Wednesday, February 29, 2012

LEDs Light Up the Garage as Well as the Home

LEDs Light Up the Garage as Well as the Home

Today made me really wish we had a garage instead of just a carport.  As I keep hammering away, there are just days left before we leave for Hawaii.  Which means there’s only about a month left before we move out of the only home our son has known.  This is where the garage comes in to play.  We would not have hauled several boxes and storage tubs to our UHaul storage facility today if we had a garage.  The things in those tubs would probably be stacked neatly on utility shelves in that garage.  It’s not as though garages are uncommon in Arizona, but many homes around here have them.

The major thing I miss about not having a garage, aside from having a virtually weather-proof place to store things, is that it’s secure to an extent.  People have been suffered break-ins that occurred through their garage door being tampered with.  The only way you can get in to most garages is through the main door you drive into, which is usually controlled by a remote opener.  The machines I guess you’d call them, that open the garage have lights on them, usually in the front and sometimes in both front and back.

The light, of course, takes a standard incandescent bulb.  The LED replacement for said incandescent is the A15, the one I talked about yesterday.  But the garage door opener is a rather specific and different sort of use for it.  The A15 will emit light in all directions and is the perfect size for a limited space such as a garage door opener device.

Think about how bright – or dim – your garage seems now when you open the door.  Now think about what LED lights do in other areas of your home.  Especially with detached garages, the extra light is helpful as there’s likely no other light source.

Well, I’m off to flip the switch on a very small LED light and dream of the day I’ll own a home with a garage – and an LED light in the opener.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

LEDs Moving Up in the World

LEDs Moving Up in the World

The countdown to Hawaii continues.  Although I’m writing this Tuesday night, you’re likely reading it sometime on Wednesday.  So, if you’re reading it Wednesday, know that there are just 6 more days before I take to the skies to spend 10 days on Maui.  In the days before I leave however, I have to clean the house.  Why?  Well, who wants to come home to a dirty house?

We have two ceiling fans in our house, but only one has a light.  It has a globe shade over it, so the bulb is not exposed like in many other ceiling fans.  Every time I flip the switch to the fan with the light I think of how I’d like to replace it with an LED bulb.  Since the fan takes a regular incandescent bulb.  The “best fit” for most ceiling fan fixtures in terms of LEDs, however, is the A15 bulb.

The bulb is shaped like a traditional incandescent bulb and emits light in all directions.  That’s a definite plus when it comes to fixtures that do not somehow cover the bulb.  These bulbs work in fixtures with 110-120V AC voltage from electrical outlets connected to main power sources.

Other areas of the home this could be used in include wall sconces, garage door opener lights and practically every other light in the house.  However, they are best suited to smaller devices like a fan.  These bulbs are at least 80% more energy efficient than regular incandescent bulbs, with a life 25 times as long as an incandescent and 2.5 times as long as a fluorescent.

I wish I were coming home to more than a clean house – but a house that also saves me energy.  I guess I’ll just have to add this to my long list of LED supplies.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Kitchen Envy – But Not LED Envy

Kitchen Envy – But Not LED Envy

I envy my friend’s new kitchen.  Double wall ovens, beautiful cherry finish cabinets, what seems like acres of counter space.  But no LEDs.  Deep double under-counter-hung sinks have me up to my elbows when I’m helping her prepare veggies for the many parties they have – impromptu and planned.  I’ve been trying to persuade her with the positives of LEDs and told her basically to “get over it” when it comes to initial cost.  It would make everything in her kitchen sparkle even more than it already does.

Many fixtures appropriate for kitchen lighting are appropriate in the bathroom lighting I talked about yesterday.  Her kitchen has recessed lighting, which is pretty much just a backup to the natural light that floods in from outside through a large window that spans about a quarter of the wall space on and faces the backyard.

In the dining area over the table is a beautiful chandelier.  When I look around her house I just see the potential for LED.  I’ll talk her into it one day, especially since she and her husband run a telecom business and are up on the latest technologies.

The only things missing from her home are track and pendant lights, but I haven’t seen many spaces in her home that would allow such things.  Still, pretty much all of the fixtures in their home could handle as standard “household” (A19) LED bulb.

So. I’ll just keep pushing and pushing until she caves.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

LED Brightens Up Bathrooms

LED Brightens Up Bathrooms

Not like I’m counting, but: EIGHT days until Maui!  And eleven days without thinking about anything except which beach to go sun bathing on.  After we get home, things are kind of up in the air.  We may be moving to another house somewhere in Phoenix, or we may be packing our bags for somewhere else.  Somewhere else where I’d have to figure out the time difference so I can post at the same time of day.  But that’s to deal with after we get home.  No matter where we go, I’ll continue informing you about the latest in LEDs.  And to add to “no matter where we go” I must say we will have an LED makeover.

The intent when we bought our current home was to live in it about one to two years while we waited for a new home to be built.  But the economy went south and we couldn’t afford to build anymore, and we stayed in this house longer than we planned.  As part of living here, we planned to fix it up, but that never really happened either – some paint on the walls and the installation of a door to give indoor access to the laundry room were the biggest improvements we’ve made.  One of the areas of the house I would have loved to give a makeover to – besides the galley kitchen – would have been the master bathroom.  It is rather galley-like in that it is long and rather skinny.  But we had dreams of a glass shower and multi-head shower fixture.

One thing that very often overshadows the size of a space is the light in that space.  The six globe-shaped, clear, incandescent lights were actually too much for the space.  We ended up taking out three of them.  I would consider replacing them with LEDs.

There are vanity lights, floodlights for recessed ceiling lights, wall lights and ceiling (non-recessed) lights.  For our current bathroom I’d have to choose either the vanity or wall lights, as those are the only things that would fit comfortably in the space.  All of the fixtures featured here take A19 bulbs (found in General Household), so there is no “special” type of bulb to buy (I don’t have to go into specifics like bulb life and so forth).

I have so many LED products to try I don’t know where to start!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Home Security: A Novel Idea

Home Security: A Novel Idea

I just finished reading a book I picked up a couple weeks ago at the bookstore.  It’s by my favorite author and she did not let me down.  It’s a romance novel, so it’s rather formulaic, but the story itself is what I liked.  Three guys and their mom have decided to rehab an old inn/hotel.  I’m not going to run through the whole plot, but towards the end another guy the woman at the center of the story has been trying to politely say “no, I don’t want to date you” starts taking things a little too far.  The main male character takes it upon himself to deck out her home with some of the latest security products on the market.  Including flood/security lights.

The only problem I can see with these lights is they aren’t that effective unless you’re 1) home and 2) awake.  Otherwise, you wouldn’t see them pop on, and unless you live in the small town this story takes place in, your neighbors won’t be monitoring your house for that creep who’s been harassing you.  Which is why the guy was able to break into her house on Halloween and wait until she got home.

Having done this blog for a while now, I also wondered if the bulbs were LED.  Philips has some pretty good LED flood lights that bathe the area being monitored.  The AmbientLED ™ 90W Replacement Outdoor and Security PAR38 LED bulb is 80% more efficient, using just 18W of power, when it’s tracking every move around the area where it is set up.

Although security lights are meant to pop on and off in response to movement, this product available in “warm white” goes on without flicker.  Of course, like all LED products, the bulbs have a 25,000 hour life span, at least.  Which is?  Yup: 25 times longer than an incandescent bulb and 2.5 times longer than a fluorescent bulb.  It’s circular shape fits most existing security systems and the curved lens helps the bulb stick out a little further and cast its light that much further.

Friday, February 24, 2012

LED Strip Lights Are Flexible In Form and Function

LED Strip Lights Are Flexible In Form and Function

I’m tracking the use of the LED light in my son’s fish tank.  So far it’s been used for 37 hours and 41 minutes.  I’m going to keep a running total as best I can until it burns out.  But I’m not here to talk about fish tank lighting today, though I suppose it could be used that way.

A lot of people are using LED strip lights to spruce up items around their homes.  I’ve seen strip lights on computer monitors, bordering windows and doors and even on and in cars.  Other uses include in stairways, practically every room in the house, around the garden or pool and many more.

Around Christmas time, stores in our area were carrying LED strip lights for decorating around the house.  That’s because most LED strip lighting is flexible and has adhesive backing.  If it’s waterproof like the stuff featured here, it’s great for outdoor decorating if you don’t want to have to put up nails or wrap lights around posts.

These LEDs even change color.  The 16.4 foot strip boasts a total of 150 red, green, white and blue lights.  The strip itself can be cut at every three-light cluster to help meet the needs of the space.  The light output is 40 lumens on red and 200 lumens on white.  These lights use just 4W of power on the lowest dimming level (20%) and 27W in full brightness white color.  The lights are 110 to 120V AC (12V DC input to LED strip light and controller box).

In addition to multi-colored lights, the strip features modes such as flash, strobe, fade and solid that can be controlled with the controller box.  Sixteen keys on the controller box combine the red, green, blue and white lights to come up with color variations such as orange, yellow, pink and purple.
My list of LED products to buy is getting long!