LED Downlights from Bulb Daddy
Downlights are without exception one of the most well-known and commonly utilized light fixtures in the industry. With an endless list of applications, recessed downlights are the virtual “go-to” fixture; hence the familiar term “recessed lighting”. Downlights are also commonly referred to as canister lights, or just simply “can lights”. Now we can add one more name to the list; “LED Downlights”. Before LED technology emerged, downlights were typically fitted with Par lamps, BR lamps, and PL Compact Fluorescent lamps, depending on the application.
Functions of Downlights
Downlights have countless applications for both residential and commercial locations. You’ll find them quite effective in large rooms as they deliver an abundance of light. Their design allows them to be imbedded into ceilings, relatively unseen, creating a finished clean look. In residential applications they are found throughout the home in kitchens, living rooms, utility rooms, reading rooms, bathrooms, and hallways. For commercial applications they are widely used in offices, boardrooms, hallways, storage facilities and retail stores.
Benefits of Retrofitting to LED Downlights
With the arrival of LED downlights, the industry itself is going through a retrofit. LED downlights have a multitude of benefits that outshine old traditional fixtures. For new installations, they fit in quick and easy. They are much thinner, making them perfect for locations where there is no room for housings. No more need for an old-style can – or any can for that matter. LED downlights consume less power and operate much cooler than traditional light bulbs. This saves energy, especially in the summer months with less AC use. There’s no need for an existing junction box as most LED downlights include their own. Another exciting new option on select fixtures now allows users to choose between several different color temperatures – all within the same fixture! LED downlights are available in sizes from 3 to 10 inches, and come in a variety of different styles for residential, commercial, and even architectural applications.
Styles of Downlights
There are two basic styles of downlights; recessed downlights are imbedded into the ceiling, and surface-mount downlights simply mount to the ceiling surface.
Old-Style Recessed Downlights
These are installed into a recessed can previously installed into a cut-out in the ceiling. This operation in electrical lingo is called a “rough-in”. After the rough-in, in the final stages, the recessed downlight is installed into the recessed can along with all the other components such as reflectors, baffles, or gimbals. Trim is then added to finish the installation.
Commonly referred to as ceiling lights, surface-mount downlights are simple in design and much easier to install than their recessed cousins. Surface-mount downlights are used in areas where there is no clearance in the ceiling for a cut-out to install a recessed can. Surface-mount downlights are attached to the electrical junction box and simply rest on the ceiling surface.
Gimbals, Reflectors, and Slim-Styles
A gimbal style downlight can rotate and tilt inside its housing, allowing you to direct the light where you want it. A reflector style downlight positions the LED well recessed into the fixture resulting in an indirect, unobtrusive look. A flat, slim style, is also known as a “pancake downlight”, or a modular-style downlight.
Retrofitting Old-Style Downlights
LED downlights have a wide range of applications starting with retrofitting your old-style recessed cans with LED retrofit downlights. For a successful downlight retrofit, you need to determine a few criteria: First, what kind of style do you want to retrofit your old downlight with? Do you want a dimmable LED downlight kit? What is the desired color temperature of your new LED downlight? Also it’s important to know the size of the existing can. Your new LED retrofit kit will need to be the same size. Typically, this will be anywhere from 3 to 8 inches in diameter. Also, determine the type of lamp is in the old can. Is it a screw base (E26) type lamp? Or a PL 2-Pin or 4-Pin Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL)? If the old can is fitted with a regular screw base (E26) then you’ll need an LED Retrofit Downlight Kit that has a screw base (E26) pig tail attached to it. Remove the old reflector and the old trim. Insert the two holding springs from the new LED Retrofit Kit Downlight to where the old reflector was attached in the can. Then screw in the E26 pig tail that is provided with the LED Downlight Kit in the E26 screw socket where the old lamp used to be. 2 Pin or 4 Pin Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL’s) are much easier to retrofit. These types of fixtures are mostly used in commercial or architectural applications. The CFL’s require a ballast to operate. For this LED retrofit there are LED lamps available that are a direct replacement, working directly with the existing ballast. In this case, there is no need to remove the ballast. Choose the Color Temperature desired for the new LED lamp and just exchange the CFL for an LED.
NEW Install of LED Downlights
For a NEW install, LED downlights are the simplest and effective lighting solution. Without the need for any installation of an old-style can or junction box, this method saves time and money. Simply cut the required size hole in the ceiling, make the wire connections in the junction box included with the new LED downlight, and install the fixture in the ceiling. Except for cutting the required hole in the ceiling and making the wire connections, the whole process is basically a tool-free operation.
Bulbdaddy.com Commercial LED Downlights
Selecting Color Temperature
Determining Color Temperature is a personal decision. Styles and preferences are unique to each individual. However, as a rule of thumb, relaxing spaces such as bedrooms and living rooms – where a more calming and casual atmosphere is desired – would lend themselves to a softer, yellower light. Anywhere from 2700K to 3500K would be a good choice for these spaces. In kitchens and bathrooms, a traditional preference is usually a whiter, more natural light of about 4000K to 4500K. In workshops, laundry rooms, and areas where more intense light may be required, 4500K to 5000K would be more appropriate.
Are LED Downlights Dimmable?
Yes, they are! Technology has advanced so much recently that now most LED downlights are dimmable, just like the old can lights. However, they do require a specific LED compatible dimmer like a Lutron LED dimmer. These are readily available at your local electrical supplier or any major home improvement retailer.
Bulb Daddy offers a wide range of styles and operation modes of NEW Install LED downlights or retrofit LED downlights from 3 inch to 10 inch, from residential to commercial applications. To find out more give us a call toll-free at 1-877-775-2852 or 775-826-6222. Our lighting experts will be more than glad to speak with you and answer all your questions.
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