Recess lights installed with minimal plaster repair:
This project added five recess lights to the living and dining rooms of a 2-story West Philadelphia twin. The work involved working carefully within the cavity of a fine solid-wood pocket door (common in Philadelphia’s historic homes), and fishing new circuits through multiple joists without opening the finished ceiling for access.
Retrofit ceiling lights can be a challenge because a single circuit feeds multiple locations daisy-chained together — through two or more solid joists that must be drilled and fished ‘blind’ using a long, flexible drill bit. In older homes, the plaster of the ceiling, and the supporting wood lath above, make up a thick, uneven surface not well-suited to ‘old work’ or ‘retrofit’ housings, which are designed to clip to the uniform manufactured surfaces of wallboard (drywall).
Additionally, getting circuit conductors into the ceiling from a switch location will usually require at least one L-shaped cutout in the wall and ceiling finish. When considering a lighting retrofit project, note whether you have crown moulding, since this may be damaged when removed and replaced — and will certainly need to be re-painted.
Since recess lights typically benefit from being dimmable, consider early whether you will want to use CFL lamps (still not satisfactorally dimmable as of this writing, despite any manufacturer claims), or spend additional for dimmable LED’s (including housing- and trim-integrated types for recess lights), or take your chances on long-term availability of incandescent/halogen replacement lamps.
- Selecting recessed lighting components
- 3rd Floor lighting upgrade with recessed lighting (via attic crawlspace)
Leave a comment
Off-site Links ->
- Annapolis Home Inspection, LLC Aluminum branch circuits, homes 1965-1972
- ComplianceAndSafety.com OSHA Electrical Safety Training
- Electric Monk TV (YouTube) Video channel for PhillyLicensedElectrician.com Robert Monk
- EnergyConservation HowTo A tinkerer genius discusses energy conservation and his ladder system for accessing the attic (where a lot of energy-saving work happens).
- PennFuture Energy Center Energy and energy efficiency news for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
- Phila area rife with building efficiency upgrade opportunities Philadelphia Inquirer article discusses recent study showing Philadelphia’s inner-ring suburbs stand to save from energy conservation retrofits.
- Philadelphia Row-house Manual A design, maintenance, and modifications manual for our most widely-used form of housing.
- Robert Monk Robert Monk’s personal blog
- SolarCities (DOE) Solar PV Levelized Cost Interactive Comparator Simple graph compares ‘levelized cost’ of energy from solar PV to conventional grid rates, with a time-slider interactive feature.
- The Circuit Detective – Solve Home Electrical Problems Yourself! Electrical troubleshooting procedures pitched to homeowners.
- The Energy Co-op Blog from a leading alternative energy provider in PECO territory, includes fun conservation tips.
- Weatherization: the anti-Solyndra Salon.com article praising the continued success of the federal Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), low-income energy-savings and job-creation.
- West Philly Tool Library Official site of WPTL, Philly’s own community tool lending library: like a book library, but tools!
- WestPhillyLocal .com Site name say sit all.
- Bartram's Gardens Founded in Philadelphia’s colonial era, today the gardens continue pioneering in horticulture and agriculture with a variety of herbs, trees and other vegetation in an arboretum/gardens on the Schulkill River banks, and a new farm abutting sadly neglected
- HiddenCity Philadelphia Surprising places it takes an adventurer to discover; events, too.
- Philly Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Schedule City of Philadelphia dates and places for disposing of spent batteries, CFL lamps, unused paint and cleaning products, etc. LovePhilly: don’t pour these in the drain or send them out with the trash.
- Reading Terminal Market Purveyors of fine foods and foodie stuff, all under one roof downtown under the PA Convention Center
- Secret Garden on the Rails Jacques-Jean Tiziou shows some dramatic natural and urban and naturalized-urban scenes along abandoned rails of Philadelphia
- Sketch Burger, Fishtown A vegan-friendly burger joint with a #1 in Philly contender beef burger, best fries that somehow stay fresh for 1/2 hour while you tackle burger, and a vegan cafe vibe of friendly folks.
- WXPN: Philly sings in key of love Love songs by Philly artists