Lighting – What was “old” is “new” again. ARCHITECTURE WORK PC
William Robert King, R.A.
The expansion of the LED market into mainstream retail stores has us taking a second look at lighting trims and recessed housings popular when incandescent bulbs were the only choice for lamping. The cost and quality of LED lamping has dropped dramatically over the past few years. I bought some on sale over a year ago oddly enough at COSTCO for about 2 bucks a 60 watt equivalent “A” style bulb for myself. I also bought some 100 watt equivalent ones in the standard outdoor “flood” style for just a few bucks more. In all I spent about 75 dollars & re-lamped part of my house in Connecticut to see for myself.
I learned a few things:
- There’s absolutely no difference between incandescent and LED, appearance-wise, in color, when properly specified (3-4000K).
- The monthly electrical bill plummeted more than enough to pay for this expenditure every three weeks as electricity in CT has about the nation’s highest rates. Since the expected “lifespan” is 25 years – do the math as this is a “no-brainer”.
- The few 60 watt equivalent “A” style bulbs did not fare well in my outdoor sealed “jar” type BEGA porch lights & I’m pretty sure that air circulation (there wasn’t any...) was the culprit as they dimmed quite a bit until I removed the sealed glass casing inside the housing – problem solved.
- I also re-lamped my outdoor HALO recessed downlights which have “retrofit” housings that have vent holes at the top of the housing & they’re also doing just fine, same for the interior recessed lights.
- Outdoors the floodlights are also doing quite well & give off lots of 4000K light as they are seated in simple exposed socket type housings I got at HOME DEPOT years ago.
- My original SKYLARK sliding dimmer switches only dim about halfway & then the light goes off, so I have to change the dimmers to more expensive ones that can do the job. For now the dimming capability is not an issue for me. Note that LED lamps remain at the same “color” even when dimmed verses incandescent which do not, so no “yellowing” of the light band.
Currently, we are again specifying older model HALO & LIGHTOLIER open trim recessed housings where insulated ceilings are not present and the space above has some “breathing air” for keeping the lamping from over- heating”. This is really dropping the light fixture budgets by orders of magnitude on our projects both commercial and residential. The look is still both clean and modern. For projects that need “trim-less, plaster-in” LED devices, there’s always our favorites from LUCIFER and BIRCHWOOD Lighting to bridge the appearance gap.
If you’re using LED lamping retrofits with older housings or other light fixtures – heat dissipation is crucial to lamp longevity, so use your own judgement when making a selection.