Margot Hartford

Dimmers: Wall-mounted controls that take the place of light switches, enabling you to set a fixture at any level from a soft glow to a radiant brightness.

Fluorescent light: Steady, shadowless illumination produced when mercury vapor burning inside a tube is reradiated by a phosphor coating. Unrivaled for energy efficiency, fluorescent tubes last longer than incandescent bulbs. In some areas, general lighting for new kitchens must be fluorescent.

Incandescent light: The warm glow produced by a tungsten filament burning slowly in a glass bulb. The pear-shaped A bulb is the most familiar type.

Lamp: The industry term for a light bulb or tube used in a fixture, not the fixture itself.

Low-voltage lighting: Smaller, safer, and more energy-efficient than standard 120-volt systems, using a transformer to step down electrical current from 120V to 12 or 24 volts. Good for accent lighting, track fixtures, and recessed downlights, for either incandescent or halogen bulbs.

Quartz halogen light: A bright, white beam produced by a bulb containing halogen gas, excellent for task lighting, pinpoint accenting, and other dramatic effects. Halogen bulbs outshine incandescent sources and last dramatically longer. The down side: they can run very hot (less of a problem than in the past), are costly, and require special fixtures.

Xenon lights: Tiny, cooler-burning-spin-offs of halogen, with an extra-long life span. They’re naturals for strip lights, under-cabinet task fixtures, and recessed display lights as well as hard-to-reach built-in coves and soffits.

From Ideas for Great Kitchens

For more kitchen terms and ideas, purchase Ideas for Great Kitchens.

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