Total Lighting Blog

  • The "KISS" Method: Keep It Super Simple

    Many of you are familiar with the "KISS" method? Keep it super simple (well, there is another version out there-the "keep it simple s-----", but we won't use that language here!) Sometimes simple is the best. One of our clients that does large trade shows in the fashion industry came to us with a dilemma. They had three days to light a huge color banner of one of their models for a trade show in Austin, Texas. The trade show facility vendor wanted to rent them $1800 in LED lighting for the three days they were there- which was way outside of their budget. They needed the banner to stand out and be seen, but the quoted rental fee definitely put it out of reach. The owner of the fashion company called and talked with our lead lighting designer, Mark Scott. Mark has been in the lighting industry for 30 years and has wonderful and creative solutions to just about any lighting dilemma. His simple solution got the banner to stand out with even, bright light all for under $300 total. The client also got to keep the lighting fixtures for their next upcoming show too. Sometimes a simple solution is the way to go. So, what was the simple solution? They used two 500watt wide flood Par64 fixtures with bulbs, and one PAR64 flood to highlight the banner on the top left so it would be slightly brighter there.

    Easy solution, and boy did that banner stand out-it was easily seen from the other side of the convention center. No matter what your project is, from kitchens to landscape lighting, good lighting can make all the difference in the world. The staff at Total Lighting Supply are not about just selling part numbers on box, they are about getting you the light you need to make your project sparkle.

    Looking up at the par lights above the trade show booth

     

    Full view of the poster (well lit, we might add!)

    We here at Total Lighting Supply are on a mission to demystify lighting aspects one bulb, one fixture at a time.

    Want to be demystified even more? Go to our You Tube Channel and check out the informational videos that we've made for you.

    Posted in:

    Tags: trade show lighting solutions, trade show lighting

  • The Differences in LED Recessed Lighting from 2008 and Now

    This posting is in response to a very long thread on the Garden Web Lighting forum (Disappointed With My LED Recessed Lighting)-the original post was from 2008. Our lighting designer and guru was fascinated by all the comments an remarks and varying levels of input from the community at large. He thought it was time he should weigh in and we'd thought we'd share his insights and knowledge with you. To see the original thread that this post was based on, please be sure to use the link through for Garden Web.

    "I know this post has been around for a while-please forgive me in responding to such an old post, but the technology has changed so much since then that I thought I'd weigh in. The improvements made in LED recessed lighting has addressed so many of these issues that I find it no longer disappointing. In addition, I get questions related to kitchen lighting all the time and thought I might be able to provide some quick insight from a lighting designer's point of view.
    First of all, it seems that many lighting designers shy away from kitchen lighting, although I'm not sure exactly why. I have done hundreds of lighting designs for kitchens and I always take the approach that kitchen needs to have at least two different levels of lighting along with under-cabinet lighting. The quality of light is very important in any space-particularly the kitchen.
    Kitchen  light needs to be bright, white and even.  In most cases, halogen lighting will not work. Halogen is a specular light source and tends to create harsh shadows. Not to mention the heat that it produces in addition to the heat that you get from the stove and the oven.This is something that an electrician or a contractor is not likely to take into consideration.
    Fluorescent light can work well if done right, but you have to select your housing, trim and the color temperature of the lamp very carefully. As for the color temperature, we like to use lights that are 30K (or even higher) in color. The light output at this color temperature is closer to daylight.
    LED fixtures now offer many choices of color temperature but most of my clients seem to like the 30K range the best. After years and years of looking at various samples we finally have found a LED module that seems to meet everyones needs.  First and foremost, it fits just about every recessed housing out there. It actually fits both 5" and 6" line voltage recessed
    housings.  And even though I do not believe in dimming a kitchen light, the LED module can be dimmed with a number of common dimmers. Just know that a dimming system will add another level of complications to your lighting system.
    I prefer splitting the kitchen lighting into at least two parts of lighting levels (and on two different on/off switches), if you will. One level is a 'support level'-providing light for ambiance and resembling having dimmed lights and the second level (along with the first) is the full on work mode that is needed for food preparation, cleanup, etc.
    In addition, LED fixtures are at such a low wattage and are very energy efficient that they can be left on all day. In fact, the circuit in the LED lamps like to be left on and over time, can loose their efficiency by being turned on and off all the time. Turning LED lamps on and off frequently throughout the day will actually shorten the life of the LED driver in the fixture.  Another great addition to your kitchen lighting design is under cabinet lighting. Adding a quality LED under cabinet lighting fixture as a third lighting level option can also help to create an even distribution of light in your kitchen. From a design standpoint and from a user standpoint, offering at least two to three levels of lighting will make all the difference in the world and eliminate the 'need' for having to dim your lights."

     

    Note: ALWAYS USE A LICENSED ELECTRICIAN (not your buddy) AND TO ALWAYS CHECK THAT YOUR PROJECT IS IN COMPLIANCE WITH LOCAL BUILDING CODES. WE WELCOME BLOG TOPIC SUGGESTIONS: SEND US YOUR 'Q'S' AND WELL GIVE YOU AN 'A'. AND, WE WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS AND WOULD LOVE TO SHARE YOUR 'BEFORE' AND 'AFTER' PICTURES (send them to us!).

     

     

    Posted in:

    Tags: led, going green with led recessed lighting, efficent led recessed lighting

  • One of the 'Sexiest' Recessed Lighting Fixtures Around!

     

    iFit any 5" and 6" recessed housings

    We just introduced a LED Retrofit Module and Trim (aka: universal LED Retrofit ) to our line about a month ago and it is soon becoming one of most popular and most sought after items. Want to know why?

    -First off, if you have an EXISTING 5" OR 6" recessed light fixture, this retrofit can be used to replace what is already in there. Its application is for remodel and for new construction.

    -It fits shallow AND regular IC and Non-IC housings.

    Are you impressed yet? Wait-there's more:

    -It's energy efficient: it is 14W: to equate it to what you've been used to, which would be the 65W incandescent bulb. That translates to a 75% savings on energy consumption, so this is a very 'green' choice by way of lighting. It also has the Energy Star rating AND meets the California Title 24 requirements.

    -It is bright: 620 lumens (remember that lumens is the measure of brightness and not wattage: see our article that explains how this works). Not to mention that has a color temperature of 3,000K-which is a very good approximation of daylight.

    -Long lasting (because it is LED): it is rated for up to 50,000 life hours.

    -If you so desire, it is dimmable. Although, our lighting designer frowns on installing dimmable lights-instead, he recommends that you create several 'layers' of lighting. For the sake of aesthetics and for the sake of longevity of the fixture (as dimmable switches come with their own set of issues).

    This fixture is dimmable with these dimmers:

    LUTRON: Ariadni, Diva, Skylark, AY/TG Series,DV Series, S Series Electroic Low Voltage: Diva- DVELV-300P, Maestro MAELV-600, Nova T-NTLV-1000, Nova T-NTELV-600

    LUTRON System Homeworks HW-RPM-4A-120

    LEVITON Dimmers IPIO6-1LX,6673-10W,6631-LW and IPE04-1LX, 6615

    Note: Use of 600watt incandescent dimmers will limit maximum number of fixtures to 4 and 7 for 1000watt incandescent.

    We recommend using electronic low voltage dimmers for better performance.

    -This fixture is also rated for WET locations: such as, your shower or under eave lighting.

    -This LED Retrofit Module and Trim can easily convert most 5" and 6" incandescent recessed lighting cans to an energy saving LED fixture. There is no other product out there that has this versatility.

    You can see how easy it is to install and change out your fixtures here:

    We don't know of any other product out there that can do all of these things: be used in remodel and new construction, fits shallow and regular IC and Non-IC housings, that can also be used in a wet location, that can fit an existing 5" or 6" recessed housing, that is energy efficient, that is rated for 50,000 life hours, meets California's Title 24 code, and is Energy Star rated. Do you? I mean, this fixture gives you a lot of bang for the buck and you will not find anything like this in the big box stores.

    If you already have existing 5" or 6" recessed incandescent fixtures, you can now go green with the existing housing with this LED Retrofit Module and Trim.

    So, if you are looking for ways to cut your energy cost and consumption of your existing 5" or 6" incandescent recessed lighting fixture, this is the way to go: with Total Recessed Lighting's  LED Retrofit Module and Trim.

     

    Posted in:

    Tags: 5" and 6" recessed lighitng housings and fixtures, 5" recessed lighting, 6" recessed lighting, LED recessed lighting

  • The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown Down: lumens versus watts

    And, what does this mean to you (WDTMTY)? Or, more accurately, WDTMTM (what does this mean to me)?

    This article is an abbreviated version of the article called, "LED, Incandescents, CFL's, Oh No!! (Or, Watt's Up?).

    But first, I have to share with you what started that article to begin with. In a phone conversation with my dad's wife (they live on Molokai), she was wondering why the CFL's in her ceiling fan didn't last very long. I went through the trouble shooting list with her-is the total wattage too much for the fixture? Are the lights turned on and off continually throughout the day? And, being on a small island, the likelihood of inconsistent delivery of energy  or variable voltage probably fluctuates enough to affect the longevity of the bulb. During the course of that conversation, it became clear to me that she was thinking of wattage in terms of the brightness of the bulb. Which then made me realize that this is what most people think when they look at the wattage of a bulb.

    Wattage is a description of energy consumption. Lumens is a description of light output (or to be even clearer, the higher the lumen number, the brighter the light). A lot of light bulb packages even go so far as to give you the 'equivalent' or a translation of sorts:

    light bulb label

    So, how do you know what lumen range is good for you? As you might guess, it is a matter of preference. As we age, though (you know, when you can no longer read without those drug store reading glasses), we really need a brighter light to see with.  I would suggest just buying one bulb each of the lower range of lumens and the highest range that you can get your hands on and try them out at home. This will at least give you an idea of what YOU prefer and what works for you.

    light bulb with lumens

    As for me, I like it bright-because it is better for ME to see with. And, as a studio artist, I will look for bulbs that are around 1200 lumens. I would recommend this as a good range for task lighting. Not so good for ambiance, though. Remember, it is a matter of personal preference.

    Color temperature DOES affect how you perceive the light too. Kelvin is the description of color temperature. Light in the warmer range is about 2700K. Very yellow. If you took two bulbs with the same lumen output, but on either end of the color temperature range, then you could really see the difference.

    how color temperature affects percieved brightness of a bulb

    (image from Wikipedia)

    These three bulbs are pretty much the same light output (lumens), but you can see how the color temperature affects how YOU perceive the brightness of the bulb.

    The point I want you to walk away with from this article is that if you want bright, go for the lumens, not the wattage.

    If you need to contact us, at the bottom of every web page is a 'contact us' link. Or, you can do a live chat. If the live chat is off, you can still click on it and send us a message.

    We here at Total Lighting Supply are on a mission to demystify lighting aspects one bulb, one fixture at a time.

    Want to be demystified even more? Go to our You Tube Channel and check out the informational videos that we've made for you.

     

    Posted in:

    Tags: watts and lumens, comparison

  • 6" Recessed Lighting FAQs Answered (in the quest to demystify recessed lighting)

    Yes, the quest continues here at Total Recessed Lighting. We want to demystify recessed lighting as much as possible and empower YOU the consumer, with knowledge. After all, life is too short to get frustrated with decisions on recessed lighting, isn't it? We know you have better things to occupy your time with.

    We've created a series of videos in regards to 6" recessed lighting and fixtures. 6" recessed lighting fixtures are THE most popular category of recessed lighting-as well it should be as it is the most economical and flexible of fixtures in the recessed lighting world.

    Here's a video that gives a general overview of what you should know about 6" recessed lighting fixtures:

    You can learn how to install a 6" recessed lighting baffle trim into an existing 6" recessed housing using trim springs. It's easy and fast with this video tutorial.

    Or, see how easy it is to install an air tight 6" recessed trim into your existing 6" recessed housing (did you know you could do that?).

    If you'd like to keep track of all upcoming videos here at Total Recessed Lighting, you can subscribe to our You Tube Channel. Be sure to also check off the box that allows for email notifications. And, for your peace of mind, subscribing to our channel is spam free!

    If you found this video helpful, we'd love to hear about it by leaving us a comment here at our blog. If you would like to see other videos made that would be helpful to you, again, leave us a comment here or contact us. We're here to help!

    Posted in:

    Tags: 6" recessed lighting housings and fixtures

  • The Best Under Cabinet Lighting Solution Ever (BUCLSE)!

    Under cabinet lighting. You want it. But, you really don't want to install a fluorescent fixture that fit under cabinets-because of esthetics-it often is visible unless you find a work around solution. I'll bet you  even thought of getting a bunch of those hockey puck style LED lights as a solution. But, your intuition tells you, "bad idea".

    Total Recessed Lighting is excited to offer what we think is one of the best solutions to under cabinet lighting (perfect for under your kitchen cabinets). A super slim profile with high output, these LED under cabinet fixtures come in 5 different lengths and 4 color temperatures. Our LED fixtures are perfect for under kitchen cabinets, straight cove lighting or placed anywhere where super slim, rigid LED fixtures are required by the designer. It is energy efficient, easy to install, is rated to last up to 50,000 hours, and comes in several color temperatures. We recommend the 4100K as it is a nice, clean light. Most incandescent lights are in the 2700K color temperature range-which appears to be very yellow. So, if the space you are installing these lights in have other light sources that are int he 2700K range, the 4100K will seem odd next to what you have. Just something to take into consideration. You do need to know what the color temperature range that your other light sources are . If you need help in the things that need to be considered in your decision, feel free to contact us and our lead lighting designer will be happy to help you.

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I think a video is worth a million words. With that in mind, we've put together a short video for you that shows how simple and easy this under cabinet lighting system is to install. We also have many other helpful DIY tutorials and product overviews at our You Tube Channel.

     

    You can subscribe to our You Tube Channel and get email notifications whenever we upload a new video. 'Like' us on Face Book to stay in touch with the latest news.

    Posted in:

    Tags: led, LED under cabinet lighitng, Under Cabinet Lighting

  • All You Need To Know About Fluorescent T8 Ballasts

    Watch as Total Bulk Lighting provides an overview of the fluorescent T8 ballast and what all those wires mean. It actually easy then you think!

    Posted in:

    Tags: t8 fluorescent ballasts, Ballasts

  • Some Commonly Asked Questions About 5" Recessed Lighting Fixtures

    Here at Total Recessed Lighting, we do get a lot of the same questions asked by many-we don't mind answering these questions, but we thought that we'd empower YOU with the information and have the ability to refer back to it when ever needed. Ahhhh....the beauty of You Tube!

    This series of You Tube videos deals with aspects of 5" recessed lighting fixtures. The one you see here is an overview of some of the features about 5" recessed lighting fixtures:

    You can also see how easy it is to install a 5" recessed gimbal trim. You can even learn how to install a 5" recessed lighting trim into an existing 5" recessed lighting housing (I'll bet you didn't know you could do that!). Installing a recessed lighting trim into an existing housing will take less than a minute after you see this video.

    If you'd like to keep track of all upcoming videos here at Total Recessed Lighting, you can subscribe to our You Tube Channel. Be sure to also check off the box that allows for email notifications. And, for your peace of mind, subscribing to our channel is spam free!

    If you found this video helpful, we'd love to hear about it by leaving us a comment here at our blog. If you would like to see other videos made that would be helpful to you, again, leave us a comment here or contact us. We're here to help!

    Posted in:

    Tags: 5" recessed lighting housings and fixtures, 5" recessed lighting

  • More Things About 4" Recessed Lights That You Were Afraid to Ask...

    I don't know about you, but I find the area of recessed lighting to be, well, a bit intimidating. I know our lighting designer is comfortable and knowledgeable in this area. Which is good, since all of us here at Total Recessed Lighting go to him for a lot of our questions. To help all of us out with this,  we've made a series of videos designed to help out with some of the basics in regards to 4" recessed lighting. We hope you find them useful.

     

    Just a quick list and links for you:

    1). Learn the many added benefits and features of our 4" line voltage recessed housings that separate us from standard 4" housings you typically find at home improvement centers and discount warehouses.

    2). Learn how to remove a 4" recessed socket plate from a 4" recessed housing.

    3).  Item list of what is needed to install a 4" recessed eyeball in standard 4" recessed housings with a fixed socket typically found at popular home improvement centers.

    If you'd like to keep track of all upcoming videos that we post, you can subscribe to our You Tube channel. Be sure to check off the box that allows for email notifications.

     

    Posted in:

    Tags: recessed lighting housings and fixtures

  • LED, Incandescents, CFL's, Oh, No!! (Or, Watt's Up??)

    image by MolokaiGirl Studio Watts up?

    (Grab your cuppa coffee or tea and sit down with it as you dig in to this article...)

    So, 'watt's' up with the new light bulb law coming into effect in January 2012 (which is named the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007)? Will incandescent light bulbs be outlawed? Will we be 'forced' to buy CFL's (amidst the mercury contamination hubbub) or LED bulbs? Incandescent bulbs will begin the process of being phased out just by virtue of the new efficiency standards that will go into effect. These new standards require that a general purpose bulb that produces 310-2600 lumens of light be 30% more energy efficient. That means that come January 2012, a 100 watt incandescent bulb will not meet these new standards.

    "What do mean lumens?" you say. "What about watts?"  Oh, yes. This gets complicated in the sense that you have to reset your way of thinking about light bulbs (if you haven't already). Contrary to what (no pun intended here) you thought about watts, lumens refer to the measurement of the intensity of light (brightness or light output, if you will), not watts. For some reason, we have been taught to equate watts in regards to how bright light a bulb is. Watts were never a measurement of light output. Watts refer to energy consumption. In regards to a 100 watt light bulb turned on for one hour, the energy used is 100 watt-hours. A 40 watt bulb would use the same amount of energy in a span of about 2 1/2 hours. So, how bright is a 100 watt incandescent bulb? About 1,700 lumens. Pretty darned bright. We'll shed more light on lumens in just a bit (oh, sorry, another bad pun).

    More on watts. Once again, wattage is a measurement of electricity consumption only. It is not a measurement of light output or effectiveness.  Yes, I know I already said that, but it bears repeating since we all have to undo a lifetime of thinking of watts as the brightness of a bulb. A higher wattage does not mean a brighter light. It is good to note that when you apply power to a (bulb) you produce two things: light and heat.  The heat, of course, is an unwanted byproduct. But, how come we are in the habit of thinking of higher wattage as being the brighter bulb? That's because with incandescent bulbs, in order for it to achieve more brightness, it requires more energy to produce that. Which is not the case for LED and fluorescent lamps. They can actually produce a brighter light source with less wattage. Is this starting to make sense now?

    Lumens, Color Rendering (aka CRI), Color Temperature, Candle Power are all measurements made for the visible light output as it relates to the human eye. These are metrics specifically related to how the human eye sees light. Why are there so many categories of light output measurement? I'm not a physicist, but try to think of light as a very complex and multidimensional entity (we're talking about the debate as to whether light is a wave or a particle or both).

    Lumens. If you haven't noticed, light bulb packages now contains information in regards to the lumens of that bulb. It is required by law in this country. Europe has similar practices.  Remember to think of lumens in regards to actual light output or brightness. Personally, in looking all of this gobbledegook up, in my humble opinion, I think lux would've been a more meaningful measure to put on light bulb packages instead of lumens. But that's all I'll say about lux. Let sleeping dogs lie, as they say.

    Color rendering or, CRI-one in the same as CRI stands for color rendering index. In a nutshell, it's the light source's ability to render or reproduce the colors of objects as they would be rendered in natural light. Think of the number for CRI as representing the color accuracy of that light source-the higher the number, the more accurate the color. 100 CRI is the ideal as it represents accurate color rendering. Halogen lights have a  CRI of 100 which is why art galleries, museums and high end retail and jewelry stores like to use them.  Fluorescent, at best, have a CRI of about 80. Which makes me wonder about those fluorescent lamps advertised as 'full spectrum'. Yet, I cannot, for the life of me, find disclosure on what the lamp's CRI is. Logically, full spectrum would equate to the lamp having a CRI of 100. And, as far as I know, the technology for fluorescent bulbs is not in that range. I'm inclined to think that 'full spectrum' fluorescent lamps have a CRI of about 80. The point I want to make here is that a fluorescent bulb being touted as 'full spectrum' does not render color as accurately as a bulb that has been rated with a CRI of 100. If you want/need a light source that gives you accurate color rendering, it would be best not to rely solely on a fluorescent bulb labeled as 'full spectrum'.

    If you are a colorphile or a colorist, insist on knowing what the CRI is for your light source. As far as the term, 'full spectrum' goes, it is just another marketing term that really is meaningless unless the CRI is also provided.

    Color temperature. Not to be confused or not to be used interchangeably with color rendering! I like to think of color temperature as the color quality of the light source. For example, the color quality of  sunlight at dusk is so very different from the color quality of sunlight at mid day. That is what color temperature is. It is expressed in kelvin degrees (K). A  candle flame, sunrise and sunset has a color temperature of about 1,850K, whereas, the noon day sun is about 5,000-6,000K, and an overcast day is about 6,500K. Incandescent bulbs are about 2,700-3,300K. Which is what most of us grew up with in our households and will also explain why, when replacing with bulbs that are closer to the noon day sun, the light in the rooms feels 'off'. Because you simply are not used to being around that color temperature in your home.

    As far as candle power goes, I offer no discussion here (only a pretty picture!) since that form of light measurement is obsolete. I only mentioned it since it is one of the many ways light can be described. You can always click on the link provided if you've become insatiable in regards to lighting terms.

     

    How do we know which bulb gives us the most bang for our buck? Nearly everyone these days are watching what they spend carefully. Comparative shopping is a must. I don't  know about you, but I've spent quite a bit of time in the light bulb section of a store reading the package labels, trying to figure which bulb I needed for my studio space!

    Start off with defining the lighting needs for the area being lit. For my studio space, I need a very bright light source so, pop quiz folks, what will I look for on the package to tell me that? Yes, you're right: lumens. Not watts. Since my studio space only allows for the screw in type of bulb, the compact fluorescent (aka CFL) is my first choice because it is energy efficient and they do come in acceptable lumen offerings (in this case, I chose a 25 watt 1200 lumen bulb). The trade off is that, now my artificial light source does not have accurate color rendering. That is my compromise of choice since I now have an energy efficient and bright light source. I do get a nice amount of daylight through a window, so I am not totally short changed on having color rendered accurately. In fact, throughout most of our home, we use CFL's because they are readily available at affordable prices and last a long time. Believe it not, your CFLs will last longer if you just leave it on. It is not meant to be turned on and off as we've been in the habit of doing with the incandescent light bulbs. Nor do you save energy by turning them off and on (the CFLs). There was a fun demonstration of this on the TV series, "Mythbusters".

    Light bulb manufacturers are not required by law to include information on color temperature or color rendering on their packaging. They are required to include lumens and wattage. But, wouldn't you also want to know what the color temperature is? Instead, you get terms like, 'soft white' or  'cool white' or other variations. Oh, and GE has their own proprietary definition and created their 'Reveal' light bulbs.  Anyway, now that YOU know a little bit more about color temperature, you can make your choices with  more confidence.

    light bulb comparison

    (image from Wikipedia)

    As a consumer, I think light bulb manufacturers are underestimating their audience. As consumers, we should demand to know what the CRI and the color temperature of a bulb is. Why not? And then they can rid themselves of the 'dumbing down' on their packages that say, "25w=75w".  Please, just tell me the lumens, CRI and wattage and I'll be good to go. Although in all fairness, some manufacturers do indeed include more information such as the label on this package:

     

    And, isn't this kind of labeling much more preferred than the old school stuff? With information like this on a package, I don't feel like I'm making a decision in the dark (sorry) and I know that the light bulb will fit my needs in the space I intend it for. Now you are armed with enough information to make those choices between CFLs and LEDs. And, even incandescents if you feel so inclined.

    You know, as the saying goes, this is just the tip of the iceberg-there is still plenty more to discuss by way of LED, incandescents and CFLs, so look for more on this topic in future postings! By now, you've finished that cuppa coffee or tea you sat down with and it's time to move on...

    I'd love to hear your comments and any other questions (and I will entertain lighting article topics). Send me your 'Q's" and I'll send you those 'A's"!  Just leave a comment here on this blog.

     

    Posted in:

    Tags: led, incandescents, compact fluorescents, cfls, comparison

Items 91 to 100 of 109 total

Page:
  1. 1
  2. ...
  3. 7
  4. 8
  5. 9
  6. 10
  7. 11