View Full Version : Basement - Can light vs Other

11-19-2008, 07:23 AM
I'm finishing the basement from top to bottom. I plan on using can lights for all my overhead lighting. Sheet rocked, not drop. (The ceiling is low enough without me having to worry about cracking my skull.)

Do can lights produce more heat in the room than any other light fixture? My wife says they will make the room hot over a time, a days use. I wouldn't think they are any different than any other fixture.

Please tell me I'm right. I hate when she is.

11-19-2008, 12:29 PM
Light bulbs probuce heat, not the fixtures.

A surface mounted fixture that allows the light to spread sideways instead od just down will light a bigger area therefore requiring fewer fixtures therefore less heat.

Also, if you use compact fluorescent lamps there will be far less heat than 75 watt halogens.

11-19-2008, 03:20 PM
Depending on the fixture, the ceiling height, and the bulb chosen will determine the light spread and how many you want. You may not want even light across the whole room. Multiple cans will allow more flexibility for mood or spot lighting. Say you want to be able to read the TV Guide in a mostly dark room for watching the boob tube, it's easier with cans. If you want to highlight a special piece of artwork, again, a can with the proper trim works. Lots of switches to get that flexibility, though and a lot more wire. If you want to get fancy, you can use low-voltage elecronic controls and a remote to have various preset moods. How much do you want to spend?

11-19-2008, 08:42 PM
Can lights are not a good source of area lighting. They are really an accent light. They have become de rigeur, used in a lot of places where they provide far from adequate lighting. Consider low profile T8 fixtures using 25 watt bulbs...now there is some bang for the lighting buck!

11-20-2008, 05:41 AM
I wanted to stay away from fluorescents. So far with the exception of a short hallway all the cans are on the edges of the rooms, ~2 feet off the walls leaving the center open for me to either decide to put in some type of globe light or something. I just didnt want to have anything hanging from the ceiling. I guess you can recess fluorescents too I just didn't want to use them.

The original question was if can lights, with the understanding that the bulb is what gets hot, and what watt bulb you use, does that setup produce any more ambient heat in the room than say a floor lamp or a ceiling fan light assuming a standard 60w incondesent?

11-20-2008, 07:16 AM
As far as the heat......watts is watts. Now, a table lamp in the middle of the room....that heat gets to radiate in a general area, and the heat from a can in the ceiling will not get as much circulation, so you will to some extent have hot spots up high. Over the course of time, and given some natural circulation, both will add the same heat load to the room.

11-20-2008, 03:43 PM
In my basement, which encompasses a 12 x 22 den/activity room (for the kids) and will most likely double as a home theater and guest room, a 11 x 16 office and a 11x16 laundry/storage room. In the main room (den) i'm putting four 2'x4' flourescent troffers (four t-8 bulbs) in a drop ceilling, three in the office and two in the utility room. the key thing is that i'm replacing all the bulbs with "natural light" tubes (6500K, 85 color rendering factor). this provides a lot of light for the kids reading or doing work books, working in the office and the laundry room. for the purposes of the home theater / guest room, i'm putting two sets of recessed cans along the walls, parallel to the line "connecting" the couch and TV. I'll also put a set of recessed lights along that same line to high-light the center line, couch and coffee table. both sets of recessed lights will be on dimmers. the outer lights will be mostly for mood/ambiance/wall-washing and will be lower wattage. the center-line lights will spot light couch, coffee table and midline of the room for reading, and will be turned off to watch tv, so will be higher wattage. we also have a fireplace which i plan to bracket with sconces - mostly for atmosphere.

the flourescents in the office and laundry room are controlled by toggle switches. In the den, with a motion sensor, but on that can accommodate a manual override switch (single pole, or 3-way/4-way run) so i can prevent the sensor from turning the lights on (while watching a movie or when guests are sleeping). the beauty of this sensor is that it lets me use lighted 3-way switches so that when the sensor is overridden, a quick glance at the glowing wall switch will indicate the status.

any particular reason why you're wanting to avoid flourescent fixtures?