To determine how many recessed lights are needed to light any particular area, it is essential to consider the wattage of each light, its purpose, and the available power resources.
Planning out this aspect of your lighting project in advance can save you hours and dollars by ensuring that everything is done properly the first time, without the need to replicate work or materials. A little strategy and know-how go a long way to making any recessed lighting project easy.
Consider the purpose
The purpose of the lights is an important factor in determining how many fixtures are needed. Consider what you want the lights to accomplish—are they highlighting a work of art that you want to draw attention to? Are they creating a workspace or craft area where shadows will be a problem? Are you using them to light your favorite reading area or an entire room? Knowing the purpose of the light will help you to decide how far you need it to reach, how bright you need it to be, where each light should be placed, and how many lights will make your project a success.
Determine how much light you need
For general lighting purposes, you’ll want to provide 1.5 watts of lighting per square foot of space in the room. So, to get the number of lights you’ll need in the room, first measure to get the room’s square footage. Multiply by that 1.5 to get the number of watts needed for that space. Finally, you will divide this by the number of watts your planned light fixture uses to get the number of fixtures the room will need. If your fixtures use LED lights, all you have to do is check the wattage equivalent provided on the bulbs and follow the same calculation.
Space the lights in such a manner that they appear symmetrical; doing this may add or subtract a light or two from your estimate, but it will enhance the overall appearance of the fixtures and improve the evenness of the distribution of light. Always space lights an even distance from one another when using them for whole-room applications. When lighting artwork or tapestry, always place the light at least four inches from the wall, taking into account the size of the light and the distribution it produces.
Keep in mind what your circuit breaker can handle
Another important consideration when determining how many lights to install is the wattage of the lights and the limits of your breaker. Determine the wattage of each light and multiply it by the number of lights you’d like to install, then add this number to the current electrical load on your breaker. If this number is too high, it will be necessary to install a new circuit breaker, or possibly upgrade the electrical service to your home, if it’s a large project. Using compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs in your fixtures can significantly reduce the load on your breaker, allowing for more lights without the cost of upgrading service.
The friendly, experienced professionals at Cathey Electric can help you make your dreams a reality. Contact us, and let us walk you through some options today!