Total Lighting Blog

  • 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.

     

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    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!

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    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.

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    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

  • 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!

     

     

    Posted in:

    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.

    Posted in:

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

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