Track lighting using halogen bulbs (C) Daniel Friedman Guide to Bulbs for Recessed & Track Lights

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Track lighting bulbs: how to select bulbs for track lights: here we provide a detailed guide to different types of light bulbs (lamps) and their application to track lighting.

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Guide to Lamps (Bulbs) Used with Recessed & Track Lights

Fluorescent lamp (C) Daniel FriedmanThis article series details guidelines for selecting and installing interior lighting to meet the requirements for different building areas. This article includes excerpts or adaptations from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction, by Steven Bliss, courtesy of Wiley & Sons.

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Beam spreads for directional lights vary depending on the lamp and fixture. For general lighting, choose a wide flood with a beam spread of at least 50 degrees.

BR lamps are the most economical directional lamp and provide good enough beam control for general lighting.

Standard A lamps with Alzak trim or compact fluorescents also provide good general lighting.

Halogen PAR lamps offer more precise beam control suitable for task or accent lighting.

Low-voltage M-16 and PAR36 lamps offer very precise beam control, making them well-suited to accent lighting.

Because of their narrow focus, spots produce higher illumination levels than floods but over a smaller area.

Beam spreads and lighting levels for common directional lamps are shown in Table 5-24.

Table 5-24: Performance of Common Directional Lamps (bulbs)  (C) J Wiley, S Bliss

Aiming Lamps Mounted on Track Lighting

Figure 5-30: (C) J Wiley, S Bliss

For accent lighting, eyeballs and similar adjustable trims allow the homeowner to direct the light to the artwork or architectural feature being lit (Figure 5-30).

These are typically used with a narrow spot to provide bright focused light on a small area. Slotted wall wash trim is used to splash diffused light on broad areas of wall or bookcases

. Nondirectional A lamps or compact fluorescents work well in this application.

General recommendations for recessed lighting bulb wattage or bulb type and fixture spacing are given in Table 5-25.

Table 5-25: Recessed Lighting Recommendations: Bulb Sizes, Fixture Spacing (C) J Wiley, S Bliss

Spacing Guidelines for Track Lighting Lamps

The general rule for ambient or task lighting may apply to track lighting spacing & aiming: that is to space recessed ceiling fixtures approximately the same distance apart as the beam spread at the work height, typically assumed to be 30 inches above the floor (36 inches for kitchen counters).

The beam spread is the central cone of light, where the beam is at least 50% of the brightness at the center of the beam.

Most manufacturers publish beam spread data for their recessed lights with different trim options. Beam spreads and lighting levels for some common fixtures and lamps are shown in Table 5-26.

Table 5-26: Performance of common Recessed Lighting Fixtures (C) J Wiley, S Bliss

Table 5-26.

For accent lighting, space recessed or track fixtures so their light hits the wall at about 30 degrees. For lighting a large wall area, the distance between fixtures should be equal to or less than their distance from the wall (see Figure 5-23).

Figure 5-23: (C) J Wiley, S Bliss

Figure 5-23

American Lighting Association

-- Adapted with permission from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction.


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