Light Bulb Choices Explained

 

light-bulbs-e1451664022212CFL, LED, incandescent… what’s the difference between all of these types of light bulbs? And what works best for your home? In short, the most energy-efficient options are Compact Fluorescent (CFL) and Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs. They emit the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs but have lower wattage, so they use less energy.

While using less energy is the goal for many people, each type of bulb has unique characteristics. To learn more about each type, read on.

Compact Fluorescent (CFL)

CFLs can save you up to 75% on your energy costs, last up to 9 years, and are less expensive than LEDs. They do contain a small amount of mercury, but that is not a concern unless they break, in which case the mess needs to be cleaned up thoroughly and should not cause worry.

Some CFLs are for outdoor use — just check the packaging. CFLs are not recommended for workshop-type areas of the house because they might not hold up to the stress of power surges. Last but not least, if your outlet is wired for a dimmer, you must buy a CFL rated specifically for that, otherwise it can be a fire hazard.

Light Emitting Diode (LED)

LEDs can save you up to 80% on your energy costs, last up 20 year or more, and are more expensive than CFLs. They do not contain mercury.

Some LEDs are also for outdoor use. LEDs can help you save on air conditioning because they do not contribute to heat buildup.

Some companies are phasing out CFLs and planning on going to LEDs.

Incandescent

Standard 100-, 75-, 60- and 40-watt incandescent bulbs are being phased out. Specialty incandescent bulbs, such as chandelier bulbs, will still be available. Incandescent bulbs only last about 1 year. They do not contain mercury.

Other types of bulbs include halogen bulbs, HID bulbs, and fluorescent bulbs.

Have a concern with your electrical, plumbing or air conditioning? Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical is here to help! We offer 24 hour emergency service 7 days a week!  Give us a call! 1-800-461-3010 to speak with our customer service agents that can answer your questions or schedule an appointment!

Updating Your Light Fixtures

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With a new year right around the corner, many people are considering how to start fresh in the year ahead — and that includes making improvements to their home. If you’re one of them, and you’re looking for one easy way to increase ambiance and useful lighting areas without breaking the bank, updating your light fixtures is worth consideration.

It’s amazing how proper lighting can make a world of difference in your kitchen and other areas throughout your home. Unfortunately, not only can old light fixtures appear dated, but be aware that they may also have become inefficient.

As you begin to assess what your needs are, there are some specific points to ponder. First, think about your other décor and the style you’d like. Just because you find a beautiful artsy light fixture at the store doesn’t mean it will fit well in your home. It may help to bring photos with you to talk with the retailer.

Also, installing dimmer switches on light fixtures and lamps allows you to adjust for your mood and tasks while helping save energy. If you’re shopping for these switches, note that dimmers come in two basic wiring configurations. If your light will be controlled by one switch, buy a single-pole dimmer. If your light or group of lights will be controlled by two switches, buy a three-way dimmer.

To make a significant improvement in your ambiance and useful lighting, under-cabinet light strips are a great choice for your kitchen or work area. Options include puck lights, fluorescent strips, LED strips, and LED rope or tape.

For reading areas without tables to place a lamp, simply install a reading light on the wall. For dark garages, attics, hallways or staircases, strategically placed motion sensor lights can improve your visibility.

A few final tips:

  • Add layers of light in one room to give you options as well as provide ambiance. For example, you can have lamps and ceiling fixtures all in the same room.
  • Clean lights bulbs make a difference! Dust them frequently.
  • Finally, remember it is always best to hire a professional if you don’t feel comfortable doing these projects yourself.

Have a concern with your electrical, plumbing or air conditioning? Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical is here to help! We offer 24 hour emergency service 7 days a week!  Give us a call! 1-800-461-3010 to speak with our customer service agents that can answer your questions or schedule an appointment!

Using Space Heaters

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If you’re trying to warm up a certain room, a space heater can be a great way to do that. However, the space heater’s effectiveness is dependent on you taking specific precautions while purchasing wisely so you don’t waste electricity (and money).

There are a few different types of heaters that can be used in your home. Electric space heaters are the only unvented space heaters safe for indoor use. They do not pose indoor air quality concerns, but can still be a fire hazard if not used safely. These should be plugged directly into a wall. If an extension cord is absolutely necessary, use a short heavy-duty cord of 14-gauge wire or heavier. Look for a tip-over safety switch that shuts the unit off if it is turned over.

Vented combustion heaters, on the other hand, are made to be put next to an outside wall so the flue gas vent can be installed through a ceiling or wall (unvented combustion units are not recommended for indoor use). Only use the approved fuel and do not overfill the heater or fill when it is still hot. It is a good idea to have a vented space heater inspected by a professional each year to prevent issues that can cause high levels of carbon monoxide to enter your home.

In addition, below are a few more things to consider when buying or using a space heater.

  • Look for newer models that have the up-to-date safety features. They should have the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label.
  • Only buy what you need. You don’t need a huge heater for a small room. Look for a sizing chart on the box.
  • Heaters should be put on level surfaces where they won’t be in anyone’s way. Always keep pets and children far away.
  • Kerosene heaters are not recommended in your home, and in some communities, may even be illegal to use.
  • Remember to install or check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms!

Have a concern with your electrical, plumbing or air conditioning? Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical is here to help! We offer 24 hour emergency service 7 days a week!  Give us a call! 1-800-461-3010 to speak with our customer service agents that can answer your questions or schedule an appointment!

Holiday Lights and Electrical Safety

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Many of us are already taking out those boxes of holiday decorations or starting to shop for new décor. With all of the lights, though, come safety concerns. How can you make sure you’re lighting up your home without risking fires or electrical injuries?

  • Before getting started, plan your displays. Look for outlets and figure out what you can reasonably do before you go into a decorating frenzy.
  • When shopping, make sure the product has a label showing that it has gone through independent testing by a recognized lab, such as UL or ETL.
  • LED lights are more energy efficient, last longer and are more durable than incandescent lights.
  • Don’t use items intended for outdoors inside, or vice versa.
  • Make sure you’ll be notified of any recalls by sending in the product registration forms.
  • Inspect older decorations for any loose or damaged wires or connections.
  • Unplug before replacing bulbs or fuses.
  • Make sure cords are not pinched in windows, doors, etc.
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets with too many items at once.
  • Do not connect an extension cord to another extension cord or place them in high traffic areas or under furniture, carpets or rugs. Do not run them through walls or ceilings.
  • Do not connect more than three strands of incandescent lights together.
  • Outdoor lights should be plugged in to circuits that are protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).  (You can buy portable GFCIs.)
  • Protect lights from the wind by fastening them to firm surfaces but make sure this is not done in a way that could damage the cord’s insulation.
  • Turn off all holiday lighting before going to bed each night.

Have a concern with your electrical, plumbing or air conditioning? Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical is here to help! We offer 24 hour emergency service 7 days a week!  Give us a call! 1-800-461-3010 to speak with our customer service agents that can answer your questions or schedule an appointment!