Jun 072013
 
Basement Drop Ceilings 300x225 How To Install Recessed Lights In A Drop Ceiling

Image via BasmentDropCeilings.com

A drop ceiling is a very common feature in offices, basements, theaters, and schools. It’s made from a metal grid and “tiles” or “panels” hung below the structural ceiling. Also known as a secondary ceiling, suspended ceiling, T-bar ceiling, or false ceiling, it most often conceals air ducts or pipes for a clean look in a previously unfinished area. Often, these ceilings feature recessed can lights – a sleek option to illuminate a space without diminishing any headroom.

Whether you’re building a brand new drop ceiling complete with recessed cans, or adding them to an existing ceiling, you’ll need to accommodate some special electrical and structural needs with your installation.

Follow these steps to add recessed lights to your drop ceiling:

1. Find the right lights.

Heat is your biggest concern when choosing recessed lights for your ceiling. If a light generates too much heat, especially around plastic surfaced or fiberglass panels, it can create a fire hazard. LED recessed light fixtures run cooler than other light sources, so they’re generally your best option. You should also choose lights with adjustable mounting arms, or heavy duty clips that can attach to support wires or bars above the ceiling.

2. Layout your lights.

Use graph paper to make a scale drawing of your room, so you can plan where each light should go. You should space them out according to your ceiling height, any focal points that you want to add, and how bright you want your room’s ambient light to be. For more detailed advice on how to layout your recessed lights, check out this blog post: How To Layout Recessed Lighting in 4 Easy Steps.

3. Establish supports.

Drop ceilings are too delicate to support the weight of recessed lights on their own. Also, as your structure settles and shifts, the drop ceiling will move. Install extra wire supports over the tile to help hold the lights – one wire for each of the four corners of the tile. Using support bars or blocks with an additional frame that rests on the ceiling grid will work too. Make sure you can mount the light so it’s flush with the face of the tile. For more info on using wire supports, check out this article from eHow. For more on support bars and frames, read this article from Armstrong World Industries. Continue reading »

Jun 052013
 

Today’s infographic breaks down the essential facts about energy efficiency. It explains why energy efficiency is so important, and goes into detail about how wasting energy can harm the environment. Then, after convincing you that conserving power is a good idea, it offers a comprehensive guide to help you start saving more energy at home, assessing the efficacy of your appliances, insulation, and of course, your lighting.

I especially like this infographic for the Incandescent/CFL/LED comparison chart at the very bottom. Good stuff!

Save The World By Saving Energy Infographic infographicsmania A Guide To Energy Efficiency [Infographic]

Continue reading »

May 202013
 

rope light coil 300x300 How To Use Outdoor Rope Lights
Summer is just around the corner. If you’re one who enjoys long nights under the stars, you’re probably already thinking of way to spice up your deck, patio, or yard for the season.

To add a little no-fuss accent light to your space, you may want to try a few strings of LED outdoor rope lights. They’re flexible and weatherproof, and they come in 6 different lengths and 2 different color temperatures.

Here are some of the many ways you can use rope lights to liven up your yard for summer:

  • Highlight a deck or porch by wrapping lights around the handrail.
rope lights around handrail via Apartment Therapy How To Use Outdoor Rope Lights

Image via ApartmentTherapy.com

  • Use rope lights for safety, lining steps and garden pathways with the bright LEDs. Continue reading »
May 132013
 

step lights 300x199 How To Use Step Lights In Indoor Spaces
For a little more impact in a home’s foyer, or a little more safety in a dark basement, step lighting can help.

This blog post will help you learn how to light an indoor staircase, what lights you should choose for your project and how to install them.

Let’s get started!

First, decide where you want your lights to go…

On the step.

For a subtle accent on each step, you can install recessed lights within the riser (vertical) or the tread (horizontal) portion of the step. Your stairs will get a little more impact, but the lights won’t alter the overall brightness of the room very much. Tread lighting will give steps a runway-like appeal, while riser lighting will typically illuminate the center region of the stairs. If you choose to install your lights here, you’ll need to cut portions of the steps to set and hardwire the lights. We recommend you consult with a professional electrician before setting off to work.

Beside the step.

Another popular step lighting option that adds a little more brightness to the room’s overall light level is wall lighting. Here, you would install your step lights on the wall right next to your staircase, so the lights would cast beams directly down onto the step. Since you don’t have to worry about mounting these lights on the surface of the step, you have a little more artistic freedom – the lights don’t have to be flush with the wall, and they can be a little flashier if you choose. We recommend installing 1 light every 3 steps or so, but you can play with this number depending on how bright you want your staircase to be. Continue reading »

May 102013
 

Edge LitLEDEXITSign1 Prepare Your Emergency Plans! Check Those Exit Sign Batteries

My lights have already gone out once this spring, thanks to a lovely, unexpected North Carolina thunderstorm. Lucky for me, I live in an apartment with small rooms and large windows. During the day, electric lights don’t make that much of a difference.

However, if you’re charged managing a large shopping mall, school, theater, or office, your power outage protocol isn’t nearly as simple.

When the lights go out, it’s up to you to ensure the people’s safety.

Are you prepared?

Most importantly, you’ve got to maintain functional exit signs, because they might be the only thing during an outage that stands between order and panic. When the power goes out, your lighted exit signs will too, unless they have functional backup batteries.

We suggest you make it a goal to inspect the exit sign batteries around your establishment at least once every three months. Most exit signs have convenient “push to test buttons” that let you do this in a matter of seconds.

What if the battery isn’t working? Continue reading »

Apr 092013
 

Bookshelf lighting 220x300 How To Make Your Museum Lighting More Energy Efficient
We’re teaching how to go green and save energy with the lights in every space we can think of!

The right lighting is essential for any museum. Each exhibit needs a lighting scheme that will preserve the artistic, historical, or scientific integrity of the articles on display. And it just has to look good too.

If you’ve already landed on a lighting scheme that works for your museum, you’re probably apprehensive to change it, even if you could save money.

Good news: Upgrading your museum lighting is easier than you might think. There are a ton of small, barely noticeable changes you can make to your museum lighting that will save you energy. Also, newer energy-efficient lighting options may actually provide more versatile, higher quality light for your displays.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Small Changes:  

1. Guide Lights

If you have dark areas in your museum – night simulations or moody displays – you’ll always need small guide lights to keep your visitors safe and comfortable. These are things like step lights along staircases and rope lights along pathways or handrails. These lights will never add to or take away from the integrity of your display. They’re just there. So why not save a little energy with them?

The most energy-efficient step lights and guide lights you can find on the market are probably LEDs. They’ll last much longer than older incandescent lights and most fluorescent lights, and they’ll produce the same brightness while only using a fraction of the energy.

2. Exit Signs

Exit signs are necessary features in any museum, but it’s not necessary that you use a lot of energy to operate them. A good LED exit sign only costs $2 to operate every year. Compare that to the $39 it costs to run a single incandescent exit sign. The LED will pay for itself within a year!

If you’re even more ambitious about saving energy, you can opt for photoluminescent exit signs. They’re made with a special material that absorbs ambient light and emits it when the lights go dark. No maintenance or electricity required. Continue reading »

Apr 052013
 

Puck Lights PALPX 300x191 How To Install Recessed Puck Lights In 8 Easy Steps
Recessed puck lights are a simple, attractive light source for task lighting and accent lighting. If you’re ready to use puck lights to illuminate your cabinets or shelves, just follow these tips to create the perfect lighting scheme!

1. Pick Your Pucks.

Do you prefer plug-in, hard-wire, or battery operated lights? LED, xenon, or fluorescent? Low voltage or line voltage? What color temperature works best with your decor? You can browse our full selection of puck lights here.

2. Decide How Many Puck Lights You’ll Need. 

This will depend on how you want to use them. For even under cabinet lighting or bookshelf lighting, use one light for every 6-10 inches of space. For display lighting, position one light above every item you wish to showcase.

3. Determine How To Place Your Lights. 

For even lighting, follow the 6-10 inch rule. We recommend you install the lights closer to the front of the cabinets or shelves. This will provide the brightest illumination, especially important for task lighting. For accent lighting, the placement is more arbitrary. What makes your display look best?

4. Test Them Out.

Before you whip out the power tools, test out your placement by taping the puck lights in place. You can even turn them on to see how the final lighting scheme will appear. Make adjustments as you see fit. When you’re happy with what you see, take a pencil and trace each light. Continue reading »

Apr 042013
 

Freestanding Wall Washer Feature 220x300 How To Make A Sign Stand Out: Wall Washing Lights
Choosing new lights for your business?

When lighting signs, facades, displays, or landscape features, you should keep in mind that quality lighting can say a lot about you.

No matter how much time, energy, and funding you put into designing the perfect look for your company – the exact color red for your logo, or that perfect slogan to display out front – the wrong lighting will make it look cheap.

You want lights that won’t distort your colors. You want lights that are trustworthy; that won’t flicker or burn out quickly. You want to stand out!

After much searching, we’ve found just the thing: LED Wall Washing Lights.

Each of our new wall washing lights will bathe your displays in up to 2,600 lumens of flattering, neutral white light that can project up to 65 feet. They use minimal wattage (ranging from 21.6 – 64.8 watts, depending on the fixture), and every one of our LEDs has an impressive 60,000-hour rated life. All our fixtures are simple to install, with their own cords and grounded plugs. When it comes to beautiful, reliable lights, you can’t do better. Continue reading »

Apr 022013
 

stock photo foyer How To Make Your Hotel Lighting More Energy Efficient
This post is part of a series on energy-efficient lighting.

So you’re looking for ways to cut down on energy use in your hotel, inn, or resort. A few efficient changes to your lighting can make a big difference in the number that turns up on your monthly bill. Here are 4 simple ideas to get the ball rolling…

1. Go LED when you can.

A well lit hotel puts guests at ease. Bright inviting lights make a space seem clean, cared for, and trustworthy. You don’t have anything to hide. So, when trying to save energy with your lights, you don’t want to sacrifice any ambiance. That’s why LEDs are perfect for you.

LED light bulbs produce more light for the amount of energy they use – about twice as much as a CFL, one of the most popular light sources on today’s market. So, you’ll never have to lose light for the sake of saving energy.

White Accent Ceiling Lighting in a Lobby 680x1024 How To Make Your Hotel Lighting More Energy Efficient

When it comes to light quality, you can also count on LEDs. LED light bulbs and light fixtures come in an array of color temperatures – cool to warm, with excellent color rendering capabilities. If you haven’t tried an LED in recent years, you might be surprised at how pleasant the light appears.

Take some time to audit the lights you use throughout your hotel. Here’s a list of some lights you can easily switch to LED: Continue reading »

Mar 222013
 

Whether you’re planning for a retail display, or remodeling the recessed lights in your kitchen, you need to know how to determine your light bulb’s beam width.

When it comes to reflector lamps (Rs, MRs, ERs, BRs, and PARs), you can choose between spotlights and floodlights. Spot beams are less than 45 degrees wide, and flood beams can be up to 120 degrees wide. This infographic will tell you how to use each kind of light bulb. You’ll also learn how to find the width of a light beam from any given distance away.

infographic beam spread How To Find A Lights Beam Width   Infographic
Continue reading »

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