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Installing recessed lighting in a condominium kitchen.  Click for Home Page

Installing Recessed Lighting in a Condominium Kitchen

Dear Mr. Electrician: I want to change to recessed lighting in my condominium kitchen.  How difficult is it to install and will it make a difference in appearance?

Answer: I have found that the most challenging aspect of installing retrofitted recessed lights is the measuring and laying out of the location for each light.  With a finished ceiling there is no way of knowing what obstacles might be in the way of your light installation.  Therefore you must probe the ceiling ahead of time to see if there are any utilities where a light was planned.  Below are some photos of a recessed lighting installation.
This is what the existing kitchen light looked like in this condo kitchen.  I knew from working in this condo before, that the ceiling was supported by wood trusses.  The truss design makes it very conducive for fishing wires in the ceiling.

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Before picture of old kitchen fluorescent lighting.  Click for next photo
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Although this condo was built with wood truss construction, there are still obstacles to prevent the wires from being easily fished across the ceiling.  A hole was cut in the middle of the ceiling to facilitate the installation of the wires.  The center round box was the original feed for the old ceiling light.

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Holes cut out and wires installed for new recessed lights.  Click for next photo.
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A pig tail light socket was connected temporarily to the existing light feed for temporary lighting.  The existing ceiling electrical box will be removed and the wire brought into one of the new recessed lights.

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Closer shot of holes with wires. Click for next photo
 
 
In this particular ceiling, water pipes and gas pipes were located where the recessed lights were originally planned to be installed.  By probing with a thin screwdriver and a short fish tape it was possible to locate the obstacles through a small hole.

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Holes with wires for recessed lights. Click for next photo
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With wood truss construction, there is a lot of room to fish wires for recessed lights in the ceiling without having to drill ceiling joists.

Halo H7RT 6" recessed light remodel housings  were used here with white coilex trims.

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Two holes with wires awaiting recessed lights.  Click for next photo
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The square hole in the center of the ceiling was cut with the compass saw held at a 45 degree angle.  This makes it much easier to patch the hole with the same piece and some joint compound.  All of the edges are buttered with joint compound and are smoothed in place without taping.

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Four recessed lights installed.  Click for next photo
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The round hole from the former existing ceiling electrical box was patched using a filler piece of drywall that was cut from one of the light fixture cut-outs.  A piece of wood was laid across the opening to support the filler piece.  A drywall rasp is good for shaping drywall.

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Recessed Lights installed.  Click for nex photo
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A complete rough patch.  After 24 hours it can have another coat of joint compound applied.  After that dries and is sanded, the ceiling can be painted.

On this particular installation it was possible to eliminate the existing round ceiling electrical box because it had only one cable in it which was re-routed to a recessed light. 

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Recessed lights installed.  All holes have a rough patch.
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The bulbs used in the recessed lights are 70 watt BR40 halogen light bulbs which are approximately equal in light output to a 100 watt BR40 incandescent light bulb.

Click to see the microwave oven installation in this kitchen.

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Completed recessed light installation shows a difference compared to the old fluorescent light fixture.
 

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Created December 30, 2014        Updated December 14, 2015

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