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How to Upgrade Recessed Lights to LEDs (Tutorial)

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When I recently re-did my master bathroom one of the things I did was upgrade the lighting. I installed sconce lighting to go with the recessed lighting in the ceiling.  Since there is no natural light in the bathroom I used large flood lights above the sinks.
The problem is those huge wattage flood lights is that they use a LOT of electricity and get really hot. So when one of the bulbs blew this week, I knew I was going to upgrade to LEDs.  Originally I was just going to buy LED bulbs, but at nearly $20/each I decided that for that price. I would just upgrade the entire fixture.

LED retrofit kits were on sale at Costco this week for $19.99.  Cheaper than a bulb! 

 Here is what the original can lights looked like:

They were 6 inch cans and had recessed black baffle style trim.  (I have talked about trim kits in this post if you want more info on traditional recessed (can) lighting.)  This is what it looked like once the bulb was removed:

To remove the black baffle trim, I just needed to release the springs that held it up against the lighting housing: 

Removed from the can/housing this is what they look like: 

Now it is time to install the new LED lighting assembly:

These are all the pieces in the kit.  The lamp, a screw-in adapter and the spring clamps that hold the new light in place.

This kit is intended for 5 to 6 inch cans.  It gives you two sets of holes to choose from when attaching the spring clamps.

Since my lights were 6 inch I used the lower attachment point:

Next I screwed the adapter into the bulb socket (it is best to do this with the electricity turned off):

The wires just plug into the LED lamp housing (no special tools are needed!)

Lastly, slide the clamps into the brackets inside of the recessed can (note that this is not the same way the baffle was attached to the can, it is much more secure.

Repeat with the other clamp, and then just push the lamp up into the can until the trim is flush with the ceiling. 


Here are some photos with the exact SAME exposure to show the difference in intensity.  The Fluorescent spotlight was an 100 watt equivalent:
The LED is a 120 watt equivalent but only use 18w of energy! The light is definitely brighter and more of a true white color

And I think this is my favorite part of the whole project.. I won't have to change a lightbulb for another 30 years!

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