March 17, 2015 Newsletter
March 17th, 2015 EcoElectric Newsletter
Electrical Safety Inspections
Faulty electrical wiring can lead to a lot of issues and possibly cause a fire in a home or business. To prevent this, home and business owners should have a licensed electrician conduct routine electrical inspections.
With time and frequent use, electrical systems, appliances, and units degrade in quality and performance. And with electrical problems being at the top of the list for residential fire damage in the United States, old, worn out electrical systems could pose a problem that goes unseen until it is too late.
While checking for electrical issues that could cause harm, they can also find bad wiring and circuits that are draining energy. This can cause the energy bill to increase without the home or business owner understanding why.
Make electrical safety inspections part of the yearly to-do list. It’s better to have a professional, like Eco Electric perform one, and not have anything wrong, than to be contacting them for an emergency down the road.
Lighting a Dim Apartment
Many apartments fall victim to not-so-great lighting. The kitchen usually has long fluorescent bulbs, the living room has no lighting in sight and the bedrooms have a single recessed light that barely creates a dim glow.
For those who value being able to see what they’re doing, there are some ways to bring in some extra light to that dark cave of an apartment. One of these ways is with lamps. Use a mixture of floor and table lamps, depending on the furniture in the room. However, turning on multiple lamps whenever there is a need for light can get tedious and annoying. So, try connecting them all to a power strip so they can all be turn on with one touch.
Using natural light is more energy efficient and low-cost. Open the blinds and let the light filter in during the day. This will also make the room feel more open. Unfortunately, this isn’t always an option for those living in apartments because some apartments don’t have many windows.
Mirrors can reflect light from any source. This can cut down on the amount of lamps needed and keep the energy bill low. Strategically place them so the light, either from a lamp or the window, bounces off of them, doubling the light in the room.
Lighting a dimly lit apartment can be difficult, but with some lamps, good windows and a couple mirrors, there’s always a way to brighten it up.
History of the Lightbulb
Lightbulbs. They come on with the flip of a switch whenever we need them. They’ve become part of everyday life over the past 150 years. Most people think the lightbulb is synonymous with Thomas Edison, however its history and invention goes beyond just one man.
In 1835, British inventors demonstrated the first constant electric light. After this, scientists tried to improve upon the incandescent lamp. The early incandescent lightbulbs were either too expensive to produce or used too much energy and had short lifespans.
Edison improved upon the filament, the part of the bulb that produces light when heated by an electrical current, until he had created one that lasted 1,200 hours.
In 1904, Europeans changed the incandescent lightbulb with the addition of the tungsten filament. These new filaments lasted longer and were brighter. Then nine years later, it was discovered that putting a gas such as nitrogen into the bulb doubled its efficiency.
By the 1930’s, in America, fluorescent lights were being demonstrated. They last longer and were more efficient than the incandescent bulb. These lights were used by the US military until an energy shortage had engineers developing a fluorescent bulb for residential application.
Edward Hammer at General Electric figured out how to bend the fluorescent tube into a spiral in 1976, creating the compact fluorescent light or CFL. He left the design to sit however, because the machinery needed for mass production was too expensive.
When they finally hit shelves in the 1980’s, they were pretty expensive, turning consumers away. They also were big and bulky, had low light output and were inconsistent. However, they have greatly improved over the years.
The latest in lighting is the light-emitting diode or LED. These bulbs use a semiconductor to convert electricity into light. They are also the most efficient light around. Getting rid of CFLs and fluorescent lights and putting LEDs in their place is a great way to “go green” and save energy, which saves money.
The lightbulb has come a long way over the last 150 years since its invention. Curious about using LEDs and ditching the CFLs? Contact Eco Electric for more information.
Outdoor Patio Lighting
With spring here and summer just around the corner, more time will be spent outside and probably later into the night. This means there needs to be ample patio or deck lighting. By combining three different types of lighting, it can create the perfectly lit outdoor area.
For those with covered patios, use overhead lighting installed in the “ceiling” area for some general illumination. If it isn’t covered, exterior wall-mounted lights work nicely too. Most come with motion sensors that come on whenever someone steps onto the patio.
The next step is to install task lighting. If there is a table everyone gathers around for dinner, or activities, hanging a lamp above it helps to perfectly illuminate it.
Last is lighting for ambiance. Ambiance lighting is not essential but creates a mood and brings the whole patio and backyard together. Using outdoor LED lights, homeowners can outline the patio so everyone knows where it begins and ends. Or, if there is a path, put some along the borders to illuminate it.