Posted on November 26th, 2013 in category "Uncategorized"
Holiday Lights – Safety First
Posted on November 20th, 2013 in category "Tips"
Many of us will be hanging Holiday lights this weekend; the season is upon us! Sometimes we get busy and forget to put safety first, here are a few do’s and don’ts:
Do – throw away those old lights and replace them with LED. LED Holiday lights use a fraction of the energy, they are cool to the touch, they will outlast the old incandescent lights and they have great intense color.
Do – make sure the lights are rated for outdoor use when installing outdoors.
Do – use only outdoor rated extension cords.
Do – plug the lights into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet or use extension cords with a GFCI on the cord.
Do – use plastic hooks instead of metal, staples or nails.
Do – tuck cords away out of the reach of children and small pets. Avoid running cords under carpets.
Don’t – connect too many strings of lights together. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Don’t – plug one plug strip into another. Plugs strips are not approved to be joined together.
Don’t – leave the lights up over 90-days. Holiday lights are approved for temporary installations only.
Do – Have a wonderful and safe Holiday season!
LED Tips & Traps
Posted on November 14th, 2013 in category "Tips"
Isn’t it wonderful that everyone wants to jump on the LED train? As we go down this track to new frontiers we are learning a few tips and traps along the way. We thought it important to share those with you before you make a large investment and find the train isn’t going to your destination.
Things to consider before purchasing LED A19 or LED PAR Medium Base Lamps:
- Read the package including the fine print!
- Is it the correct light bulb for your application?
- Will it physically fit into your fixture?
- Is the light bulb recommended (or approved) for use in enclosed fixtures?
- Is the light bulb approved for use in recessed down lights?
- Is it dimmable? What type of dimmer is recommended?
- Is it the right color temperature for your application? For comparison; traditional incandescent is 2700K and halogen is 3000K.
- Is the lumen output high enough for your application? For comparison; a traditional 100W incandescent was 1500 lumens, 75W was 1100 lumens and a 60W is 650 lumens.
- Is the CRI (color rendering index) right for you? CRI helps you see the color of the object, the higher the CRI the more true colors will appear. For comparison; daylight is 100CRI (the highest on the scale) and incandescent was very close on the CRI scale. Fluorescent is in the 70 to 85CRI range and most LEDs offered are in the 80CRI range.
- Does it have an Energy Star Rating or a Lighting Facts label? One or both will be required for any energy rebate programs. Be sure they are listed on the program in your area.
A few additional things to consider when purchasing LED Low Voltage MR16 lamps:
- Read the package including the fine print! If the information is not there, go to the manufacturer website or contact them to ask your questions.
- Will the lamp physically fit into your fixture?
- Does the fixture allow for heat escape out the back? Most low voltage track heads with an enclosed back are not approved for LED MR16 lamps.
- Is the lamp compatible with your existing low voltage transformer?
- If installing it in a low voltage track head – again, is the lamp compatible with the low voltage transformer? We are finding that they do NOT work in many existing low voltage track heads.
- If installing into a low voltage fixture that is on a system (such as monorail or cable) – again, is the lamp compatible with the low voltage transformer? We are finding that there are no problems with magnetic low voltage transformers, but that is not the case with electronic. The electronics in the transformer must be able to communicate with the electronics in the lamp.
- Is your low voltage transformer a “no load” one? When changing the lamps to LED, there may not be enough load on the transformer, especially the electronic ones (some require a 50% load).
- Is your low voltage transformer LED compatible? If it is an older one, that information may be hard to find.
- Is your dimmer LED compatible? If it is an older one, the dimmer may need to be updated.
- Does your low voltage dimmer have requirements or limitations of how many fixtures are required? Example: some dimmers will dim one LED lamp and others are requiring at least 3 LED lamps on the circuit.
- If the LED lamp is flickering or strobbing – something is not compatible.
A few things to consider before purchasing an LED Strip Light system:
- Be sure to purchase the entire system from the same manufacturer.
- Strip Lights can be different generations (referred to as GEN2, GEN3, etc.). This is important when selecting compatible LED drivers, dimmers and controllers for the system.
- Double check the voltage. Some Strip Lights are AC, some DC and some are AC/DC. Some are 12V and some are 24V. Again, this is important when selecting a compatible LED driver.
- Be sure the LED driver is dimmable and double check the driver’s dimmer requirements.
- If buying an RGB (color changing) system, again double check that the LED driver is compatible with the RGB controller or any other control devices that you might want.