Everything you need to know about upgrading your recessed downlighting to high-performance LED
Today’s leading builders and customers are all moving in one direction: towards adopting LED lighting. It’s more energy efficient and easier to maintain than conventional lighting and renders color more accurately than before. And retrofitting LED lamps into existing fixtures is the fastest, most economical path.
If you’re looking to upgrade your recessed lights, here’s everything you need to know.
In general, retrofit is the process of adding a new component or accessory to an existing item. In the case of recessed downlighting, retrofit specifically refers to upgrading the lamp source, usually to a newer technology like LED, while retaining the existing above-ceiling fixture and lighting layout.
Upgrading to LEDs not only provides highly accurate color rendering and a greater spectrum of color temperatures, it does so for less. LED technology is more energy efficient and lasts longer than traditional lamp sources like incandescent and compact fluorescent. The reduction in energy costs and maintenance can save as much as $942* over the lifetime of the LED.
Also, additional savings come from the retrofit process. Without the need for new fixtures and skilled labor, retrofitting allows you to improve your lights without remodeling the space.
Before considering what new recessed light you want, first determine the size of the existing lights. Recessed downlights are offered in three traditional sizes, 4”, 5” and 6”, and the new trim must match the existing size. You cannot retrofit a different size into the current housing.
To determine the size of the existing recessed lights, the trim must first be removed. Nearly all trims utilize either coil springs, tension clips or torsion springs. Remove the old lamp and unhook or compress the springs or clips to remove the trim, then measure the diameter of the ceiling cut out to determine the size.
LED modules offer outstanding illumination along with a host of options, including light output (lumens), warmth of color (color temperature) and color rendering accuracy (CRI). These lighting characteristics can dramatically change the look and feel of a room. Which specs work best for your application depends on the usage of the space. Be sure to consider the type of room, its usage, interior design and ceiling height when specifying LEDs.
Check your existing light source to determine which connection you have. The new LED module may not be directly compatible with the existing connector, so an adapter may be necessary. There are three common connection types. Edison screw is traditionally used for incandescent bulbs, GU24 is used by some CFL and LED lamps, and Ideal connectors are commonly found on LED modules.
Most recessed LED modules are engineered to work exclusively with the manufacturer’s trims, providing a better fit and additional features.
Once you’ve determined the correct size, choose the trim shape, style and finish that matches your environment. You can even angle the direction of the light with a Wall Wash Trim.
Now that you have the proper LED retrofit kit (module, trim and connector), it’s time to install it. If you’re installing a DMF retrofit kit, the process couldn’t be simpler. We design and engineer our products to be easy to install without the need for tools.
1) Be sure to turn off power at the electrical service panel
2) Remove existing lamp source and trim from housing
3) Attach appropriate connector to existing housing (Edison shown)
4) Connect DMF module to trim with Twist & Lock feature
5) Attach the green ground wire (factory installed) to the housing using existing screw inside the housing
6) Connect module IDEAL female connector to male connector
7) Snap module and trim into place using tension clips or torsion springs
8) Reconnect the module to power – and that’s it!
It’s time to flip the switch on your new recessed lights and enjoy the accurate color rendering, vivid colors and efficiency benefits of LED lighting. Feel what a difference quality lights make.
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To send feedback or learn more, please contact the DMF Lighting Marketing Team.
*based on single DRD2 LED module over its lifetime, assuming 8 hr/day operation at $0.11 kWH energy rate