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Mike, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1425
Experience:  Licensed Master Electrician - OnQ Certified Data Voice Audio Video Installer
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We are looking on the size and spacing of

Customer Question

We are looking for advice on the size and spacing of recessed LED lighting for our new custom home in Bay area, California: 1. Living room: 20 ft by 20 ft with 20 ft high ceiling 2. Family room: 20 ft by 30 ft with 15 ft high ceiling Could you please suggest
what size, wattage and spacing (between recessed LED lights) shall we use for above rooms for proper illumination? Thanks much, John
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.
Hello and Welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question.
1) Personally, I would not recommend installing LED recessed cans at this time if you are interested in installing dimmer switches and/or occupancy sensor switches. Regular ON/OFF toggle switches are OK, but LED dimmer and/or LED rated Occupancy switches are still an issue within the electrical industry.
Reason being, LED's need to be 100% compatible with LED rated switches. The problem that is occurring in the marketplace is that the LED bulb manufacturers and the wall switch manufacturers are not on the same page. Especially with LED rated dimmer switches. Both components must work together. Unfortunately, many manufacturers of either the LED's and/or the wall dimmer switches or occupancy sensors will state that they are compatible, when often they are not. In summary, the quality control testing for each manufacturer component is not there since LED's are still in their infancy stage and all of the compatibility issues have not been resolved by either party. Sadly, the LED manufacturers lie about their compatibility with each others components.
About the only switch that will work 100% of the time with LED lighting are the traditional ON/OFF toggle switches. Any other type of switches used in an LED deployment is a crap shoot if they will work correctly or not (whether tested by the switching manufacturer or not). So many variables to consider with LED bulbs, fixtures and switching types.
2) You can always install the typical 6" diameter recessed can lights using the traditional incandescent bulbs or CFL bulbs for now, and then when the manufacturers finally get their act together, migrate over to LED's. Retro fit LED kits are available or the can lights can accommodate direct LED bulbs.
I would shy away from any low voltage lighting system as they are typically proprietary systems and replacement parts can become an issue. Best to wire each can light fixture as a traditional 120 volt power source.
3) I am aware that California is the leader in the US when it comes to reducing the dependency on expensive lighting, but this area is still a problem within the electrical industry. I'm sold on the LED technology and electrical cost savings, but I'm not sold on the compatibility issues that has occurred over the years.
For example, companies such as Lutron, Leviton, Cooper and Pass & Seymor will typically state on their websites that their LED dimmer switches are compatible with certain LED light bulb fixture manufacturers. Once the 2 products are installed, the home owner and/or electrician soon discovers that they are NOT 100% compatible. LED's do not completely turn OFF or not completely dim correctly, etc. LED lighting and switching compatibility issues are a major problem today within the electrical industry.
4) Personally, I would wait another year or 2 and hopefully the LED lighting manufacturers will get their act together and come up with some standards.
5) Are your ceilings flat or sloped as this makes a difference in the price of the recessed can lights?
6) With the above in mind, let me know if you are still interested in a lighting layout and we can take it from there........Thanks.........Kevin!

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