If you have low ceilings and cannot spare the space for a hanging fixture, you should consider installing recessed fluorescent lighting. Unlike incandescent lighting, which consumes a great deal of energy for light, fluorescent lighting outputs the same amount of light for a fraction of the cost. This results in long term savings for you while also helping to ease the strain on energy producers and power grids.
In addition to this, recessed fluorescent lighting allows you to save space. In low ceiling, cramped spaces, this style of lighting now only ensures that you use your electricity wisely, but keeps hanging fixtures out of the way.
There are a few things that you need to keep in mind before you install recessed fluorescent lighting. First, fluorescent fixtures, unlike many incandescent fixtures, are only compatible with fluorescent tubes. Compact fluorescent lights that are compatible with incandescent fixtures will not work in your recessed fluorescent lighting fixtures. Unlike incandescent fixtures, fluorescent fixtures use two plugs for the ballast. In exchange, the fixture is able to output high quality light on a single tube for over 8000 hours. This is significantly higher than the standard incandescent bulb. After 8000 hours, the standard t8 fluorescent light will retain 90% of its original lighting capacity.
The true benefit to recessed fluorescent lighting is the energy savings and the infrequency in which the lights need to be replaced. While the installation costs are higher than incandescent fixtures, it does not take long for the fixture and lights to pay for themselves in the amount of money saved from converting from incandescent lights.
There is one disadvantage to recessed fluorescent lighting that you should be aware of before you do the installation. Many fluorescent lamps contain mercury, an element that can be poisonous to adults and children. If you intend on using fluorescent lamps in your home, it is important that you are careful with handling the tubes and dispose of them properly so that you are not exposed to any mercury. Not all fluorescent lights contain mercury. The ones that do are clearly labeled on the box and the lamp itself so you can be aware that they need to be handled carefully.
Older recessed fluorescent lighting fixtures are designed for t12 fluorescent lights which will be ceased being manufactured by the year 2010. T8 lamps are the replacement for t12 fixtures, and newer recessed fluorescent lighting will be designed for t8 lamps.