By Gene and Katie Hamilton
A kitchen doesn’t need to be totally remodeled to make it more functional. As an inexpensive but highly worthwhile investment, consider adding under-cabinet lighting to make working at countertops safer and easier. The low-profile fixtures come in strips and are easy to install in the shallow recess on the bottom of cabinets; 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 to provide just enough lighting for safe footing without using overhead fixtures.
An electrician will charge $233 to install three 14-inch surface-mounted fixtures near a wall or backsplash receptacle, which includes labor and material. You can buy them and do it yourself for $80 and save 65 percent. Make sure you choose 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. Under-cabinet fixtures with compact fluorescent bulbs are sold 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.
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Here's a Buyer's Guide from Pegasus Lighting Under Cabinet Lighting.
Wrapping up, given the average cost to install under cabinet lights you can compare the price of a contractor’s bid with doing it yourself. For a local cost input your ZIP Code.
Cost updated 2019
The cost and time data is generated by averaging labor and material data from annually updated cost books used by contractors and refined by the authors'
experience remodeling 13 houses. They are authors of 20 home improvement books and Do It Yourself or Not, a weekly column syndicated by Tribune Content
Agency. The national cost can be adjusted by ZIP Code.