View Full Version : Changing Recessed Lights to LED Retrofit

Peter Stahl
11-17-2014, 10:23 AM
Has anyone changed their Incandescent Recessed Lights to Dimmable LED Retrofit kits? From the little I've read dimmable lights can be used with any dimmer switch, otherwise they need a special dimmer switch. The ones I have the are the adjustable eyeball trim and they are turning yellow. Also what brand did you get and how do you like them? If this was discussed before please point me to the discussion.

thanks, Pete

Dennis Peacock
11-17-2014, 11:44 AM
I have not, but I did get the recessed LED light kits that fit in a standard electrical ceiling box. The new LED's are much brighter and the generate little to no heat when on. We are really happy with these.

Eric DeSilva
11-17-2014, 11:58 AM
I don't have experience, but I'm curious about what folks will say--thinking about this myself too. When you say "turning yellow," you are talking about the plastic surrounds? Is this caused by heat from the lights? I know some white plastics yellow with age--perhaps they were meant to be painted pre-install?

Brian Elfert
11-17-2014, 12:27 PM
If it is just the trim yellowing it can usually be replaced fairly easily and for not much money. This would also be an good excuse to retrofit to LED. Menards had some recessed light LED retrofits on sale for two for $20 about a week ago. I would expect to see this type of pricing again.

roger wiegand
11-17-2014, 2:02 PM
We replaced a bunch with the Cree kits from HD in our last house. http://www.homedepot.com/p/EcoSmart-6-in-9-5-Watt-65W-Soft-White-2700K-Dimmable-LED-Downlight-ECO-575L/202240932 I thought they were great. Light quality was OK (the CRI is 90 which is decent, and 2700K color was close to incandescent), they worked on the dimmers we had, and they were trivial to install. They were on a coupon deal so only cost about $15.

Steve Baumgartner
11-17-2014, 2:14 PM
We put six Cree LED's in the bugeye cans in our kitchen about a year ago. Very happy with them so far.

Robert Payne
11-17-2014, 2:30 PM
I recently replaced seven 65W incandescent BR30 flood lamps in my kitchen with seven Philips BR30 90* Flood LED lamps (Model 9290002544) that are 10.5 watts each (i.e., all seven new bulbs consume the same as one of the old bulbs). They operate on my existing dimmer control (slider dimmer adjacent to the toggle switch in a 3-way switch where second switch does not have a dimmer) and stay pure white through the entire dimmer range unlike an incandescent. They are 730 lumens each with a color temperature of 2700K, are warranted for 25,000 hours (equates to 22.8 years at 3 hrs/day and $1.28 per year in energy cost) and did not cost a ton. I purchased them through Duke Energy from their Savings Store for $5.95 each (they sent a flyer with their bill to customers). I have seen the prices for comparable LED floods at Sam's or the big box stores for triple that price or more. I also bought eight 65W replacement lamp bulbs that are 800 lumens and 10 watts each -- they also operate on a standard dimmer. Total cost with shipping for 15 bulbs was $73.25

Needless to say, I'm tickled pink.

Jim Becker
11-17-2014, 3:01 PM
I haven't done what you ask about specifically...I am replacing things with LED as the need arrises. LV Halogens, when they burn out, go to LEDs. My office here has all four already converted. The only place I haven't been able to do that is a row in the ceiling of our kitchen where the LEDs don't seem to be compatible with the older fixtures. Ceiling cans with CFLs are also transitioning to LED as they "go". I just replaced three surface mount fixtures in our master closet with LED units as the "weirdo" format low-profile CFLs are hard to come by and not very reliable. The bright light is wonderful. I also like the "instant on" that the LED provides as compared to CFL. (Everything in our house has been CFL or LV halogen for a long time now) Even my shop has gotten a few of the Phillips LED "bulbs" in my utility lighting circuit..

Next project is replacing the unreliable LV halogen under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen with the LED strip lighting from LV.

John Pratt
11-17-2014, 5:44 PM
I just put on an addition to the house (den) and installed regular IC rated cans. I installed the Commercial Electric 5" recessed LED trims from the BORG into all of those cans, and put all of them on a dimmer; Works great. If the retrofit led light kit says it is dimmable then you should not have an issue. I have Cree bulbs in all my other fixtures in the house, some of those are on dimmers as well and they work ok. The package on the bulbs say "dimmable".

Curt Harms
11-18-2014, 9:52 AM
We too have moved some fixtures from Halogen or CFL to LED. Home Depot had a deal on Cree '60 watt' 'normal' bulbs for half price, subsidized by the local utility. I much prefer the light to that of the CFLs that were there. They also work with conventional dimmers. I also replaced a 50 watt halogen flood with a 50 watt Phillips flood in a reading lamp. Again the dimmer works perfectly. I think you can dim any LED light but if they're not advertised as dimmable, you have to use a specific type dimmer - Pulse Width Modulating.

I wanted to make some under cabinet LED tapes '2 speed' - bright/dim but couldn't figure out a way to mount the PWM dimmer without it looking strange. A little research found using a resistor. I bought a pack of 2 100 ohm 10 watt resistors and a 3 position (on-off-on) switch from Radio Shack. The switch's middle position is off, one position routes 12 volts directly to the lights, the other position routes the 12 volts thru the resistors then to the lights which dims them. Works for us.

Doug W Swanson
11-18-2014, 6:56 PM
I bought some LED bulbs from Costco (Feit BR30 replacements I think) and love the them. They are a little brighter that the 65 bulbs I replaced but finding a dimmer that works with them has been a nightmare.
I tried a regular dimmer and two different dimmers rated for LED bulbs but no luck. I even searched the sites of Lutron, Leviton and Feit to find dimmer switches that had been tested (and worked with these bulbs) but none of them worked in my situation. I even talked with tech support for Lutron and Feit to no avail.
At this point I put the regular switch back in and may try another dimmer in the future....

Brian Elfert
11-18-2014, 11:32 PM
Do that many houses have dimmers that being able to use LED bulbs with dimmers is an issue? My current house and my past house don't have any dimmers at all. My parent's house has one dimmer in the dining room and my dad would probably just as well put in a switch whenever he switches those to LED.

Matt Meiser
11-19-2014, 8:29 AM
We don't have a dimmer but bought the flood style LED bulbs from Costco like Doug and love them. We converted EVERYTHING but a few CFLs and some motion lights that are 2 stories up over to LED. I tossed about 3000W of incandescent bulbs.

Steve Peterson
11-19-2014, 12:48 PM
I have had mixed success with LED bulbs on dimmers.

My old house had some Lutron Maestro IR dimmers. I loved the dimmers because I could program the universal TV remote to dim the lights. The would work 3 LED bulbs, but would flicker if a 4th LED bulb was added. I ended up just using 3 LED bulbs and one incandescent. The same problem occurred with the other dimmers in the house. I don't know the dimmer brand, but they are a decora toggle switch with a small slide switch to control the brightness. The LEDs were purchased about 4 years ago and were supposedly dimmable.

My new house has a different type of dimmer and it works perfectly with the same bulbs that failed in the old house. I have tested circuits with up to 6 LED bulbs and they are dimmable across the entire range. I believe the dimmers are Leviton 6631 style.


Doug W Swanson
11-20-2014, 11:19 AM
Do that many houses have dimmers that being able to use LED bulbs with dimmers is an issue? My current house and my past house don't have any dimmers at all. My parent's house has one dimmer in the dining room and my dad would probably just as well put in a switch whenever he switches those to LED.

When we put our addition on about 10 years ago, I installed dimmers for most switches. I've also replaced most of the regular switches in our house because then a late night trip to the bathroom isn't so 'eye opening'. It also made things easier to check out the kids when they were little.

I would love to switch over the lights we use most to LED's but since I've had the issues with dimmers, I'm hesitant to do that. In the mean time, we seldom have the dimmer turned all the way up so that should provide some energy savings in the mean time....

Matt Meiser
11-20-2014, 12:53 PM
I just remembered...everywhere we have a ceiling fan there is an existing speed control with a dimmer. I have a Costco 100W bulb in one of those, 3 60's in 2 of them, and 3 small ones from Lowes in another. All work great. Those dimmers are electronic--the wall mounted control talks to a control module up in the fan's junction box.