Recessed Lighting Layout, Spacing, Placement

Ceiling Recessed Lighting Placement and SpacingDo you have a question regarding a recessed lighting installation? You can consult with our Mesa AZ electricians free of charge to discuss your interest in recessed lighting. They have the professional experience you’re looking for with commercial and residential recessed lighting.

Dolce Electric Co has scheduled an in-office electrician Mesa AZ homeowners and businesses can consult with free of charge from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM today, Sunday, October 20th, 2019. Having over 30 years of experience, he will answer all of your questions and provide you with the information you’re looking for.

Consult With Our In-Office Electrician
Dolce Electric Co has been voted best electricians Mesa AZ and we greatly appreciate the opportunity to earn your business and your vote too. We have been installing recessed lighting since 1999. Our electricians have installed thousands of recessed can lights in homes and businesses throughout the valley. All of our electrical work is guaranteed parts and labor for life and free estimates are always offered. Give our in-office electrician in Mesa AZ a call today during office hours; you’ll be happy you did!

How to Install Recessed Lighting

The first step is deciding on what size fixtures you want to install. Recessed lights are available in 3, 4, 5 and 6 inch diameters. The most popular size of bathroom, hallway and kitchen recessed lighting is 6 inch because it produces an even washing of light throughout the area and fewer fixtures will be needed to effectively illuminate the area.

It’s common to add 4 inch fixtures for specialty lighting such as highlighting a painting in a cove on a wall but 4 inch fixtures are often used for general purposes the same way larger fixtures are used. Size selection is a personal choice that you will make based upon what you feel will best compliment your home.

How Many Fixtures Should I Install?

Let’s figure out how many lighting fixtures are needed. Once you have decided on the size of the fixtures you would like to have installed you will need to determine how many recessed lights you will want installed. While there is no right or wrong number of fixtures to be installed there are two rules of thumb that may help you determine how many recessed lights to consider installing.

Contrary to popular belief light output is not measured in wattage, it is measured in lumens but for our rules of thumb we will be using wattage.

  • Active areas like kitchens, bathrooms and dining rooms: Taking the square footage of the room and multiplying it by 2.5 will give you the minimum recommended total wattage to use.

Example: For a kitchen that measures 12 feet long and 12 feet wide the minimum recommended number of fixtures for this recessed lighting project would be 6 fixtures measuring 6 inches in diameter and using 65 watt light bulbs. (12 feet x 12 feet = 144 square feet) (144 square feet x 2.5 = 360 watts needed) (360 watts divided by 65 watt per fixture = 5.538 fixtures)

  • General areas like bedrooms, hallways and living rooms: Taking the square footage of the area and multiplying it by 1.5 will give you the recommended total wattage needed.

Example: For a master bedroom that measures 16 feet long x 18 wide the recommended number of fixtures for this recessed lighting job would be 7 fixtures measuring 6 inches in diameter and using 65 watt light bulbs. (16 feet x 18 feet = 288 square feet) (288 square feet x 1.5 = 432 watts needed) (432 watts divided by 65 watt per fixture = 6.646 fixtures)

Rarely will the number of fixtures work out to a whole number so it’s best to round up. A little extra light is better than not enough and you will most likely use dimmer switches which will enable you to adjust the light level down.

If you are interested in installing recessed lighting or just have a question about the number of fixtures to install, you can consult with our Mesa electricians for free assistance daily, between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM.

Designing Your Recessed Lighting Layout

Let’s work on the layout of your ceiling recessed lighting. Now that you have a good idea of how many fixtures you will want installed you will need a layout or design that looks great and fulfills your lighting needs without glare or shadows. Strategic recessed lighting placement and consistent recessed lighting spacing will greatly impact the overall appearance and functionality of your recessed ceiling lights. It is not uncommon to spend more time with the layout than the actual installation. Obstacles in and above the ceiling that may interfere with the fixtures installation must be accounted for. Possible obstacles include duct work, plumbing pipes, fire sprinkler pipes, existing electrical wires and smoke detectors. Our electricians in Mesa AZ can provide you with a layout while providing you with a free estimate to do the job.

Tip:
If you are replacing existing lights with new recessed ceiling lights try to have your layout encompass the hole in the ceiling where your existing lights are currently wired. This will save you the time and expense of repairing your ceiling. Contact our Mesa electricians for additional helpful electrical tips.

Fixture Placement and Focal Points

Let’s work on the placement of your lighting fixtures. Have you decided on an object or place in the room that will require a recessed fixture directly above it? If so, this is the starting point that you will probably want to base your recessed lighting placement off of. If kitchen recessed lighting is what you’re installing this could be a sink or stove top. If bathroom recessed lighting is being installed your focus might be a mirror. Regardless of what your focal point is, this is the first light that should be centered and all additional fixtures should be symmetrically placed off this benchmark.

If you do not have a focal point your recessed lighting placement will most likely be balanced off the center of the room.

Fixtures should be at least three feet away from your walls to avoid “hot spots” on your walls but close enough to avoid dark spots, especially in the corners. Dark corners cast the illusion of a lower ceiling and visually shrink the room.

Tip:
If you have or are planning on putting a ceiling fan in the room make sure that your recessed lighting placement is far enough away to eliminate any shadows. A good design or layout will not cast the illusion of a helicopter flying overhead. Contact our in-office electricians in Mesa for more helpful electrical tips.

How Much Space Between the Fixtures?

Let’s work on the spacing for your recessed lighting.There are no set rules for recessed lighting spacing; it all depends on the application. When general kitchen recessed lighting is being installed the spacing can be up to 6 feet apart. When used in a hallway the spacing can be greatly increased because light levels can be lower. Conversely, recessed kitchen lighting can be spaced as little as 16 inches apart and centered over a kitchen table, three of them look great. Tightly spaced bathroom recessed lighting above a vanity with a standalone recessed shower light is common too.

The main focus with recessed lighting spacing is always consistency that looks natural in the room. It’s important to remember that your recessed light spacing, layout and final placement will be somewhat dictated by the wood joists, duct work, plumbing and sprinkler pipes and other obstacles in the structure above the ceiling. Contact our Mesa electricians if you need help with this.

Tip:
Using a stud sensor will tell you where the joists are but you can also poke a small hole in the ceiling dead center of where you are planning to place each fixture and probe above for obstructions. Bending a coat hanger at 90 degrees {around 4 inches in length} and probing up and down in a circular motion will tell you if anything is in the way before cutting your ceiling holes. This will confirm that your recessed lighting placement will work without any problems.

Figuring Power Requirements

Wiring the lights and finishing your lighting installation. Knowing how to wire recessed lights will require some basic knowledge of electrical circuitry and splicing wires together. If you do not have experience working with electrical circuits consult a qualified electrician in Mesa.

If you are replacing your existing light fixtures with same amount of new recessed fixtures (at the same wattage or less) you can simply use the circuit that is already switched in the ceiling. Be sure to use the same wire size which will be either #14 or #12.

If you are adding additional fixtures this becomes slightly more involved. You will want to verify that the existing circuit can support the additional lights. Turn that circuit breaker off, it will usually be a 15 amp circuit breaker but it could be a 20 amp circuit breaker. Now add up the wattage of everything that is turned off by that breaker. A 15 amp circuit allows 1800 total watts and a 20 amp circuit allows 2400 watts but you should not exceed 80% of the total allowed wattage in either case.

Example: You are installing 8 recessed ceiling lights that use a 65 watt light bulb to replace 4 existing fixtures that use 60 watt light bulbs in your kitchen. The additional power needed is 280 watts or 2.333 amps. (8 lamps x 65 watts = 520 new watts) (4 lamps x 60 watts = 240 existing watts) (580 new watts – 240 existing watts = 280 additional watts) (280 watts divided by 120 volts = 2.333 amps).

Now let’s assume that the switched circuit is connected to a 15 amp circuit breaker. We have a total of 1440 usable watts or 12 amps. (15 amps x 120 volts = 1800 watts) (1800 watts X 80% = 1440 usable watts) (1440 usable watts divided by 120 volts = 12 amps)

While investigating what’s off you discover a dining room chandelier that uses 320 watts, a foyer chandelier that uses 260 watts, a bathroom with 3 recessed can lights that use 195 watts and a few outlets where one lamp drawing 80 watts is used. We also need to add the 240 watts being used by the existing light fixtures that will be replaced. Adding this all up the power being used is 1095 watts or 9.125 amps. Your new lights require an additional 280 watts or 2.333 amps so this will work fine. Your total power consumption on this circuit is 1375 watts or 11.5 amps making it optimal for wiring recessed lights.

If you have an amp probe you can simple turn on everything that is powered by that circuit and take a reading at the circuit breaker box or contact our Mesa electricians for assistance.

In cases where no light fixtures exist in the ceiling you can tap into an existing circuit using the same verification of available power as previously mentioned or install a new circuit from the circuit breaker box. A switch box and switch will also be needed when installing can lights in this scenario.

Wiring recessed fixtures that are all controlled by the same switch is done by looping the wires from one fixture to the next. You will want to splice the wires together according to color. When more than one switch is used, the designated wires will need to be brought to the correct fixtures and spliced accordingly.

If you have questions about recessed or any other lighting you can consult with our Mesa electricians free of charge. We have scheduled an in-office electrician in Mesa with over 30 years of experience for today, Sunday, October 20th, 2019, from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM. He will answer all of your questions and provide you with the solutions you’re looking for.

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