I recently installed installed LED recessed lights (pot lights) in my family room ceiling. Even though installing LED lights was a last-minute decision, it turned out to be the most satisfying part of this renovation project.
Let me create the setting…the family room makeover was on our future to-do list, however it moved up the priority list when we had to pull down the ceiling to modify some plumbing for a bathroom renovation directly above. The family room renovation originally was to consist of: scraping the popcorn ceiling, painting, some interior trim work, and rejuvenating our outdated fireplace. However, since we had to pull down the ceiling anyway, we decided to further enhance the family room by installing sound-proofing insulation in the ceiling, and by replacing the ceiling light with recessed lighting.
Out of habit, I spontaneously went to picked up a six pack of basic pot lights with halogen bulbs at the box store. Knowing that I needed some sort of protective box to separate the insulation from the pot lights, I inquired what the code requirements were for this application. What I got was a lot of guessing and opinions, but no facts…no surprise.
A few days later I had to stop in at an electrical specialty store to pick-up the snow melt system for a front porch I was resurfacing (see..). While there, I noticed their LED recessed lighting display and asked the guy helping me if he could quickly educate me about LED lighting. After about a 10-minute conversation, during which some of the electricians waiting to pick-up their supplies voiced in their opinions, I was completely convinced that LED recessed lighting was a better choice for my family room.
Recessed lights (also known as can lights, pot lights or downlights) have become very popular in new homes and as upgrades in almost any home renovation. Recessed lights, controlled by dimmer switches or smart home technology, can provide ambient lighting, task lighting or accent lighting to almost any room or space. The introduction of LED recessed lighting has simply made recessed lighting more beneficial.
8 Benefits of LED Recessed Lighting:
Whether you are upgrading a room with recessed lights or replacing your existing pot lights, LED recessed lights offer 8 significant advantages over other pot lights.
1/ Energy Efficiency
LED lighting uses about 85% less energy to operate than incandescent bulbs and 30% less energy than CFLs (Compact Florescent Lights). To replace a 35 watt halogen lamp, you only need a 3-4 watt LED bulb. When you multiply these savings to all the recessed lights in your home, the money your saving in energy can be significant.
Plus, LED lighting has almost no heat output, whereas conventional lighting wastes up to 98% of the input energy as heat. In homes with a significant number of recessed lights, this additional heat can result in additional air conditioning costs.
2/ long Bulb life
LED lights last 25 longer than incandescent bulbs…that means it will be more than 10 years before you need to replace the bulbs. Not only does that save you money on replacement bulbs, it also eliminates the inconvenience of regularly replacing bulbs…especially as ceilings get higher and further out of reach.
3/ Quality of Light
LED lights produce a crisp, clean light which is available in a wide range of colors temperatures to suite your liking. Additionally, LED lights do not emit damaging infrared or ultraviolet light, like some other bulbs, thus protecting your fabrics and art work.
4/ Placement flexibility
Despite all the decisions involved with installing recessed lights, the most important factor to me is location. After all, that is what your visitors will see. Have you ever gone into a home in which the pot lights were not evenly spaced, not in a straight line, or not parallel with the wall? I find it draws my attention away from the rooms decor.
Getting the lights perfectly aligned and spaced is hard enough, especially in irregular shaped rooms, but then having to avoid floor joists and all the duct work, plumbing and electrical located between those joists…becomes very difficult.
LED recessed lights are extremely thin…requiring no more depth then a single layer of drywall. This allows then to be installed virtually anywhere on your ceiling. The LED lights are however connected by a cord to a transformer which needs to be in the ceiling cavity near each light.
Being able to dim the recessed lights is an important feature in creating or changing the mood in a room or space. However, I had heard that LED lights did not work well with dimmers. I now know this to be false, unlike some other energy efficient lighting options.
LED recessed lights are completely dimmable and with no flickering, although I did learn that there are dimmer switches specifically designed for LED lights.
6/ Insulated Ceilings
More and more often, people are choosing to insulate their ceilings, reducing noise transfer and increasing fire safety. Since LED bulbs have almost no heat output, they do not require the insulated boxes or “tin cans” needed to keep incandescent bulbs separated from the insulation.
7/ Easy to Install
I was very impressed with how easy the LED recessed lights were to install. I could use the existing wiring, the lights came with “push and lock” wire connectors (no mar connectors required), and unlike other pot lights I have installed, I did not have to struggle to get them sitting tightly against the ceiling.
8/ Our Environment
Gone are the days that we can ignore the environmental impact people are having the earth…we all need to do our part! LED lights not only use significantly less energy, they also reduce the number of bulbs landing in our landfill sites and don’t contain any harmful chemicals. Also more than enough reason to use LED lights.
Much of the information I found when researching recessed lights suggested LED lights were a significantly larger investment. I did not find this, although I bought mine from an electrical wholesaler and not from a big box store.
I encourage all homeowner’s to do their homework. The box stores are a good place to get ideas, however the knowledge and support I received from the electrical wholesaler, which in my case was Gerry Electric, was the key to the success of my project.
This article has addressed why you should use LED recessed lights, however depending on your specific application and desired effect, there are still many decisions to make: size and style of recessed light; housing type; color temperature; number of lights and locations. To help you with these choices, we have attached a "Recessed Lighting Guide" created by Progress Lighting.