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Replace 60 W Incandescent bulb with 75 W LED in soffit

I have a 60 W incandescent bulb in a recessed light over my kitchen sink.  I need more light over the sink.  I purchased a CREE LED 75 W bulb at Home Depot.  The package states it outputs 1100 lumens and only uses 13.5 W.


I am concerned that the LED bulb may give off too much heat.  The old bulb is in a can in the soffit.  There is some rating info on the can but it is unreadable.  So let’s be conservative and assume that the can rating is 60 W max.  Is that a reasonable assumption?


Is it safe to replace the old incandescent bulb with the LED bulb?

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Posted 2014-01-30T22:35:05+0000  by joeT4 joeT4

The 75W LED works fine.  Thanks for all the input.

Best Answer

Posted 2014-02-04T14:31:19+0000  by joeT4

Hi JoeT4,


In the old days we equated watts with light output, the greater the wattage the brighter the light. Wattage is just the amount of power needed to operate the bulb at its maximum output.


The light intensity is rated in lumens, all light bulbs have a lumen rating.


Thus choose the LED bulb you want based on it's light output or lumens.


Your 60 watt incandescent bulb produced 800 lumens, while the new 75 watt rated LED will produce 1100 lumens, definitely a brighter light.


The LED is rated at 75 watts because the equivalent 75 watt incandescent bulb also puts out 1100 lumens. Yet the LED bulbs only requires 13 1/2 watts of power.


LEDs run cooler than incandescent bulbs, but they still produce heat.


LED bulbs have a heat sink at the base to transfer the heat away from the bulb. The heat is then transferred to the air through the fixture base.


The cans you have now are not designed for LED bulbs and will retain this heat, so make sure the LEDs you buy are rated for use in the fixtures you have.



Posted 2014-01-31T01:00:17+0000  by Mike_HD_OC



Thanks for your prompt response.


Just so that I am clear on this, I should only replace the existing bulb with a 60 W LED given the assumed 60 W rating of the can?  But then that gives the same lumen output as the incandescent, so I am back to square one.


What can I do/install to have more lumens? 

Posted 2014-01-31T15:12:20+0000  by joeT4

Hey joeT4,


Mike isn't in today, but I thought I'd chime in for your other question.


You are absolutely correct in replacing an existing bulb that would be no higher than 60 watts, which is something an LED bulb won't do.


In other words, as Mike stated earlier, the LED you want to install only consumes about 13.5 watts of power, but our eye sees it as a 60 watt incandescent equivalent.


This is why you can place an LED 60 watt or higher (like 75 watts) version in the fixture, since it won't produce anywhere near the heat or wattage consumption versus the incandescent or halogen counterparts.


Additionally, color temperature will give you a 'brighter' look without exceeding the wattage in your fixture. I prefer higher Kelvin (K) colors for areas where you really need a much cleaner light. Refer to the chart for more information; this is just as important as lumens/wattage for your lighting.

Color Temperature Chart for Light Bulbs



When you say your fixture is 'in the soffit', I'm assuming this is a recessed light correct? If it is, and you have an open trim on the fixture (no glass lens over it), I'd strongly recommend you use a reflector flood bulb instead of a standard A (pear-shaped) bulb.

This is done because the fixture forces the light down, so you'd want the bulb to match and do the same. A-shaped bulbs won't do that, and lots of light (and unwanted heat) are wasted. If the fixture opening is 5 or 6 inches in diameter, you have several new options in LED.


First, you can use a reflector (called a BR) in the proper shape of your fixture. Shown below, here is one that will work.

65W Equivalent Soft White (2700K) BR30 Dimmable LED Flood Light Bulb (4-Pack)


Another option you can do is use a retrofit trim kit that doubles as the light bulb and the trim. These are just as much in price, but you get the added bonus of having the trim. If you have a recessed light, this will work for them.


Best of all, all LED retrofit trims have a gasket seal of them, meaning no moisture will enter the housing.


We carry an ample selection online and in our store, available in 4, 5, and 6 inches.

65W Equivalent Soft White (2700K) 6 in. Mid-Range Dimmable LED Downlight (4-Pack)5 and 6 in. Recessed Matte White LED Retrofit Baffle and Trim Ring5 in. Recessed White Gimbal LED Trim


In short, disregard wattage equivalence and compare actual wattages. If the 75 watt equivalent bulb you want to install  are a reflector shape, it will work better than a standard A-shaped bulb.


Either way, almost every LED bulb you purchase will be substantially lower in wattage consumption, heat, and greater in overall life.


Let us know if you have any further questions,


Posted 2014-01-31T16:54:58+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

Hello joeT4.


In addition to Joseph_HD_ATL's excellent response, I would like to add a couple thoughts...


I see two choices in addition to the LED retrofit trim.


First you could use a higher output CFL floodlight bulb.  This would work as long as your expected usage did not involve frequent turning on and off of these lights.  CFL bulbs last if they are used for long stretches at a time.  The bulbs are made to withstand the heat of base-up installation in can lighting, and the, (reasonably assumed), 60 watt fixture rating would not be exceeded.  That rating is to protect the wiring of the fixture, not the bulb.  There are a number of higher lumen output floodlight bulbs in various sizes that could work here.


I talked to Marissa at Cree regarding about using an A19 style 75 watt equivalent LED inside a recessed can light.  The electronics of the bulb should withstand the heat generated by the bulb in a base-up can light installation, so the bulb you purchased should work in this application.  As Joseph pointed out though, the omnidirectional light output of a conventional style A19 bulb may not be as effective as you would like inside a can light.  I would just try it and see how you like it.  At the moment Cree does not produce a larger output LED floodlight than the 60/65 watt equivalent that you are currently using.


Just my 2 cents...

Let us know if we can be of further assistance.





Posted 2014-01-31T17:26:29+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI

OK.  Great info here.


This is how I read your comments:  I can use the 75W LED in my soffit over the sink.  If there is not enough light I go to plan B - whatever that is!

Posted 2014-01-31T18:24:26+0000  by joeT4
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