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Under Cabinet Lights

Under cabinet lighting or task lighting is an effective illumination solution for shadowed spaces such as under kitchen cabinets or in work spaces. This type of lighting will illuminate areas that were in the shadows and bring light to areas needing it most.

This may be cooking or prep space, countertops, bookshelves, display cabinets, or desks with upper shelving. Under cabinet lighting will illuminate and enhance whatever you choose and can be easily installed anywhere to create a calm and flowing atmosphere.

Uniform illumination is important to prevent shadows and give the perception of a larger space. Color temperature for residential kitchens is typically 3000K or lower, providing a warm look. Color rendering is important for evaluation of the appearance of food, for social interaction, and for complementing decorative finishes used in kitchens. The task plane is typically 20 to 22 inches in depth and the length varies in relationship to the upper and lower cabinets. Uniform illumination is important to prevent shadows and give the perception of a larger space.

Under cabinet lighting for remodeling projects or new construction are better if they can be wired directly to the electrical system of the home. This means easy access to the light by way of a wall switch and also takes away the messiness of unsightly cords. For cabinets already in place, units providing a plug will be easiest to use as no wiring is necessary and they have their own switch installed on the unit. Beautiful lighting is an important component and should match and accentuate the existing decor.

For individuals wanting to have under cabinet lighting installed, there are two choices to be made before making a final decision. First--is the type of fixture suitable to the area you are illuminating? And second--selecting a bulb that will provide sufficient illumination. Five types of illumination are available for under cabinet lighting: Fluorescent, Incandescent, Halogen, Xenon and LED (Light Emitting Diode). Each is listed below with its respective explanation and areas of use:

1. Fluorescent Bulbs: These bulbs are the most common type used in kitchens and commercial settings. They provide the user with an energy efficient lighting choice and are the bright choice in lighting.

2. Incandescent Bulbs: These particular bulbs are not a choice for areas needing bright light as they only give off a warm glow. They tend to be softer than fluorescent lighting. For under cabinet lighting on a budget, this is a great choice as they are not as expensive as the other bulbs. They can easily be put on a dimmer switch and last about 1000 hours. They are not an energy efficient bulb and generate a fair amount of heat when used.

3. Halogen Bulbs: This bulb gives a white lighting effect but in a warm and bright way. They are not as bright and rough as a fluorescent bulb would be. They can last up to 2000 hours. Halogen bulbs need to be used in a fixture made to absorb the amount of heat they can generate.

4. Xenon Bulbs: These bulbs will give you the least amount of light but enough to be used in any situation. They are relatively inexpensive and last up to 10,000 hours. The heat generated by these bulbs is very low.

5. LED Lighting: LEDs are especially suited for undercabinet lighting. The ability to cluster LEDs in a puck-like fashion, or string them in a linear array, provides options to lighting designers and home owners alike to imitate the form factor of linear fluorescent lamps or the single lamps of a halogen or xenon fixture. The inherent directionality of LEDs allows a larger proportion of the available light to be directed where it is needed and not lost within the fixture and the efficacy of newer high-flux LEDs is providing a wide choice of color temperatures. Traditional lighting fixtures designed for use with halogen or fluorescent illumination range from 30% to 50% efficiency, resulting in half or more of the light produced never leaving the fixture.

Beautiful lighting is an important component and should match and accentuate the existing decor while giving the user the most functionality possible.

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