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Xenon Under Cabinet Lights

Apr 19, 2008
Xenon under cabinet lights have an uncanny ability to render color with exquisite detail. They bring out the richness and depth of warm colors, and they make for an ideal lamping option for any under cabinet lighting application that requires a blend of task and decorative appeal.

Xenon cabinet lighting has become very popular due to the increasingly sophisticated detail we find in rooms that feature cabinets. The custom home industry has transformed ordinarily functional rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms into spacious, more heavily decorated areas. Marble and granite countertops have become very popular, and nothing renders the depths of dark blues and reds underneath a cabinet quite like xenon low voltage festoon lighting.

Interestingly, the origin of today's slim line and linear under the cabinet xenon fixtures lies in previous fluorescent undercabinet lighting fixtures. Fluorescents once dominated UC kitchen, workroom, and bathroom lighting as the preferred means of energy conscious lighting. They used magnetic ballasts as current regulators that controlled electrical flow to the lamps, and they paved the way in many respects for modern low voltage technology.

Fluorescent under cabinets still have their place in the industrial world today, but over the years, incandescent based technologies like halogen, incandescent, and xenon linear strip lights have replaced them in more aesthetically conscious environments.

Incandescent kitchen undercabinet lights produce a more steady distribution of light and emit less ultraviolet radiation. The light they produce is also very white, and it works very well when lighting cool color schemes. You see a lot of incandescents in corporate break rooms and smaller home kitchens where the color scheme is very basic and countertops tend to be off white or white in color.

Incandescent technology became very cost effective when low voltage transformers replaced the magnetic ballasts of previous fluorescent housings, rendering a 120V lamp a 12V power saving device.

Low voltage technology can extend incandescent bulb type up to 7,500 hours, minimizing replacement costs as well as electrical costs.

Xenon lights in cabinets are technically a form of incandescent lighting, although they are classified separately because they utilize a specific type of gas--xenon--to produce a superior level of light.

Halogens under cabinet lights, like xenon, are also very powerful and produce good color rendering. As far as cabinet lighting installation goes, they are fairly simple light source to mount.

They burn extremely hot, however, and they have a much shorter bulb life--only 2,000 hours maximum. Many people use them in small, ornately decorated bathrooms because they produce excellent decorative lighting that is also very bright. The lights are never on for very long, but when they are, they make wallpaper and decorations stand out and provide clear visibility for guests.

Using halogen low voltage light bulbs in today's large custom kitchens is not advised. When guests come over for dinner, kitchen lights may be on for several hours, or possibly all night. Extended use can overheat halogen lamps, consume a lot of power, and burn up bulb life very quickly.

In these instances, xenon under cabinet low voltage lights work much better due to their cooler burn temperatures and longer lamp life. Xenon under cabinet lights last between 5,000 to 10,000 hours--the longest of any bulb type next to LED--and, like incandescent, they can be rendered extremely cost effective when fitted with a low voltage transformer.

However, physically housing a transformer within the unit itself results in a bulkier unit much like the old fluorescent lights of the past. Such a fixture can only fit under the back of the cabinet and throw the light forward. Because xenon is so bright, light that shines forward shines directly into the eyes creating glare. It became necessary as technology evolved over time to look for a way to streamline the width of under cabinet fixtures so they could fit toward the front of the cabinet. This technology has also migrated to cove lighting applications.

Low voltage strip lighting manufacturers such as Phantom subsequently developed technology that allowed them to remove the low voltage transformer from the unit housing to a concealed, remote location. Under cabinet xenon, incandescent, and led strips can now be installed at the front of the cabinet, throwing the light backward away from the eyes and creating an evenly distributed "wash" of light over countertops and appliances.

Xenon low voltage under cabinet lighting strips by Phantom are some of the most advanced and streamlined fixtures on the market today. Custom-manufactured to exact cabinet dimensions, Phantom linear strips remain hidden from normal viewing angles and provide superior light distribution and glare reduction through patented lamping designs and glare shields found nowhere else in the world.
About the Author
Phantom Lighting is a manufacturer of high end lighting projectors and linear strip display lighting fixtures. Phantom operates throughout North, Central, and South America through a network of agent representatives. Visit http://www.phantomlighting.com/xenon_under_cabinet_lighting.htm and http://www.phantomlighting.com for more information.
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