Lighting Your Nursery

lighting-your-nursery

For most expectant parents one of the most important things about the pregnancy is buckling down and designing the nursery. After all, this is where you will be bringing your child home to for the very first time, and where they will spend a large chunk of their time for the next several months to years. If you are in the midst of designing your nursery, it is possible you’ve forgotten one important details; the lighting. Don’t fret though; many expectant parents focus on decorating their child’s room and filling it with appropriate furniture, but completely forget about lighting. So, now is the perfect time to rectify the situation, as lighting is an extremely important aspect of your child’s nursery.

Why are Lights Important?

The lighting in your nursery is important for several reasons. First, it can effect your child’s ability to sleep, and strong lighting may hurt their eyes, as they will spend much of their first months lying on their backs staring into the lights. Glare and strong glows can be harmful to a newborn, so picking soft lights is your best bet.

Experts also note that soft, layered lighting can be an easy and effective way to acclimate your baby to the dark, and to get through baby-oriented tasks safely and happily. Lighting is very much a cornerstone of every well-designed nursery.

Picking the Right Lighting

Now that you know how important lighting is, you are probably wondering how to pick the correct lighting solution for your needs. Experts all seem to agree that soft, layered lighting is best for a newborn and young baby. Start with LED bulbs in both overhead lighting and task-oriented lighting. Not only do these lights cast a soft glow, but the spectrum is more natural. The bulbs also refrain from heating up, which prevents the possibility of burn injuries.

Where Should Lighting be Situated?

Most experts agree that overhead lighting is a good starting point. Overhead lighting is away from the child, and creates a softer more manageable glow. Overhead lighting also removes the possibility of choking hazards, which lights situated too close to a child’s crib creates. LED bulbs can be purchased for existing overhead lights, or you can install a new lighting fixture to fit the needs and theme of your child’s nursery.

Once you have overhead lighting all figured out, experts suggest picking task oriented lighting, as well. A task lamp situated next to a rocking chair makes the space multifunctional. You can use the space to put your child to sleep, or use it for story time and breastfeeding. A floor lamp or desk lamp that is powered by an LED bulb is best. Not only are these bulbs more energy efficient, but they also do not heat up like traditional bulbs, preventing potential burns and injury.

Finally, you’ll want to utilize a nightlight. Often thought of as a lighting solution for slightly older children afraid of the dark, the soft glow of a nightlight can be reassuring to babies, too. It will also help you complete baby-related tasks at night without turning on stronger lights, which can make it more difficult to get you and your child back to sleep.

Now that you have the 411 on the lighting needs of a nursery finishing up the decorating process should be a breeze. Remember, proper lighting is about more than simply setting a mood or ambiance. It is an easy and effective way to keep your child safe and happy during their first few months. These tips and facts should make your shopping experience a bit easier.

What Exactly Do UL Ratings Mean?

Generally, lighting and other electrical items come in various designs based on their operational requirements. Purchasing these electric lighting equipment for your home or business is not that a challenging task. However, doing so will still require a little education on your part.

If you are familiar with the lighting items present in your home or business, you could be familiar with the UL rating on a light bulb. Have you ever asked yourself what does it mean in the first place? What role does it play towards a person’s choice when it comes to light source preference? Knowing the basics of the UL ratings will provide you an idea on which type of lighting item is best for a specific location. Knowing what a UL rating is all about can also help you maintain the safety of your home and establishment.

Overview of UL Ratings

The UL in UL Ratings stands for Underwriters Laboratories. It is an international organization that was established to cater to the safety of different businesses and services. One of their primary tasks it to issues safety certification to businesses for the welfare of the business and the consumer.

Underwriters Laboratories is an independent company that strives to establish specific sets of rules and regulations with regards to certain products. Some of these products include beverage, food, wireless communication, etc. However, you need to know that not all lamps and lighting items that are sold in the market are UL certified. Nonetheless, Underwriters Laboratories makes sure that they establish strict standards for compliance and comprehensive product testing with the lighting industry. This is to ensure that all products are safe and provide the best energy efficiency possible.

UL Rated for Dry Locations

Lamps or any other lighting equipment that are not UL rated means that they can be used in dry locations, specifically indoors. They are known for their natural energy efficiency. You can usually find the UL rating information on the container or the box of the lighting equipment when you first purchased it. Typically, you will see under the UL listing saying either “yes” or “no.” A “yes” means that the lamp can be installed on dry locations. If the lighting was not yet tested by Underwriters Laboratories then you will likely see a “no” under the UL listing.

Any lighting equipment that is considered UL listed should not be overly exposed to wet location. However, a slight contact with little water does not pose any serious threat to the equipment. Also, it is crucial that there is proper ventilation in the area to make sure to prevent accumulation of pressure. Lamps that are UL rated can be installed in dry locations like the hallway; living room and dining room.

UL Rated for Damp Locations

Always bear in mind that you cannot use a dry location lamp since they can be easily damaged. These lighting equipment are labeled as “Suitable for Damp Locations.” This type of lighting is ideal for locations that are usually humid. These are areas are usually saturated with water such as the bathroom and stove.

Lighting equipment that is UL listed for damp locations can be used both indoors and outdoors. For example, you can make use a damp lamp inside your sauna room because these are areas are usually humid and the lights can still keep out of the water’s reach. It is highly advised that you can use these lamps by installing water safe fixtures. Although they are listed as suitable for damp locations, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can submerged them into the water. By installing a water safe fixture, you can protect your lighting from any form of water damage. If you only want the best energy efficiency for this UL rated lighting then make sure that you take good care of it.

As previously mentioned, you can use damp lamps outside your home.  You can have it installed in your patio or porch as long as the area is covered. Always remember that you keep them away from direct contact with water such as rainwater.

UL Rated for Wet Locations

Lamps that can be used for wet locations have the label “Suitable for Wet Locations.” These types of lighting equipment can withstand being subjected water or other types of liquids. These types of lighting go through comprehensive tests to ensure that they are durable enough to endure intense amount of wetness.

Since they are deemed as suitable for any wet location, they can be used both indoors and outdoors. You can also make use of them in lieu of damp location lamps. You can usually find them installed on outdoor walls, gazebos, enclosed showers and air decks.

Conclusion

These are just some of the information that you need to know about UL ratings. This will help you identify which type of lamp goes to which location. This will keep you and your home safe and let you choose which light source provides better energy efficiency. Just bear all these information in mind and you are good to go.

 

Making the Switch to LED lighting

making-the-switch-to-led-lighting

LED (light-emitting diode) lights have a number of benefits over traditional, incandescent lights. In terms of energy efficiency and lifespan, LED lights really shine. Did you know, though, that LED lights are also lower voltage, more durable and much cheaper over their entire lifespan than incandescent lights?

Savings with LED Lights 

Let’s face it – incandescent light bulbs have been a tremendous drain on peoples’ utility bills for decades.

Since incandescent bulbs unhelpfully convert most of the energy that goes into them into heat rather than light, incandescents can be very inefficient (and expensive). In fact, homeowners spend on average 30 percent of their electricity bill on lighting alone.

Enter LED lights. It’s been estimated that some LED lights can last years and give homeowners back in massive savings over the same period. The US Department of Energy even estimates that LED lights can last up to 25 times longer than halogen incandescents.

The US Department of Energy also says that LED lights only use one-fourth the amount of energy that incandescent bulbs do. This means that LED lights are also more energy efficient compared to old-fashioned incandescent bulbs.

When you consider how efficient, durable and ultimately cost-saving LED lights are, the evidence really starts to pile up in LED’s favor.

Incandescent Vs. LED Bulbs 

Since LED lights are much more energy efficient and durable over their lifespan than incandescent bulbs, LED lights save users money over the long term.

How much money? The average price for a kilowatt hour of electricity in the United States is approximately eleven cents. The thinking goes that if you use one thousand watts over an hour, you would end up paying eleven cents, on average.

So, how does this relate back to the incandescent versus LED argument. Simply put, incandescent lights use around 60 watts whereas an average LED light uses just under 10 watts. The higher energy efficiency of the LED means cost savings for homeowners.

The Numbers Are In: LEDs The Winner 

Just consider that the monthly watt expenditure of lighting the average home is 3,000 watts with an army of incandescent bulbs whereas a home lit with LED lights runs under 500 watts monthly.

Doing the calculations and inputing the average cost of electricity in the US and the energy efficiency of both incandescent and LED bulbs, switching to LED lights could save homeowners an average of forty dollars per month.

This number takes into account the fact that LED lights turn much more energy into usable light – whereas incandescents squander a lot of energy turning energy into heat.

LED lights are also more resilient over their lifespan as well, which means that LEDs quickly pay for themselves in durability and long-term energy efficiency.

Use Lighting to Create the Perfect Mood

use-lighting-to-create-the-perfect-moodA great way to set different moods in different parts of the house is to use LED lighting. LEDs are cordless, come in many different colors and light intensities, and are extremely energy and cost efficient. Avoid the long cords of traditional lamps. Often times, you are overpaying on your electric bill if you only use incandescent bulbs in your home. Mix in some LED lights, which use a fraction of the energy traditional light bulbs use and are much brighter, and watch your energy usage drop every month. With LED lights, you can light your home effectively and set different moods in different rooms while saving money on your electric bill. It’s a win-win-win.

Fine Dining.  Spruce up your next dinner party or romantic dinner with LED lights on your dining table. Get a glass cover and slip LED lights underneath it to dazzle your guests and dates. LED lights can have their brightness controlled. Set the lights under the glass covering to a soft glow, and you’ll find yourself in a magical restaurant with food and atmosphere just for you. Simulate candle light without worrying about fire hazards or messy wax. Turn your dining room table into a magical spectacle of light.

Set the Mood Outdoors.  Light the path to your outdoor paradise with LED lighting in the back yard. Again, lights out on the patio or along your beautiful walkway can make it seem like you’ve transported yourself to a candle-lit Spanish villa. Soft lighting in the walkways can make your back yard safer without adding bright, ugly flood lights. You and your guests can still see where they’re going without lighting up the whole neighborhood to do it. A warm, yellow-orange glow in your backyard can add a sense of romance while being safe and energy efficient.

Lighted Seating.  Have a home theater? Light the way to your seats with strips along the floor or add to the movie theater effect by adding LED lights to the seats themselves. The right amount of light can cast a warm, inviting feeling in your private theater. If your theater is your favorite chair, consider LED lights on its arms or legs to set the room aglow for movie night in your living room. Have fun with the colors. Set a soft red for horror movies, or a softer golden light for romantic comedies.

Basic Lighting Tips.  LED lights are great for setting the mood in various rooms, and saving some money while you’re at it. They give you a great freedom in the color and style of the lights and can add both flair and somberness to any room for any occasion.

When you are decorating your interior, think about the lighting effects and what each room will likely be used for. The living room, for example, will likely be used to watch TV or movies, so the lighting should be low and the décor relatively simple, usually. For living rooms with some more flair, consider LED lights in different colors that accentuate the daring decorations you have placed there. The lighting should go along with the items of decoration in every room. In addition to providing light to the interior of your home, LED lights can be decorations themselves. Use them to bring out the life in any room of the house. Lighting is a key piece of the ambiance of a space, so make use of all the lighting options you can. LED lights can be great options, but think about chandeliers, old-style lamps, and bright, decorative overhead lights that add to the ambiance and décor.

Tips for Hanging Christmas Lights on Your House

tips-for-hanging-christmas-lights-on-your-houseWith the holiday season upon us, it is time to get your home ready to spread the cheer. One way to do this is by hanging Christmas lights up on the exterior of your home. However, before you get started, consider these tips that will make setting up more enjoyable and help ensure your home is considered a neighborhood showplace instead of an eyesore.

Make a Plan

Instead of grabbing a bunch of lights and “winging it” with your design, you need to come up with a plan. Consider the style of your home because you will want to avoid a garish design and go with one that compliments your house and landscape. For example, whether you have a one-story ranch or Victorian-style home, a classic look can be had by running string lights along the roofline and outlining other architectural features of your house.

If you have never decorated your home with lights before, consider how the other homes in your neighborhood are decorated for a general feel to avoid clashing styles, Be careful not steal someone else’s design. No one wants to be known as the “Griswold Family Christmas” house on the block either. If you belong to a homeowners’ association, be sure to stay within the guidelines for holiday decorations to avoid problems with your neighbors.

How Many Lights Do You Need?

Should you go with white or multicolored lights? Miniature or C9 light strings or icicles? There are so many types of lights in which to choose. Measure the length of where you are placing your lights to determine how many strands you will need. The most important thing is to make sure you have enough lights to achieve the look you are going for. With all the types of LED Christmas light now available, you can hang multiple sets of lights without having to worry about an extravagant electric bill come January.

An easy way to calculate how many string lights you will need for your trees or shrubs is to measure the height of the area you are decorating, divide by 1.5 and then multiply by 100. Using this formula, a 6-foot tree will need 400 lights. One of the easiest ways to decorate your shrubs is by using net lights.

Safety First!

You will need to have a suitable power source to supply power to your lights. It is best to use an outlet that is equipped with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). In the event of overcurrent, this type of outlet will shut the power down to prevent blown circuits or sparking wires. Be sure to use extension cords that are rated for outdoor use and tape them down securely if you must run them across walkways. Remember to turn your lights off when you are not home or installing a timer to turn them off at the end of the evening.

Before hanging your lights, make sure to inspect them for frayed wires, missing or damaged bulbs, and most importantly, plug them in to make sure they light up. Dispose of any damaged light sets to prevent a fire or shock hazard.

Once you are ready to hang your lights, make sure you are using a sturdy ladder. Only use insulated holders or clips made specifically for hanging lights. Never use nails, tacks, or staples. There is a variety of plastic light clips on the market for almost every type of light including rope lights, C9s, and miniatures that will not damage your home.

Once you are done, it is time to sit back and enjoy the show!

Mood Lighting in Your Bathroom

mood-lighting-in-your-bathroomOne place which doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves when it comes to mood lighting concepts is the bathroom. We all spend at least a little time each day in the bathroom and this may be the place where setting the proper mood is pivotal. When you’re in there you don’t want any distractions, you don’t want to feel as though you are under some fluorescent nightmare, and you generally want to walk out of the bathroom looking your best.  Here are some ways to create a relaxing mood in the bathroom with some lighting concepts.

Overhead: The first thing you should do to set a proper mood in your bathroom is get rid of the overhead lights. If you have a fan that’s connected to the switch for the light and you want to continue to use that you can actually take the bulbs out so that you don’t need to be bothered with that upsetting overhead light.

Puck Lights: One of the best ways to create a mood in a room is to isolate the light. Puck lighting lets you do just that. Puck lights create a small spotlight that you can use to really set a mood in the shower, at the sink or over the toilet. Puck lights are a great light to use late at night when you have to escape to the bathroom but you don’t want to wake the rest of the house.

Sconces: Another great way to add mood lighting to your bathroom is to use wall sconces at various points along your wall. Sconces can be set with bulbs of different strength and they can really just be positioned almost anywhere that you want along your wall. As long as you can get power to it, your sconce can set exactly the mood you are interested in.

Floor Lamps: To really get the mood set in your bathroom some people even go as far as having floor lamps set up in the room. You can get floor lamps which have got a short boxy feel so that the light is all kept around the source. You can also get floor lamps which point up at the ceiling to help cast light all over the place. Whatever type of mood it is you are interested in setting you can pretty well get that accomplished with a floor lamp.

Any of these style of lamps can really help set the mood in any room in your home. Bathroom mood should be relaxing whether you are taking a bath, exfoliating your face, or anything else. You want your bathroom to be a calm and soothing place. Switching out the harsh overhead lights you currently have for something a little more ambient may be just the thing your bathroom needs!

8 Ways to Use LED Lights this Halloween

8 ways-to-use-led-lights-this-halloween

BOO! Ready to give your trick or treaters a bit of a fright? Try these 8 creative and fun ways to use LED lights this Halloween and see if you can’t add a little more trick into your treats.

Pumpkins

Everyone carves a mean looking pumpkin, but you can add in all kinds of special effects, too, with a few strategically placed LED tea lights. Carve your pumpkin, then take your neon Frankenstein green lights and accentuate the carving with some back lighting.

Spirit jugs

Save up your milk jugs for a few weeks, as many as you need to line your walkway or to set out on an apartment balcony. Take a marker and draw some super spooky faces on the side opposite the handle. Then take some white or orange and black LED lights and fill each of the jugs. Line them up for a spooky entrance-way.

Lanterns

If you have trees or other places to hang lanterns, then create your own using plastic cups and different colors of LED lights. Take a marker and draw spooky faces on your cups. Or, if you are a little more ambitious, add in some cutouts for special effects. Cut wholes in the top and string them on a LED with green wire to create an eerie mood.

Scary eyeballs

You will have fun making this display and even more fun watching children’s reactions when they realize what they are when they arrive at your door. Buy some ping pong balls, you’ll need two dozen, and take a Christmas string of LED lights, long enough to frame your front door. Take your Sharpies and draw eyeballs, with veins on each of the balls. Then make wholes on the bottom to put in the LED light and hang up your eyeballs around your door frame.

Babies heads

This might be super creepy, but the effect is chilling and absolutely Halloween. Just like spirit jugs, take some plastic doll’s heads and do not add any additional design elements. Simply stick the tea lights in side and they will be weird and fun.

Stick figures

Either attached to your little trick or treaters, or on frames to stand in your yard, you can make skeleton outlines easily with led lights. All you need is  two long sets of white LED lights that can be sewn into a black shirt/coat and pants or attached to sticks. Make your skeletons even more scary in your yard with a light skull on top.

Different colors, different vibes

The best reason to use LED lights is that you can create different moods with different light colors. Try using all purple lights because of the eerie glow it creates. Your trick or treaters will feel like they are in a graveyard during a fool moon. If you use yellow or orange, you can get the feeling of danger or fire.

Blinking lights

Use blinking LED lights as special effects around your home to give the feeling of a haunted house and danger ahead. Hang them down in rows like walking through heavy blankets and your trick or treaters will scream with delight.

With LED lights you can create creepy and exciting decorations, yet save money on your electricity bill. How are you using LED lights this Halloween?

The 10 Benefits of LED Light

the-10-benefits-of-led-lightLED (light-emitting diode) lights are definitely coming in vogue and taking the place of incandescents. Why? Compared to incandescent bulbs, LED lights are more versatile in that they come in an array of colors and brightnesses. LED lights are also more cost-efficient and seen as a more environmentally-conscious choice.

Energy Saving 

LED lights are said to last 25 times longer than traditional, incandescent bulbs. In fact, LED lights only use one-fourth the energy of incandescents, according to the US Department of Energy. LED lights also avoid leaching any energy from your power supply when not in use.

Versatility of Use 

Mainly due to the cost-efficiency and ease of use of applying LED lights in residential and commercial applications, LED lights can be used for ambient lighting around your garden, garage, place of work, kitchen or bedroom. LED lights are so versatile, in part, because they are directional and come in a variety of luminosities. A hanging light in the kitchen outfitted with a cooler, mellow LED definitely works!

Budget-Friendly Mood Lighting 

LED lights can be purchased in a string of hundreds of tiny LED lights that go great in the den or bedroom. The tininess of these LED lights belies their strength – these lights can literally last a generation or more and many are guaranteed by the manufacturer for five years or more. Just plug the string of LED lights into a standard wall outlet and enjoy mellow, warm lighting.

Immediate Results 

Especially compared to CFL lights, which can take some time to get going, the full brightness of an LED light is seen within seconds of flipping the switch. LED lights also remain cool even after hours of use. This is why LED lights go great on walls or otherwise unaccommodating places – there’s never any serious risk of overheating or quick burnouts.

Choose a Color, Any Color 

Incandescents are in some ways one trick ponies – you know you’re bound for a one-dimensional, yellow hue when you ring up an incandescent. LED lights, on the other hand, come in a variety of color temperatures. If you want a cooler color temperature (say, blue) for the den, then LED lights can make that happen. If you want a warmer LED light (say, a shiny white) to string across the bathroom walls, then that’s also possible with LEDs.

Constant Over Time 

You can think of a regular lightbulb as a battery that wanes in its output over time. LED lights, though, give you the same light over their entire lifetime, which can be 10 years or more depending on whether the LED is EnergyStar-certified. It’s really a no-brainer – if you’re looking for a constant light source tailored to your color and size specifications, then LED lights are the way to go.

A Brief History of LED Light

a-brief-history-of-led-lightThe humble LED light, it doesn’t look like a revolutionary bent on world conquest. But that is exactly what these tiny multi-color lights have accomplished. From its  humble beginning, LED lighting has  changed our world in some remarkable ways.

Just a few years ago the LED light only lived inside electronic devices. Now light-emitting diodes are everywhere. You will find them in your car headlights, on holiday decorations and providing long lasting, cheap lighting in your home and office. Let’s explore the journey these little lights have taken to become an integral part of our lives and see what their future may be.

An Accidental Discovery

The LED came about as the result of one of those unexpected accidents in that up new and better ways to get things done. During early sixties researchers competition was fierce to develop solid state laser technology. Researchers Bob Biard and Gary Pittman began to try using semiconductors and p-n junctions as a means to control lasers. Discovering when they tested the device, they examined it with an infrared detector. Shining brightly, the LED made its very first, accidental, appearance in the fall of 1961.

A Better Way

In the beginning, Edison said “Let there be light.” Then some folks started to wonder if there might not be a better way. Electronics manufacturers had a problem with incandescent indicator lights; they just did not work very well. Fragile, dim and hot, the little bulbs just did not last long.

The year was 1962 and the man with a better way, GE engineer Nick Holonyak. He built the very first  light emitting diode that emitted visible light and inadvertently revolutionized the future of lighting. Those early LED lights only emitted infrared or colored light but the stage was set for bigger things. By the 1990s, LEDs could emit visible white light and saw use in a wide range of applications. Now technology for flat screen television and a host of hand-held devices employ LED technology.

Better and Cheaper

The earliest LED lights sold were expensive. Patented by Texas Instruments, they cost over a hundred dollars apiece. IBM bought the infrared LEDs to use in computer  punch card readers as a replacement for short lived tungsten incandescent bulbs. By the 1970s the cost of LED lights had dropped dramatically as manufacturers found more uses for the little lights.

By the 1990s, the cost of LED light fell to around ten cents per lumen from the ten dollars per lumen average in the late seventies. New innovations and applications for LED technology are bringing costs down and making LED light better and more efficient. Just as the LED revolutionized lighting and electronics, new technology promises to put display screens anywhere with organic LED light.

OLEDs or organic light-emitting diodes are extremely thin and can be shaped in different ways easily. Light weight, extremely thin and using minuscule amounts of energy, an OLED display can be as small as a cell phone display or as large as a wall for advertising or entertainment purposes.

LED technology has come a long way since its birth in the sixties. The future is brighter because LEDs are lighting the way.