type of space-filling light fixture you want, so go with your gut. The sky’s the limit.

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Here’s How To Map Out Your Recessed Lights (An Infographic)

You may have come across our most popular blog post of all time: “How To Layout Recessed Lighting in 4 Easy Steps.” It gives readers step-by-step instructions about how to create an ideal lighting scheme in any room by adding recessed cans. Recently, we were racking our brains about how to bring that information to you in an even more accessible way…

Then inspiration struck!

We’ll make an infographic about it. The business of mapping out your lights is so visual anyway, of course a solid visual aid would come in handy. Wouldn’t it be better if readers could see how to sketch out their rooms? If they could visualize how to space out their fixtures? Or observe different lighting configurations?

We thought so.

If you’re still in the dark about how to plan your recessed lights, get ready to learn. This infographic will teach you:

  • Where your lights should go on the ceiling.
  • How to create a focal point, or an even distribution of light.
  • The amount of space that should go between each light.
  • How to avoid unwanted, ugly shadows.

Recessed Lighting Layout Final

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Choosing Recessed Lights (An Infographic)

What do you need to know about recessed cans? If you wouldn’t exactly label yourself an expert on these popular ceiling lights (welcome to the vast majority, my friend), it can be a huge pain to skim through pamphlet after pamphlet, manual after manual, trying to discern how to find the right lights for your space.

Instead, try taking a quick (and colorful) glance at our latest infographic, which illustrates the basic components of a recessed light, and what you should look for when picking one out. Learn what kind of housing you should use, the kinds of trims you can choose from, and how light sources like incandescents, LEDs, and more compare with one another.

Check it out:

Recessed Lighting Guide

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How To Get More Out Of Your Recessed Cans

Pendant
It’s hard to brighten a room with minimal overhead lighting, but it’s not impossible.

The easiest way to get more light, and enhance the impact of your recessed cans is to convert them into hanging lights, or pendants.

So how can you make this happen?

First, choose your pendant lights based on where they’ll hang in your space. If you’re going to put them over a counter, kitchen island, or table, you can choose ones that will hang slightly lower. This will provide brighter task lighting without getting in the way. If you plan to install them in hallways or open areas, pick lights that will hang very close to the ceiling so they don’t eat up your headroom.

To install the pendant lights in your recessed cans, you’ll need the following:

  • Recessed light converter kit
  • Small vanity plate to cover the old recessed hole in your ceiling
  • Screwdriver
  • Painter’s tape
  • Ladder
  • Circuit tester

Before you begin, make sure your city doesn’t have any codes requiring a licensed electrician to perform the conversion. (more…)

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How To Install Recessed Lights In A Drop Ceiling

How To Install Recessed Lights In a Drop Ceiling
Image via BasmentDropCeilings.com

A drop ceiling is a very common feature in offices, basements, theaters, and schools. It’s made from a metal grid and “tiles” or “panels” hung below the structural ceiling. Also known as a secondary ceiling, suspended ceiling, T-bar ceiling, or false ceiling, it most often conceals air ducts or pipes for a clean look in a previously unfinished area. Often, these ceilings feature recessed can lights – a sleek option to illuminate a space without diminishing any headroom.

Whether you’re building a brand new drop ceiling complete with recessed cans, or adding them to an existing ceiling, you’ll need to accommodate some special electrical and structural needs with your installation.

Follow these steps to add recessed lights to your drop ceiling:

1. Find the right lights.

Heat is your biggest concern when choosing recessed lights for your ceiling. If a light generates too much heat, especially around plastic surfaced or fiberglass panels, it can create a fire hazard. LED recessed light fixtures run cooler than other light sources, so they’re generally your best option. You should also choose lights with adjustable mounting arms, or heavy duty clips that can attach to support wires or bars above the ceiling.

2. Layout your lights.

Use graph paper to make a scale drawing of your room, so you can plan where each light should go. You should space them out according to your ceiling height, any focal points that you want to add, and how bright you want your room’s ambient light to be. For more detailed advice on how to layout your recessed lights, check out this blog post: How To Layout Recessed Lighting in 4 Easy Steps.

3. Establish supports.

Drop ceilings are too delicate to support the weight of recessed lights on their own. Also, as your structure settles and shifts, the drop ceiling will move. Install extra wire supports over the tile to help hold the lights – one wire for each of the four corners of the tile. Using support bars or blocks with an additional frame that rests on the ceiling grid will work too. Make sure you can mount the light so it’s flush with the face of the tile. For more info on using wire supports, check out this article from eHow. For more on support bars and frames, read this article from Armstrong World Industries. (more…)

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Outfitting Recessed Can Lights: LED Light Bulbs, LED Retrofits, or LED Housings?

condominium kitchen
When using LEDs in your recessed can lights, should you install completely new LED housings and trims, use LED retrofit modules, or simply switch out your light bulbs for LEDs?

A customer recently contacted Pegasus Lighting with that very question. She wanted to use LEDs in her recessed cans, and asked us about the advantages and disadvantages of LED housings/trims, retrofits, and light bulbs in order to make her decision.

So, our lighting experts went to work crafting an answer. Here’s what they had to say:

When Using An LED Lamp With A Conventional Incandescent Housing And Trim…

L Prize Light Bulb

This option is by far the simplest. Just unscrew that old incandescent or halogen light bulb and replace it with an LED lamp. Depending on the size of your recessed can, you can use LED reflector lamps or A lamps.

Advantages:

  • Easy To Alter. It only takes one person to screw in a light bulb (usually). So, if you don’t like how your new LED light bulb looks or performs, you can switch it out for a different one with minimal hassle. Since LED innovations are still evolving and LED efficacy is increasing dramatically each year, using LED light bulbs gives you more freedom to try out new technology. With a more extensive LED system, it would be annoying and expensive to try to keep up with new technology.

  • Generally Cheaper Upfront. LED light bulbs for recessed cans can cost anywhere from about $15 to over $100, while the prices for LED retrofits and LED housings and trims range from around $30 to over $200.

Disadvantages:

  • Could Trip Your Circuit Breaker. LED light bulbs and conventional recessed can lights aren’t always compatible. Some of the LED light bulbs used in halogen and incandescent recessed lights might cause a heat sensor inside the housing to trip your circuit breaker. This is because LED lamps generally direct heat up towards the ceiling and the fixture’s heat sensor, while incandescent sources project heat down and out of the recessed light. (more…)

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Lights For A Holiday-Ready Home


Holiday lights can have a bad reputation, but it’s my goal to help put some sparkle back in your season; to “lighten” your load a bit. Below you’ll find all the lights you need to prep your home for a headache-free holiday, from practical essentials to the best decorative fixtures and everything in between.

1. LED String Lights

Holiday string lights have always been one of the season’s classic hallmarks, and also one of its biggest jokes. With their festive beauty often comes hours upon hours of trial and error, trying to find that single burnt-out light bulb ruining the bunch.

But, you shouldn’t have to worry about burnt-out lights if you use LED Holiday Lights for your home this year. They have a 60,000 hour rated-life, so they’ll stay lit for a long, long time.

On top of the impressive lifetime, LED lights generate much less heat, so you won’t have to worry about holiday fire hazards. Plus, they use about 90% less energy than incandescent string lights, saving you money to use on more important things this season.

They come in a few cozy color temperatures, alluding to winter wonders like ice and candlelight. (more…)

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