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LED downlight project completed - I like it!

Post in 'The Green Room' started by jharkin, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Holliston, MA USA
    Ok, so I finally got my LED recessed light replacement project done. We have 6 unsealed, uninsulated old cans with 65w floods in the kitchen and dining room that I upgraded. Background - I was prompted to work on these lights for a couple reasons not related to saving electricity - #1 we get bad ice damming over the cathedral ceiling where a couple of them are mounted, and #2 the temperature sensor was shot on one causing it to go on and off constantly.

    So my plan was to replace all the existing non airtight and uninsulated cans with new IC/AT cans, caulk them air tight and pack insulation behind them - hoping to eliminate the heat losses causing my ice dams. While I was at it it seemed interesting to try the LEDs. I used 2 different LEDs - the Home depot version of the Cree CR6 for the flat ceiling ($25, 11w) and the home depot Ecosmart BR30 bulb (made by Lighting Science $29, 15w) in eyeball fixtures for the cathedrals. At these prices, and considering I was replacing 65watt floods every 2 years at $5 each, I calculated the payback would be surprisingly quick - only 2 or 3 years @ 4-6 hours on time per day.

    I did run into some issues. The existing cans were new work jobs, so I had to do some fiddling with the brackets to get the old work cans to clip in. Along the way I found one fixture where the idiot who installed it had sliced the romex with a gash right through the insulation (hot was exposed). Lucky we never had a fire. Also most of them had the holes in the drywall a bit off center making it a pain to seal. ON the bright side, with 3 separate dimmers I lucked out that only one wouldn't work with the LEDs - it had a 1986 date stamp on it so probably due to be replaced anyway.

    Overall I LOVE these lights. Except when dimmed low you really cant tell they are not incandescent. And on full they are brighter than the 65w R30s at less than 1/4 the watts. The look passed the wife test easily.


    Overall, if you are thinking of trying LEDs I recommend them. They are finally ready for prime time.

    Attached Files:

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  2. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

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    Looks great and best of all, it passed the "Wife" test!
  3. sesmith

    sesmith Member

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    Central NY
    I just put 4 of the Crees in my kitchen and agree they're great. In my case I have IC fixtures that are insulated with a healthy layer of fiberglass and cellulose so there wasn't a huge amount of air leakage anyhow, but I can see how these LED replacements would really cut down on the chimney effect of the old lights.
  4. colebrookman

    colebrookman Minister of Fire

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    Middlefield, Ma
    Thanks for the heads up Jeremy. I was just in HD and happened to walk by the display of the Cree C6 for $25. Bought one just to try in my insulated fixture. They are terrific, easy to put in, better light as you said and less wattage. What's not to like. I'm going back for 5 more for my kitchen and if i can find my old dimmer I may put that back in. Again, many thanks. You just got to love this site. Be safe.
    Ed
  5. karl

    karl Minister of Fire

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    I hope LEDs prove to be reliable. I gave up on compact fluorescents because they burn out to quickly. The tout them as 8000 hour bulbs. So, I thought it will be years before these things go out. Then I had to replace a couple of them. I started writing the date on the bulbs when I installed them. Of the 6 or 8 I put in 3 years ago, only one is still going, and some have been changed out twice.

    Has anybody else had problems with them?
  6. colebrookman

    colebrookman Minister of Fire

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    Middlefield, Ma
    Yes same problem and you're not supposed to just put them on and of but instead leave them on for a time. We will see on the LEDs which proclaim 35,000life in hours (maybe). Be safe. ED
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    South Puget Sound, WA
    I always date my bulbs on their base. I switched our kitchen lights to halogen when we moved in 18 yrs ago. They used half the wattage and had a nice light. Average age was about 2 yrs. Switched to CFLs (philips) but they didn't last even a year. Fortunately they had a warranty and I used it, several times for our 8 recessed lamps. In the past 5 years they started improving the CFLs and now I am getting about 2-3 years on average, for a bulb that now costs half as much.
  8. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    I guess I just have been lucky on my CFL's. The 4 kitchen can lights, each with a ballast and plug in CFL tube, have been in use since 1996, still burn brightly. Two can lights over my computer desk, designed for incandescent bulbs but I use CFL reflector medium base screw in bulbs, are on 6-10 hours per day, year round, and I am on my second set of CFL's in 10 years. All of our table lamps and wall sconces have CFL's, and I have had an occasional lamp fail quickly, but most have been in service for several years with no problem. Our bathroom got CFL's with a remodel 4 years ago - these lights are on a lot - and still using the original bulbs.

    I look forward to LED's and likely will replace most of the CFL's with LED's as the CFL's require replacement. Also will switch to LED's on the dimmer circuits.
  9. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    In general I do like the CFLs - we have many. But I have had the same mixed results as others. In regular table lamps and where they stay on a lot they seem to lat a long time. In the bathroom and some overhead fixtures Ive had them burn out quickly - seems to match with the warnings about frequent on/off and overheating.

    But for dimmers they were junk. These LEDs shine there...
  10. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    I have some cfl that are 10 years old. They used to be instant on / full brightness, but they are starting to behave like the newer cheaper ones.
    I had a dimmable cfl fail and smoke pretty bad but without flames and all those came out.
    I tried some early LED that were junk, but some of these new ones are nice and bright and with the electric companies absorbing some of the cost they seem to be more worth it.
  11. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Try Sams club ,they seem to have much better prices than everyone else on all kinds of bulbs especially LED.
  12. steviep

    steviep Member

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    If anyone lives in NH if you buy the trim and led compos you can get an instant $10.00 rebate off each fixture at Home depot or Lowes. Also some of the power companys are selling them too, such as PSNH.
  13. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Massachusetts residents can buy subsidized LEDs and CFLs here - http://www.energyfederation.org/estarlights/default.php

    I have found that in the big box stored HD consistently has better prices than Lowes and their Ecosmart house brand is a particular bargain - its mostly Cree and Lightlting Science Group LEDs just with an HD label on the box and a shorter warranty.
  14. colebrookman

    colebrookman Minister of Fire

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    Thanks Jeremy, I was about to search for the web site. At $ 29.75 HD is still cheaper and I can change over this weekend. Be safe.
    Ed
  15. colebrookman

    colebrookman Minister of Fire

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    Middlefield, Ma
    Just bought 5 more to go in the kitchen. HD, $24.95 +tax for a quick weekend project. Be safe.
    Ed

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