Energy efficiency measures such as using CFL bulbs, air sealing, and monitoring energy usage among others have many benefits. Energy efficiency leads to a reduction in your carbon footprint and energy bills at the same time.
Now that you understand more about ballasts, retrofitting, and the benefits of switching from fluorescent to LED, let’s get into even further detail about LED T8 lights. These lamps come in a few different configurations. The most obvious of which is the single and double-ended tube. Knowing whether you’ll need a double ended T8 LED or a single ended T8 LED tube for your lighting project gets you on the right track to completing the ideal renovation.
What Kind of Lamp is the Single Ended T8 LED Tube?
Single ended tubes receive all of their power from one side. This is the side that contains both the neutral and live pins. It is known as the input end. Many of these types of lamps are direct-wire, and do not require a ballast in order to operate. However, if you are using this lamp in a retrofit, the lampholders will require replacement, and the ballast removed.
What Kind of Lamp is the Double Ended T8 LED?
On the double ended T8 LED, you will find the neutral pins on one end, and the live pins on the other end of the tube. Traditional fluorescent lamps also have this double ended configuration. When replacing fluorescent tubes with LEDs, using the double ended LED lamps can make retrofitting much easier.
If this is your first major lighting project, consider enlisting the assistance of a licensed technician or electrical expert. Once these lamps are installed throughout your building, they are guaranteed to bring energy and dollar savings for years to come.
When doing an outdoor lighting project, there are so many options to choose from. Among all available lights, the most energy efficient are easily the ones with LED technology. Once you know LED is the way to go, you have to know what beam you need, how wide of a beam is necessary, and how to calculate the beam spread you’ll need. Let’s take a look at a few of the key differences between an outdoor LED flood light and the LED spotlight.
Spotlight – an LED spotlight will project a light beam that fairs on the more narrow side, at 45 degrees or less. This sort of beam spread is concentrated in a more specific area, and can be simpler to direct.
Flood Light – LED bulbs in this category create a large beam spread that can cast from 50 to 120 degrees of light. As this is a larger beam, this light covers a significantly large amount of space without compromising energy efficiency (wattage) or light brightness (lumens) in comparison to the spotlight.
Which to Choose?
LED spotlights can be seen when looking to highlight specific points or details, such as artwork in a museum, features in landscaping, or items for display.
If your project requires illuminating large spaces that need a wide and even distribution of light, the outdoor LED flood light is the one you want to go with. These lights are used in settings such as parking lots, warehouses, other commercial spaces, and driveways to name a few.
Measuring the Coverage Area
While having a general idea of what setting a spotlight or floodlight can be used in is helpful, being able to measure in feet how much coverage you’ll have per light can make your lighting project run even more smoothly. Keep this formula handy for when you need to do just that:
Distance from Bulb x Beam Angle x 0.018 = Beam Width in Feet
For example, if you want to cover 20 feet of area using a 90 degree floodlight:
20 x 90 x 0.018 = 32.4 feet
With your knowledge of how an outdoor LED flood light differs from an LED spotlight, and with this formula in hand, you’re now more than ready to take on that next lighting project.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, lighting accounts for 10% of total energy consumption in commercial buildings. This includes schools, hospitals, warehouses, offices, and other industrial spaces. Limiting the amount of energy lost from lighting is just as simple as changing the lights. The most common type of lamp found in these buildings are fluorescent T8 lights. By simply replacing them with T8 LED light bulbs, you can easily reduce energy usage and costs right along with it.
What’s So Different?
When looking to replace fluorescent lamps with their LED counterparts, the first thing to check is wattage. For example, if you’re replacing a 32-watt fluorescent, a 17-watt LED T8 will do the trick. This cuts the energy being used from just the one fixture by more than half! Imagine the savings possible after replacing them all.
Next, do a comparison of lumens. While wattage measures the amount of energy being consumed, lumens accounts for the brightness of a bulb. Let’s take the same example from earlier. A T8 fluorescent that uses 32 watts of energy typically produces 2500 lumens of light. It’s LED equivalent, while using only 17 watts, produces 2200 lumens.
Additionally, T8 LED light bulbs have a lifetime rating of 50,000 hours, more than 3 times longer than 15,000 hour average lifespan of T8 fluorescent lights. Also keep in mind the warranty period. Generally, most fluorescent tubes have a 2-year warranty. Their LED counterparts are warrantied for as much as 5 years after the date of purchase.
There are two types of T8 LED tubes: Plug and Play, and Ballast Bypass. If you’re looking to do a quick replacement and install, you’ll want to go with the plug and play LEDs. These models do just as the title suggests. Rewiring isn’t necessary, and this reduces the maintenance costs. Installing Ballast bypass LEDs is slightly more complicated, and a professional electrician should be contracted to do the job. The existing ballast in the fixture will first need to be removed. These lamps work by using the voltage that flows directly to the socket.
All LED tubes come in either cool white or daylight color temperatures, matching the colors of the already installed lamps. T8 LED light bulbs allow for less energy use, greater energy savings, longer lamp life, and less maintenance. They are manufactured to make the switch both seamless, and well worth it in the long run.
A computer, DVR, and TV are just some of the devices we use daily in our homes and businesses. These are also some of the most common devices left plugged in long after being shut off. While powering off does reduce energy use, it doesn’t stop the device from using energy. One of the simplest way to combat this phantom energy use is with a tier 2 power strip. These advanced devices are highly intuitive, and can be used in both residential and commercial environments.
What’s the Big Difference?
Tier 1 and 2 power strips both work to reduce the amount of energy used by the devices that are plugged into them. The key difference between these two is the intuitive technology the advanced power strips feature.
Power and motion sensor to reliably control power supply to all plugged in equipment
Adjustable standby control delays the sensor for activities such as movie-watching / completely cuts off power after an allotted period
Bluetooth connectivity with Apple iOS / Android device to control the power strip and view usage details in an app
Designated PC outlet for controlling A Windows PC running on Microsoft Windows versions 7, 8 or 10
Tested and Proven
You don’t have to worry about experimenting in your home or business, because that’s exactly where these power strips have been tested. By using them on millions of devices outside of a laboratory, the tier 2 power strip is a proven energy saver. These power strips allow you to reduce the energy usage for 8 devices in either a commercial or residential setting with 2 always on, and 6 controlled outlets.
If you’re looking for a way to save energy and money in these spaces, consider giving the advanced power strip a try. At the very least, you won’t have to worry anymore about the energy being lost when you walk away and forget to unplug.
When searching for LED bulbs, you may have come across the phrases wet location and damp location. While they sound like they’re describing the same kind of bulb, these two ratings are very different. The bulbs are each given their classification by the Underwriters Laboratories. Here, each light undergoes testing to determine the environment it is best suited for. Understanding the difference between damp rated LED bulbs and wet rated LED bulbs will allow you to remain safe when installing them in fixtures for your home or business.
What Qualifies as A Damp Location?
Where LED bulbs are concerned, a damp location is an environment that is mostly shielded from outdoor weather conditions, yet still experiences humidity and moisture. These settings are exposed to condensation, or “sweating,” yet the fixtures installed here do not have actual contact with water. Examples of this would be:
What Qualifies as A Wet Location?
Wet rated LED bulbs are installed in fixtures that have been designed to specifically withstand exposure to water: from simple splashes, to complete submersion. The fixtures have to be produced with seals that waterproof its electrical portions. This also prevents damage, and even power shortages. Bulbs with this rating are manufactured for use in almost all outdoor light fixtures, as these fixtures are exposed to conditions such as rain and snow. A few settings where wet location LED bulbs are installed in include:
United Laboratories has carefully crafted the rating system for these bulbs. In doing so, this prevents lighting from being installed in the wrong location, which can cause short-circuiting, and even be potentially dangerous. Understanding the difference between damp rated LED bulbs and wet rated LED bulbs will allow you to get the most out of your LED lights. It also takes you one step closer to making the right choices for fixtures both inside and outside of your house or building.
The door of a home is where we let in and welcome family and friends. Unfortunately, it’s also where we let in air leaks, insects and moisture. Unlike loved ones, these can come into the home through doors even when they’re closed. The older the home, the more likely it is that you have a door (or a few) that could benefit from being properly sealed. Installing a q-lon door seal is a quick and cost-effective way to solve these problems, save energy, and ultimately lower energy bills.
Passing the Test
The simplest way to check for air leaks is to look at the door during daylight hours. If you see sunlight peeking through the door, it needs to be sealed. If you notice moisture at the door when it rains, it needs to be sealed. If by chance, you catch an insect trying to sneak into the home, the door needs to be sealed.
Q-lon is designed specifically to be used on the top and sides of doors. It seals gaps that measure up to 1/2″ in size. If your air leak is smaller, no worries. A q-lon door seal can be cut to fit smaller doors and seal smaller spaces. It is made up of polyethylene-clad urethane foam, and contains a special backing for use on specific door types. The exact one you’ll need depends on what the door you’re sealing is made up of:
Metal doors – Use the aluminum q-lon weatherstrip.
Wood doors – Use the wooden q-lon weatherstrip.
Vinyl – Use the vinyl (PVC) q-lon weathertrip. This is the most commonly used type for residential doors.
Comfort and Savings
If you left the oven door open while baking, it would take considerably longer to reach the right temperature. The same concept can be applied to all doors. When inside air leaks out, and outside air comes in, regulating the temperature becomes increasingly difficult. Installing a q-lon door seal gives you back some of that control. It does so without you having to spend hundreds, or even over a thousand, on a replacement door. The material is industrial-grade, strong enough to seal gaps for years, and costs under $13 a piece. Installing this weatherstrip lets you start realizing savings without having to reach into your savings to get it done.
This post has been updated from its original 2013 version.
PL fluorescent lamps have been in the conservation game for a while. Specifically named for the original creator/manufacturer, this lighting solution is both easy on energy consumption while being a bit complicated to understand. To take the guess work of it, here are a few facts about PL lamps.
A Philips Brainchild
Philips Lighting took fluorescent lamps into their own hands with the development of PL lighting, twin-tube fluorescent lamps typically found in non-residential settings (office buildings, retail stores, schools, etc.). Other versions of the lamp come in triple and quad tubes and some can be used for more than just lighting, such as germicidal lamps – lamps used for disinfection.
All About the Base
PL bulbs are pin-based, with either two or four pins, and installing them requires a pin-based lighting fixture. There are many base types, like GX23, with the different names representing the pin configuration of the lamp. In order to find the right lamp for installation/replacement, check the base for details of the type, pin configuration, wattage and light color.
The brightness level of PL lamps is determined by lumens, which measures how bright a bulb is. This is different than wattage, which measures the energy output of a lamp. PL bulbs have the upper hand on incandescents because they use up less energy to display the same or a higher level of brightness. For example, a GX23 PL bulb displaying 840 lumens uses only 13 watts of energy while the incandescent version uses 60.
Color Temp: Warm to Daylight
PL bulbs shine in varying light colors. From warm white to daylight, the specific temperatures are:
2700k – warm white
2500k – soft white
4100k – cool white
5000k+ – daylight
Maximum Overall Length
Sometimes a little more information is required to properly install/replace PL lamps. Some fixtures have size limitations known as the maximum overall length (MOL). To find the length of PL bulb, measure from the base to point of the bulb.
Though PL lighting has been around for a while, this cost-effective, energy efficient lamp continues to grow. With a life span between 10-13x their incandescent peers, PL bulbs don’t need to be replaced as often, and (thankfully) you won’t want to.
This post has been updated from its original version.
PL lamps, given their name by their originator, Philips Lighting, have been in the game for many years now. These pin-based lamps are widely used and installed in a variety of fixtures, from recessed cans, outdoor fixtures, and ceiling fans, to table lamps and wall sconces. They’re used in both residential and commercial buildings across the country. Like most energy efficient lamps, these were first introduced in compact fluorescent format. While CFLs will always be the better choice over incandescent lamps, by considering CFL to LED conversion, you’ll discover an entirely new range of benefits. Just think of it as leveling up.
Dollars and Sense
For starters, let’s look at wattage. The wattage amount used by a bulb measures how much energy it consumes to illuminate the room. LED PL lamps that use only 12 watts of energy can replace CFL PL lamps that consume 26 watts. By switching out just one bulb, you’re cutting the energy consumption, and equally the costs, for that one bulb by more than half. LED lamps have been made to replace 13, 18, 26 , 32 and 48-watt CFL bulbs.
In addition to saving money long-term, LED technology is such that it removes the glow and flicker that is so commonly associated with fluorescent lighting. The LED lights provide instant-on lighting, and warm up in no time at all. While CFLs typically come with a 5 year warranty and 10,000 hour lifetime rating, their LED counterparts have warranties upwards of 10 years, and are rated to last 50,000 hours on average.
Battle of the Ballast
When shopping for PL lamps, you may notice some are labeled Plug and Play while others are labeled Ballast Bypass. Plug and play lamps attach directly into the socket of your fixture and operate using the ballast that’s already there. No additional wiring is required, making the transition both smooth and simple.
Rewiring is necessary to install ballast bypass LED PL lamps, as the existing ballast has to be removed. They are, however, a great choice for anyone wanting a lamp that will call for less maintenance. Each type is available in horizontal and vertical design for illumination in both commercial and residential environments.
Bulb Base and Basics
PL lamps come in multiple color temperatures and either a 2-pin led bulb or 4-pin led bulb configuration. All have a base of either GU24, G24 or GX23. You’ll want to pay careful attention to these details in order to avoid getting the wrong bulb for your fixtures. They come in color temperatures that range from the warm 3000K to a cool 5000K. The warm, or soft glow at the beginning of the spectrum is ideal for living areas. The cooler light is what is typically found in office buildings, schools, and hospitals. Once you’ve chosen your wattage, ballast, base, and color, you’ll be good to go! You’ve already switched from incandescent to CFL. Now committing to CFL to LED conversion just got a little easier.
This post has been updated from its original 2012 version.
Compact fluorescent lamps use significantly less energy than incandescent bulbs, and use energy to produce only light. In comparison, incandescents use a great deal of energy, with the majority of it being used to create heat. There are a variety of CFL bulbs available, with the GU24 base gaining in popularity. The 13w GU24 bulb is a great compact fluorescent replacement for 60 watt to 75 watt incandescent bulbs throughout the home.
When choosing to replace an incandescent light with a GU24 compact fluorescent, it is important to know a few basic facts about the bulb you are planning to buy. Let’s get into the major differences between these two types of bulbs.
Energy used to create light: 10%
Energy used to create heat: 90%
Standard power used in a home: 60 watts to 75watts
Base type: Screw in, pin base
Energy used to create light: 100%
Energy used to create heat: 0%
Standard power used in a home: 13 watts
Base type: GU24
The GU24 base means the bulb has two pins protruding from the bottom that twist and lock only into a GU24 fixture. Also differing from incandescent lights is how light brightness is determined. The amount of light emitted from an incandescent bulb is determined by the amount of energy it uses. The brightness of a compact fluorescent GU24 is measured in lumens. This is how a 13w GU24 bulb with 950 lumens can replace a 60 watt incandescent bulb, and use approximately 78% less energy to do so.
This post has been updated from its original 2014 version
Proper ventilation is key to keeping a mold-free bathroom, but how often do people actually remember to turn on the exhaust fan? Perfect example is my 10 year old son who leaves the bathroom all foggy because he didn’t remember to turn on the fan switch. Apartment owners can probably experience this also, as their tenants frequently leave moldy bathrooms. The times they do remember to turn the fan switch on, they frequently leave it on and forget to turn it off. Either you don’t get the benefit of ventilation, or you waste money. A great way to solve this problem is a bath fan timer.
Timer Settings and Operation Bath fan timer switches are a replacement for the light and fan switches that allow for automatic timing of the length of time the exhaust fan runs. The AirCycler SmartExhaust Delay Timer Switch is a popular model that will turn the fan on automatically when the light is turned on. No more flipping two switches. A delay timer setting allows you to specify how long the fan will stay on after turning the light off, while a separate timer setting will make sure the fan operates a certain number of minutes each hour. It comes in both toggle and decora switch formats.
As an example, suppose someone turns on the bathroom light for 5 minutes, with the hourly ventilation set to 20 minutes, and delay timer for 10 minutes. After the person leaves and flips the switch off, the fan will run for the additional 10-minutes delay time, totaling 15 minutes of operation for that hour. The microprocessor in the device will keep track of this and make sure the fan runs for another 5 minutes during that hour.
If you don’t want to have the fan run after a quick visit to the bathroom, just quickly flip it on and off again after turning it off, and it will cancel the delayed start of the fan.
So consider using an exhaust fan timer to make sure your bathroom gets the proper amount of ventilation without having to rely on people to turn the fan switch on and off. Not only will you have a better ventilated and dryer bathroom environment, you’ll also save some money by not leaving the fan on too long.