Choosing light bulbs for your home isn’t as simple as it used to be. In the past, incandescent bulbs were the only option, but over the last few years, technology has given us a few more: fluorescent and LED bulbs. These energy efficient bulbs can last years longer than their incandescent alternatives, and recently, they’re affordable too. But what exactly are the differences between incandescent, fluorescent, and LED lighting?
The average life span for incandescent lights is 1,200 hours, while LED lights can last 50,000 hours, and fluorescent bulbs can last 8,000. Incandescent lights also use 3,285 Kilowatts per year and 60 watts of electricity, compared to LEDs, which use 329 kWh per year and 6-8 watts of electricity, and fluorescent, which use 767 kWh per year 13-15 watts of electricity.
The average cost for purchasing individual bulbs is about $1 for incandescent bulbs, $8 for LEDs, and $2 for fluorescent lights. Even though incandescent bulbs are the cheaper option up front, LED and fluorescent lighting could save you money in the long run. The average operating costs per year for incandescent lighting is around $329. The average operating cost is about $33 per year for LED lighting and about $76 for fluorescent lighting.
Fluorescent lighting contains Mercury, which is toxic to both the environment and your own health, while incandescent and LED lighting do not. Because of this, incandescent and LED lighting are both RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) compliant, while fluorescent bulbs are not. On the other hand, incandescent light bulbs emit about 4,500 pounds of Carbon Dioxide per year, compared to LED lights, which only emit about 450 pounds of CO2 per year, and fluorescent bulbs, which emit around 1,050 pounds of CO2 per year.
Other Things to Consider
Fluorescent lights may not work when exposed to low temperatures or humidity. LED lighting is not sensitive to either, while incandescent bulbs might be.
On/off cycling (switching a light on and off quickly multiple times) will drastically decrease the lifespan of fluorescent lights, while it has no effect on LED lights and may have some effect on incandescent lights.
Fluorescent lights can also take a few minutes to warm up and fully turn on, while LED and incandescent lights turn on immediately.
LED lights are durable and can handle bumping and jarring, while their incandescent and fluorescent counterparts break easily.
Finally, incandescent lights emit more heat at about 85 BTU’s per hour, compared to LED lights at 4 BTU’s per hour and fluorescent lights at about 30 BTU’s per hour.
Ceiling fans are an often overlooked part of your home, though they have a lot to offer. There is an abundance of ways ceiling fans can benefit your daily life:
Ceiling Fans Make Your Room Feel Cooler
Ceiling fans can make a room feel up to 8 degrees Fahrenheit cooler. They do this by circulating the air, which makes sweat evaporate from your skin more quickly and takes the heat out of your body by a process called convection. This is called the wind chill effect.
They Save Energy
Since they make the room feel cooler, using ceiling fans allows you to cut back on your AC usage, which uses more energy. A typical air conditioning unit uses about 3,500 watts of energy, while a ceiling fan uses about 60 watts. That’s a 99% decrease in energy usage!
They Can Reduce Your Energy Bill
Ceiling fans don’t just reduce your carbon footprint, they save you money! Typical AC units cost around 36 cents an hour, compared to ceiling fans which only cost 1 cent an hour. If you use your ceiling fan wisely, you can save a lot over time.
Ceiling Fans Let You Cool One Room at a Time
Ceiling fans are most efficient when you turn them off in rooms that aren’t being used. Since you won’t be there to feel the wind chill effect, you’re better off saving the energy. So while you’re in one room enjoying your ceiling fan, you can be saving money in another.
They Keep Bugs Away
Food and drinks can attract house flies and mosquitos into your home, but the breeze from a ceiling fan can help keep them away.
They Give You a Chance to Decorate
They Provide Light
Most ceiling fans come with light bulb sockets. This gives you the chance to light the room from the perfect spot in the middle of the ceiling.
It’s typical for ceiling fans to have a switch that allows you to run the blades clockwise or counter-clockwise. During warm months, run them counter-clockwise to stay cool. But you can keep using your ceiling fan and saving energy and money in the cold months too by running the blades clockwise. This sweeps the air from the middle of the room up to the ceiling, forcing the warm air from the top of the room down, eliminating the wind chill effect.
There are so many reasons to use your ceiling fan wisely in every season of the year. From saving you money to reducing your carbon footprint, you are sure to enjoy the benefits of ceiling fans.
Hot Tub Wiring
Most hot tubs use a 60 amp, 240-volt circuit, and wiring these up to code is critical. Hiring an electrician that values integrity in their work can play an important role in how There are a few codes required for hot tub installation that, in addition to the National Electrical Code, ensure your family’s safety while in use. Making sure the correct voltage and amperage is quite important as it will ensure that your Jacuzzi works efficiently and properly for years to come. Lastly, a surge protector or surge protection system should be installed so that your unit it fully protected from potential lightning strikes.
Replacing Worn Out Wiring
As with anything, when homes get older, so do all of their components. Upkeep is one of the perks (and downfalls) of being a homeowner. Normally, your appliances, roof, light fixtures, and more all need replacing or updating as your home ages. Oftentimes, though, the wiring of the home gets overlooked. In fact, many homes built before 1980 don’t have the third hole for a grounded plug. If your home has this issue, it’s likely that it needs new wiring throughout. As far as safety goes, this is a big no-no. Contact a professional electrician to make sure your home’s wires and outlets are up to date and up to code.
Pond / Fountain Wiring
Almost nothing looks more fantastic in a fine-looking backyard than koi ponds, swimming pools, and waterfalls. Having a dependable company responsible for doing the wiring for these elements is key. One factor to consider when upgrading to a peaceful backyard pond is the accurate voltage this specific unit requires. Not as aesthetically pleasing as the fountain or the sound of the water, but likely the most crucial part of the install. Ensuring no risk of electrical shock, no tripping of the breakers, and the ability to add lighting, later on, are all things we take into consideration, too. PNormally pumps are to be installed and we will make sure the proper voltages and amps and dedicated circuits are used properly. We can install circuits for new ponds and fountains or an existing one that may be having issues.
Additional Appliance Wiring
When the time comes to upgrade your old appliances to electric, or you’d like to add a refrigerator or wine chiller to your basement, proper wiring will likely be needed. New appliances will require new circuits, and that requires a master electrician as your contractor. Ensuring the proper switches for shut-off, and proper wiring are essential to a job done right. Our specialty is new circuit installs and the proper hookups to make sure your appliances and upgrades are installed and work efficiently.
Fairly often, almost always, in fact, people don’t realize that they have their 4K TV, Blu-ray player, DVR, and gaming system all plugged into what they think is something that will protect their devices should there be a power surge, or lightning strike. Sadly, the majority of the sockets that are filled en masse are power strips, not surge protectors. Yes, there is a vast difference between the two. A power strip is simply an extension of your power outlet that allows you to plug in more than two things. Although these typically have 6 or more outlets on them, it’s never a good idea to fill all available ports on them. A surge protector can look a lot like a power strip, but there is one glaring difference – a surge protector, with the right joule rating, can actually limit the voltage supplied to an electronic device by blocking or shorting to ground any voltage above a desirable threshold. This keeps your devices readily working, and with the right joule rating, even after a lightning strike.
A joule rating doesn’t mean much to most people. In fact, the science behind it will remind you of a science class from high school. However, the rating on your surge protector can make or break how well your surge protector functions. It’s recommended to get a surge protector that is rated 200 to 400 joules to for each set of electronics that you’re plugging in. Though, it’s better to have more protection, so a 600 or more rating will do you even better. The higher the joule rating, the better the chance your HDTV or iMac will withstand any power surges due to lightning strikes or voltage spikes.
Daisy Chains Are No-Nos
So you have limited receptacles (outlets) but you also have maximum electronics, so why not use a power strip or surge protector…or two. Not that anyone would get all Clark Griswold in real life, but power strips and surge protectors are meant to be single extensions for you to utilize so you can plug in more devices. If you’re going to use a power strip or surge protector don’t “daisy chain” them. A daisy chain, in electrical speak, is when you have one strip plugged into the permanent outlet, then another strip plugged into the initial one, and maybe more after that. This is a HUGE don’t. Not only could you overload the permanent receptacle, you increase the risk of electrical fire and shorting out your equipment. As with any other device you have, read the instructions and warnings that come with your power strip or surge protector, they’re there for a reason.
Buy More Than One Surge Protector
The general population has a home theater system that is separate from their office space. Sure, some may be the same room, or even in extreme cases, the same outlet receptacles but typically they are in different rooms. Keep in mind that it is a good practice to buy one surge protector for every area of electronics you intend to operate. If you have an abundance of electrical equipment, some areas may require two surge protectors just to be safe. Whole house surge protection is also available to protect everything from your computers and speakers to your washer and dryer. Most surge protectors with joule ratings in the high hundreds or even thousands are more than capable of protecting your electronics from lightning strikes, power surges, and the like. Power strips without any voltage deterring elements will not protect you from anything except lack of outlets.
A space heater’s sole purpose is to heat up that place in our home that never seems to be able to get warmed from our furnace or heat pump. These small heaters give us a little reprieve from the cold without raising our electric bills by too big an amount. But you must keep in mind that space heaters are to be used with caution and under a watchful eye. Left unattended and space heater can start a fire that could spread in under a minute. Heating equipment is the second most popular culprit of home fires in the US, accounting for countless injuries, homes lost; millions of dollars in insurance claims and sadly, even deaths.
Plug Directly Into Outlet
Always plug your space heater directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord or power strip to give your heater power. Doing this can lead to fire or electrical shorts to occur. Be sure to check the wires and the body of your heating unit to make sure nothing is frayed, rusted, broken or otherwise malfunctioning.
Do Not Leave Heater By Itself
Whenever you get up to leave the warm sanctity that is your hot spot, turn off or unplug your space heater. Whether you’re walking out for the day or just for five minutes be sure that it is powered down. This will decrease your chances of it starting a fire by almost 100%. It only takes a fire a few precious moments to start and spread. Avoid this catastrophic outcome every time you use your heater.
Read and Follow Your Specific Heater’s Manual
When it comes to most things to read (i.e. OS updates and the like), you generally can get safely by without reading them. When something has the ability to burn your house down you take it a bit more seriously. They don’t print those manuals and put warning stickers on the units for no reason-heed the warning!
Stay Back 3 Feet
To be effective, a heater must do a few things to function properly: warm a small area; not start a fire; turn on or off when prompted. As a user, you must do a few things also: use caution by keeping anything that could burn at least 3 feet away; turn it off when you’re leaving the room; examine it for defect or anything unusual. Staying a minimum of 3 feet away is ideal for proper safety of your heater. Remember it’s a space heater, not a grill, not a blanket warmer and definitely not a microwave.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors are a MUST
Smoke-which you can smell-and carbon monoxide-which you can’t-are potential signs of fire or poisonous gas. Each floor of your home should have at least one smoke and one carbon monoxide detector. Both can be very hazardous to your health, and depending on your type of heater may be emitted if not working properly.
Just like all the devices and appliances in your home, use each with caution and be sure you know enough about it to operate it properly and with great care.
There’s a good chance that your basement is unfinished because the daunting task of getting it properly wired and set up with electricity is holding you back. Don’t let that be the case. Let the professionals at Dependable Electric safely wire and supply electricity to your basement while ensuring it’s up to code.
Don’t Do This Yourself
There are a great many things that you can attempt to accomplish to finish your basement without any great risk. Wiring it is not one of them! Be sure to hire licensed and insured professionals to wire, re-wire or otherwise supply electricity to your basement or any other additions that require electrical work. Don’t risk electrical shock, or worse, just to save a few bucks.
Get Electric Work Done First
When finishing your basement you want to build your basement around your electrical work, not the other way around. You’ll be glad you chose to do the electrical work first as getting wires in, around and through built drywall, finished paint and ceilings is a hard and can end up costing you considerably more.
Finish That Basement
Whether you’re re-wiring and remodeling your current basement, or just need power supplied to your about-to-be-finished basement, get an estimate from the certified electricians at Dependable Electric Services.