Total Lighting Blog

  • 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.

     

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    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.

     

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

  • What the HECK is Griplock??

    If you have a project that involves unusually sloped, curved or high ceilings, our Grip Lock system may be the solution for you. It is affordable, flexible and easy to install. To find out more about this innovative system, check out our video on it.

    How It Works

    Griplock® Grippers are sophisticated in design but simple to use:

    • Insert the cable into the plunger and slide the gripper to the desired position. Where it stops it locks®
    • To re-adjust, simply depress the plunger with your fingertip and move the gripper to a new position. Release the plunger to lock.

    The 3- or 6-ball gripping mechanism is spring-loaded and allows the gripper to move freely up the cable. It cannot move down unless the plunger is depressed.

    While there is any weight at all on the gripper, the plunger cannot be depressed. An optional “safety nut” or “safety cap” can be added to completely lock the mechanism in both directions. The greater the weight, the stronger it grips.

    Glider Internals

    Materials & Finishes

    Griplock® Grippers are made of nickel-plated brass with a few exceptions. Internal mechanisms are comprised of brass and stainless steel. Type-50 and Type-80 Grippers are also available in a black zinc finish. The Retail Display Grippers are finished in satin-chrome. Other finishes are available upon request. Griplock® Keyrings are made of anodized aluminum and come in several colors.

    Materials & Finishes

    Thread Sizes

    Most Griplock® and Industrial/ZF Grippers have either internal or external threads to attach them to the object being suspended. The following chart contains thread and KO (Knock-Out) size information that may be useful, particularly to those in the lighting industry.

    Thread size chart

    About Aircraft Cable

    Aircraft Cables, also known as wire ropes, have diameters ranging from 1/32” to 1/4” and are composed of six steel strands wound around a seventh steel stranded core.

    This stranded steel core adds strength and crush-resistance to the cable. Aircraft cable is classified by the number of strands in the cable multiplied by the number of wires in each strand. For example, the notation 7x7 indicates that the cable has seven strands made up of seven wires in each strand. Similarly, the notation 7x19 indicates that the cable has seven strands made up of nineteen wires in each strand. The greater the number of wires, the greater the flexibly of the cable. Griplock® Cables are 7x7 or 7x19 galvanized or stainless steel (304 or 316) medium-to-high tensile strength aircraft cable.

    NOTE: Aircraft cable was developed, and is still used today, to provide a direct mechanical link between an aircraft’s controls and its crucial and hard-to-reach control functions.

    Cable Spool, 7 x 7 Cable, and Cable Terminals

    Galvanized & Stainless Steel Aircraft Cable

    Galvanized Aircraft Cable (also known as GAC) is composed of wires that, prior to stranding, have been zinc-plated to prevent corrosion. These cables are an effective and economical alternative to stainless steel in mild environments. Griplock®’s standard stainless steel cable is constructed of 304 Stainless Steel. 316 Stainless Steel is also available to add extra corrosion resistance, but it has lower break strength than 304 Stainless Steel cable. Both 304 Stainless Steel and Galvanized Aircraft Cable have approximately the same break strengths.

    Cable Sleeves & Terminals

    Sleeves and terminals (also known as stop-sleeves, stops, crimps and swages) are molded or crimped to the end of a cable, allowing the cable to be captured by a cable coupler or other non-mechanical holder which attaches the cable to a structure or fixture.

    Zinc Die-Cast (ZDC) Terminals are molded to a cable end that has been “bird-caged”, allowing the molten zinc to adhere to each individual wire. This technology has proven itself in the automotive and aviation industries. Griplock® Systems offers a comprehensive range of ZDC terminals.

    Swaged Terminals can be made of steel, stainless steel, aluminum or copper and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

    Both types of Griplock® terminal are guaranteed to hold the full published break weight of the cable. U.S. Wire Rope Specifications

    NOTE: Griplock® Systems does not recommend field-installing swaged terminals onto cable. Griplock® Systems waives any liability for accidents resulting from field- or non-factory-installed swages and terminals.

    Griplock® vs. Griplock® Industrials/Cablefast

    Griplock® Grippers are designed and engineered by Griplock®. Produced by technically sophisticated manufacturers under Griplock®’s stringent Quality Control program, the shells and moving parts are machined to three decimal point specifications, assuring 100% reliability of performance. In addition to its own product line, Griplock® is the exclusive distributor in North and Central America and the Caribbean for grippers manufactured by Reutlinger GmbH of Frankfurt, Germany. The Griplock® Gripper line ranges from Micro-Grippers for 1/32” cable to the new Type-120 Grippers for 1/2” cable, and encompasses over 400 different designs.

    GRIPLOCK® INDUSTRIAL/CABLEFAST® ZF GRIPPERS are born from Griplock®’s long experience in the cable suspension field. They are U.S designed and are built to Griplock®’s specifications. The product range is limited to the most commonly used grippers in the industry. They are designed and priced to compete in an increasingly budget-driven market, while giving engineers & specifiers more pounds of reliable pull-strength per dollar than any other gripper on the market. This group of grippers is designated by “ZF” at the beginning of their part numbers.

    Weight loads for ZF Grippers are lower than for Griplock® Grippers. Please refer to the Weight Load Chart specifically for ZF Grippers.

    Quality Control

    As all manufacturers and installers know, suspending objects safely over people’s heads is their first and most critical responsibility. At Griplock® Systems Safety is their number one concern. Each and every gripper is a precision-built machine. Failure is not an option.

     

    Note: portions of this article reprinted with permission from the nice folks at Griplock®

    Always use a liscensed electrician and be sure that your lighting project is in compliance with local building codes.

    We welcome your comments, send us your questions and we may just use that as a blog topic! And, send us your 'before' and 'after' project pictures-we'd love to see them!

     

     

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    Tags: track lighting systems, GripLock, track lighting accessories and fixtures, track lighting suspension system

  • Recessed Lighting Decorative Glass Trims

    Oh, bring on the bling! That's what I say...

    Looking for that "wow" factor in your recessed lighting design? It's really easy with the family of decorative glass trims (especially in the 4" low voltage section) offered at Total Recessed Lighting. Whether you are trying to achieve accent lighting, task lighting or general lighting in your space, you can accomplish all that while making your own distinctive design statement.

    I must confess to being a bit of a 'raven'-I am very partial to things that are bright and shiny. Which will help to explain my enthusiasm for the decorative glass trims. Not to mention that I am an artist, so these have a special place in my heart. They are art in themselves. These decorative (aka deco) glass trims are colorful, stylish, beautiful, sexy (yes, I said it, sexy), architectural and artful all rolled up into one. The hardest part would be in making a decision as there is a large offering of styles and colors to choose from.

    One of the key design elements for  lighting a room is to have different 'layers' of light. By layers, we are talking about task lighting, general lighting and accent lighting. The next time you walk into a well designed space, take a look at how the lighting is done. You'll see this in hotel lobbys, spas, high end model homes-notice how good everything looks. These layers of light add not only drama, but depth to your space.

    We put together a video for you in hopes that it will give you a better idea as to how they look. Mind you, it's just a small sampling of the trims that Total Recessed Lighting has to offer.  Do check out the video (if a picture is worth a thousand words-a video is worth a million words) and see what you think.

    If you need help or have question in regards to these trims and appropriate applications, feel free to contact us and our professional staff will be more than happy to help you with your design questions. We are one of the few companies out there that actually has an in-house lighting design expert.

    If you use these gorgeous glass trims in your project, send us your 'before' and 'after' pictures. We'd love to post them here on our blog.

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    Tags: 4" Recessed Lighting, Low Voltage, glass trims for recessed lighting, 4"recessed lighting glass trims, low voltage recessed lighting glass trims

  • Cutting a Hole in Your Plaster Ceiling for Recessed Lighting

    Note: this article is reprinted in its entirety with permission from the blog of the nice folks at Hole Pro. We get a lot of customers with questions in regards to cutting the holes for recessed lighting. Often, mistakes are made-some of which are very difficult to correct for. We think you will find their article very helpful-particularly if you have a plaster ceiling (be it new or old). Be sure to visit their web site for more of their product information. Although we don't have any holes to cut right now, we're trying to think of excuses to buy one of these (Hole Pro)! Thank you to Hole Pro for letting us reprint their article.

     

    There are many times when one or more holes need to be made in a plaster ceiling, whether for recessed light cans, audio speakers, a heating or air conditioning duct, or to add a ceiling fan. Plaster ceilings have been done in different ways in different parts of the country and at different times. After 1950 most plaster ceilings have a metal lath. In prior years the lath could be metal, chicken wire, or wood. In many cases the nails that originally held the pieces of lath in place have largely disappeared from corrosion over the years.

    We recommend treating the plaster ceiling hole cutting operation as a two stage process. First cut the plaster and remove the plug. Second cut the lath using the hole in the plaster as a guide. The Hole Pro adjustable hole cutters make a clean straight cutout hole in the plaster for the can light or ceiling speaker and with the straight edge the grill or trim rings will sit flush against the surface of the ceiling. With the circular scoring motion of the tungsten carbide cutting blades the two layers of the plaster are not likely to separate and cause a crack in the ceiling (which can be very expensive to repair).

    The best tool for cutting the lath depends upon the material used. For standard metal lath a carbide grit reciprocating saw blade works very well. For wood lath a fine tooth bi-metal reciprocating saw blade usually works the best. For chicken wire it is best to use diagonal cutting pliers (dikes) or snips to cut the wire lath.

    In theory it would be simpler to use a continuous edge tungsten carbide rim grit hole saw and cut through all three layers. There good reasons why this is often not the case. It comes down to cost. Each size of carbide grit hole saw costs between $45 and $80 depending upon the brand and the hole saw only works for one size hole. The sizes provided by all manufacturers (Milwaukee, Greenlee, MK Morse, Lenox) are limited to 3-3/8″, 4-3/8″, 5-3/8″, 6-3/8″, 6-5/8″, 6-7/8″. With more than 20 common recessed can light cutout sizes needed the sizes available are seldom going to work.

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    Tags: cutting a hole for recessed lighting, installation, Hole cutting

  • Installing Recessed Can Lights in Ceilings

    Note: this article is reprinted in its entirety with permission from the blog of the nice folks at Hole Pro. We get a lot of customers with questions in regards to cutting the holes for recessed lighting. Often, mistakes are made-some of which are very difficult to correct for. We think you will find their article very helpful. Be sure to visit their web site for more of their product information. Although we don't have any holes to cut right now, we're trying to think of excuses to buy one of these (Hole Pro)! Thank you to Hole Pro for letting us reprint their article.

     

    Installing recessed can lights or high hats in ceilings has gotten more complicated with all the new sizes of LED, PAR, and CFL light fixtures. Instead of three common hole cutout sizes for the majority of recessed can lights (6-3/8, 6-5/8, 6-7/8 inches, there are now more than 27 common sizes and very few in these traditional diameters.

    For example the Halo brand of recessed light cans sold by Amazon, Lowe’s, Home Depot, and others, have manufacturer recommended cutout hole sizes of 3-3/4″, 4-1/4″, 5-1/2″, 6-1/4″, 6-7/16″ for the different size can lights. Another common recessed can light manufacturer is Juno and for their can lights one needs cutout holes of 3-1/4″, 4-3/8″, 5-1/2″ 6-3/4″, 6-7/8″. And this is just for the residential high hats or recessed ceiling lights. Commercial can lights can require cutout holes larger than 8 inches in diameter. So one can spend hundreds of dollars on continuous rim grit hole saws and still not have the right hole saw sizes for the most common can lights. Or for $129 a Hole Pro model X-230 hole cutter can cut any size cutout hole needed from 1-7/8 to 9 inches in diameter.

    There are a number of important advantages to using a Hole Pro adjustable hole cutter to make the cutout holes for recessed can lights (or downlights). First is the ability to make the exact size hole needed in whatever ceiling material is to be cut. For thick plaster a slightly larger cutout hole may be needed to provide room for pushing up a remodel style can light into the ceiling space. With soft sheetrock a close fit may be needed with smaller LED can lights like the 3 inch and 4 inch models from Utilitech sold by Lowe’s and the Con-Tech fixtures sold by Home Depot.

    Most of the manufactures have stopped publishing the cutout dimensions so one does not the exact hole size needed until the light cans have been purchased and one can measure the template in the box. Often the template is the same for all models from the manufacturer and may be too small for some of the variations, especially with the remodel light cans. With the remodel or retrofit type of recessed ceiling can light the entire fixture has to slip through the opening and often the size of the opening is dictated by the arm that attaches the fixture to the electrical junction box. Some designs, like the Halo in particular, make it much more difficult to insert the can light assembly.

    The Halo H5RICAT (“5″ indicates 5″ fixture, “R” indicates remodel/retrofit type and the “I” indicates that it is OK for direct contact with insulation) comes with a template for a 5-1/2 inch size cutout hole. In an actual installation the tape that is wrapped around the light can to help make a good air seal increases the outer diameter of the light can so it requires a 5-5/8″ cutout at a bare minimum and 5-11/16 inches is a safer size to minimize damage  to the sheetrock.

    The “air tight” ceiling fixtures when installed properly can significantly reduce loss of heated air from living spaces up into the attic. All the air tight fixtures I have examined from the major suppliers are cheaply modified with a thin strip of insulating tape that probably adds 2 cents to the manufacturing cost and does a poor job of providing an air seal. A foam sealant would do a much better job.

    The H750RICAT is supposed to fit through a 6-1/4″ cutout hole cut but actually the can light needs a hole at least 6-3/8 inches in diameter for the can portion of the fixture.

    The Halo H750RICAT recessed remodel light can is most easily installed through a 6-1/2 inch opening so that the junction box and can cylinder and the thick arm bracket (outlined in red in the picture) all fit through the opening in the ceiling.

    Some of the less expensive remodel type can lights have a thin metal arm that is 1/8″ thick strap steel and which makes them much easier to insert in the ceiling opening. This thin bracket is shown in the picture outlined in red.

    When making the cutout holes for recessed can lights the Hole Pro adjustable hole cutter makes it faster and a lot safer with its adjustable cutting depth control The cutting depth can be set so that the blades only cut the sheetrock or plaster or tongue and groove wood ceiling and nothing more. No worries about accidentally cutting an electrical wire, low voltage audio wire, or plumbing pipe in the ceiling space and turning a small project into an expensive repair job.

    The Hole Pro hole cutters also save a lot of time when installing downlights. The hole can be cut faster than a cutout circle can be drawn on the ceiling with the template. It is easy to cut a perfect round hole even with only one hand to hold the drill with the hole cutter when high up on a ladder. The ABS plastic shield is ball bearing mounted so only the hole cutter spins and all the dust and shavings and the cut plug all stay in the shield. Invert the shield over a bucket and everything falls out and the hole cutter is ready for the next hole.

    A lot of time is saved when one only needs to place the hole cutter’s pilot drill bit in the center of the spot for the cutout and start to drill. No need to move furniture or lay out a tarp or get out the shop vacuum.

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    Tags: hole cutting for recessed lights, installation, Hole cutting

  • Going ‘green’ with your recessed lighting fixtures

    Many buildings (residential, retail and commercial) have 6” recessed lighting fixtures in their hallways, restrooms, board rooms, lobbies, stairwells, etc., where down lighting fixtures were needed and installed.

    With the cost of electricity going up almost every 6 months, energy efficiency becomes a higher priority on everyone’s minds. We decided to weigh in with some comments sent to us in regards to other light bulb options that can be used in recessed lighting that is more energy efficient, while keeping the cost down. The larger the building, the more this consideration is important to the bottom line.

    A few months ago at Total Lighting Supply, we were sent a new fluorescent screw in retrofit, called the “Top Spiral” R40 CFL (which is also available as a “Top Spiral” R30 CFL). A retrofit refers to the addition of new technology or features to older systems. Note that the “Top Spiral” R40 CFL (or R30) fluorescent spiral should not be confused or seen as the same as the other fluorescent R40s and R30s that are available.The retrofit light bulb that we were sent for the 6” recessed light is a compact fluorescent (CFL). We were pleasantly surprised to find that it  actually outperforms the rest of the other recessed lights by far.

    Here’s what we did: we replaced our old 65 watt incandescent flood with this new “Top Spiral” R40 CFL. Since the fixture already had an incandescent R40, all we had to do was to swap out the light bulbs. If you were to swap out a incandescent R40 with a “Top Spiral” R30 CFL or vice verse (incandescent R30 with a “Top Spiral” R40 CFL), keep in mind that in doing so, you will also need to use a different trim to accommodate the diameter of the bulb.

    The new bulb, shown here, costs less than $10 and will out last the incandescent energy pig significantly longer.  Is it worth your time and energy to swap out? We spent $4.95 on the incandescent R40 bulb. The “Top Spiral” R40  CFL costs $9.50. So, you’re thinking, where’s the savings in that? You realize a savings with the “Top Spiral” R40 CFL by way of how much longer it will last: 8,000 hours versus 2,000 hours for the incandescent. That means the “Top Spiral” R40 CFL lasts 4 times longer than the incandescent R40. Right off the bat, there is a $4.55 savings. And, in large building applications, that will help to keep your maintenance costs down.

    You will also realize a huge savings in energy consumption. The incandescent R40 is 65 watts versus the 30 watts for the “Top Spiral” R40 CFL. Remember, wattage is not the brightness of the bulb, but a measurement of how much energy it consumes. Another energy savings aspect is the heat output of the bulb: the incandescent puts out a lot of heat. So much, in fact, that we know of a gallery in Aspen CO, that runs their air conditioning in the winter to offset the heat output of their incandescent R40’s!

    Is one bulb brighter than the other? Brightness of a bulb is measured in two ways: candlepower and lumens. Our government mandates to the industry that brightness of a bulb be expressed in lumens. The “Top Spiral” R40 CFL is almost 3 times as bright as the incandescent R40: 1640 lumens versus 580 lumens, respectively.

    If all of this wasn’t enough to impress you, here’s one more aspect: this new fluorescent also has a better light spread and better aesthetic qualities than the incandescent counterpart. If you are lighting a hallway, a kitchen or a front desk at a hotel, it will provide a good, even, soft light, without the harsh shadows that the incandescent has. The light output of the “Top Spiral” R40 CFL (or R30) is a better task light to work under because of the even light spread. Incandescent R40’s typically make a hallway look like a mining shaft due to a narrower beam spread.

    You can see why we are excited about this new fluorescent “Top Spiral” R40 CFL reflector bulb; we give it a 5 star rating. If you are interested in saving money and energy, you will want to swap out your incandescent R40s (or R30s) for these “Top Spiral” R40 CFLs (or R30s). These bulbs are also offered at bulk price rates.

    Coming up in the next article: comparing LED light sources to fluorescent. Which one is better and more affordable? What applications are best for either light source?

    Retrofit CFL

    Buy the Top CFL Reflector bulb today!

    Posted in:

    Tags: CFL, Green, Fluorescent, Energy Saving

  • New Recessed Lighting Products, New Recessed Lighting Prices

    We just added 2" Recessed Lighting Trims and 2" Recessed Lighting Housings to our Total Recessed Lighting web site.

    Also, we lowered our prices on many of our low voltage 4" Recessed Lighting Trims, low voltage 4" Recessed Lighting Housings, line voltage 4" Recessed Lighting Trims and line voltage 4" Recessed Housings.

    Posted in:

    Tags: 4" Recessed Lighting, 2" Recessed Lighting, Low Voltage, Line Voltage, Recessed Lighting Blog

  • New Track Light, NO HEAT !

    New Fluorescent Wall Wash Bulb/Fixture combination=THE PERFECT LIGHT

    *Bright white, even light
    * One bulb will light the entire wall and display floor to ceiling
    *Energy efficient
    *Affordable
    *Does not produce heat
    *Super long life (same price as a big box store halogen and lasts five times longer)

    You’ve asked for it and now we have it! You’ve asked for a track light that is bright, affordable, and without the heat and energy cost of halogen lights.

    Impossible? A major breakthrough in lighting technology has provided us with a track light source that is affordable, energy efficient and produces virtually very little heat. The design of this bulb is based on a fluorescent spiral retrofit.

    This new bulb is the brightest fluorescent on the market and only uses 30watts of power and will light a wall from floor to ceiling. This light source is perfect where a large area of bright, white light is needed. The bulb puts out a very even circle of light that is almost nine feet in diameter. Yes, you read that right. Nine feet. Another great cost saving feature is the savings you will incur from not having to run your air conditioning in overdrive which occurs from the heat that halogen lights produce. We recommend that you use this new track flood in conjunction with some halogen to produce the exact lighting effects that you need.

    Now you can create the drama that makes for exciting displays without spending a fortune on your electric bill. Fixture and bulb sold separately so you can select the color temperature you like the best. We prefer the 41K as it is a clean white light and it balances well with existing halogen bulbs.

    Posted in:

    Tags: Track light, Track Lighting Fixture, Cool Track Light, Wall Wash, compact fluorescents, CFL, Fluorescent lighting

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