Installing Kitchen LED Downlights can make a world of difference to the ambiance and lighting. A kitchen should be one of the brightest areas of your home and as such LED lights are perfect for this. There are a few tips to be aware of to make sure you achieve the best lighting for your kitchen.
How many LED Down lights do I need for my Kitchen?
This is a question I get asked a lot as an Electrician. The amount of downlight you will require for your kitchen is 1 LED light per squared meter. Or 1 light per meter in all directions. Usually, the minimum wattage is 10w LED lights or more. You can get away with 1.5 meters for other rooms in your house like Living room and bedrooms. Maybe even 2m if you use a higher wattage LED lamp like a 13w.
It is also best to keep the lights closest to your sink and benches/stove and to be no further than 700 mm out from the wall. The reason for this is most kitchen cupboards and benches are 600 mm wide so if you are standing next to the bench cooking or washing up you don’t want the LED lights casting a shadow if the lights are behind you. So either just above your head or slightly in front of you is best.
So my kitchen is approximately 4.6 long by 2.5 wide, I ended up putting 4 LED lights long spaced 1m apart and 800 mm from each end. I then have 3 LED lights spaced 1m in from the first set which covers the preparation table which has been placed on a separate lighting circuit. So in all 7 LED Lights installed.
The Kitchen LED Downlights I used are 170568 LEDlux Vivid 11W 700-lumen dimmable brushed chrome down-light in cool white from beacon lighting. It comes complete with a plug and lead for easy installation and has a 5-year warranty, so if they fail it’s a simple swap out. The LED Light has been tested with the following dimmer: Clipsal 340E450LM, 340E450TM, 340E450UDM, Clipsal C-Bus Universal, HPM 400L and Lucci 290998 dimmer.
Down-light Spacing for Living rooms
As we spend most of our time usually in the middle of the living room on tables and chairs there is no need to have you’re LED down lights so close to the wall. Spacing them at least 800mm to 1000mm away from the wall will be fine.
You can also space them out around 1.2 to 1.5m in distance. Try to line them all up in rows of 2 or 3. Plan out your design to scale on paper first. This way you will find any problems like air-conditioner ducts that may get in the way of your lights.
How to Install Kitchen LED DownLights.
Make sure you have an electrician do the wiring for your down lights but you can do all the marking out and pre-drill the holes to make his life simple.
So you want to install Downlights in your Kitchen and don’t know where to start? Well,
The first step is to draw a scale plan of the room you need to install downlights into. This will help you workout placement and how many lights you will need to buy.
Next step is to purchase your down lights and the following tools. Did I mention wait till they are on special? Visit some showrooms and check out the light color Cool or Warm light. It’s a personal preference. Buy locally just in case there are warranty issues. But LED’s have a great track history and should last a very long time. The price has come down remarkably in the last few years. I can remember when LED down lights were $100+ each now they are around $25 for quality lights.
Tools and Equipment Needed for Down lights
- Hole saw to suit your size of down light. I used an 85mm hole saw for the 170568 LEDlux Vivid 11W
- LEDlux Vivid 11W 700 Lux 170568 comes with Dim-able transformer. Great Kitchen LED Downlights
- Battery Drill
- Clipsal 413 Surface Socket Plug Base 10 Amp Back wired suit Kitchen LED DownLights – These are what the LED lights plug into only a few dollars each. eBay or Electrician should have these
- Dimmer switch if you need one
- 1.5 mm 2 core +E cable for the LED lights. An electrician should have this cable.
- Cable clips for the cable – Electrician should have these
- Small junction box to connect the old lighting circuit to the new lighting circuit. The electrician should have these as well.
- Screwdriver, knife, and pliers
- 10 wooden skewers – Trade secret
- Stud Finder Zircon e50
- Plaster filler for any holes from old lights and a filler trowel.
- White ceiling paint.
Once you have all your parts you can start marking out your holes and drilling them out with a pilot hole first, and then a hole saw. To make this job simple use some fishing line or string to get your lights inline. Just attach each end to the opposite sides of the wall. Mark out say 1m sections and drill, do the same to the other side of the wall.
If you have access to a beam finder then this job gets simple and easy. I like to use the stud finders from Zircon as they are reliable and do very good deep scans. No good putting in a downlight above a roof beam.
I like to drill a small pilot hole first. The reason we use a small pilot hole is in case there is a beam in the ceiling. Drill your pilot hole then poke up the wooden skewer. Leave it in the ceiling and then have a look at the roof. You should be able to see the skewer easy in the insulation. Move apart the insulation and then go back down to drill from ground level. If you are too close to the roof beams, you can move a few centimeters and it won’t be noticed, or redo the plan. The small hole can be filled with putty.
Using a laser tape measure really can make your life easy. I use one from Bosch called the Blaze GLM 20. Its small, light and easy to use with just the press of the button you have an instant measurement.
Drilling LED down Light holes – With a hole saw.
Once you are happy with the placement you can use a hole saw to make the correct size hole. Drill slowly and use the correct safety glasses. If you are concerned with the dust there a few options. You can get someone to hold a vacuum cleaner near the hole saw, use a container or use a Pizza box base as a dust capture device, just drill through it and then into the ceiling, it will capture most of the dust.
Don’t forget to remove the cut out from inside of your hole saw.
Once the holes are drilled push apart or remove any insulation and then insert the LED lights – plug end first then the switching transformer then the Downlight. The LED downlights will have spring clips to hold the light in place.
Wiring Up your Kitchen LED Downlights
Once again your electrician will do this but if you want to prep all the work for him and run the cables its best to do it on the ground. Measure out your spacing, and cut the cables to length and wire into each plug socket. Once all sockets are wired uptake these into the roof space and screw into position near each light. Plug in each LED down light into the sockets. Double check your work and or get an electrician to inspect it before going live.
If using a dimmer switch read the instructions, as some require a minimum load for them to work eg: 15 watts. So if you only have 1 LED 11w down light it won’t work. Also be aware of maximum loads for the dimmer switch. Eg 200 watt max load and you have 20 LED 11w lights you will overload the dimmer.
If you are replacing your existing halogen hot down lights see this post here for a more detailed explanation.
Congratulations you are now well-informed to start planning your Kitchen LED downlight spacing project. Remember always use an electrician and measure twice cut once.