Best lighting for behind soffits

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Best lighting for behind soffits

Postby afigure » Fri Jun 23, 2006 9:03 am

Our home has very old flourescent fixtures for hidden lighting in most of the rooms in our house. They buzz terribly, take a while (like a couple of seconds- seems like forever! :wink: ) to turn on, and cast an ugly office typle glow. I would like to replace them with something else.

Are flourescents my only option? There is only about 6 inches space from the lights to the wall, so I can't have anything too hot. I would also like the option to dim my new lights, am I correct to assume that flourescents cannot be dimmed?

Any ideas or suggestions welcome!

Image

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Postby spyellow » Fri Jun 23, 2006 9:39 am

My electrician removed my florrescents and installed a series of round puck lights in mine, which can be dimmed. They are hidden so you don't see them, and it was pretty inexpensive solution.

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Postby JXBrown » Fri Jun 23, 2006 12:03 pm

There are dimmable fluorescents available, but being new they are fairly expensive. Modern fluorescent lights with electronic ballasts do not buzz, start up almost instantly, come in various color warmths and are much more energy efficient than incandescent or halogen lights. You could also think about using LED rope lighting behind your soffits which would be even more energy efficient.

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Postby afigure » Fri Jun 23, 2006 12:42 pm

I think I will look into the 'new' kinds of flouresents. I am afraid the puck lights would get too hot for the location. Thanks to both of you!

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Postby Sienna » Fri Jun 23, 2006 2:05 pm

I would say rope lighting.

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Postby Joe » Fri Jun 23, 2006 2:25 pm

timely question as I will be looking for lights behind my soffits this weekend. living in a wood home, heat generation is a concern. I need to right lights to give the right glow and not make noise.

sienna, do those ropes give off enough light? Don't care about dimming as the plug they'll use share a switch with other indirect lights.

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Postby Sienna » Fri Jun 23, 2006 8:33 pm


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Postby rambling » Tue Jul 25, 2006 11:25 am

The rope lights aren't bright enough to light a room, get too hot, and are really inefficient (which goes back to them getting too hot). My husband won't let them near a Christmas tree.

For the fluorescents in our soffits, we replaced the loud ballasts with new ones that "click" instead of buzz, the fluorescent fixtures with double staggered ones so there isn't a shadow every few feet (think of a pair of skis with one slightly forward), and the bulbs with warmer temperature fluorescents to eliminate the green glow.

It's been over three years since we did 'em, but if anyone's interested, I'll see if we can dig up links for the websites we bought stuff from 'cause none of it was available at Home Depot or Lowe's.

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Postby egads » Tue Jul 25, 2006 12:12 pm

Fluorescent lighting gets a bad rap because of old ballasts and cool white colors. But really there is nothing better for linear lighting (a good search term) As rambling says, the new electronic ballasts are dead quiet. Also lamps are rated for color temperature. The lamps with the best color are designer white. JXBrown mentions LED rope lighting. That would be brighter. Even the rope lighting the Home Depot sells is very warm compared to what's available. I have used 12 volt "festoon" lamps in soffits when dimming was desired. I can't seem to find them for under $12.00 @ foot though Festoon lamps are like little tubes with contacts on both ends. They look like auto dome lamps. They mount to a cable with sockets attached and you buy them by lamp spacing per foot. Juno track 12 also has lampholders for theses lamps. Three lamps @ foot is what you need. The lamps should be Zenon and come in 3,5,and 10 watts each. The total wattage on all lamps cannot exceed the transformer rating. Low voltage dimmer required. This is the most important thing: the lamps should be frosted! This reduces or eliminates spottyness.

Another good resource is Ikea. They sell low wattage compact fluorescent lamps. The color is great. They come in 4 and 7 watts with a standard base. I use them in my outside downlights. The 4 watt is just about the amount of light I used to keep the 75 watt ones dimmed to. And the energy savings can't be beat.

Off topic but also really cool are fluorescent pool lights. A typical pool light is in the 250-300 watt range. Yikes! Can you imagine what it costs an apt complex to run those all night? The big advantage for homeowners is the quality of the light. They "fill" the pool with light instead of that cone. The replacement fixture is expensive, about $200. But if you like the look of your pool light on, it would pay for itself quick.

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Postby Sienna » Tue Jul 25, 2006 12:48 pm


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Postby JXBrown » Wed Jul 26, 2006 11:11 am

There are rope lights with LEDs and rope lights with incandescent bulbs. The LED type is quite a bit more expensive, but uses very little wattage and consequently produces very little heat. Naturally, it costs more. Both are available at the Big Orange Box. LED lights are available in different colors, but white LED light is still the holy grail of LED development. I currently have a bluish string up on my soffit, but I need to add a second one by daisy chaining another length and looping it back along the soffit, because the single length is not enough light. I'm also thinking about swapping it for a set of GE undercabinet fluorescents lying on their backs up on the soffit. They can be connected together and attached to our switched outlet that is up on the soffit.

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Postby Sienna » Wed Jul 26, 2006 11:38 am


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Postby afigure » Thu Jul 27, 2006 1:43 pm

Rambling- I would be interested if you can find the links. I'm curious, when you say they 'click' instead of buzz, is that only when they turn on or you continuously hear them?

Can anyone recommend the color temperature (i'm looking for warm light)for under my soffits, shown in first post? thx

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soffit lighting

Postby Martin » Thu Jul 27, 2006 3:39 pm

Forget rope lights. Most of the new homes we photograph are
using xenon behind soffits and crown.

Martin

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Postby tg » Thu Jul 27, 2006 6:42 pm


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Postby Sienna » Thu Jul 27, 2006 8:03 pm

More power to those who have the tolerance for flourescent/led/xenon...

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Postby ch » Fri Jul 28, 2006 3:56 am


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Postby JXBrown » Fri Jul 28, 2006 10:22 am


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Postby Joe » Fri Jul 28, 2006 12:18 pm

thanks jxbrown.

I am going with the new florencents. I just need to know what to look for.

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Postby Miguel » Fri Jul 28, 2006 1:14 pm

I've been using 13 W fluorescent bulbs in all my pendant lights.

It took me some time to find one that had the "warm" tone of incandescent lights, until I ran into dimmable fluorescents from GE. They have a natural yellowish tone that works very well for locations where the bulb (coil-type) cannot be seen.

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Postby JXBrown » Fri Jul 28, 2006 7:50 pm


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Postby Sienna » Sat Jul 29, 2006 7:38 am


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Postby ch » Sat Jul 29, 2006 9:31 am


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Postby Stephen » Sat Jul 29, 2006 9:45 am

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Postby JXBrown » Sat Jul 29, 2006 2:16 pm


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Postby ch » Sat Jul 29, 2006 5:28 pm

Found this type of bulb - does seem interesting, if not pricey, but the longer life and lowered usage cost may justify - and of course lighting quality is the ultimate determinent!



I do like to keep an open mind so I may experiment. Thanks for the info and en-lighten-ment.

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Postby JXBrown » Sat Jul 29, 2006 6:27 pm

Here are a few more dimmable bulbs:



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