Task Lighting — New Jersey

Task Lighting new jersey
new jersey — The primary function of under-cabinet lighting is to provide additional illumination on kitchen countertops where most of the household food preparation is done. The underside of cabinets provides an ideal location for such lighting because it can not only be easily concealed behind the cabinet trim to avoid glare, but can also reduce shadows cast by the cabinets from overhead lighting. Illumination on the backsplash creates a bright surface that enhances the appearance of the kitchen and in some instances, under-cabinet lighting can also double as a night light, especially if it can accommodate a dimmer switch or if the fixture has a low light setting for this purpose.

One of the primary considerations in selecting under-cabinet lighting is that it should provide smooth, uniform illumination suitable for a variety of tasks ranging from reading the faded handwriting on an old recipe to slicing and dicing meats and vegetables to simply displaying a blown glass decanter or piece of kitchen art. There should be no "pools" or "spots" of light and dark areas. With good under-cabinet lighting, colors of foods are vibrant and colors are enhanced. As the social center of the home, the kitchen is often the primary location for family activities. Adjustable light levels allow for a transition from a bright, clear environment to a lively setting to one that is quiet and relaxed when the day's activities are over.

Fortunately, there are a number of different ways to achieve these desirable effects using different types of lighting and relatively inexpensive fixtures designed especially for under-cabinet use. The least expensive, but probably the least effective, is ordinary incandescent lighting in one of several forms. Puck lights, for example, so named because they resemble a hockey puck, are round or oval, less than two inches in depth and can be easily concealed beneath cabinets. However, because of the nature of their design, they can create scallops, spots or pools of light rather than even illumination across the counter, especially when they are spaced far apart.

An alternative is incandescent linear lighting, which comes in two forms - as a light strip, or as a linear fixture or light bar. Flexible light strips are less than one inch in both width and depth, are sold by the foot and can be cut to length during installation. Spacing between bulbs can vary from two to six inches, although two to three inches is best for under-cabinet use. Linear incandescent fixtures or light bars generally use xenon or halogen lamps, which may be shielded behind a lens to create a uniform illumination across the length of the fixture, similar to those used with fluorescent lamps. Fixtures should be sized according to the length of the cabinet and should be mounted at the front edge. If the fixture is lensed, the lens should face the backsplash.

Unlike incandescent lighting, which can be controlled by a dimmer switch, linear fluorescent under-cabinet fixtures cannot be dimmed, although some have two light level settings, high and low. Their advantage is that they do not generate heat like incandescent bulbs and generally have a much longer service life. Fluorescent under-cabinet lighting is also available as compact fluorescent (CFL) puck lighting using replaceable CFL bulbs designed for under-cabinet use. These fixtures produce more light than an incandescent puck light and also use less energy. Mounting toward the front of the cabinet is recommended to cover as much of the front edge of the countertop as possible while still lighting the backsplash uniformly.

Although more expensive initially, the most economical under-counter lighting over the long term is probably LED lamps because of their average service life of 20 years or longer. Because heat is an issue for LED lamps and can affect the overall life and light output of the fixture, LED fixtures should not be installed flush with the cabinet. Mounting brackets can be used to create a small gap between the fixture and the cabinet where air can circulate, allowing heat to escape.

If this seems to be complicated and a lot to remember, it might be a good idea to explore your options with a licensed electrician before undertaking an under-cabinet lighting project


Superior Wirework — 179 Route 46 West, Ste. 15, Box 275 Rockaway, NJ 07866 —
(973) 713-5345