Finishing my basement and I need to calculate the number of can lights
needed to install in the drop ceiling. Dimensions are approx 21' x
22' and 7'7" high. I read one post recommending a can light every
4' and another every 6'. I want the space to be lit enough for work
space or food prep, but most of the time I intend to dim them down to
reading, PC, or TV watching levels.
Any suggestions on how to calculate the number and placement of cans ?
Lighting design is a bit more involved than that. You really should be
thinking about dedicated task lighting exactly where you will be doing
tasks, and other lights for ambient illumination. These two uses
require different types of lighting. You may even want to consider
splitting up the ambient light so that you can acheive "dim" by only
turning on some, rather than all of the lights. That will save a lot
of electricity over using dimmers, and even allow you to use CFL's,
which will REALLY save electricity.
On Aug 30, 6:27 pm, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I was intending on splitting the room up into different circuits,
Maybe one circuit for just the lights on the outer edges and all the
others lights on the second. Arent there new CFL's that are
*It depends on the size of the recessed light and the bulb that you intend
to use. For bright even lighting with a 4" diameter can you will need to
space them closer together. A 6" can with an R40 bulb can have nice even
illumination 6' apart. As someone else suggested multiple switches can be
helpful for the different uses of the space that you anticipate. Don't plan
on using dimmers with CFL's. There aren't many choices out there and I
haven't heard of any that give satisfactory results.
Do you want even lightning at the floor, or at work surfaces (like at a
If your work area is lit by just one can you will get shadows on the
work from your hands/body. For doing work (like food prep)I would want
light from multiple cans at the work height. That requires a lot more
cans than even illumination. IMHO it is one of the problems of using
recessed lighting. Recessed lightning is more of a problem in basements
because the ceiling height is usually lower.
The light spread from the can depends on the bulb, trim and how far
recessed the bulb is.
You could buy a couple cans, vary the spacing, and look at the results.
Take the plans for the basement to a real lighting store. Most have
them have a "parts counter" where you can buy all of your lights,
Ask someone in the design center to look at the plans and design a
layout that will make sense as far as what you will be doing where -
task lighting as others have mentioned.
You're envisioning all cans, but maybe they'll suggest cans, tracks,
pendants, etc. In the end, I think you'll get a better design than
just a bunch of cans spaced x feet apart. Many places will also put
together the shopping list, pull all the materials and have it boxed
and ready after you agree on a layout.
I went down to my local lighting store that specializes in lighting,
explained what I wanted and ask for some ballpark quotes. What they
came back with was not practical. The wanted $325 for a 2x2 indirect
troffer and another $125 to put a dimmable ballast in it. The fixture
was by 'Focal Point' and the ballast was by 'Lutron'.
Why so much ? am I asking for the right stuff ? It took them 30
minutes to look up the fixture in a catalog and call the distributor,
wait for the call back, just to get a quote, that I did not wait
around for them to get me another quote. They did give me a catalog/
book full of Focal Point fixtures to take home and review.
Isn't there a web site that I can just look a fixture types w/prices
that are practical and find what I want ?
Did they explain why they suggested a single fixture as opposed to
task lighting for work space, food prep, TV viewing, etc?
Did you ask about lighting a generic 21' x 22' space or did you bring
them a sketch of the furniture layout, food prep area, TV location,
The more detail you provide, the better a layout they can provide. If
they're not willing to do the layout work for you, try another store.
re: "Isn't there a web site that I can just look a fixture types w/
prices that are practical and find what I want ?"
There are hundreds of them. DAGS.
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