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Category Archives: LED Lighting

LED Lighting Advantages Over Incandescent and Fluorescent Bulbs

Environmental Impact of Using LED Lights Over CFL Bulbs

These days, taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint is something we all should be concerned with. There are numerous ways in which we can do this, from properly disposing of household refuse to making an effort to conserve water.

One particularly effective way to reduce our carbon footprint, both at home and at work, is to convert our traditional incandescent and fluorescent bulbs to Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting. In recent years, Compact Fluorescent Lighting (CFL) had become increasingly popular in the United States, due to the fact that CFLs use significantly less electricity than incandescent lights. Yet, contained inside each CFL bulb is 3 to 5 milligrams of mercury, a fact that makes the general public leery of the idea of a CFL bulb breaking.  

A 2012 study by Stony Brook University found that most CFL bulbs have defects that allow UV radiation to leak at levels that could damage skin cells if a person is directly exposed at close range. Therefore, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests that consumers shield the bulbs inside fixtures, stay one to two feet away, and avoid staring directly into the CFL bulb.  Yikes!

LED Lighting Lasts Longer and is More Cost Effective

LED lights lasts over 20 times longer than their incandescent or fluorescent predecessors do. An LED can offer as much as a 60,000 hour lifespan, whereas the life expectancy of a traditional light source is approximately 1500 hours. The US Department of Energy states that using LED lighting offers far more energy savings in the US, and they anticipate that, by the year 2027, the use of LEDs could save as much as $30 billion in electrical costs. While prices for LED light bulbs were astronomical when they first arrived on the scene a few years ago (upwards of $100 for one bulb) you can now find a cheap, 60 watt LED equivalent for less than $10. That’s probably why incandescent light bulbs are being phased out: an almost complete ban on their sale started in 2014, and will take full effect in 2020. Simply put, they waste a lot of energy and don’t last very long.

LED Lighting is Ideal for Cold Temperatures and Sensitive Materials

In addition to being highly suitable for goods and materials that are sensitive to heat (due to the benefit of little radiated heat emission), LED lighting is perfect for the illumination of UV sensitive objects or materials, such as in museums, art galleries, and archeological sites. LEDs are also ideal in regards to operations under cold or extremely low outdoor temperatures.  By contrast, older fluorescent lamps are normally vulnerable to low temperatures that can affect proper operation. Lastly, LEDs can be combined in any shape to produce highly efficient illumination. Individual LEDs can be dimmed, resulting in dynamic colors and distributions. Well-designed LED illumination systems can achieve fantastic lighting effects.

LED Lighting Impact on Sustainability

Today, much more attention is being given to environmental issues. As more and more advantages become apparent, more businesses are choosing green lighting and sustainable design. More benefits are being offered to companies that make the effort to work in a sustainable atmosphere, and  the requirement for sustainable design continues to grow. Many utility districts are offering rebate programs to further encourage businesses to take advantage of the benefits of modern day lighting systems.

How Does LED Lighting Work?

LEDs create light by using electroluminescence in a semiconductor material. Electroluminescence is a material that emits light when an electric current or an electric field is passed through it. This happens when electrons are sent through the material and fill electron holes, which exist where an atom lacks negatively charged electrons , thereby having a positive charge. Semiconductor materials like germanium or silicon can be “doped” to create and control the number of electron holes, which is the adding of other elements to the semiconductor material to change its properties. By doping a semiconductor, you can make two separate types of semiconductors in the same crystal. The boundary between the two types is called a p-n junction; as electrons pass through one crystal to the other, they fill electron holes and emit photons (light).  To understand p-n junctions and semiconductors better, you will need to invest a good amount of time researching this phenomenon, as it is far too lengthy of a subject to cover here.

LED Energy Rebates For California

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7 Spring Cleaning Jobs for Your Lake Almanor Home

It’s Spring cleaning time in Lake Almanor!  Adding to that, Northern California experienced one of the wettest winters on record, dumping a ton of snow and rain, it is  the perfect time to start putting together that to-do list for your return.  In the coming weeks, the Snow Flowers will be popping up everywhere, and all of us will once again be meandering through our majestic forests.  

Remove hazardous dead trees

The U.S. Forest service estimates that there are now over 102 million dead trees in California, and chances are good that a few of them are on your property.  Dead or diseased trees can pose a substantial risk of damaging your property.  In fact, trees that grow close to one another compete for light and water, and are at a higher risk of contracting a fungal infection.  As such, thinning trees on your property is a great way to promote overall growth and health.  Always use a licensed and insured company with lots of residential felling experience when considering tree removal near buildings.

Change your smoke detector batteries

Being woken up in the middle of the night by a chirping smoke detector is perhaps the worst torture on the planet.  More importantly, in the event of a fire, a malfunctioning smoke detector is a danger to you and your family.  Make sure to change all of the batteries in all of your detectors at the same time, and be sure to test each alarm after replacement.  For maximum protection, you should also consider upgrading your smoke detector to a combination carbon monoxide/smoke alarm this spring.  It is a simple swap-out that can be done by anyone with basic electrical knowledge.  If your home has any gas appliances, a carbon monoxide detector is a must-have.

Service your air conditioning system

Uncover your outdoor unit (called the condenser) and thoroughly clean the coil with soap and water to wash away any dust and debris, as they often lower operating efficiency.  If your unit does not have a cover, disconnect power to the unit, remove the top screen, and carefully remove any pine needles or leaves that could impede airflow and reduce efficiency.  Because your air conditioner requires more airflow than your furnace to operate efficiently and avoid mechanical breakdown, always replace the indoor air filter before using your air conditioner, and remember to replace it monthly during the summer.  If it’s been a while, consider hiring an HVAC professional to measure the amount of refrigerant in your system and guarantee optimal operation under heavy heat loads.  This will prolong the life of the compressor in your equipment.

Pump your septic tank

Has it been awhile since your septic tank was pumped?  Has it ever been pumped?  Spring is a great time to have your septic system serviced.  If you’ve been gone all winter, the bacteria levels in your septic tank are low.  And, if your tank hasn’t been pumped in a while, the amount of bacteria in the tank may not be enough to manage the consumption of old and new waste.  Any large particles and sludge that aren’t broken down enough by the bacteria can be a recipe for a backup.  If you need help locating or uncovering your tank, hire a professional who can pinpoint the tank location with sonar equipment.  

Clean refrigerator coils, bathroom fan covers, and dryer vents

Before servicing any of these appliances, make sure to either unplug them or cut them off from the power supply..  Then, remove and clean their covers and thoroughly vacuum or brush any dust and lint from their coils, fan blades, and any accessible venting.  The outdoor dryer vent termination damper will often get clogged with lint, propping it open and  providing a warm place for critters to enter.  To prevent this, be sure to clean there as well.  These simple tasks will ensure quiet and efficient operation all summer long.

Change the oil in your backup generator

Many automatic generators around the basin have run for 60 hours or more this winter, providing power to unoccupied homes during electrical outages caused by severe weather.  Most manufacturers recommend changing the oil in your air-cooled generator every 100 hours or annually, whichever comes first.  Oil acts as the coolant in these motors, and it loses much of its lubricating properties after the 100 hour mark.  In addition, moisture naturally enters into the motor during the combustion process, mixing with oil and causing corrosion.  If your generator is brand new, or very old, it may be due for a valve adjustment, too.  Properly adjusted valves will ensure efficient combustion and reduce the risk of generator malfunction when you need it most.  Changing the oil, filters, and spark plugs is an easy, do-it-yourself job that will help keep your generator running strong.  Before service, make sure your automatic generator is switched to off,and disconnect any battery terminal wires.  

Check the house for critter infestation

Mice and squirrels invade during the winter months, looking for food and shelter. Once inside your home, they can cause tens of thousands of dollars worth of property damage, as well as create serious health hazards that will only get worse over time.  They’ll chew through walls, floors, wires, and pipes, and will contaminate living areas with disease ridden feces.  Be on the lookout for traces of critters in the spring, including droppings inside cabinets and pantries, or new holes along the perimeter foundation walls, under eaves, or around attic vents.  If you find that you have been invaded, trapping is the first step.  You don’t want to poison the animals, as it will result in them going back into the walls to die, inviting even more pests into your home and creating an awful stench.  When you are confident that the critters have been repelled, seal any cracks in your walls, siding, and floors with a good quality caulking that will hold up to extreme fluctuations in temperature.  Larger holes should be repaired through the replacement of wood trim and siding.  Eliminate any earth to wood contact along the foundation, making sure there is at least 8” of clearance, and cut back any trees or shrubs that are making contact with the structure, as they can act as a bridges for entry into your home.  

Download Our Springtime Home Safety Checklist and Print it.

As the days warm up and we are able to return to our cabins in the Lake Almanor area and poke around the outside of our homes, it becomes time to inventory the toll that Mother Nature has inflicted over the winter.

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5 cool led lighting products for your home

Saving the planet for future generations to enjoy?  That’s cool.  Saving your eyes and preventing migraine headaches?  That’s cooler. And now, with LED lighting more affordable than ever, outfitting your entire home or business  will no longer break the bank.  Here are 5 LED products to consider:

LED T-8 dual mode replacement lamps

The T-8 fluorescent bulb is the most common type of bulb found in office and kitchen lighting fixtures.  Everyday, people across the country are forced to suffer the torment of these bulbs for hours at a time.  Fluorescents are known to emit a very fast flicker that bothers many with sensitive eyes.  It’s no secret that fluorescents cause a bevy of health related issues,including: migraines; headaches; eye strain; fatigue; stress;and anxiety.  

By contrast, the smooth and constant light emitted by LEDs eliminates many health issues.  However, LEDs can also come with certain drawbacks.  Many super-low cost LED replacement T-8 lamps on the market either allow you to continue to use the ballast already installed in these fixtures or require you to eliminate it altogether.  

But what if the ballast fails, or you don’t have the electrical skills to replace it?  Must you now spend even more money?  Not with these new dual mode lamps by EiKO, which allow you to simply install the bulb, ballast or not.  And, if the ballast fails, rather than going out to buy new bulbs you can simply omit the ballast entirely.  With a 50,000 hour lifespan, and a 5 year warranty, the dual mode lamp will save you 80% on your energy bill.

 

Fully dimmable LED filament style candelabra lamp

This fancy looking bulb by EiKO is your standard 40 watt incandescent replacement candelabra bulb.  It is well-suited for decorative fixtures with exposed bulbs, and is perfect for those who are interested in converting to LED but feel  wary about a clunky looking bulb.  Best of all, the bulb is fully dimmable,making it perfect for those in search of lighting to set a mood.  

Decorative LED outdoor lighting fixtures

This decorative LED outdoor wall lantern uses 70% less electricity than traditional incandescent fixtures, and there is no bulb to replace or recycle. The LED light source turns on instantly at any temperature and lasts 50,000 hours without replacement, making it the most reliable outdoor lighting available. These fixtures are built with a beautiful and protective cast aluminum aged bronze patina finish that’ll look great for years to come.  Best of all, the entire assembly can be installed in minutes with minimal electrical skills. 

Under cabinet LED lights

Older LED puck and strip lighting leave pixilation on counter surfaces.  When illuminating decorative counter tops from above or in applications lighting merchandise or decorative collectibles, this result is less than desirable.  This under cabinet light by Cree eliminates LED pixilation with a uniform light, even on glossy counter tops.  These fixtures are fully dimmable to set any mood while maintaining an unobtrusive, low profile design, and are perfect for many installations.  E-Conolight offers a great Under cabinet light.

Outdoor LED spot light and LED security lights

This wall-mounted, outdoor LED floodlight from Lithonia Lighting provides security lighting for both residential and commercial applications.  At 18 watts, this floodlight can illuminate a high-risk area all night long. In addition, a photocell is included to maximize energy efficiency, automatically turning the light off at dawn and back on at dusk. The integrated LEDs last for 50,000 hours, so you never have to buy a bulb for the light.  Installs in minutes with minimal electrical skills.  

How Much Can you Save Switching to LED?

Here is a handy calculator to help you determine the return on investment of converting to LED in your home or business.

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