Advertisement

Recessed lighting shines as a do-it-yourself project

Here's How

Here's How

May 02, 2009|By PAT LOGAN / Creators Syndicate

Dear Pat: I am setting up a home office in a small bedroom. I want to install recessed lights over the computer and desk areas. What design of recessed fixtures should I select and how are they installed? - Cheryl J.

Dear Cheryl: Good lighting is important in a home office because the proper lighting intensity can help one concentrate better. With the light directed downward from overhead recessed light fixtures, there will be little reflected glare from the computer-monitor screen and no need for desk lamps, which take up valuable space.

There are two design choices you must make. First, if the recessed light is in a ceiling under the attic, it is wise to select a sealed, airtight design for energy efficiency. It is not safe to insulate a standard recessed light fixture because it is not designed for the heat buildup. If there is a second floor above the fixture, this is not an issue.

Advertisement

Second, decide if you want a fixed or an adjustable recessed light fixture. Fixed fixtures look nicer because the light bulb is totally recessed. The drawback is you cannot adjust the direction in which the light shines. Some bulbs have a 135-degree range of light, so even a static light fixture illuminates a fairly large area.

An adjustable recessed light fixture is designed similarly to a fisheye with a spherical section extending downward from the primary canister. By rotating the fisheye section, which actually holds the bulb, the direction of the light can be adjusted.

One rule of thumb is, if you are installing just one recessed light, select a fisheye design. A static fixture might satisfy your current lighting needs, but if you move anything, the lighting will be in the wrong location. If you install several recessed lights, select static ones and space them appropriately so the light they cast overlaps.

Most bedrooms have a ceiling light controlled by a wall switch, so use this as your source of electricity. If there is no existing light fixture and you have to run a wire to the new light fixture, you might consider using track lighting instead. Track lighting is easy to install and does not require fishing a wire through the ceiling.

Determine where you want to locate the recessed fixture or fixtures. All recessed fixtures include a paper template showing the size of the hole to be cut in the ceiling. Tape the template on the ceiling.

Before starting to cut the hole in the ceiling drywall using the template, drill several small holes around the perimeter of the circle. Poke a long wood or plastic stick up through the holes to make sure you are not hitting a ceiling joist, pipe or electrical wiring. It is easy to fill the small holes with spackling compound if you have to find another location for the light.

Another method to check inside the ceiling is to drill a hole in the center of the template. Bend a stiff wire at a right angle making one leg the radius of the template. Stick the wire through the hole and spin it around. You will feel if it hits anything inside the ceiling. Install the fixture per the manufacturer's instructions.

o Send your questions to Here's How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|