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Bathroom Exhaust Fan Timers: Perfect Solution for Forgetful People

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.

Shop now for ventilation timers >>>

Lipidex Air Cycler Smart Exhaust
AirCycler Smart Exhaust Bathroom Fan Light Timer Switch
AirCycler SmartExhaust Rocker/Decora Bath Fan Time Switch
AirCycler SmartExhaust Rocker/Decora Bath Fan Time Switch
Tamarack Airetrak Programmable Fan Light Control TTi-AtrakAV
Tamarack Airetrak Programmable Fan Light Control TTi-AtrakAV

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What is an Omni Directional LED Bulb?

This post has been updated from its original 2014 version.

Omni Directional LEDs

Before the introduction of Omni Directional LED Bulbs, Single Directional LEDs seemed to be the ultimate answer to our energy efficient needs. But despite their brightness and power saving capabilities, single directional LEDs fail to offer light that spreads out in more than just one direction. While regular single directional LEDs project light to around a 230 degree angle, the Omni Directional LEDs give out light in a 270 to 300 degree angle. This pattern of light makes them well suited for anywhere that non-directional light is needed.

 

Omni Directional LEDs offers the same level of energy efficiency and environmental friendliness of the tried and true single directional LED. Both offer a long lifespan between 25,000 and 50,000 hours. Both are recyclable as they contain no chemicals that are harmful to the environment and are mercury free. The main difference between the two comes in the form of their ability to spread light. Single Directional LEDs lack the ability to light from all sides of the bulb, emitting light from only the top half. Omni Directional LED Bulbs emit light from the entire bulb, creating a more vast space of light. This ability to spread light in more than just one direction makes them LEDs perfect for a variety of purposes including residential, commercial, and industrial properties. These LEDs offer instant startup as well as the ability to dim anywhere between 10% and 100%. Though, like standard LEDs, the price upfront is a bit higher, you can be sure that with 78% less energy being used and a significantly longer lifespan, you’re saving money in the long haul.

When it comes to updating your incandescent or CFL bulbs to something a bit more energy efficient, Omni Directional LED Bulbs are perfect for the job. Because of their ability to spread light, these become a truly effective replacement for incandescent lamps at a variety of wattages. We no longer have to sacrifice quality of light for energy efficiency with Omni Directional LEDs you can have both. This one for one replacement makes the switch from incandescent to LED a breeze. In the same way, they are good replacements for CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) as well. With a three to four times longer life, much quicker start-up, and a spread out range of light, these LEDs are a great alternative to CFLs. If you’re in the market for an energy efficient LED with a wider illumination pattern, then Omni Directional LEDs might just be the right fit for you.

Shop for Omni Directional LED Bulbs>>>

Earthtronics A19 9W 810 Lumens 2700K Dimmable LED
Earthtronics A19 9W 810 Lumens 2700K Dimmable LED
Earthtronics A19 6W 810 Lumens 2700K Dimmable LED
Earthtronics A19 6W 810 Lumens 2700K Dimmable LED
Earthtronics A19 11W 1100 Lumens 2700K Dimmable LED
Earthtronics A19 11W 1100 Lumens 2700K Dimmable LED
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Understanding Circular Fluorescent Bulbs

This post has been updated from its original 2013 version.

These round bulbs pack a few more features than their fun design suggests, and if you are not savvy to the ways of circline lamps you may have a hard time incorporating them into your home’s lighting. To fully understand and get the best out of circular fluorescent bulbs, keep the following four facts in mind.

Pay Attention to Wattage

Just as with (the soon to be gone) standard incandescent light bulbs, circline lamps use wattages to measure how much power is used to light a bulb. By comparison, the circular fluorescent lights emit the same amount of light (lumens) while using less power than incandescents. A circline light bulb of only 13 watts can replace a 60 watt incandescent bulb and has an output of 650-900 lumens. The wattage of the bulb also determines the diameter of the bulb which in turn determines if it will fit the fixture. So unlike standard spiral CFLs you may not be able to go up or down in wattage range because it will affect the size of the bulb possibly rendering it unusable with your fixture.

Color Temperatures Are the Same as Standard CFLs

Color temperatures represent how bright a bulb is. Circular fluorescent bulbs can range in color from warm white to the brightest daylight just like standard compact fluorescent lights. Color specifics are all varying shades of white:

  • 2700K: Warm, equivalent to what is typical in a bedroom or living room
  • 3000-3500K: Soft, suitable for bathrooms
  • 4100K: Cool, florescent-like in color
  • 5000K: Daylight, the brightest color, like sunlight at noon

Circular Bulbs Cannot be Used in Just Any Fixture

This is where using a circular fluorescent can get tricky. Depending on the manufacturer, some light fixtures only use bulbs from their own line. Yeah, I know it can be tempting sometimes to go with an off/generic brand, but in this case your generic circline lamp may not work in the fixture. When replacing a Circular Lamp, first make sure that there are no manufacturer specifics determining what bulb can be used. Next, determine what the lamp type (e.g. T6 , T9) and pin type is (e.g. 2 pin, 4 pin). When finding the right lamp for your fixture, you have to choose the same lamp type and pin types as these are not interchangeable.

Diameter Matters

For light fixtures that use circular bulbs that are too big or too small will not work, even if it is from the right manufacturer. Make sure to replace these bulbs by measuring the diameter of an existing bulb then purchase the right size. If you would rather leave measuring alone, you can also use the manufacturer model number to find a replacement bulb.

While there is more to be taught and learned about circular fluorescent bulbs, these four facts alone will allow you to make informed purchases and hassle-free replacements. See, it doesn’t take much to become savvy to the ways of circline lamps.

Shop for Circular Bulbs>>>

TCP 32020 20W T9 4-Pin Circular Lamp 27K
TCP 32020 20W T9 4-Pin Circular Lamp 27K
TCP 58W T-6 4 Pin Circular Lamp CFL Bulb 3205841K
TCP 58W T-6 4 Pin Circular Lamp CFL Bulb 3205841K
Philips 22w T5 4 Pin Circular CFL Bulb TL5C-22W830-1CT/1
Philips 22w T5 4 Pin Circular CFL Bulb TL5C-22W830-1CT/1

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What is a Ceiling Occupancy Sensor

Ceiling Occupancy Sensor High Bay SensorOne of the easiest ways to save energy when it comes to lighting is to simply turn the lights off when leaving a room. While this sounds simple enough, it’s also one of the easiest tasks to forget. As time goes on, lighting technology continues to advance. Also advancing is the technology being used with light bulbs and fixtures. Installing a ceiling occupancy sensor or a high bay sensor is a quick way to start cutting energy use and costs in any building, especially in commercial spaces that undoubtedly consume more energy than residential properties.

How do sensors work?

The sensors use what is known as passive infrared technology (PIR) that turn lights on and off based on two factors: ambient light levels and occupancy. As long as the ambient light is at a certain level, the sensor will keep the lights from turning on. They can also be set to turn the lights on and keep them on as long as occupancy, or movement, is detected. After the allotted time has passed, or no movement is picked up by the sensor, the lights will be turned off.

Where should I install it?

Buildings with high energy usage, such as hotel locations, warehouses, and other commercial and industrial buildings are ideal spaces for occupancy sensors. No intense or extremely difficult programming is required. The sensors are designed to be compatible with standard lighting systems. Additionally, they are programmed to work with CFLs, LEDs, and new fixture/retrofit installations.

How much can I save?

In buildings with high energy usage, lighting accounts for up to 25% of all energy that is being used. The sensors have been tested by the manufacturers to ensure they not only perform at the highest quality, but will last for years. Installing the ceiling occupancy sensor and the high bay sensor saves not only energy and money, but also helps add to the overall lifetime of your lights, as they’ll no longer be in use when they don’t need to be. Installing sensors leads to automatically reduced energy consumption, energy costs, and your carbon footprint.

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Retrofitting Parking and Canopy HIDs with LED Canopy Light Fixtures

LED Canopy Light Fixtures
LED Canopy Light Fixtures

For many business, indoor lighting is one of the most important decisions to be made. Equally important, however, should be how the outside is illuminated. For potential customers passing the building at night, or walking through the parking garage, the outside will be their first impression of your establishment. While HID lamps have been the standard outdoor lighting option for years, LED canopy light fixtures help provide many options to create a safe and inviting environment while greatly reducing both energy use and lighting costs.

Light Distribution

LED manufacturers made sure to provide many options to address a myriad of commercial lighting needs. The LED fixtures are available in two different types: Parking Garage Distribution and Canopy Distribution. The lamps also come in different shapes (round and square) to make the switch simple. The shapes allow multiple choices for mounting: ceiling, arm, and wall mount to name a few. HID lamps generally emit a somewhat orange light color. Their LED counterparts however, provide a cool white light. This gives them a much brighter appearance, and helps foster feelings of safety and comfort where installed.

Switching and Saving

Regardless of where the new lights are being installed, you’ll want to make sure the old ones are being properly replaced. LED canopy light fixtures are available in 20 to 53 watt options as replacements for the following HID lights:

  • 20W LED – 100W Metal Halide
  • 30W LED – 150W Metal Halide
  • 40W LED – 175W Metal Halide
  • 53W LED – 250W Metal Halide

The LED technology allows these lamps to use such low amounts of energy while still maintaining brightness. This is because the brightness is not dependent on wattage, but lumens. The higher the lumen count on a lamp is, the brighter the light emitted from will be. Further opportunities for savings are realized through dimmable and motion sensing lamps. By installing the LED canopy light fixtures, you’ll be cutting energy usage per fixture by up to 80% and as a result, energy costs.

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Does Ballast Compatibility Matter When Choosing LED T8 Lamps?

Plug and Play LED T8Traditionally, fluorescent T8 linear lamps have been used as the main light source in commercial buildings such as hospitals, warehouses, schools, and more. LED T8 lamps are quickly replacing their fluorescent counterparts. The LED technology provides higher efficiency, many color and lumen options, and sizes. Advancements in lighting capabilities have also led to more options for installation. When deciding on which lamps to replace your fluorescent T8s with, one of the main things to consider is the ballast type. Knowing the difference between a Plug and Play LED T8 and a Ballast Bypass T8 will make the process of switching even easier.

Type A

Ballast compatibility absolutely matters when the LED lamp you’ve chosen is of the UL Type A variety. The Plug and Play LED T8, also referred to as direct fit, is the easiest of the two types to install. This lamp works directly with the existing ballast to quickly replace the fluorescent T8. While this is the simplest installation method, the LED lamp must be compatible with the ballast of the fluorescent it is replacing in order for the new lamp to work. The makers of the LED T8 typically provide a list of compatible ballasts. Make sure to check out this list before purchasing your replacement lamps.

Type B

LED lamps classified as ballast bypass, direct wire, or UL Type B do have a more involved installation. As a result, it is best to hire an expert electrician to complete the process. The Ballast Bypass T8 does just that. The technology of these lamps works straight from the line voltage that flows through the sockets.The process of retrofitting fluorescent fixtures for this LED type entails the removal of any electrical ballasts as well as verifying non-shunted sockets are in the fixture. The initial installation costs of the lamp is made up for by getting rid of the maintenance costs the ballast would otherwise need.

Both Plug and Play LED T8 and Ballast Bypass T8 options provide as much as 40% more savings in energy use and costs when compared to fluorescent lamps. Having an understanding of how the ballasts impact your fixture, installation process, and overall maintenance can help you better choose which lighting option will work best for you.

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Benefits of the High Bay LED Retrofit

high bay LED retrofitIn commercial and industrial buildings, High Intensity Discharge, or HID, light fixtures are commonly found. These are high voltage fixtures that use a mix of metals and gases to create a bright and powerful white light. With each year, and as technology continues to advance, there are far more options for lighting than ever before. Among the most energy efficient options for illuminating any space are LEDs. Naturally, the larger the space, the greater the opportunity for savings. Making the switch from an HID light fixture to a high bay LED retrofit in your facility provides great savings in energy, energy costs, and much more.

Stacking up Savings
While HID light fixtures are the standard, their high voltage and wattage requirements result in high energy consumption. This leads to the cost of energy going up along with it. In contrast, LEDs are powered when a microchip receives an electrical current to create the light. The difference in technology is how a 90-watt high bay LED can replace a 400-watt HID light fixture.

In addition, LEDs contain technology called a heat sink, which absorbs the heat that is created by the light. Heat sink technology allows for up to 20% in air conditioning savings, furthering savings in energy costs. As if this isn’t enough, many of these energy saving lights are also DLC listed. This rating means that many of these fixtures qualify for energy rebates with local utility companies.

Where do they go?
High bay fixtures are designed for use in buildings with ceilings that are typically 20 to 45 feet in height. This makes them ideal for installation in gymnasiums, manufacturing plants, factories, warehouses, and other structures with high ceilings. Spaces such as these require illumination from all sides, and the LEDs provide it. The high bay LED retrofit is not only energy efficient, but long lasting. On average, they last as long as 50,000 hours. The long lifespan reduces the need for frequent replacement, which is ideal given how high up they’re installed!

The focus of LED lighting technology is on their power. They are designed to provide illumination of the highest quality without sacrifice. These energy efficient fixtures deliver brilliant light without affecting the temperature of the building, while saving energy and reducing energy costs from the moment they’re installed.

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Fluorescent T5 vs LED Bulb Replacement

As recently as 2010, the United States Department of Energy found that nearly 80 percent of lamps being used in commercial buildings were fluorescent. These lights are commonly found in large industrial buildings or other commercial edifices, such as hospitals and schools. They provide up to 75 percent more energy savings than their incandescent counterparts. That being said, as LED technology updates and shifts, even more savings can be realized by switching from fluorescent tubes to LED T5 plug and play or LED T5 direct wire lamps.

LED T5 direct wirePower Up
One of the major identifiers of any light is its wattage. This is the main indicator of how much you’re going to save when you switch. For example, a standard 28-watt fluorescent tube can be replaced by a 15-watt LED lamp. Additionally, a 54-watt high output fluorescent tube is easily replaceable by an LED that consumes only 25-watts of energy. With such a difference in the amount of power being used, savings in energy costs quickly follow installation.

Plug and Play
Plug and Play, or direct wire, LED T5 lamps make switching from fluorescent to LED simple. These bulbs are easy and quick to install. Replacing the ballast in your current fixture won’t be necessary, as it plugs directly into the fixture without any rewiring. This also reduces the the cost of labor and reduces maintenance for facility managers.

Bypass the Ballast
Ballast bypass, also known as LED T5 direct wire lights are slightly different from their plug and play counterparts. These lamps cannot be installed without first removing the existing ballast in a fixture. This is because they operate using the line voltage that flows straight to the sockets, essentially doing what its name indicates, bypassing the ballast.

Time is Money
On average, an LED T5 lamp is rated to last as long as 50,000 hours. This is more than double the standard 24,000 hour life of a fluorescent tube. Installing lamps with this long of a lifespan eliminates the need for frequent replacement. Also worth consideration are warranty periods. Standard fluorescent tubes have a warranty period up to 2 years. Conversely, the typical warranty period for LED fluorescent tubes is 5 years.

These lamps are available in cool and daylight white and designed with high lumen outputs. This provides both consistent color and illumination for a seamless switch. With lower power usage, longer lifespan, and a longer warranty, whether you choose an LED T5 plug and play or a ballast bypass lamp, you’re easily looking at saving as much as 45 percent on both energy usage and costs.

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Expand Your Business with Touch ‘n Seal’s CPDS

The Touch ‘N Seal CPDS Series 2 Machine combines convenience with efficiency by applying spray foam up to 2.5 times cpds spray foam kitfaster than the standard spray foam kit. It is a portable, constant pressure dispensing machine used to install Class I fire-retardant polyurethane foam. The foam is both insulating and sound attenuating. With a minimal investment, the CPDS Series 2 Machine provides a great opportunity for services looking to expand as well as start-up insulation businesses.

This machine offers high profit with little maintenance, and eliminates the need for use of a bulk system with a mid-sized project (rehabs & renovations, repairs, room additions and “call backs”). Its yield is 20% greater than with the standard disposable polyurethane foam kits. This machine is also a more economical choice, with the cost for each board foot is less than that of the standard spray foam kit. Replacement parts for this machine are available.

This spray foam equipment comes ready to use. All that is needed are the “A” and “B” polyurethane foam tanks. Included with the CPDS Series 2 are the tools necessary for application: a 30′ chemical delivery hose set, 50 disposable spray nozzles, 2 foam applicators, an operational DVD, and a set of manuals for operation and manuals. Chemical foam cylinders are available for both 1.75 pcf and 1.00 pcf Class 1, Fire Retardant polyurethane spray foam.

The CPDS Series 2 is easily handled and transported by a single individual. It is ideal for those situations where a rig or bulk system is too much or disposable kits are too little.

In this video, Joel Few with Carolina Aire and Mold Solutions discusses how he expanded his business with Touch ‘n Seal’s Constant Pressure Dispensing System (CPDS). The CPDS has made his business profitable and at the same time he is able to provide his customers with an air sealing solution that saves them money and increases home comfort level.

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Practice What You Teach: Sustainability on College Campuses

Colleges and universities are ranked on a variety of criteria; from class size, retention and graduation rates to whether or not they are a top party school or have a successful athletic program.

In recent years, colleges and universities are also being judged by their “green” initiatives. Princeton Review’s Top List of Green Colleges and Sierra Club’s list of America’s Greenest Universities ranks campus sustainability practices. The categories that are examined are: Energy, Investments, Food, Innovation, Academics, Planning, Purchasing, Transport, Waste, and Water.

Sustainability measures often save a significant amount of money, and they also demonstrate that colleges are practicing what they teach.

Of the categories listed above, water and energy have an immediate financial payoff. By making the switch to energy efficient lighting and water saving devices colleges can save millions!

Boston College’s energy-efficiency efforts have resulted in annual energy savings of more than 4 million kWh, and cost savings of $650,000. The multiple conservation measures implemented on campus include more than 1.4 million square feet in lighting upgrades. Campus lighting upgrades include motion sensing, daylight harvesting, and ballast replacements. In addition, they distributed 7000 12.5 Watt LED bulbs to students.

Assumption College in Massachusetts installed toilet flush valves and water-saving shower heads in 22 buildings, which should save nearly three million gallons of water per year.

Students at American University measured the flow rate of water fixtures on campus and realized that AU could be more efficient with its water use. They shared their findings with Office of Sustainability staff members who then estimated that once all the aerators are replaced, the university will save 570,000 gallons of water, enough to fill AU’s swimming pools and almost $10,000 per year.

For other ideas on how to make your school more green and to connect with other sustainability departments you may want to visit the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

Conservation Mart has a wide selection of energy and water saving devices and would love to help your campus go green!