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jimklug 07-02-2012 01:16 PM

Kitchen Remodel LED Lighting Problems
I am remodeling my kitchen (full tear out, so I’ll be able to use new construction items) and am having a lot of problems figuring out the lighting, which I didn’t expect, because the kitchen is rather small and simple.

The layout is a U shape that is 11’ on the long sides and 8’ wide. There are 12” cabinets lining both of the long sides, except for the 33” sink area. The bottom of the U is a wall with a pantry door. The open end of the U faces some base cabinets and counter about 4’ away, in an area with higher open beam ceilings and which will be lit with pendant lighting. I will want some spillover from the lower ceiling lighting inside the U.

Current lighting is by 4 F40T12 lamps in a recessed fixture in the center plus one 6” can light over the sink. Figuring the rated lumen output from those lights, I get 4x2600=10400 lumens plus a 100w equivalent CFL bulb rated at 1600 lumens. Based on initial output figures, that gives 12000 lumens. Even taking into consideration the aging of the lamps and dimmed output, I’m thinking there’s something like 10000 lumens in the kitchen…and it’s not overly bright even in the actual 11’ X 8’ area…and much dimmer in the area outside of the open end – which is one of the reasons for adding the pendant lighting.

My dilemma is the fact that most of the recommendations I’ve read and heard are to use 35 lumens per square foot in a kitchen. Based on an 88sf kitchen size, that’s only 3080 lumens…only about a third of the dimmed output estimate of 10000 lumens – and only about a quarter of the rated output.

I’ve been looking at LED lighting and see 65w equivalent lights rated at 650 lumens, which would require only 5 if I use the recommended 35LSF figure of 3080 lumens…but soars to 15 lights using the dimmed output estimate of 10000 lumens – and an amazing 18 lights using the full initial output amount of 12000 lumens!

I talked to a consultant and he advised that I use 8 6” cans plus the one over the sink for a total of 9. Using 9 X 650 = 5850 lumens, which is only about half of the current dimmed output estimate – and, again, the current lighting is not overly bright.

The figures above are just for the exact 11’ X 8’ area…and don’t include the spillover into the open end area. To say that I’m confused would be an understatement!

I will be adding under cabinet lighting, which will help out some…but I doubt it will be adding another 4000-5000 lumens. The plan is to use dimmers on all of the light sources.

What would you recommend?

I’ve even considered adding a CREE CR14 commercial troffer in the center, which would give me a minimum of another 2200 lumens, but I’m not sure about the application of a commercial item like that in such a low ceiling…and my wife really dislikes the center fluorescent lamps we have, so I’m not sure she would go for that. Still, if we need to do it to get adequate light levels, I guess I can convince her. What are your thoughts on that? Any suggestions for better lighting options?

I would really appreciate any help you can give me.
Jim Klug

jimklug 07-02-2012 01:31 PM

Additional information
The current countertops are white tile...the new countertops are going to be dark granite. Current cabinets are a dark Oak and the new ones will be a dark Cherry.

I'm looking for something in the warm white color range and was thinking about using 3000K, though the color rendition factors for 2700K seem to be better. Any thoughts on that?

I'll want to use the same color range for both the ceiling lights and the under cabinet lights - and have found 3000K undercabinet lights, but haven't seen 2700K undercabinet lights...though I guess it may not be a huge difference.

andrew79 07-02-2012 01:35 PM

the eight cans throwing 600 to 800 lumens should light it up just fine.
you have to remember that even though the fluorescent tubes have a high lumen rating but not all of that light is getting used, it's concentrated towards the center of the room and gets dimmer as it goes out. The 8 can set up will "spread the brightness around". Depending on the trim you pick i think you'll find your kitchen much brighter than it was.

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