Recessed Lighting Questions

Hello,
I have recessed lighting in my kitchen (I imagine the cans are the cheapest quality as they came with the builder) and am working on finishing out my basement with recessed lights.
I'm looking at energy efficiency/brightness tradeoffs. I'm really interested in the LED bulbs, but it seems as though the heat transfer requires the fixtures to be 'open air' fixtures - does that eliminate recessed lighting as an option if I want to go with LED bulbs?
Also, in terms of replacing the incandescent bulbs in the kitchen - can I just drop in a CF or a halogen bulb, or do they have to be rated for recessed lighting?
Thanks in advance, and I apologize for my ignorance~
Lisa
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

You can, as you say, just drop in a CF or halogen. However you may want to make sure the CG fits will in the fixture, some may not or may loose some of their useful light output.
Halogens are incandescent lamps. They tend to last longer and produce a little whiter light than the typical non-halogen incandescent lamp, but they are about the same when it comes to efficiency.
I would suggest looking for Cf's first. Get good ones, especially for a kitchen because they are likely to have more natural color output. They are also more likely to be a little more efficient.
Personally I don't think that LED's are ready for prime time when it comes to general room lighting yet. Give them a few more years and let's see what happens.

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Joseph Meehan

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I put in some Sylvania compact flourescents in my kitchen recessed fixtures. One failed after a year which I thought was ridiculous. Next time I will buy a different brand. Outside I've been using CF floods from another make from Home Depot or Lowes and they last forever so far.

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com says...

LED lighting technology hasn't really hit prime-time just yet. If you want energy efficiency, CF bulbs are going to be your best bet.

The main issue with recessed lighting is heat. CF bulbs produce less heat than incandescents, so there shouldn't be any problem just replacing the existing bulbs with CF ones. There are quite a few varieties of CF bulbs now - you can get them as the standard spirals, get ones that look quite similar to a standard bulb (except a bit bigger), or get ones that are sized just like a floodlight. What you choose will depend on the type of fixture you've got.
CF bulbs, I've found, vary widely in quality. Buy single bulbs of a few types to get an idea of what will work for you - some bulbs have a long lag before they reach full brightness, some flicker on startup, and some have a color temperature that might not work well in a kitchen (foods will look odd because the colors will be off).
As to halogen, they're still incandescent, and won't save you much in terms of electricity.
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Buy "Cans" built for CF!
Most of the problems with home CFs are actually with the tiny electronic balast in the screw-in base.
Fixtures whether cans or anything else that are built for the bin-base CF lamps have larger, better and more reliable balasts built into the fixtures. All recessed fixtures makes have cans that are designed for CFs and make the best use of their diferences.
RickR
P.S. Also consider putting some light that shines up onto the ceiling or really covers one wall. Recessed only can make a dark room look smaller and darker than it really is.
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After reading Rick's comment if occurred to me that the base of a CF would get much warmer when the bulb is upside down which would shorten the life of the components inside it. Maybe some CF bulbs are made to tolerate a warmer base, probably not the cheapest ones.

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I second Rick's advice of going with fluorescent cans if you want fluorescent. Be advised that they are not cheap. A Lightolier flourescent IC can w/ electronic ballast and associated trim is well over $100. The corresponding can for incandescent (with trim) is about $45.
I find that a 26w FL can gives about the same light output as 75W incandescent or around 60W halogen. A halogen bulb is about $9 and they claim it has a 2500hr life. The FL bulb is about $25 and they claim 10,000hr life. My experience has been that they don't last nearly that long. FL will generate 1/3 the heat, if that is an issue.
You will save about $0.01 (one cent) per hour using FL rather than incandescent. You can figure out the payback. If you run the light 500 hrs per year, it'll take you 15 years to recover the added cost of the bulb and the can.
Because of these reasons, when I just redid my kitchen, I went halogen all the way. I like the look better, it is dimmable, and the payback for FL is not there unless you burn the lamp *a lot*.
Just my opinion.
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