Best Energy Efficient Clothes Dryer

If you’re ready to upgrade your clothes dryer you may have questions about energy efficiency. It’s really a matter of your priorities –  like environmental concerns, cost, or a little of both. If you are energy-conscious, you’re probably looking for the best energy efficient clothes dryer.

Expert Picks

Good Housekeeping’s 2019 pick of the best energy efficient clothes dryer (large capacity) was the Samsung 7.4 cubic foot gas dryer. It features: Energy Star certified, motion sensor to prevent over-drying, Eco-dry cycle that uses 25% less energy per load, and steam technology to reduce wrinkles and sanitize. Whirlpool’s 7 cubic foot electric dryer, with moisture sense and wrinkle shield is another popular pick.

Gas or Electric?

Another question you may have is whether a gas or electric powered dryer is more efficient? Energy Star says compact, ventless electric dryers with a heat pump are the most energy efficient. If you need a larger model for a family they won’t be your best pick. Instead, opt for a large capacity gas dryer. They are a little more expensive to purchase than their electric counterparts, but they are more efficient because it takes a lot of electricity to heat an electric dryer.  You’ll need to have a gas line, so remember to weigh the initial costs of installing a gas dryer.

Here is an easy way to compare the potential savings of using a gas powered dryer:
The average cost of drying 10 loads of laundry in an electric dryer is $3.60.
The average cost of drying 10 loads of laundry in a comparable gas dryer is $2.40.
If you have a family of four, this equates to a savings of about $65.00 per year.

Features

There are additional features to consider when purchasing a clothes dryer, because rarely is there a one-size-fits-all solution. Consider these.

Woman uses energy efficient clothes dryer

Size
Do you live in a small apartment? A stackable washer/ dryer combo may be the best option. Do you have a large family in a larger home? If so, a large capacity dryer would be better.

Stainless Steel Drums
Plastic drums damage easily and their roughened interior surfaces can damage clothes. You won’t have to worry about this with a stainless steel drum. Stainless are the most durable, but also more costly.

Vented or Ventless
Be sure you can vent exhaust outdoors. If not, a ventless dryer might be your only option. If you can cut a vent opening then you have your choice.

Heat Pump
This feature decreases drying time, is easier on your clothes, saves between 20 to 60 percent in energy costs – and is found only in ventless units.

Wool Cycle
If you have heat-sensitive clothes you may want a dryer that is Woolmark Apparel Care certified.

Sanitize Cycle
This is a high-temperature feature that is great for drying babies’ clothing. It’s also a great feature for people with allergies, skin sensitivities or impaired immune systems.

Moisture Sensor
This feature is definitely better for your clothes! Sensors detect moisture and shut off when clothes are dry.

Other Specialty Features
Features you may see offered include child locks, eco-dry for small loads, wrinkle guard, fast dry, steam refresh, and rack drying.

Are energy efficient appliances worth the cost?

Bottom line – they usually are worth the cost. Energy efficient appliances may be expensive, but they are usually worth the cost. But, in the long run, you’ll save money and also help the environment. When buying a new dryer, look for the models that have a higher Energy Factor (EF) rating and features like sensor technology, varying temperature cycles, and if time always seems to be an issue, you’ll probably want a model that features fast drying cycles over other perks. If you want to hold onto your dryer (and your clothes) for as long as possible, look for features like low-heat, moisture sensors, and reverse tumble.

Don’t overlook the possibility you may need to upgrade your circuits and outlets, and possibly install an exhaust fan, when installing your new clothes dryer. Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010 for expert assistance.

Installing Solar Panels – Pros and Cons

If you are looking for ways to be environmentally conscious, installing solar panels in your home might be a good start. While upfront costs may be high, using solar energy can be a way to save on energy expenses in the long run. Using solar power will lower your electricity bills, earn tax incentives and add value to your home because the panels are exempt from property taxes.

Consider these advantages of using solar energy when deciding if installing solar panels makes sense for you.

Energy independenceinfographic about how solar panels work

The sun is an infinite source of energy, unlike coal and natural gas, and solar panels can be installed practically anywhere. Using solar panels allows you to reduce dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels, leading to a more stable and predictable energy bill, especially during times when the demand for energy is high.

Reduced electricity bills

Over a 20-year period, you can save from $10,000 to $30,000, depending on where you live, electricity usage and the size of your home. Unlike paying traditional utility bills, paying off a solar panel system makes you money on the investment. You can also sell solar energy back to the grid, allowing you to earn while you save.

Federal and state tax benefits

The government will offer you benefits when you install solar panels in your home, potentially allowing you to claim 30 percent of the installation costs, with benefits that vary state to state.

Reduce your carbon footprint

Since solar energy generates power without giving off any dangerous emissions, the energy produced from solar panels is clean. It doesn’t emit greenhouse gases. For examples the average American home produces 14,920 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. A family who installs solar panels can reduce its carbon footprint by more than 3,000 pounds.

Longevity with little maintenance

With most systems lasting for more than years, solar panels and equipment require little maintenance. Additionally solar energy is always improving, so a panel you installed last year is even better today.

 

While there are many benefits to using solar power, there are also disadvantages to consider. Some disadvantages include:

Expensive initial costs

You will experience reduced electric bills when using solar panels, but there are initial costs for the equipment and installation. This could add up to more than $20,000. Also, any devices that you run on DC currents will be more expensive to power directly.

Inability to take it if you move

Once panels are installed it is nearly impossible to transport to another location. Even transferring PV solar panels is never advised. It would have to be  dismantled from your roof and retrofitted to your new property, most likely causing extensive damage.

Limitations based on your surroundings

The solar energy industry continues to grow, but most companies serve a particular geographic region or state. If you live in an area outside of a solar energy company’s coverage area, you’re out of luck. Additionally, if you live in a rural area and far away from your solar provider, you could have trouble reaching customer services when you need assistance.

Weather dependence

To power your solar panels you need the sun. If you live in a cloudy area or have days of storms, this will negatively impact how the system runs. If your region has a dark winter season, your system will likely be less productive at that time.

Inconvenience in areas with limited space

You will need a decent size space to install a solar system and have it run smoothly.  Solar panels might be inconvenient in inner cities and other areas with limited space. If your roof is small (less than about 100 square feet of roof for every 1 kW of panels) you might not have the space for all the solar panels that you need to power your house.

Advantages and disadvantages of installing solar panels seem to have a tradeoff. Solar panel technology isn’t perfect, but it is constantly improving. You’ll get a return on your investment, but it takes a while. Energy produced from solar panels is plentiful, clean and renewable, but the infrastructure that manufactures and delivers them leaves its own carbon footprint.

When you understand how solar panels work and what are the best panels for your home, you will need to talk to a solar energy company. Talk to them about what makes the most sense for your home and region.

If you’re looking for professional guidance about energy savings, contact Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

Dishwasher safe? Refer to this list

A dishwasher is one of the most-used and convenient appliances in any home. However, it may be too rough for some of your favorite kitchen items. So, if you’re wondering “Is it dishwasher safe?” then check out our list. Stay tuned to the end. We’ve also included many items most people wouldn’t think are dishwasher friendly! Did you know you can clean outlet covers, car mats, nail clippers and garden tools in there?

If you ever have doubts about washing a particular piece in the dishwasher, even if it’s generally considered dishwasher safe, check with the manufacturer.

In general, these items are dishwasher safe:

Crystal

You’ll still want to check the manufacturer’s recommendations. Some types of leaded crystal can etch over time.

Sterling silver or silver plated

You should not mix sterling silver or silver-plated silverware with stainless steel flatware. This can cause a reaction causing permanent pitting of the sterling.

China/ stoneware

Generally, okay. But, antique or hand-painted patterns may fade. You may also see gold-leaf patterns to discolor or fade.

Glass and stonewear are safe in the dishwasher

Glass

Glass is dishwasher-safe.

Aluminum

Aluminum is safe, but repeated exposure to high heat and detergents can affect the finish of anodized aluminum.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is safe.

Plastics

Plastics are safe. Place plastics in the top rack.

These items are generally considered not to be dishwasher safe:

  • Gold
  • Pewter, brass and bronze
  • “Good” knives
  • Crystal
  • Disposable aluminum
  • Disposable plastics
  • Bottles and cans
  • Cast iron
  • Hollow-handle knives
  • Tin
  • Wooden ware
  • Nonstick pans
  • Insulated mugs
  • Anything containing adhesives

Household Items

Surprisingly, some household items, as long as they don’t break the rules above, can also be cleaned in the dishwasher. These include fixtures, bathroom accessories, personal care items, sports items, car accessories, kids’ toys and garden tools.

  • Exhaust fan filters and covers
  • Kitchen sponges and brushes
  • Silicone oven mitts and trivets
  • Microwave turntables
  • Refrigerator shelves and bins
  • Light fixtures
  • Switch plates and outlet covers
  • HVAC vent grates
  • Desk accessories
  • Soap dishes and toothbrush holders
  • Rubber tub mats
  • Shower poofs, sponges and brushes
  • Hairbrushes and combs
  • Manicure and pedicure tools
  • Plastic toys and building blocks
  • Pacifiers and teething rings
  • Pet toys and food bowls
  • Collars and leashes – excluding leather
  • Shin guards
  • Mouth guards
  • Golf balls
  • Baseball caps – Purchase a form to help the cap hold its shape.
  • Garden tools
  • Flower pots
  • Grill grates
  • Rubber boots
  • Flip flops – Not for shoes with fabric cording or leather.
  • Keys – Remove electronic keys or openers.
  • Hubcaps
  • Rubber floor mats
  • Cup holders

Need professional help with your plumbing or electrical needs? Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

How to dispose of coffee grounds

You may have heard that putting coffee grounds down the sink (or garbage disposal) can clean and freshen the scent in the drain. While they won’t harm the garbage disposal, and they will help eliminate odors, grounds will accumulate in drains and pipes. This will lead to clogs, so it’s best to avoid. Your garbage disposal is not a trash can, and shouldn’t be treated that way. There are better ways to dispose of coffee grounds.

Why can’t coffee grounds go down the drain if food can?

Unlike most foods, coffee grounds clump together in water while many foods break down. Over time the grounds will build up and create clogs that don’t allow the drains to properly move water.

While we’re on the subject, other items that should go in the garbage and not in the sink include:

  • Starchy foods like potatoes, rice and pasta
  • Eggshells, fish skins, celery and banana peels
  • Grease, oil and fats
  • Anything that is not food! Never dispose of metal, wood, glass, and cigarette butts in the sink.

The rule of thumb is – when it doubt throw it out (in the trash).

When to call a professional

There are signs you need help with a clogged drain or glitchy garbage disposal; they include:

  • Food particles in the sink after the dishwasher has run
  • Slow draining water
  • A gurgling noise coming from the drain
  • Water backing up
  • Odor of rotting food coming up from the sink

Better ways to dispose of coffee grounds

So, if you can’t flush your grounds, are there things you can do to make the most of this waste? Yes!

Other ways to dispose of coffee grounds include:coffee grounds being scooped into a potted plant

  • Garden – They are a nice fertilizer for your garden if you have a green thumb. Plants benefit from coffee grounds. And even if you do not have a full compost, grounds will work by themselves. In addition to providing nutrients, grounds spread in your garden repel insects such as slugs and ants.
  • Indoor house plants – The same goes for indoor plants!
  • Exfoliate skin – You can scrub away dead cells from your skin when you mix used coffee grounds with coconut oil.
  • Cleaner hair – Take a handful of grounds and massage them through your head and rinse. This will clean out built-up remains from styling products.
  • Absorb food odor – An opened container of coffee grounds may also help to absorb stinky smell from a refrigerator, in the same way baking soda works.

Need help from a professional? Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

Installing a Hot Tub

Unwind, soak your muscles, decrease stress and relax – all in your own hot tub! Spending time in a hot tub is a great way to unwind. You can soak to soothe your mind and body, spend time and reconnect with your family, and even get some great health benefits, too. Soaking regularly may even improve your sleep. Installing a hot tub is not difficult, but you need to check your homeowners’ association rules and local zoning laws. Once you have all the requirements, just follow these steps to create your own spa setting right in your backyard.

Follow these five easy steps for installing a hot tub:

1. Find a location.

Hot tub on patio

Choosing the best location to install your hot tub is the most essential step. Try to envision your new oasis in your yard. Take into consideration neighbors, traffic flow, and anything that may disrupt a peace time. Also consider these questions:

  • How will you move the tub off the delivery truck to the location you selected? Will you need tools, more manpower or even a crane? Be sure to plan ahead so you don’t end up spending unnecessarily.
  • Do you want your hot tub in the shade or in the afternoon sun?
  • If privacy is an issue, do you need a fence or gazebo? If you are in the sun do you want to block it out with an awning?
  • Are you creating a space to be a focal point or do you prefer privacy in a quiet corner of your yard?

Remember, your space will need:

  • Easy access via a walkway from the house. You won’t want grass, dirt or sand in the tub.
  • Flat, firm ground or surface.
  • Easy access to a water source and a dedicated GCFI electrical circuit for power.
  • An area that doesn’t collect leaves, limbs or excess rainwater.
  • A space that is at least 10 feet away from overhead trees and power lines.

2. Select a foundation to build on

It’s not advised to install a hot tub directly on the ground. When the tub is filled with water the weight may cause the tub to shift and become uneven. If you are installing on an existing deck be sure of the weight limits and strength of the foundation. A concrete slab is a good long-term choice. If you are pouring a new slab be sure the concrete is fully dried before installing the tub. You can also use a foundation of paver stones, gravel or hot tub pad. Just make sure that the ground underneath is on hard-packed dirt and that materials are level.

3. Use upgraded, dedicated electrical outlets

Check that the electrical system you are using can safely power the unit. A lot of electricity is used when running heating components and pumps. Installing the hot tub circuit and GCFI outlet should only be done by a licensed electrician.

4. Place the tub in the desired position

Orienting your hot tub on the foundation is a crucial step. Steps or entry ladders should be placed away from obstacles. Make sure the tub is in a position that provides quick, easy access to control panels. You will also need plenty of room to easily remove the cover. If you have children, add safety measures locks on covers or alarm

5. Just add water!

Once your tub is in place, follow manufacturer instructions to begin operating. Turn off electricity that powers the tub at the circuit breaker. Check that the drain valve is closed, the filters are in place and that the tub is clean by using a non-foaming cleanser. Use the garden hose to fill the tub with cold, clean water. to the fill line. Once filled to the fill line, check for leaks. When you are certain everything is holding up properly, turn on power at the breaker. You’ll then set the controls for the unit and treat the water with chemicals. About eight hours later the water will be warm and ready to enjoy!

Don’t be afraid to call the professionals at Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010 for expert assistance.

Can COVID-19 spread through plumbing?

We are all aware of the basic guidelines to follow during the COVID-19 pandemic. Maintain six feet of distance between others. Stay home as much as possible. Practice excellent hygiene like washing hands frequently. But, are there other ways the virus might spread that we don’t fully understand? Could COVID-19 spread through plumbing?

According to the Center for Disease Control, it is possible that coronaviruses can be transmitted through the sewage system, affecting tenants and plumbers. But the current science on COVID-19 shows so far that the risk of the virus transmitting through the plumbing is very low.

Precautions

Nonetheless, if you’re in an apartment building or other multi-tenant dwelling and you want to take extra precautions with your plumbing, here’s a list of tips to prevent COVID-19 transmission through your pipes:

  • Be sure to schedule routine plumbing inspections as they are key to finding problems that could spread the coronavirus or any other virus.
  • Keep bathroom fixtures and surfaces clean. Disinfect with an antiviral non-toxic solution.
  • Cover and fix any issues with the septic tank.
  • If you have an overflowing toilet quickly handle it to avoid fecal contact. Eliminate any standing water immediately.
  • Dry pipes may have an odor. Be aware of any foul odors coming from a drain that may signal dry pipes.

Solid Waste

When it comes to how COVID-19 might spread through your plumbing, solid waste is the main issue you want to be aware of, not water. The odds of airborne transmission through sewage pipes is low. Poop may be a problem.

There is some science that supports the fact that coronavirus can be transmitted through contact with infected feces. While it is believed the virus can be spread in stool, many factors are still unknown. Scientists don’t know how much of the virus is shed from the body through stool and whether the virus in stool is infectious.Wash hands to prevent spread of COVID-19

It is widely accepted that COVID-19 is mainly transmitted orally. Droplets spread the virus through sneezing or coughing. The poop theory is weaker, meaning there may have to be fecal-oral transmission. To mitigate this possibility wash your hands after using the bathroom. So if there were disease particles on the toilet it would have to make it to your mouth. This would not be possible if you are thoroughly washing your hands.

Water

There have also been concerns from Americans about water transmission. At this time it is not believed to be possible to get COVID-19 from a hot tub or pool. Treated and chlorinated water eliminates disease and therefore the possibility of water being affected.

When it comes to plumbing, the bottom line – the way to keep coronavirus out of your pipes is consistent plumbing maintenance and excellent personal hygiene.

Routine plumbing inspections can be done at minimal time and cost, but people often find this a chore and overlook the importance of it. However, in pandemic conditions we should not be complacent. Just be sure your plumber wears protective gear and takes personal hygienic precautions that are in line with the CDC’s measures to stop the spread. For professional plumbing assistance, Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

Do I need a water softener?

What’s the difference in soft water and hard water? Are both kinds of water safe? Do I need a water softener?

Talking about water in these terms can be confusing. The terms certainly aren’t descriptive enough to know what they mean and what to do about them! But, if you have hard water, you may be having issues that need to be addressed for the longer term condition of your home.

What causes hard water?

In route to your home, water can pick up sediments and minerals that can wreck your appliances with build up over time. If this is a problem you have, you may want to install a water softener. Having hard water is very common, only about 15% of households have soft water flowing without being treated. And having hard water is actually more expensive than using a softener.

Why get a water softener?

The reason to address hard water isn’t necessarily about your health. It’s more dangerous for your plumbing appliances than anything. Water that has a higher level of minerals and sediment in it, including calcium and magnesium, can become a problem by collecting in the pipes, drains, and on faucets. If those deposits build up they can restrict water flow or permanently damage plumbing. If limescale solidifies in your pipes, you will need replacements, which are far more expensive than just a good cleaning. In this case, the use of a water softener can control the situation much more easily and cost-effectively.

How do water softeners work?

Water softeners are systems that help each tap and faucet as part of your plumbing system. They eliminate mineral contents and also protects your pipes. Softeners have benefits like delivering better tasting, cleaner water that is also easier on your clothes and dishes. You may notice your shampoo and soap don’t lather like they should. Maybe you’ve noticed stiff fabrics and discoloration of clothing coming out of the wash. Freshly cleaned dishes are spotty and grimy. Or maybe your food doesn’t taste quite right. These are all signs that hard water are the culprit. You probably need a water softener.

Call a professional

If the sound of a water softener in your home appeals to you, call a professional. Don’t try to install one on your own. You want to make sure the installation is done correctly and without problems that can lead to damages to plumbing. A DIY water softener install can end up costing you far more, so let a professional plumber help you get softer water that will treat your pipes better. Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010 for assistance.

Your HVAC System can help allergies

Spring has brought April showers, the hope of beautiful May flowers – and allergy season!  The air can get really bad for people who suffer from seasonal allergies, but believe it or not your HVAC system can help allergies and bring some relief.It’s not expensive or difficult to get your HVAC in shape for this tricky time of year, and it just takes a few steps and considerations.

Put in a new air filter

The air that circulates through your home has to first go through your air filter. We recommend that you change the filter at least twice a year, and if you have pets, you may want to change it more often. You want to make sure there is a new filter in before furnace season and again before you use the air conditioning. If the filter is dirty it can’t catch dust, so the air you’re breathing in your home will be dirty and unhealthy. A new, clean filter will catch dust and any particles that can bother allergies.

Talk to your technician about using a MERV filterAllergy season sign

Sometimes a regular filter is not enough protection for allergy sufferers. If this is the case in your home ask your HVAC technician about using a Maximum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) filter. They are designed to catch even more than dust and some air pollutants. Depending on the rating of the filter, they can catch dander, pollen and other allergens. The higher the rating, the more pollutants they can filter.

Consider a UV air purifier

To create the cleanest indoor air possible, consider using a UV light solution. These types of purifiers can reduce bacteria, mold, and other allergens in the air. These filters work by providing a second cleaning after treated air is pushed through the air filter. It will also remove unwanted odors from the air like pet stink, kitchen smells and perfumes. You may want to check out the Air Scrubber. It’s an attachment to your existing HVAC unit, It won’t require major installation.

Don’t forget to dust your return vents and the HVAC unit

The simple step of dusting can help cut the spread of allergies. And don’t forget to clean your return vents and HVAC unit. If you have dusty return vents, that dust will spread throughout your house. To prevent the spread, use a damp cloth to wipe around your return vents, outside condenser and any other HVAC units you can access.

Get a tune-up

If someone in your home has allergies, nothing can replace a regularly scheduled HVAC tune-up. As a result of professional cleaning and inspection, your HVAC system can help allergies. You should plan to get tune-ups twice a year to make sure no dirty air is being distributed throughout the house and that the system is problem-free.

A preventive maintenance plan will ensure that your HVAC system is served twice a year, without you having to worry. For information, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

Light bulbs keep burning out? Here’s why.

Not only is it frustrating, but even worse, in some cases, it can mean there’s a fire hazard. Finding out why your light bulbs keep burning out too soon is crucial.

How long should bulbs last?

Incandescent bulbs should last for about a thousand hours. Compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs and LEDs (light-emitting diode) typically last much longer – about 10 thousand usage hours for CFLs and 25 thousand hours for LEDs. Still, if your bulb is burning out before it should, it’s time to find out why.

Why do my light bulbs keep burning out too soon?

There are many possible reasons, here are the main ones:Light bulb that is not working

  1. You may be using the wrong type of light bulb in a certain fixture.
  2. A bulb may be loose or incorrectly connected.
  3. The bulb’s power supply voltage may be too high.
  4. The dimmer switch may require a different bulb.
  5. Recessed lighting may be causing overheating in the insulation about it.
  6. Filaments in the bulb could be broken due to excessive vibrations.

Wrong bulb type

If a lamp is rated for 40 watts, placing a 1o0-watt bulb in the fixture creates excess heat. This can shorten the bulb’s life, and possibly even cause a fire to start. Always make sure the bulb’s wattage is not more than the fixture’s wattage recommendation. Another possible problem is that the bulb is not right for its location. LED bulbs are better to light fixtures that have frequent on/off usage throughout the day, but CFLs are not.

Loose bulbs

You may notice a bulb flickering if it is loose. Check to make sure that the bulb is correctly connected into the socket and if it’s loose, turn it until it’s snug. Ideally, the fixture’s tab and the bulb solder should be roughly the same size. This will create a good connection between them. If they are not, try switching light bulb brands.

Wrong power supply voltage

In the United States, 120-volt electrical outlets are standard in homes. Be sure that the light is connected to a standard outlet. If it is, use a multimeter to check if the reading is more than 120 volts. If you are having electrical supply issues, contact a licensed electrician right away.

Dimmer switch with incompatible bulb

Using CFL or LED bulbs can damage the bulb or circuitry in an older dimmer switch. Those were made to be used with incandescent bulbs. Be sure your dimmer switch and light bulb are compatible.

Recessed lighting overheating

“Can lights” hang inside the ceiling. Newer models may be designed to be in contact with insulation (IC-rated) and not cause any problems with overheating, but older recessed lighting fixtures can overheat. If they are not, this situation poses a fire risk. Be sure to install IC-rated fixtures so that they don’t overheat insulation.

Broken bulbs due to vibration

Excessive vibrations like ceiling fans or automatic garage doors can crack or prematurely cause incandescent bulbs to burn out. If the problem bulb is near an entrance, in a ceiling near heavy upstairs foot traffic, or in other places where there are vibrations you may want to switch to an LED bulb. They are better designed to handle vibrations.

If you’re concerned about your home’s electrical system, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

Windowless bathroom? Add light for function and style

It’s not uncommon to have a windowless bathroom in many different sizes and styles of homes. Sometimes these bathrooms are used for guests, are only half bathrooms, or the layout of the house was built with the bathroom in the interior. A windowless bathroom doesn’t have to be dreary with only dim light. We will tell you how to light your windowless bathroom for function and style. Brighten things up, it can really make a difference!

Ambient & Task Lighting

If you bring in ambient light and task lighting into a bathroom with no windows you create a bright, functional space. Start with overhead lighting that’s bright and projects throughout the room. Add focused lighting directly over the vanity or mirror to make bathroom tasks like washing your face, applying make-up or shaving a breeze.

Light Bulbs

Knowing the lighting options you have will help you choose the best bulbs for the right location. Making a good decision is more than just choosing a high watt bulb. Light quality is based on a few factors so take a look at different options that are available.

For bathrooms there are two main types of bulbs available – you do not want to use a compact fluorescent light (CFL) in this space. You can use halogen incandescent or light emitting diodes (LEDs.) Many pros use LEDs for windowless bathrooms. Incandescent bulbs will work fine, but LEDs are much more energy efficient, lasting 25 percent longer than incandescent bulbs.

The measurement for bulb brightness is lumens. For a windowless bathroom, the ideal total lighting is 2,000 lumens at a minimum. Most household bulbs emit about 800 lumens, or the equivalent to a traditional 60 watt incandescent bulbs. A light fixture that is centered overhead and takes two or three bulbs will get you the lighting you need and makeup for not having natural light.

Color Options

Add light to a windowless bathroom

You also want to consider the color of the light you want to shine. Color temperature is measured in Kelvins. It rates the color or tone of light. All you need to know is lower color temperatures are warm tones – yellow to soft white – and higher temperatures indicate cool, bright light with blue undertones. Consider something in the 3000K to 4000K for general lighting in a windowless bathroom.

Also, the color rendering index (CRI) tells you how an object’s color appears under the bulb’s light when compared to how it appears in natural lighting. A higher value indicates a more true representation of color, like incandescent bulbs. For bathroom lighting look for a CRI of 90 or higher. This will work well for task lighting that provides light over the bathroom mirror. Try LED for optimal lighting for makeup application.

Light Fixtures

Many different types of light fixtures work well in bathrooms. If it’s a small space you may want to avoid low-hanging lights. Choose clear or white shades so the light shines through. Moisture accumulation is common in bathrooms, so recessed lighting may not be the best choice. It can allow moisture to escape into spaces above the ceiling.

If you are lighting a vanity sconces on each side of the mirror will minimize shadows from overhead lights and add an elegant touch. For a more contemporary look check out Hollywood style kits where globe sets or rope lights are placed all around the mirror.

Dimmer Switch

There may also be times you want to relax in lower light at the end of the day. Installing a dimmer switch to control the brightness for overhead lighting will allow you to adjust lighting. You can get a dimmer switch for all types of bulbs. Always check the dimmer’s label for information about what light bulb it’s compatible with.

If you need the assistance of a licensed electrician, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.