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Old 06-17-2010, 01:44 PM   #1
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Recessed lights: CFL vs LED opinions


We are remodeling our LR and will be intalling some recessed/canned lighting. I'm seeking opinions on CFL vs LED vs traditional incandescent lighting.
I'd like to be more energy efficient but not at the cost of 'bad lighting' (i.e. are LEDs TOO bright or CFLs have too many 'issues'). Overall cost is a bit of a factor but I realize we'll pay more for more efficient lighting.
Also curious as to whether or not CFL's and LEDs can be on dimmers.
Any installation hurdles (wiring issues, space requirements, etc) I'll have to consider with one type over the other?
The room area is about 16' x 13' (L x W). I want to set the lights up in 2 rows of 3 (assuming 6 inch cans). Each row on a dimmer switch.
Thanks.
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:37 PM   #2
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I prefer CFLs, less $$ then LED's
Both can be dimmed, but must be specifically for dimming
LED dimmingis usually in one of 2 ways
1) Some LED's are shut off...resulting in less light
2) actual dimming

CFL bulbs must specify they rae made to be dimmed - more $$
I have only 4 dimmable CFL bulbs

I prefer CFL daylight bulbs - higher color K value
I only have under cabinet LED's in the kitchen
I do have some MR16 12v LED's I am setting up



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Old 06-17-2010, 02:38 PM   #3
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CFLs can be on dimmers, but you need to get special ($10-12) bulbs that are dimmable.
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:46 PM   #4
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I dont believe you can dim normal LED bulbs. They do make dimmable LEDs but I couldnt find any that I justify the cost for. I got a pair of narrow beam spots to light half my bathroom. They are 1w are are plenty bright for their purpose. One thing to be weary of is the light "color". I dont care much for the harsh bright or pure white LEDs and prefer the more incandecent appearance from the more yellow cool white. Hope that helped

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Old 06-17-2010, 03:11 PM   #5
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They do sell dimmable LED bulbs :

http://www.google.com/products?q=dim...ed=0CDYQrQQwAA


Too expensive for me



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Old 06-17-2010, 03:22 PM   #6
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wow..just looked at the $ of LED bulbs.
Any suggestions on some of the better manufacturers of the CFL cannisters, etc. Does one company over another seem to have carved out a niche for producing better quality CFL products, vice-versa?

Last edited by badgervet; 06-17-2010 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 06-18-2010, 01:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badgervet View Post
wow..just looked at the $ of LED bulbs.
Any suggestions on some of the better manufacturers of the CFL cannisters, etc. Does one company over another seem to have carved out a niche for producing better quality CFL products, vice-versa?
For the recessed cans go with a major brand: Halo (Cooper Lighting), Lithonia and Juno are three good ones. I know Halo makes a new "Eco Twist" fixture that is specifically designed around CFL's. They do take a special lamp (not proprietary, just not a standard medium-base socket) that will ONLY accept two-pin "twist" CFL's. Your local utility provider might offer some sort of rebate for changing over to these as they are not capable of accepting non-CFL lamps.

The lamps for the eco twist are from Sylvania which is one of the leading lamp manufacturers, so no worries about having an "off brand" manufacturer.

Good luck
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Old 06-18-2010, 08:57 AM   #8
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I used Juno standard fixtures throughout my house. I put standard 13w twist CFLs in every one of them. I have about 70 recessed fixtures. It works great, the light is nice, and I haven't changed a light bulb (in a recessed fixture) in over 2 years. Love it.
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Old 06-18-2010, 06:06 PM   #9
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I really want LED's to succeed. The major problem with them now is price point. I'd say another problem (though they're getting better) is color temperature. LED's tend to be blueish. The upshot? A good LED lamp will last a VERY long time.

CFL's, while the bane of my lighting world, have some advantages. They are long lasting and easy to retrofit. Don't bother with dimmable CFL's. I have heard time and again that they do not live up to their claimed lamp life. Downside of CFL? Long start time, and (in my opinion) terrible color.

I've had good ole incandescent MR-16's on a dimmer and haven't changed a lamp in 2 years.
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Old 06-18-2010, 06:20 PM   #10
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You can dim any basic LED using homebuilt circuitry. It's a few bucks in parts and a weekend of assembly, debug and test to make an adjustable current source. LED brightness depends on current.
The Electro-tech forum may have some tried and true circuits to do this. And it's all low voltage, 3 vdc @ 1/3 A for a 1 w LED.

Here's one manuf.
http://datasheet.octopart.com/LOPL-E...eet-135235.pdf
the trick is to find them at a decent price in onesy-twosy quantities.

And since they are current-driven the wiring resistance is pretty much irrelevant so you could use very small gauge wire, like #30.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 06-18-2010 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 06-18-2010, 07:46 PM   #11
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And if you make one mistake w/LED's you fry them all
Only attempt if you know what you are doing

I'll switch to LED's when my 70+ spare CFl bulbs are gone
Makes no sense to switch from a 9w CFL to a 9w LED when both are 40w equiv
CFL bulbs were free after instant rebate, LED bulb is $20 at HD



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Old 06-19-2010, 03:11 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goose134 View Post
I really want LED's to succeed. The major problem with them now is price point. I'd say another problem (though they're getting better) is color temperature. LED's tend to be blueish. The upshot? A good LED lamp will last a VERY long time.

CFL's, while the bane of my lighting world, have some advantages. They are long lasting and easy to retrofit. Don't bother with dimmable CFL's. I have heard time and again that they do not live up to their claimed lamp life. Downside of CFL? Long start time, and (in my opinion) terrible color.

I've had good ole incandescent MR-16's on a dimmer and haven't changed a lamp in 2 years.
That's the direction nearly every manufacturer is going. And like any new product, it just takes time for it to improve. LED's started out having issues with heat, color temperature, CRI and efficiency. Now the main issue is price. That's a good sign! LED modules are available as warm as 2700K, if not warmer from select manufacturers. One of the other concerns now is having manufacturers standardize on dimming LED...
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Old 06-19-2010, 07:08 PM   #13
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I know both Lutron and Cree make dimmable LED recessed fixtures. Whether or not they are doing it the same way is unknown. I remain optimistic about their future.
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