Aug 122013
 

As much as some good task lighting and a ceiling full of recessed cans will make a room come alive, there’s nothing like airy, natural light. You can change your home’s color, its style, and even its structure, but when it comes to the amount of sun you get, you can rarely change much. How much natural light you home receives depends on so many different factors both in and outside of your house – the direction your home faces, the topography and structures around, the number of windows you have – these can be costly or just impossible to fix.

So, when you’re on the market for a new house, be sure to consider the lighting potential of any dwelling – lest you end up with a dungeon, or an oven.

Here are some questions to keep in mind when scoping out a new property:

1. Which way does the house face?

Normally, south-facing homes get sun at the front of the house, and for most of the day. They tend to be brighter and warmer. A house that faces north gets light at the back and is cooler and darker. This may be especially important to note depending on your climate. When it’s cool most of the year, you may want a house that’s naturally a little warmer, if it’s warm for most of the year, you may prefer a house that doesn’t make you cook.

Also be sure to take a look around your property and note what could potentially affect your light. Does your house face an open field, or another row of houses? Are you at the base of a hill that will cast a shadow for most of the day, or at the top, almost always exposed to sunlight? These factors will influence the brightness in your home, and also the temperature.

bigstock modern house in the night 15661763 Seeing the Light: How Much Sun Will Your New House Get?

2. How and when will you use the rooms? Continue reading »

Aug 092013
 

Transformer 2 How Many Lights Can I Connect To My Transformer?When 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.  Continue reading »

Aug 072013
 

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:

WhoLeftTheLights Who Left The Lights On? (An Infographic)

Thanks to Lutron for creating this infographic! Continue reading »

Aug 052013
 

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.

Stock Photo Wall Washing How To Save A Boring Room (With Light!)

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 How To Save A Boring Room (With Light!)

Continue reading »

Aug 022013
 

bigstock LED 257x300 How Do LEDs Work?These days, LEDs are everywhere. With their impressive energy efficiency, extra long rated lives, and extraordinary versatility, they’re the lighting world’s new champion.

While it’s pretty easy to figure out what these lights can do, it’s harder to learn how they do it. If you’ve been wondering how exactly LEDs pull it off, just sit back and let this post “illuminate” you.

If you take a look at a single light emitting diode, you’ll notice that it resembles a tiny light bulb. BUT the similarities stop there. LEDs don’t have filaments like regular incandescent lights. Electrons moving across a semiconductor material cause them to create light. To understand this process, you first need to understand the LED’s components:

  • A diode is the simplest kind of semiconductor, which is a material that can conduct electricity. For LED lights, the conductor material is most often aluminum-gallium-arsenide (AlGaAs).
  • To make the semiconductor more conductive, you add atoms of another material, a process called doping. These atoms charge the conductor’s balance, either adding free electrons or providing holes for them to enter.
  • A semiconductor that has extraneous electrons zipping around is called N-type material for its surplus of negatively charges particles. Electrons here proceed from negatively to positively charged materials.
  • A semiconductor full of extra holes is called P-type material. It has, in essence, extra positively charged particles. Here, electrons can hop from one hole to the next, from a negatively charged area to a positive one.
  • A diode needs both N-type and P-type material bonded together, with electrodes on either end. When you connect the N-type side to the negative end of a circuit, and the P-type side to the positive end, the electrons move towards the P-type area. The holes move in the opposite direction, away from the P-type, towards the N-type.
Jul 312013
 

You look up. Movement. What is this? It looks like your fluorescent lights have come alive! They’re swirling and spiraling, like each one has an angry snake inside. This is no good. The light level in your room isn’t even. The fixtures flicker, annoyingly, and your eyes start to feel overworked and tired.

While this problem sounds pretty bizarre, it’s not uncommon for fluorescent tube lights to have swirls, spirals, or striations. Check out this YouTube video featuring a swirling fluorescent:

Surprisingly, this is just an undesirable visual condition – it rarely indicates anything terribly wrong with your lights, and often times it will go away on it’s own. To make your lights calm down and stop swirling, here are a few things you can try:

1. If your lights are new, and they just started acting this way, give them some time to adjust. Try turning them on and off a few times at 30 minute intervals. If the swirling persists, keep the lights on continuously for 24-48 hours, allowing them to season properly in their new surroundings.

2. Monitor the temperature around the lights, because excessive cold can also cause fluorescent lights to behave this way. For indoor lights, make sure your air conditioning and fans aren’t blowing cold air directly on them. For outdoor lights exposed to cold air, verify your ballast is rated for conditions below 50°F. If it’s not, upgrade to one that is.  Continue reading »

Jul 292013
 

Want to know what has been happening in the lighting world this month? Today’s blog post has the highlights.

Lighting News…

1. Ann Makosinski, a Canadian teen, has invented a thermoelectric flashlight that uses body heat to power a bright LED. The device is hollow, and harvests heat from the user’s hand to function. Makosinski explains in this video:

Read more about the flashlight here.

2. Miami-based Energy Saving Solutions USA will be the first lighting company to offer an LED light with a lifetime guarantee, according to their founder & CEO Peter Stein in this press release. With the launch of these Forever LEDs drawing near, ESS is already feeling the demand. Who’s first on the list to get these miracle light bulbs? Two Maxwell-Kates condominium buildings in New York City. It’s estimated the lights will save about $160,000 for Maxwell-Kates.

3. Every year, dozens jump to their deaths off the Mapo Bridge in Seoul, South Korea.  Cheil Worldwide decided to take on the issue by using motion sensing lights to convert the bridge into a friendly and hopeful place, lighting up messages like “How have you been?” and “Just go and see the person you miss” as pedestrians cross over. As a result, suicide rates on the bridge have gone down by 77%. Learn more in this video:

Read more about this light installation here.

4. The arrival of William and Kate’s new baby George got mixed attention from the media. Some couldn’t get enough of the hype, and some just didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. However, one thing we can all agree on was the very clever use of lights on the night after the new prince’s birth. Architainment Lighting went to work turning some of London’s most famous landmarks blue for the occasion. Read more about the lighting designs here.

Royalblu 381 lighting co uk Pegasus Lighting Roundup: Lighting In July

Image via Lighting.co.uk

Continue reading »

Jul 262013
 

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 6 Ways To Light A 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. Continue reading »

Jul 242013
 

When I talk to people about LED lights, the response is often the same: “That’s very exciting. LEDs are really cool. But they’re so expensive.” While you can say the prices of LEDs are going down, and you can promise that once you buy an LED it will save loads of energy, this doesn’t change the fact that many LED lights and light fixtures still cost a pretty penny.

But finally, LEDs are becoming less expensive. Today, you can buy a high quality LED A lamp for well under $50, and many kinds of LED fixtures for around that price as well. For today’s blog post, I’ve come up with a list of my 10 favorite LED task lights that cost less than 60 bucks each.  If you’ve never used an LED light fixture before, give one of these a whirl and I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

1. The LED Flexible Work Light – $29.90

LED Flexible Work Light 10 LED Task Lights Under $60

This handy utility light has a magnetic base and strong clamp to mount exactly where you need it. Its long flexible neck will fit in small places to provide bright light that can help you complete all kinds of tasks. Use it at the grill or in the garage, at a workbench or out on the road.

2. LED Straight Edge Linear Strip Light – $50.50

Linear LED Light Strip 10 LED Task Lights Under $60

Continue reading »

Jul 222013
 

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.

HGTV nursery 5 Tips For Great Nursery Lighting

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. Continue reading »