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  • LED recessed lighting

    Does anyone have an opinion on the options for 4" recessed LED lighting? Are there any brands to really avoid or any that are worth the extra money? The main floor of our new-build has terrible fixtures in poor locations, i.e. one off-center fixture in a 12'x17' room. I'll be doing a retrofit install with more-or-less even coverage and 4' spacing.
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  • #2

    Re: LED recessed lighting

    I've used a few different types and don't notice much of a difference. I largely just go for the clearance I have (I have some low profile ones above the kitchen sink because there's ducting directly above it) and the colour temp (I aim for 3000k, personally) and whether they need to be dimmable.

    Honestly, the part that annoyed me the most is the quality of the enclosures. They're awkward enough to wire and mount, but on top of that, the clips are annoying, and largely don't stay put (I usually have to screw a self-tapping metal screw through them to make them stick), and a lot of them don't come with wire clamps (minor inconvenience, unless you don't notice until you're installing them).

    Cheers,
    Jeff

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    • #3

      Re: LED recessed lighting

      Rather than installing LED pots, I'd use incandescent pots & then put in LED screw-in bulbs. We just had a customer call that had an LED pot fail that we installed 5 or 6 years ago. This is a name brand pot (Lithonia or Halo, can't remember). Anyway, the LED trim is now obsolete, but can still be had for close to $100. In a few years it won't be available at all. Replacing and LED bulb is only a few bucks & you'll always be able to get them.

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      • #4

        Re: LED recessed lighting

        Originally posted by drzaius View Post
        Rather than installing LED pots, I'd use incandescent pots & then put in LED screw-in bulbs.

        Yes, whatever I buy, it will have replaceable bulbs. I'll also be running the new pots on a dedicated circuit with no receptacles.

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        • #5

          Re: LED recessed lighting

          Had a similiar pot lights install by an electrical contractor in Ottawa this past summer. Very easy to install and the springs that hold the light in place certainly were not lacking in strength to hold the lens in place. What I like is that they are easy to remove should you require access in the ceiling cavity. I know of two other electricians in the Woodstock area and for pot lights all they use is LED. I have been using these for over 4 years and not aware of any that have burnt out. One other advantage is that they can be used in showers without any special measures. I suggest that buying the old style pot lamps and installing led bulbs is a step backwards.
          Brian
          If your dreams don't scare you, you are not dreaming big enough

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          • #6

            Re: LED recessed lighting

            Originally posted by Brian @ Muir View Post
            I suggest that buying the old style pot lamps and installing led bulbs is a step backwards.
            Brian
            Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see your picture Brian. I'm not too sure how comfortable I am with buying lights without replacement bulbs. I'm sure I could solder on a new LED or fix the power regulator myself, but that seems like quite a hassle should a few of them fail in a few years. I'm looking at putting ~40 on the main floor of the house.

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            • #7

              Re: LED recessed lighting

              I have little faith in the life claims for LEDs leading to the assumption that none will fail and wouldn't buy anything that didn't take a replacement, standard format, lamp.
              billh

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              • #8

                Re: LED recessed lighting

                I'm not sure why you want pot lights. Pot fixtures with spot lights in them are OK for places where spotlights are OK but with regular "globe" bulbs at least half of the light is wasted heating up the fixture and what does get out tends to "beam". For general room lighting surface mount fixtures will illuminate a larger area simply because the light radiated to their sides will bounce off the ceiling and spread instead of being directed. If you want to see what I mean find a short piece of 6" or so tube (roll up some thin cardboard if you have to) and hold a light bulb inside it in a dark room, then move the bulb out and see how much more light you have.
                Kevin H likes this.

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                • #9

                  Re: LED recessed lighting

                  I have 2 out of 5 led screw in bulbs that randomly begin to flicker for a few minutes, then work ok for reasonable periods and then flicker again for a few minutes. Easy to replace - but annoying considering price. Would hate to replace a whole fixture. Also have 2 multi led flashlights where almost half the bulbs are no longer working. Not necessarily a problem with the led but quality of the whole item.
                  Nothing is ever as straightforward as it seems.

                  Glenn from Winnipeg

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                  • #10

                    Re: LED recessed lighting

                    What kind of fixtures are the bulbs that flicker in? Two of the first three LED screw ins I bought failed within the first 3 months. I got in touch with the distributor about warranty and since I was going to be in their neighbourhood in a few days I took them in personally to save postage. They told me that their bulbs (& most others on the market) need to have good air circulation around them because, while the LEDs themselves don't produce a significant amount of heat they need a power supply to convert the AC line voltage to what the LED arrays need and that is built into the neck of the bulb. I put the replacements into open bases and they are still working 5 years later.

                    I recently replaced a burned out incandescent in the range hood with an LED bulb and it started going out a minute or 2 after it was turned on almost every time. I thought it was the switch because sometimes it would come on if I turned it of & back on but I found out that the hood manufacturer does not recommend LEDs because the heat can cause them to turn off so I changed to an incandescent and it works fine.

                    If yours are in fixtures that don't allow enough air circulation around them that could be your problem too.

                    Most of the lights installed by the builder in our hallways, closets, laundry room &c are fully enclosed, which means that LED bulbs aren't suitable for them CFLs saved money but the quality of light wasn't very good (not to mention the health & environmental concerns) so if I wanted to eliminate incandescents & save money I would have to replace them with open fixtures anyway so I bought 12W LED fixtures with PIR sensors (they turn on & off automatically so I have eliminated a dozen or so light switches in the process). They have only been in for 6 months but so far so good.

                    BTW, When our son lived at home he put up a string of LED Xmas lights in the basement hallway so he didn't have to turn on the lights when he went to the bathroom in the middle of the night. They have been on continuously except power outages for over 10 years now (I really should move them now that I have the PIR LEDs in the hall). Last year I added LED strip lighting on frames below the overhead door tracks in the garage so I have light whether the doors are open or closed (I like to work with the doors open on warm evenings) and earlier this year I rebuilt a bunch of 100W halogen outdoor floodlights (nice housings but the contacts burned in less than a year) with 23W LED panels and replaced all of our outdoor lighting with them. I also have a bunch of LED surface mount fixtures waiting to be installed.

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                    • #11

                      Re: LED recessed lighting

                      Thanks Bob. the fixtures are just normal lamps with shades open from bottom to top - one a table lamp and the other is in an old floor lamp. The bulbs are the 100 watt equivalent. I have them in several other lamps (with dimmers) and have had no problems. I have a 100 watt equivalent led bulb in a globe kitchen fixture for at least 6 months and it works fine. It is connected to a dimmer. In my "office" or rather small bedroom I have 2 led reflector floods in track lighting. They work fine. It used to be nice working in that room with the old incandescent floods as late at night when the furnace switched to night time temps, that room would be nice and warm. Now it is run for the sweater.

                      I like the led bulbs and have bought a bunch on sales that I am using to replace incandescent as necessary. A problem is colour difference and easy to spot which are the led bulbs so it is best to replace in clusters for consistent temps.

                      All my outdoor lights (8 reflector floods) are now leds and work like a charm summer or winter - never had a problem even down to -40 or the hottest it got this summer.

                      For indoors, I'm glad they brought out the 100 watt equivalent bulbs - as I get older I find them excellent for reading. I recently bought one of those Lee Valley led desk lamps. very bright - with the extra light I can now read the tiny print on medicine bottles without using a magnifier or glasses.

                      I'd like to find a trilight led with the large mogul base - or even just a reducer.
                      Nothing is ever as straightforward as it seems.

                      Glenn from Winnipeg

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                      • #12

                        Re: LED recessed lighting

                        Yeah. I wonder if there is some other problem like maybe a loose connection in the lamp wiring. Or maybe you just got a couple of duds.

                        Speaking of outdoors, did Project Porchlight give away "outdoor" CFL lights in your area? They gave them out here a few years ago and having heard that CFLs don't like cold temperatures I emailed their organization to ask how well they worked in winterbefore going up the ladder to change the bulb. The fellow who replied said he had one of the bulbs in his porch light the previous winter (Montreal IIRC) and couldn't see a difference between brightness between winter and summer so I installed it. It worked in winter alright but it took about 5 minutes to come to full brightness (great when you put the light on so someone leaving can see their way to their car, eh?) so I ended up on the ladder in January putting the incandescent back. I can imagine how useless those things would be on the prairies

                        LEDs, on the other hand, shouldn't care how cold it is...

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                        • #13

                          Re: LED recessed lighting

                          Just my opinion,

                          Pot lights suck. No side or upwards illumination.

                          LED's are still in their infancy and no one makes a quality product yet. Cobs are better, but they haven't been embraced by the manufactures. They probably don't want to retool.

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                          • #14

                            Re: LED recessed lighting

                            COB (like LED, correctly written in all caps because its an acronym) just means Chip On Board. In LED terminology, instead of discrete diodes each in its own in a clear or tinted moulded resin lens, the LEDs are SMD (Surface Mount Device) with multiple diodes in one package. This has been a mature technology for several years. Its not the manufacturers that haven't embraced it but the importers.

                            BTW: The LED was invented 90 years ago. The first practical uses were developed 60 years ago and commercial production began about 5 years later. White LEDs came along about 50 years ago but it took a while before they were efficient & economical enough to start appearing in consumer products. When I started installing white LED headlights in model trains about 10 years ago I had to tint them with amber paint to get rid of the blueish tint but a year or 2 later cheap warm white and pure white LEDs became available.

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