How Many Lights Can I Connect To My Transformer?

Transformer 2When operating low voltage lights, you need a transformer to convert your standard line voltage (120V or 277V) into low voltage (12V or 24V). This allows your lights to function properly. If you connect low voltage lights directly to line power, the higher voltage would cause them to burn out immediately. The transformer makes them compatible, sort of like a USB adapter for your iPhone.

To figure out how many lights you can power with a single transformer, look to the minimum and maximum wattage ratings. The transformer’s minimum wattage rating tells you the smallest number of watts it needs to power in order to work. The maximum wattage rating, as you probably guessed, indicates the largest total number of watts a transformer can handle.

There are two kinds of transformers you can use – electronic and magnetic. Electronic transformers are cooler, quieter, and more compact than magnetic transformers. But, electronic transformers can’t power more than 300 watts, while magnetic ones can power as much as 1,200 watts.

When using an electronic transformer, the total wattage of the light fixtures connected to the transformer should be less than or equal to the maximum wattage rating. For most magnetic transformers, the total wattage of the lights you connect shouldn’t be more than 80% of the maximum wattage rating. This is because the cheaper design of many magnetic transformers can cause additional power loss.  (more…)

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Who Left The Lights On? (An Infographic)

How many times have you left a room and forgotten to turn out the lights? How many times have your kids done it? Your partner? Your roommate?

According to a new survey from Lutron Electronics, about 90% of Americans admit that someone in their household has left the lights on by accident. Interestingly enough, this happens most often in the kitchen.

Check out this infographic to learn a little more about this bad habit:

WhoLeftTheLightsOn

Thanks to Lutron for creating this infographic! (more…)

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How To Save A Boring Room (With Light!)

So, your living space isn’t exactly Versailles. Even if the ceilings are low, windows are few and far between, and architecture leaves much to be desired, you can still transform your home into a bright, artful, and interesting space.

Just look to the light.

No matter how boring or boxy a room might be, lighting can always give it color, texture, and form. Here are some ways you can use lighting to turn a drab space into something really special:

1. Wash a wall with light.

Wall washing is a lighting technique that can add beauty and visual interest almost anywhere – it uses recessed cans with wall wash trims to evenly illuminate walls. This technique will call attention to texture on your walls, and will perfectly highlight wall hangings. Wall washing is especially helpful for smaller rooms – by emphasizing the vertical surfaces, your space will appear to expand. Check out this article to learn the details.

Wall Washing Lights

2. Get creative with accent lighting.

If your room is literally just a box, accent lighting will save you from the design doldrums. First, make sure you have light coming from different angles throughout your room – downlights, floor lamps, cabinet lights, desk lamps – this will give a boring, flat room more depth and dimension. Next, use accent lights to play up interesting objects in your room. For instance, a puck light used to highlight a small sculpture on your shelf can really play up the angles. Finally, consider colored accent lights for a surprising, unconventional impact.

Blue Indirect Lighting in a Kitchen 646

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6 Ways To Light A Wine Cellar

A wine cellar is more than just a place to stack and store your bottles. It’s about drama, hospitality, and convenience. The lights you choose to use in your wine cellar play a huge role in creating the right ambiance.

Here are a few ways you can use lighting to create the perfect wine cellar:

1. Low-heat light sources.

Incandescent and halogen light bulbs give off far too much heat to be used close to wine. Heat can easily damage your precious collection, so stick to the light sources that stay relatively cooler, like LEDs.

Rope Lights In Wine Cellar

2. Ceiling lights.

If you have floor-to-ceiling shelving to store your wine, you may want to illuminate them with LED downlights. You can install them on your ceiling with special wall washing trims to highlight the angles of your wine racks. Track lighting works great for this too. For more on wall washing, check out this article. You can also put these lights on a dimmer switch to control the light level in the room for different occasions. (more…)

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5 Tips For Great Nursery Lighting

Comfort and convenience – these should be your two main goals when creating a nursery lighting scheme. Babies are extra-sensitive to harsh lighting, so you should use lights that are gentle and calming to their young eyes. However, you still need enough light to perform necessary tasks quickly and easily.

Just follow these 5 lighting rules, and your nursery will be in ship-shape and ready for baby in no time:

1. Choose soft ceiling lights.

Image via HGTV.com
Image via HGTV.com

You never want bright, severe ceiling lights shining down into your baby’s eyes. Ideally, your overhead lighting should be shielded or diffused with a shade or cover. Hanging lights like pendants or chandeliers are probably your best choice for ambient lighting. If you have recessed lights or track lighting in your nursery, make sure none shine directly on the crib. (more…)

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How To Get More Out Of Your Recessed Cans

Pendant
It’s hard to brighten a room with minimal overhead lighting, but it’s not impossible.

The easiest way to get more light, and enhance the impact of your recessed cans is to convert them into hanging lights, or pendants.

So how can you make this happen?

First, choose your pendant lights based on where they’ll hang in your space. If you’re going to put them over a counter, kitchen island, or table, you can choose ones that will hang slightly lower. This will provide brighter task lighting without getting in the way. If you plan to install them in hallways or open areas, pick lights that will hang very close to the ceiling so they don’t eat up your headroom.

To install the pendant lights in your recessed cans, you’ll need the following:

  • Recessed light converter kit
  • Small vanity plate to cover the old recessed hole in your ceiling
  • Screwdriver
  • Painter’s tape
  • Ladder
  • Circuit tester

Before you begin, make sure your city doesn’t have any codes requiring a licensed electrician to perform the conversion. (more…)

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8 Ways To Use Step Lights (Photo Inspiration)

Step lighting can take any staircase from dangerous and dull to safe and stunning. Whether you’re lighting stairs in the foyer or the basement, up to the porch or down to the patio, step lights add that perfect finishing touch.

If you’re thinking of adding stair lighting to any set of steps in your home, you may wonder what kind will look the best. For this blog post, I’ve pulled together 8 of my favorite step lighting photos that illustrate just how many ways you can use these handy light fixtures.

In the end, I’m sure you’ll agree that these are stairs worth staring at:

1. Shrouded Brick Step Lights

LED Step Lights At Home

These warm LED lights create the perfect atmosphere for breezy summer evenings on the porch.

2. LED Step Lights With Lenses

LED Step Lights Indoors

These sleek staircase lights add a beautiful layer of light to this basement, while also acting as safety lighting. (more…)

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How To Install Recessed Lights In A Drop Ceiling

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. (more…)

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A Guide To Energy Efficiency [Infographic]

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!

Pegasus Lighting Energy Efficiency

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How To Use Outdoor Rope Lights

rope light coil
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.
Image via ApartmentTherapy.com
Image via ApartmentTherapy.com
  • Use rope lights for safety, lining steps and garden pathways with the bright LEDs. (more…)

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