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Do It Yourself or Not: Add light under a cabinet

Gene and Katie Hamilton, Tribune Content Agency on

One of the nicest additions we made in our kitchen is a strip of under cabinet lights that makes preparing food safer and easier. As an inexpensive but highly worthwhile investment, the low-profile fixtures come in strips easily installed in the shallow recess on the bottom of cabinets and they plug into a wall receptacle.

The light these surface-mounted fixtures provide makes chopping and cutting chores safer and reading fine print recipes easier. They work nicely in the evening as a night light to provide just enough lighting for safe footing without using overhead fixtures.

To install three 14-inch surface-mounted fixtures near a wall or backsplash receptacle, an electrician will charge $453, which includes labor and material. A handy homeowner can buy and install them for $110 and save 76%.

When choosing strip lighting, look for fixtures with ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), which detect a shock hazard in the electrical power and turn it off. In fact, check your receptacle and replace it with a GFCI device if it doesn’t have that protection. You’ll find under-cabinet fixtures with compact fluorescent bulbs sold online and at hardware stores and home centers. If there’s no receptacle nearby to power the lights, it’ll cost considerably more to have an electrician run a new power line.

Pro Cost: $453 — DIY Cost: $110
Pro time: 3.1 — DIY Time: 4.0
DIY Savings: $343 — Percent Saved: 76%



To find more DIY and contractor project costs and to post comments and questions, visit www.diyornot.com.

©2021 Gene and Katie Hamilton. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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