Recessed Lighting.. what bulb size for basement?

Hi all,
I'm just starting the electrical on my basement re-model... I have chosen 6" recessed lights for my family room and office areas. The cans will be about 5-6 feet apart.. the ceilings are 8 feet high.
In the 17x19 family room, I have 3 rows of 3 cans (9 total) with one extra over a small countertop/bar area. The office is about 14x16 and will have 5 total cans. I'm thinking 65-75w incandescant floods are the most cost effective way to go...
My dilemma seems to be what size bulbs to use, BR30 floods or BR40 size floods... The size will determine which trim I buy... If I buy the BR40 rated trim, the BR30 bulbs will look stupid in them since I can then see around the bulb into the can... If I buy the BR30 rated trims, I can't safely use a BR40 size bulb?
Any idea which size bulb would be better used in a basement application the BR30 or BR40? Is it just personal preference? Any one know what the more standardized size would be for basement can lights? Once I decide on a bulb type, I can decide on the trim I need...
Any comments appreciated!
Thanks,
Tony B.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Hi, It generates heat and consumes more energy. Why not fluorescent fixtures with daylight spectrum lamps?
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If your budget permits, I would recommend halogen PAR38s due to their longer life, higher efficiency, better lumen maintenance and superior light quality. For a little more money, you might also consider halogen "IR" ("infra-red"), which offer even greater efficiency and extended service life.
See: http://www.nam.lighting.philips.com/us/ecatalog/halogen/pdf/p-5761.pdf
This type of product is not generally sold at retailer outlets, so you have to obtain them through a lighting distributor or electrical supply house. I use 60, 80 and 100-watt GE versions in my home.
During the winter months, the waste heat from the operation of these lamps helps heat my home; the extra heat is especially useful on basement level, where it tends run several degrees cooler (currently, here in Nova Scotia, oil and electric cost about the same, on a BTU basis, so there is no financial penalty to choosing one heat source over the other).
That said, come spring, when the extra heat is not welcome, I swap them out for the CFL floods shown here:
http://www.standardpro.com/product/getproduct.aspx?id@81
Amazingly bright at just 23 watts and excellent light quality (85 CRI). They are physically the same size as a standard PAR38 and have a flat, hard, glass lense -- not plastic or soft glass like most CFL floods. I paid $14.00 CDN ($12.00 US) per bulb, which I consider to be a pretty good deal.
Cheers, Paul
On 23 Mar 2006 19:38:59 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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I just wanted to add a few numbers to my previous reply:
A 75 watt Sylvania BR40 has a rated life of 2,000 hours and produces 680 lumens of light, or about 9 lumens per watt. The efficiency of this bulb (and others like it) is really very poor. Hopefully, one day soon, they will disappear from the marketplace.
By comparison, the Philips 70 watt PAR38 IR referenced below, has a rated life of 4,200 hours and produces 1,550 lumens (22 lumens per watt). Watt for watt, this bulb offers 2.5 times more light and more than double the service life. And, as previously mentioned, the quality of light is far superior to that of any incandescent reflector.
If dimming isn't required and if excess heat is a potential concern, the CFL floods I use have a rated life of 8,000 hours and produce 1,280 lumens; this works out to be 55 lumens per watt, or SIX times that of the aforementioned BR40. To properly light a large area as you had described, this could very well be your best option.
Cheers, Paul
On Fri, 24 Mar 2006 04:58:15 GMT, Paul M. Eldridge

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Paul M. Eldridge wrote:

I thought the link was short on information and long on marketing, like "Up to 42 Layers of IR Coating on Double Ended Burner".
They are stated as longer life than standard halogens. From your description they are higher efficiency than standard halogens? Any idea how they do it? Difference of "IR" from standard halogens?
bud--
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Without question, halogen IR lamps are more energy efficient than conventional halogens; you just have to compare the lumen ratings for both.
A regular Philips 75 watt, 120 volt, PAR38 halogen has a rated life of 2,500 hours and produces 1,050 lumens. This works out to be 14 lumens per watt, or about 1.5 times that of an incandescent BR bulb.
The 70 watt Philips IR version is rated for 4,200 hours of service and has a light output of 1,550 lumens, or just over 22 lumens per watt. That's roughly 1.6 times the amount of light, per watt, of the abovementioned halogen and 2.5 times that of an equivalent BR.
Basically, it works much like the low-e coating applied to windows. Halogen bulbs, like all incandescent lamps, emit energy over a wide spectrum, both visible (i.e., light) and invisible (heat). The "selective" coating applied to the bulb capsule allows the visible light out and reflects part of the heat back to the filament; "recycling" this heat allows the filament to maintain its operating temperature, using less power.
For more information on this, see: http://www.sylvania.com/content/display.scfx?id 3679870
Cheers, Paul
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Consider CF (compact florescent) for greater efficiency.
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Joseph Meehan

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To answer Your question: The bulb size makes no difference in the lighting! Go for the look you like.
The "beam angle" on reflector lights says what area it covers. The BR flood types are wide and soft beams approx 80 degrees. PAR flood types are 35d and some 65d. So you can figure for the same output there will be much bigger and dimmer pool from the BRs. Space your lights for even coverage at desk/table level.
Every package should list the total lumens for the lamp. That is the light output you get. However you buy your light in electricity by the "watt/hour". (100watts x 10hours = 200watts x 5 hours) That is where efficiency comes in.
Multiply: total wattage you plan to install X hours you use them X electrical costs (usually in "KWH"00s of watt/hours ) and get your actual costs. Over the long haul electricity costs FAR more than the fixtures and bulbs.
The BR lamps are just about to be outlawed in the US. They should have been outlawed when the R lamps were a few years ago. It was stricktly an oversight/con job on the law makers part. Thats just how inefficient they are.
Richard Reid, LC Luminous Views
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You raised a couple good points. One thing I might add in terms of the placement of the fixtures... if you move the outer ring closer to the wall, the light that bounces off the wall can make a room appear larger, brighter and perhaps a little more "cheerful".
A wide beam angle (40 or 60 degrees) will help distribute the light over a larger area, whereas a narrow flood (25 degrees) or spot (10 degrees) will concentrate or "pool" the light in the immediate area of the fixture. For maximum efficiency, a wide angle flood works best.
And this is open to debate, but sometimes the light from recessed fixtures can make a room look a little too "harsh". A couple of table or floor lamps can help soften the overall appearance and minimize any potential eyestrain.
Cheers, Paul
I find that table or floor lamps

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Thanks for the input.. I have the Sylvania PAR38 Capsylite floods in my kitchen and like them alot... very bright and no yellowish cast like incandescant. I'm thinking I'll go with the PAR38's based on the recommendations here... The PAR38 halogens are actually less expensive than the PAR30's at my local hardware store... odd.. cheaper by a few bucks each... $4.98 vs $6.98.
I have the spacing worked out to three rows of three cans starting 2.5 feet from the perimeter walls and spaced just over 5 feet apart. This should give sufficient light with 75W PAR38's I think... One side of the room has the cans about 4-5 feet from the wall due to an obstructing heating vent soffit, but if things get too dim under the soffit, I'll supliment with table lamps or something... the main area of the room should be covered well with the floods I think.
I plan to put each row on a seperate dimmer since this will double as a theater room. Can these PAR38 halogens be put on a dimmer?
Thanks agian,
Tony B.
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Hi Tony,
Good news. There's no problem dimming any type of 120 volt halogen lamp with standard dimmers.
As you say, halogen bulbs offer much better light than their incandescent alternatives. And as much as I recommend CFLs for their superior energy performance, I still prefer halogen over all else. CFLs have improved greatly over the years but, frankly, the "look and feel" they provide just isn't the same (that not to say they wouldn't be acceptable to the majority of us).
There is a much broader range of wattages available in the PAR38 format and, as you have discovered, they are typically less expensive because they are more widely used than their PAR20 and PAR30 counterparts.
Personally, I would opt for halogen down lighting and table or floor lamps equipped with good quality CFLs for general room illumination. That way, you can use the CFLs for economical, everyday, lighting and the halogens whenever you feel appropriate.
Cheers, Paul
On 25 Mar 2006 07:54:11 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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Paul M. Eldridge wrote:

99% true. If used on dim a fair amount of time, they will not last as long. They need to be really hot to get the cycle going. However they will not start fires or blow up because of dimmers, and in my experience the life span is not greatly effected.

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A dimmer is not only possible but strongly recommended. You might even want to look into dimmers that can be controlled with a remote. (Big cool factor and $!)
Check your spacing. If you have a 40d beam (Sylvania 100PAR38/CAP/IR/FL40 120V) then at 5' from the ceiling (table height) you'll have about a 4' pool of light. Diagonally between fixtures will be about 7' so there are little dark spots all over. Any smaller beam angle and it's worse, unless all activity happens on the floor. ;-)
Paul's comments on lighting walls and the harshness of recessed are quite accurate. But all that gets into designing lighting, not which bulb to use. Look around at other rooms in houses and elsewhere and you'll start to notice that there is a lot more to lighting than- "Is it bright enough?"
Richard Reid, LC Luminous Views
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Richard has offered some excellent advice. Take a good critical look at as many homes as you can and see what works and what doesn't. Good lighting can have a dramatic impact on any room; unfortunately, the opposite is also true. I'm always amazed when people spend a small fortune decorating and furnishing their homes and then turn around and buy (or spec) cheap, poor quality, light fixtures to illuminate it. It makes no sense at all.
If you feel comfortable doing this, consider a random layout based on the placement of doors, windows and furniture within the room (it can add a lot of interest). Of course, there are some things you'll want to avoid, such as glare reflecting on your big screen tv.
I just put in three recessed fixtures equipped with 60-watt PAR38 halogen IRs in my upper hallway. They're spaced eight inches away from the wall and twenty-four inches apart. They light up a large painting that has now become the main focal point and the effect is, well, simply amazing. And if you decide to line up a row of recessed fixtures against a wall, it's best to work with odd numbers: three, five, etc.
One other thing to note. As I move into my mid-40s, I'm finding I require a lot more light to comfortably perform everyday tasks. This is just part of the aging process all of us will experience. You might consider adding additional fixtures now and use multiple switching to adjust light levels according to your needs.
Cheers, Paul

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Thanks again for the comments..
I was a bit tentative about spacing all 9 cans evenly over three rows because of the "gaps" that Richard mentioned above... my goal though was to have three individual rows of lights that I could dim. The main reason was so I could turn off the row closed to my projection screen, and dim or turn off the middle row, and dim the last row over our seating area so we have a bit of ambient light at times during movies... My wife and I don't always like it pitch black watching TV, so eliminating the screen glare by turning off the front 1 or two rows of lights will work well... unfortunatley that setup may leave some gaps in lighting...
Other considerations were leaving some joint spaces for my new heating ductwork that will also have to be installed.. so 5 feet apart was about as close as I could get them. I think it will be adequate for our needs... there isn't a real need for task lighting down there, more just general lighting, and as Paul mentioned we can suppliment with table lamps if needed.
Thanks to this group though I spaced them 5' apart instead of the manufacturer recommendation. The pamphlets that came with my cans suggested 6-8' apart. My original plan using those recommendations would have left me with only 6 lights in the room.. I didn't think that would be nearly enough. I opted to go closer (or as close as I could) and dim them if needed after reading a few lighting topics here...
So, although it's not the perfect setup... I think it should be "adequate" and at least fit my needs fairly well....
Thanks again everyone!
Tony B
Thanks again..
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Last note-
Recommended lighting for TV is to have light behind and on the wall around the screen. Have little to none on the audience.
Screen glare comes from the contrast between the screen and whatever is visible next to it. So a glowing screen with a black surround is maximum glare. This is why some TV makers are putting lights into the TVs themselves.
Richard Reid, LC Luminous Views
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Does that concept apply to front projection as well?
I should have clarified that... I plan to install a projector and a 106" pulldown screen... from what I've seen in the showrooms that have rows of can lights on dimmers, the picture looks very washed out when the cans closest to the screen are at full power.. the reflection of the light off the screen tends to wash out the projected image.
TB
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Yes, mostly.
1. Since the screen is not actually glowing all the light levels will be lower. Note that it is not the bright scenes that are hard to see, it's the very dim ones, regardless of screen technology.
2. Also if the screen is against the wall then there is no "behind the screen" area. So when lighting the wall around the screen, you must be *VERY* carefull not to put any light onto the screen! The showrooms should know better than putting light onto the screen. It shows their product in the worst light. (pun unavoidable, sorry)
3. No light on the audience or anything that can be seen reflected in the screen. This applies more to glass screen systems than FP but it is worth repeating. Anything bright you see in the reflection and that conflicts with the image. Have one person wear a white shirt and another a dark one durring a showroom visit. Then look at the reflections...
Richard Reid, LC Luminous Views
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