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Home Lighting: LED, CFL, and Incandescent

by Hickerson Brothers on July 28, 2016

Home Lighting: LED, CFL, and IncandescentWhat’s the one electrical device you use more than anything else?  The answer is the light bulb (or lighting in general).  With more light available during the summer, it can be easy to forget just how much energy we spend on lighting each night.  The expenses you pay on lighting, and what you can do with your home’s decorative aesthetic, are all affected by the type of light source and shape of lamp you use in your home.  If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to update your house with a new look, instead of repainting, consider re-lighting.

Energy Efficiency

At this point, it goes without saying that lighting your home with incandescent light bulbs is inefficient.  Not only do these bulbs spend a lot of energy producing more heat than they do light, that heat has to be mitigated by your central cooling system (and is not enough to prevent you from needing the heater in the winter) and can cause insulation fires if wiring or lighting fixtures are installed incorrectly.  True, both LEDs and CFLs generate heat in the ballast or driver used to regulate power and current for the bulb, but it’s nowhere near the same level as an incandescent.

Upgrading the lighting in your home all at once can be expensive.  Not only are you switching for more expensive lamps (LEDs have decreased in price but they’re still nowhere near the “œless than a dollar” prices of some incandescent bulbs) but many of these lamps require new fixtures and lighting controls to get them to work properly without buzzing or flickering.

Color Temperature

Another way to upgrade your home and give it a small facelift is with careful color temperature selection.  It’s an interesting factor of lighting that different color temperatures have a direct effect on how rooms and objects look.  The warmer the color temperature the more yellow and cozy (or dark depending on the paint) a room will look.  If you want to lighten up a room and give it an airy feeling, try increasing the color temperature of the lamps used.

Another trick for a simple upgrade is to make sure you’re using a lamp with a higher color-rendering index (CRI).  Incandescent bulbs have true color rendering (even if the warmer color temperature can mess up the colors of a room).  LEDs and CFLs suffer from low CRI ratings, which can give a room a more washed out or desaturated appearance.  Purchasing a lamp with a higher CRI rating will give your room a much needed facelift.

Beautiful Fixtures

Fixtures are just as much a part of lighting as the light source itself.  While a chandelier looks amazing in the right setting, they aren’t designed for every entry or hallway.  Recessed lights, pendant fixtures, and even ceiling fans all have their place in the world of decorative and functional lighting.

Recessed lights have grown in popularity because they give a cleaner look to the ceiling, allow for more space, and remove bulky fixtures from the room.  Be cautious, however, as recessed fixtures in a room can leave a cave-like effect on your walls.  Since recessed fixtures only shine downward, the corners of your room will be left with dark shadows.  Adding a simple floor lamp will help dispel this cave-like problem.

Then again, using a flush-mount fixture is a good way to prevent cave lighting while still keep head-room clear.  Many flush-mount fixtures are stylish and low profile, especially with newer LED fixtures and strip lights.

Upgrading the fixtures in your home, whether they’re wall-sconces, ceiling fans, or a few cleverly hidden under cabinet lights will require some forethought and a little creative wiring in many cases.  Out of the upgrade choices we’ve presented, adding new fixtures is the costliest but often the most rewarding.  Just remember that if you need to run a new electrical line, we highly recommend hiring a professional electrician for safety purposes.

Hickerson Electrical is your source for all home electrical services.  We’re ready and willing to deliver top-quality service to your home at a moment’s notice.  So call today at (703) 594-3913.

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