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Recessed Luminaires

Two types of recessed luminaires fit attractively into homes. Round recessed downlights are called cans and high-hats. Downlights called troffers are larger square or rectangular downlights that usually house fluorescent lamps or halogen reflector lamps.

  • Use a recessed downlight luminaire designed for compact fluorescent lamps, rather than putting a screwbase compact fluorescent lamp in a downlight designed for an incandescent lamp.
  • Position recessed downlights near important visual tasks.
  • Wall-wash recessed luminaires light a wall evenly. They should be spaced as far from each other as they are from the wall.

  • Wall-wash luminaires mounted closer to the wall than 1 foot 6 inches produce harsh, scalloped patterns of light on the wall. Manufacturers provide proper mounting positions on product literature.
  • Manufacturers offer a variety of accessories for recessed downlights. Baffles and trim cones that are deep or dark in color reduce a luminaire's efficiency.
  • A room may contain many recessed downlights. Home owners can create a variety of scenes if the luminaires are wired in several groups for separate control; wall-wash luminaires should be grouped separately from general room lights. Dimmers installed on incandescent lamps extend the user's ability to set room scenes.
  • Grazing light from recessed downlights installed close to walls accentuates taping and sanding irregularities in the same way as light from architectural luminaires.
  • Wall-wash luminaires should not be aimed toward doors or windows.

Dining room with recessed downlights and two recessed wall-wash luminaires aimed at the hutch. The wall-wash luminaires are switched separately.

CAUTION - A recessed luminaire installed in an insulated ceiling or roof cavity must be IC rated. IC-rated luminaires are designed so insulation can cover and abut the luminaire. Luminaires manufactured to restrict air leakage through the luminaire are labeled performance tested.

When you purchase a luminaire, look for the "ENERGY STAR" label.

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