How can I warm up the LED can light tone in my office?
November 7, 2014 11:24 AM   Subscribe

Our office building is in the process of switching over to all-LED lighting. Our recessed can lights were recently swapped and it's causing a lot of grief- will we just get used to it over time or can I buy some warming filters that won't melt or look like yellow/orange/red dots all over our ceiling? I have only found theatrical lighting sources online so far. Help!
posted by Lilbetty19 to Shopping (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
No specific suggestions (though I'd love to find a cheap way to do this for fluorescent fixtures), but LED's don't generate heat, so no concerns about melting.
posted by grateful at 11:32 AM on November 7, 2014

LED's do generate heat and can burn out if used in sealed enclosures, which adding filters may turn them into. I wouldn't recommend it, unless the lights are rated for sealed usage.

Purchasing a warmer colored LED is the proper answer, but that would require swapping all the bulbs.
posted by TheAdamist at 12:17 PM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

LED's do generate heat

This is technically true but it's very low compared to incandescent heat and should, in theory, be even lower than florescents since they are more efficient. I wouldn't be afraid to put a gel near it if you leave a little breathing room.

But, as TheAdamist points out, the right answer is to get LEDs that are a different color. They will never be quite the same as incandescents, but in my experience some are actually quite close - much better than CFLs. You want to literally search for a different "color temperature" - paradoxically the warmer colors are towards the lower end of the spectrum. There are lots on, for instance, Amazon; here is a totally arbitrary example. Before you buy anything, you should read reviews about which ones actually seem to have warm white light.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 12:39 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yes, if not all the fittings have been purchased yet, stop, and re specify the colour temperature. You are looking for warm white (3000k or nearby). On top of that pay attention to the colour rendering index or CRI. That gives you some indication of how normal colours will look, get something from low 80's on up.

If that is no help then a sheet of colour correction gel from Lee or Rosco is probably your cheapest option, if you've found theatre supplies you've probably already found them. It won't look like little dots of colour, correctly chosen and you won't be able to tell.

If you give details of the fittings you have here I or someone else can probably pick a sheet number for you. I still have a swatch book or two around.
posted by deadwax at 12:45 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm sure you'll warm to them. A weekend away and you'll have forgotten the old colours.
posted by scruss at 3:03 PM on November 7, 2014

You'll get used to them for the most part. Several months ago I replaced incandescents with LEDs in my 3-bulb bedroom ceiling fixture. At first I was unhappy with the harsher, bluer light (I don't know the color temperature offhand). Now I'm only mildly annoyed by it, and don't really notice it all that much.
posted by bennett being thrown at 3:55 PM on November 7, 2014

I have found that hanging large carpets or paintings on the walls that have warmer tones may soften up the harshness of the reflected light and help somewhat. I did this in an office with all white walls and it was less painful to work there.
posted by mecran01 at 8:00 PM on November 7, 2014

Are you allowed to get a desk lamp? If so, get one with an incandescent bulb; it's reddish light will help balance the blue-white glare of the LED's.
posted by mbarryf at 5:38 AM on November 8, 2014

Let me introduce you to my friend Rosco 99 pretty much every skin tone looks good under chocolate and it will warm up your cool LEDs and florescents. Any local theatrical dealer will have it or order it to be shipped.
posted by Uncle at 8:21 AM on November 8, 2014

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