How Much Does It Cost to Install Recessed Lighting in Denver?

March 28, 2018

The cost to install recessed lights in the Denver area ranges from $150 to $450 per light.

Want to narrow in on what your specific price range might be?

Well, it all depends on 2 factors:

  1. The light fixture itself
  2. The labor required to install the light

Read on to determine how these 2 factors affect whether you’ll pay closer to the lower or higher end of the price range.

Cost factor #1: The light fixture(s) itself

When it comes to recessed lighting, you have several decisions to make if you plan on purchasing each light yourself:

  • Line-voltage vs low-voltage
  • IC (insulation contact) vs Non-IC (non-insulation contact)
  • New construction vs remodel

We know—that probably sounds like a bunch of gibberish. So, let’s take a look at what these choices mean and how they affect price.

Note: Sometimes it’s best to have your electrician provide these lights as they can get discounted prices on recessed lighting.

Line-voltage vs low-voltage

This option refers to the amount of electricity the lights require. The difference between the 2 is that:

  • Line-voltage lights use 120V but are cheaper to purchase
  • Low-voltage lights only use 12V but are more expensive to purchase

Our suggestion: If you’re willing to spend a bit more upfront, choose low-voltage lighting. Low-voltage lights last longer and cost less to operate, which means lower energy bills. They also produce warmer, more natural light that is brighter than line-voltage lighting. That means homeowners who choose low-voltage lights may be able to light a room using less recessed lights in total.

IC vs Non-IC lights

Here’s a visual of the difference in installation when it comes to IC fixtures vs non-IC fixtures.

But heads up: You may not have a choice when it comes to this option. We’ll explain...

IC fixtures (“Insulation Contact”):

  • Must be used if your recessed lights protrude into the wall or ceiling
  • Are not a fire hazard, even if exposed to insulation
  • Are more expensive than non-IC fixtures, especially if you choose ICAT fixtures (Insulation Contact Air Tight)—ICAT fixtures are often 2–3 times more expensive than non-IC fixtures but are airtight and prevent air leakage.

Non-IC fixtures (“Non-Insulation Contact”):

  • Can only be used in areas that do not have insulation within 3” of the light fixture
  • Are a fire hazard if they come into contact with insulation
  • Are cheaper to purchase

Our suggestion: Choose ICAT fixtures if possible. Although they’re more expensive to purchase, they’ll quickly pay for themselves via lower energy bills since they prevent air leakage. Sometimes they even pay for themselves in less than a year. Plus, they’re safer since they aren’t a fire hazard.

New construction vs remodel

“New construction” and “remodel” are names of the 2 different types of housing that the lightbulb will sit inside.

And you may not have a choice when it comes to this option either. That’s because:

  • You’ll want to use new construction housing if you have access to your ceiling from above (cheaper option).
  • You’ll want to use remodel housing if you don’t have access to your ceiling (more expensive option).

Our suggestion: Go with new construction housing whenever possible. These housings are cheaper and easier to install.

Cost factor #2: The labor required for installation

To get an idea of what you might pay for labor fees alone, consider the following questions:

  • What kind of accessibility will the electrician have?
  • Will the electrician need to install a new breaker?
  • Are you willing to pay for a high-quality electrician?

Let’s take a closer look at these 3 questions…

What kind of accessibility will the electrician have?

Take a look at the area where you’ll want recessed lights installed and see if you can determine the following:

  • Will the recessed lights be located in very high areas (i.e., vaulted or cathedral ceilings)? If so, this will increase your labor fee.
  • Will the electrician have to knock holes in walls to run wiring for the lights? If so, this will increase your labor fee.
  • How far will the electrician have to run wiring between the lights and the breaker box? The longer the distance, the higher the labor fee.
  • Will the electrician have access to the lights via the ceiling? If not, this will increase your labor fee.

Will the electrician need to install a new breaker?

If your electrician can’t tap into an existing light circuit to power your recessed lights, they’ll have to install a new AFCI breaker.

And installing a new AFCI breaker can cost an additional $160 to $260.

To learn more about AFCI breaker installations, check out our blog, “How Much Does It Cost to Install an AFCI Breaker?”.

Are you willing to pay for a high-quality electrician?

If not, you’ll likely save a few bucks on installation. But you’ll also pay more in the long-term.

You see, low-quality electricians come with lower prices. But they also come with less experience and skill, which means they’re more likely to cut corners on electrical installations, which results in:

  • Higher energy bills
  • Fire hazards
  • Poor lighting
  • Frequent repairs
  • Bulbs that burn out quicker than they should

Our suggestion: Don’t say no to electrical companies who offer higher installation fees.

Instead, get several quotes but ultimately go with a company who:

  • Is licensed and insured by the state of Colorado
  • Is experienced in recessed lighting installations but also lighting design
  • Has been in business for at least 10 years
  • Can offer 2–3 referrals of past customers
  • Offers a solid warranty on their work

Need help from a Colorado Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, or Electrical Specialist? 

For your convenience, you can request an appointment in one of two ways:

  • Call us at (303) 436-2525 for immediate assistance.
  • Click on the button below to schedule your appointment online.


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