Using Halogen for Undercabinet Lighting
Our resident lighting expert explains what to recommend when customers say halogen is too hot.
I often have customers tell me they don’t want halogen lights because they are too hot. Is there really more heat in halogen than regular A-lamps, or does it just seem hotter because of the smaller envelope?
Yes, halogen lamps are hotter than standard A-lamps. You can actually cook food with halogen lamps. Think of how much faster those Easy-Bake ovens would have been if they used a halogen lamp. You’d be churning out mini-cakes in 15 minutes flat. Of course, all the plastic parts may have melted as well. The only halogen lamps I recommend are the double-envelope halogens for instances where a standard A-lamp hums when dimmed (and the space inside the fixture is too small to hold a CFL). The double-envelope lamps are easier to handle because you can touch the outer glass envelope. These will still be hotter than regular lamps. Both halogen options produce more heat than light. If you are looking to give your customers more light, then have them try out a dimmable CFL. The better CFLs have a color temperature which is great. The pendants pictured here use dimmable CFLs. You get three to four times more illumination than from an A-lamp with a comparable wattage, and it dims with a standard dimmer. Plus, they put out much, much less heat. Yes, mercury is still a concern, but if they are recycled, the mercury can be recovered and reused.
Randall Whitehead lighting designer
Randall Whitehead, IALD

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

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