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!
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.
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:
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.
On 23 Mar 2006 19:38:59 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
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
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.
On Fri, 24 Mar 2006 04:58:15 GMT, Paul M. Eldridge
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?
Without question, halogen IR lamps are more energy efficient than
conventional halogens; you just have to compare the lumen ratings for
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:
To answer Your question:
The bulb size makes no difference in the lighting! Go for the look you
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
Richard Reid, LC
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
I find that table or floor lamps
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?
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
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.
On 25 Mar 2006 07:54:11 -0800, email@example.com 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.
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
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,
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.
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!
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
Richard Reid, LC
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.
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
Richard Reid, LC
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