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Electrical Wire and Cable

Under Cabinet Kitchen Lights

under cabinet lighting
Summary: Under cabinet lighting will blend well with other lighting and provide a soft level of light to enhance your kitchen countertops and will balance the kitchen lighting and help to lighten up dark corners.
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Installing Under Cabinet Kitchen Lighting

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  • The benefits of under cabinet lights are many, and with so many new types of lighting available today, you will be sure to find the right style for your kitchen.

  • These lights are great for wall wash, accenting countertops, a clean bright look and they are a great way to brighten up any dark counter space.

  • Under cabinet lights serve as great task lights too. When you're up for a snack in the middle of the night, you'll be glad you have soft under cabinet lights.

Brighten up your home with under cabinet kitchen lights. These lights are one of my favorite additions for the homes I work in. Whether you are remodeling or designing your new dream kitchen, be sure to include under cabinet lighting on your list.

Benefits of Under Cabinet Kitchen Lights
  1. Under cabinet lights blend well with other lighting.
  2. Under cabinet lighting provide soft light.
  3. Under cabinet light fixtures will enhance countertops.
  4. Cabinet lighting can help balance kitchen lighting.
  5. Under cabinet light will help lighten up dark corners.

Types of Under Cabinet Lighting for the Home

  • Under cabinet lights are available in 120 volt and low volt models.
  • Each type of lighting will require additional wiring to be installed with the addition of a light switch.
  • Careful planning will help you understand the necessary steps required for each installation.
  • Close attention should be given to all of the instructions that come with the lighting you select.
  • Low voltage fixtures may require that a transformer be installed into an approved enclosure to prevent damage from heat that can be produced.
  • Wire sizes need to be determined according to the number of lights installed and the amount of watts each lamp will be consuming.
under cabinet kitchen lights

Feature 1 - Under cabinet light will blend well with other lighting

under cabinet lights installed
  • Under cabinet kitchen lights are a great addition for any home.
  • Select a type that will produce the shade of light that will blend in with your existing lighting.
  • Many brands have several types of under cabinet lights to choose from including fluorescent, quartz, xenon and LED.
  • Each of these types of light will produce a different shade and style of light. It is best to know exactly what type of ceiling lights are installed, including the bulb type, to understand the color that is being produced.

Feature 2 - Under cabinet lighting can provide soft light

under cabinets kitchen lighting
  • Most types of under cabinet light fixtures are concealed and never seen.
  • When the installation is done carefully the wiring is not visible and they are controlled by their own switch.
  • Many styles of under cabinet lights are available that enable you to quickly and easily install these lights, plug the fixture wiring directly into any available countertop wall outlet, and control the light from its own switch.

Feature 3 - Lighting to enhance your kitchen countertops

kitchen counter top light fixtures
  • When you consider the benefits of countertop lighting, I think you will agree that adding these fixtures to your kitchen will produce a new look.
  • Under cabinet lights enhance granite and marble countertops, bringing out the rich beauty and depth of colors.

Feature 4 - Under cabinet fixtures will balance kitchen lighting

kitchen cabinet light fixture
  • The soft wall wash that is produced by under cabinet kitchen lights actually makes your kitchen seem larger and helps to create a clean appearance.
  • You may chose fluorescent, xenon or LED under cabinet lighting to give your kitchen the type of light you desire.

Feature 5 - Under cabinet lighting will help lighten up dark corners

dark counter top lighting
  • Best of all, under cabinet kitchen lights are great for brightening up any dark corner or dark shadow areas of your kitchen countertop.
  • Not only will the addition of these under cabinet lights make you feel better about your kitchen, they most likely will add value to your home as well.

Job notes for Cabinet Lighting Projects

Each under cabinet lighting installation will require investigating the access that is needed to install the required electrical wiring and light switches. Reviewing the installation and planning the locations of the fixtures will determine what wiring materials and labor will be involved.

NOTE: Each home electrical project requires careful planning. See our list of Helpful Low-Cost Home Project Guides: Home Electrical Project Guides

Electrical Codes that applies to Kitchen Wiring

Electrical Codes:
314.16 Electrical Junction Box Fill - The volume of electrical boxes shall be sufficient for the number of conductors, devices, and cable clamps contained within the box. Nonmetallic boxes are marked with their cubic inch capacity.

314.19 Wiring Methods - Junction boxes shall be installed so that the wiring contained in them can be rendered accessible without removing any part of the building.

NOTE: This is a partial list of electrical codes. Other codes may apply. Some codes may be updated.
See the Electrical Code area for more information: Home Electrical Codes

Installing Under Cabinet Lights

Electrical Tools
Electrical Materials
Large Straight-Slot Screw Driver
Medium Straight-Slot Screw Driver
Small Straight-Slot Screw Driver
Lineman's Pliers
Needle-Nose Pliers
Crimp Pliers
Wire Strippers
Sheath Knife
Black Electrical Tape
Red Electrical Tape
White Electrical Tape
Green Electrical Tape
Yellow Wire Connectors
Red Wire Connectors
Ground Crimps
Claw Hammer
Volt Tester
Felt Marker
The materials needed will depend upon the project requirements for your home.
Add-on fixture kits are available from most hardware stores.
Choose a brand that comes with all the necessary hardware for installation.

The electrical tools for each project may be different depending on the individual project requirements and the access to install electrical devices.
More about Electrical Tools

The electrical parts list will depend upon each individual project and the requirements to wire specific devices added to the project.
More about Electrical Parts

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Perfect for the Homeowner, Handyman,
Electrician and Building Inspector.

Methods of Home Electrical Wiring
Wiring Diagrams for Light Switches
Wiring 3-Way, 4-Way and Dimmer Switches
Installing Fluorescent Light Fixtures
How to Make Your Own Light Fixtures
....and much more.

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Questions about Under Cabinet Lighting

Xenon Lights

Lighting Lutron dimmers - How do I fix humming and dimming after installing dimmers?

I have 4 dimmers to the box, 1 controls 4 high hats which I believe are 40 watt bulbs each, the next controls 7 Xenon under cabinet lights, the next controls 25 feet of led rope light, and the next controls 4- 4 eyeballs that right now I think have the new swirl style energy savers (fluorescent?). What about the humming in the switch, is that part of the same problem?

Right away I'll say that yes the swirl lamps are most likely the ones that flicker because they are fluorescent, not made to dim unless stated. The hum could be possibly due to the size of the dimmer. Most start at 600 watts - count your lamps (times) watts - see what you get, you may need to size up your dimmer. Never take the dimmer to the max allowed, size them about 80% load for best performance. Also - some incandescent lamps will hum. This is due to the filament vibrating at certain levels of the dimmer setting, more at low settings. I'll look into the Xenon lights and the Rope Lights for issues.

NOTE: This question is based on a specific project.

Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

electrical parts

Residential Electrical Parts and Accessories

Light Switches

120volt Outlets

Circuit Breakers

Electrician Tools

Voltage Testers

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