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smart bulbs

Home Automation- Comparing Smart Bulbs and Smart Switches

Setting up automated features for lighting systems inside homes can be complicated. These days, homeowners have several options at their disposal, which includes smart switches and smart bulbs.

Both products are viable solutions for automated lighting. However, the two vary greatly –  when it comes to cost, installation and controls.

Plug and Play

Smart bulbs work by providing a direct, wireless connection between the bulb and the controller, which in most cases is a smartphone application. Some units can be grouped for streamlined controls or function individually, for customized lighting preferences.

As a plug-and-play option, smart bulbs do not require meticulous wiring or electrical practices during installation. Homeowners simply insert the smart bulb in a conventional light socket. From a cost perspective, what you’re paying for here is convenience. Additionally, smart bulbs are suitable for homes with messy wiring configurations.

Some cutting-edge smart bulbs allow individuals to integrate the unit with a range of mobile applications for illuminative notifications. A bridge unit can be used to support several smart bulbs at one time.

A Closer Look at Smart Switches

Smart switches address home automation by establishing wireless capabilities within the switch. To clarify, the bulbs are not ‘smart’ (only the switch). The products can also be controlled using a smartphone application or smart home devices with voice-activated features.

This solution is very effective for controlling a set of work lights or bulbs in a room. With this in mind, smart switches are recommended for living rooms, kitchens, garages and other large spaces inside homes.

Compared to smart bulbs, smart switches take longer to install, due to wiring requirements. Moreover, moving the switch to work with a different light (in another room, for example) requires the same wiring process. On a positive note, homeowners can choose from a variety of traditional bulbs for illumination when using smart switches.

LED Alternatives

Top 3 LED Alternatives for Chandelier Lights in Homes

Chandelier lights are commonly found in large rooms and over eating areas inside homes. Traditionally, the luminaries provide overhead illumination with eye-catching designs. Unfortunately, the units also take up a lot of space. This can be an issue for compact homes and rooms with bulky furniture. These days, there are plenty of LED alternatives for homeowners who want to replace their chandelier light with a modern lighting system.

  1. LED String Lights

Mimicking the way chandelier lights distribute beams can be difficult with standard lamps and fixtures. One of the most effective ways to achieve such lighting requirements is by using LED string lights.

Individuals can hang LED string lights overhead in various configurations to maximize space in the area. Spreading out the string allows for wide light distribution, while reducing vertical obstructions.

  1. LED Recessed Lights

Homes with very low (or extremely high) ceilings can benefit from LED recessed lights. For rooms with low ceilings, it is important to use a dimly lit bulb to reduce the creation of glare. Large rooms and spaces with high ceilings should incorporate a configuration with even spacing.

This robust option is ideal for minimal vertical obstructions between the ceiling and the floor. A major drawback with LED recessed lights is their fixed nature and meticulous installation requirements.

  1. LED Track Lights

LED track lights are a step above LED recessed lights, in a sense that the position of their light beams can be adjusted, based on the preference of the homeowner. However, since the units are not recessed, they take up more space in the room.

LED track lights are recommended for rooms that are frequently rearranged, such as the living room or hallway. The LED fixtures are permanently mounted on a single track, but can be moved around to suite various room arrangements.

LED Uplighting Tips for Homes and Landscapes

There are several ways to light up residential landscapes. From downlighting, crosslighting to led uplighting, such methods are designed to highlight specific structures around the home for dramatic lighting effects.

These days, a trending method for illuminating landscapes includes uplighting. This lighting technique is common around commercial spaces, using LED wall pack lights. Now, with outdoor fixtures getting more compact and powerful, homeowners can adopt such practices around gardens and landscapes.

Focusing on Contrast and Shadows

The main objective of uplighting is to create shadows on walls or structures, which can be a large tree, statue, bush or ornament. This is the opposite of moonlighting, wherein the lamp is positioned in an elevated position, pointing downwards.

In order for uplighting to be effective, there should be a bit of space between the target and the fixture. The amount of space is determined by the size of the object in focus. Too much space will cause the light beams to scatter and allow people to walk into the beam. For focused uplighting, homeowners can apply light shields around the lamp.

Best LED Lights for Uplighting

Without a doubt, LED spotlights are perfect for uplighting in landscapes. The units emit a tightly focused beam and can be mounted in various positions. For instance, when targeting a tall tree, the unit is capable of illuminating the object with minimal light trespass or wastage.

Homeowners can switch to LED floodlights for wide targets, such as walls or large structures. These types of luminaries, as mentioned earlier, are called LED wall pack lights. The units can be equipped with photocell sensors for automated functionality.

For discreet uplighting around borders and walls, it is also possible to use LED strip lights. This option is suitable for landscapes with tight spaces, as the luminaries can be installed behind bushes or along paths.

Please click  here  for a great online selection of lighting spotlights for any application.

LED Lighting

LED Lighting Options for Illuminating Residential Driveways

LED lighting for residential driveways are essential components for well-lit homes. The luminaries can help guide individuals safely down a long path, ensuring a safe ride into the garage. Additionally, LED driveway fixtures contribute to safety and security by keeping the area illuminated at night.

Read on to learn more about your LED options for illuminating driveways.

LED Driveway Lighting Systems

There are numerous ways to light up a driveway using LED lights. Common trends include LED recessed fixtures for a clean look. This option can make narrow driveways appear wider. If you have a lot of trees along the path of your driveway, it is advisable to consider fixtures that offer uplighting. Such fixtures serve dual purposes, illuminating both the tree and the driveway.

Wide driveways can benefit from LED post lights, which can also double as perimeter lighting. At night, LED post lamps indicate where the driveway ends.

Solar LEDs and Motion Sensors

Solar LED fixtures are great options for long driveways. Without needing to run a lengthy wire to power the units, the lamps provide robust flexibility during installation. Since solar LED lights rely on constant exposure to sunlight, it is recommended to avoid setting up the units under trees or large ornaments, as such elements could obstruct the solar panels.

Motion sensors are suitable for automating LED driveway lighting systems. For best results, install the sensors close to the entrance of the driveway, so that upon entering the space, one’s path is immediately lit up.

Avoid setting up motion sensors near roads, due to the possibility of activation when a car or pedestrian passes by. If you intend to keep your LED driveway lighting system always on during the night, a timer would be a better option. Motion sensors are specifically effective for reducing energy consumption and security applications.

edison bulbs

How to Mimic Incandescent Edison Bulbs Using LEDs

Although inefficient, many homeowners are having a very difficult time letting go of their incandescent lighting systems. This is because the lamps offer a comfortable, vintage feel that is very suitable for residential spaces. The most common type of incandescent lights that are prevalent in today’s homes are the classic Edison bulbs or lamps. Designs for Edison lamps vary greatly, with standardized socket sizes to accommodate mainstream incandescent bulbs. Under Mazda trademarking, the technology was initially licensed in 1909.

Mimicking Traditional Edison Bulbs

For an energy efficient approach to lighting, individuals can replace Edison lamps with LEDs. In most cases, this can be done by replacing the bulb of the fixture with an LED bulb that is compatible with such units.

When it comes to performance, many complain about overly bright illumination associated with LED lights. A solution to this concern is to look for LED replacements with low color temperature ratings, as high color temperature lighting can lead to blindness in tight spaces. In most cases, a color-temperature range between 2,200K and 3,000K is just right for that orange, fire-like color that Edison bulbs emit.

Furthermore, it would also be possible to create distance between the target and the bulb, while installing a diffuser over the fixture, to reduce intensity. This option is great for creating comfortable living spaces, such as bedrooms and lofts.

LED Filament Bulbs

Traditionally, LEDs take on a diode or chip configuration. However, to mimic Edison-style bulbs, lighting manufacturers have created LED filament variants that look like incandescent lights. From a distance, LED filament bulbs can pass off as incandescent lighting, as the units also come with a clear casing and a hot, orange filament.

LED filament bulbs do not have a 50,000-hour lifespan rating commonly associated with standard chip-style LEDs. Instead, the bulbs are capable of offering 15,000+ hours of illumination.

lights for stairways

How To Choose Lights For Stairways For Residential Homes

Stairs are accident-prone areas inside homes. A step in the wrong direction or the presence of small objects along the upward path could instantly result in injuries. Lights can be used to address such concerns inside houses. From LED strip lights to compact spotlights, there are numerous options for homeowners, when it comes to selecting construction light.

LED Strip Lights

LED strip lights are a great option for illuminating stairs. They can be installed under each step for safety, ensuring the units never get in the way of people heading to the second floor. To avoid blinding, simply position the strips facing the ground or a wall (not pointing upwards). LED strip lights may be colored for upbeat lighting effects as well.

Another lighting configuration for stair lighting involves the installation of LED strip lights along the side of the stairs. This offers brighter illumination, compared to installations under each step. Lighting up the side of staircases is ideal for homes that are dark, or for stairways that are winding or thin.

Beacons and Wall Packs

Stairway lighting systems can also be subtle and discreet. For such preferences, LED strip lights may not be suitable, as the units provide intense illumination (in compact forms). Instead, homeowners could choose to install small beacons at every other step of the upwards path. Indoor wall pack lights can also be used in the same way. To prevent blinding, make sure the lights are not installed directly on the path of the stairs.

For corners, where the stairs turn 45 degrees before proceeding in an upwards direction, it is common practice to keep the section illuminated. Low-color temperature options are ideal lights for stairways inside homes, as most stairs lead to a place of rest and comfort. However, for offices, high-color temperature luminaries are preferred for a clean, sharp look.

Lighting Of Construction Sites

When it comes to construction sites, it is important to make sure that you have the right construction lights. This is important if the construction should continue after dark. This is normally temporarily lights, but it needs to be high-quality lights. Here is some information about the lighting of construction sites:

Are the lights the normal lights that you will find in your home?

The first thing that you might think is that the construction lights are the same as the lights that you have in your home. However, this is far from the truth.

The construction lights are portable and should be able to be removed when the construction is done. This is lights that are strong enough to be able to make it possible to work safely with the equipment that you can find at a construction site. It can be dangerous to work at a construction site during the night time, with lights that you will use in your home.

Things that you should consider when choosing the construction lights

With temporarily construction lights, there are a couple of things that you should consider, before you are purchasing and installing the lights.

The first thing that you should consider is that you should make sure that you are going to know the space that needs efficient lighting. You don’t want to install more lights than needed, but you also don’t want to install lights that aren’t enough and that can cause a danger to your workers. You should also consider the strength of the lights, so that you can know that the lighting will be able to make your workers working correctly and safety during night time.

Installing the lights: tips of doing it correctly

Because the lights are temporarily construction lights, you need to make sure that you are taking some things in consideration. The first thing that you should consider is that the lighting should be secure enough, so that it doesn’t cause injury. However, it should be able to be removed easily after the construction is done.

The lights should not come in the way of the machinery used on the site, and should not be in the way of the new building that is being built. The last thing that you want is to waste time in moving the lights in order for the work to continue. See more

Why LED construction lights should be considered?

More and more construction sites are starting to use the LED construction lights. This is because it is more efficient, cheaper and will last a lot longer. LED lights are more recommended than the normal lights that are breaking so easily and that are the cause of high utility bills.

When it comes to construction sites, you need to make sure that you are going to know all the information about installing the right lights. There are many people that don’t think twice about their construction lights, but it is important that you are making sure that you are going to use the right construction lights for the site.

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Illuminating Residential Driveways

Tips For Illuminating Residential Driveways And Small Commercial Parking Lots

Driveways are high-activity sections of the home that requires reliable illumination. But because it is located at the front or side of the house, most people incorporate their outdoor lighting system when illuminating residential driveways.

Learn more about setting up luminaries for driveways below!

Illuminating Residential Driveways

Lighting up a driveway is not a difficult process. Unlike office lights or warehouse lighting, driveways should not be fully lit up in order to accommodate comfort and relaxation when approaching the location. Most individuals make the mistake of making their driveway look like an airport runway. To avoid this, one could alternate the positioning of the lamps or use low color temperature lights. It might be tempting to use uplighting configurations at the border of driveways. However, this could lead to temporary blinding when walking over the luminary. One should save uplighting for trees and walls (wall pack lights).

The next part of the driveway that should be illuminate thoroughly is the path between the car and the door. Again, the path should not be directly lit up, as it could cause discomfort for people walking through the area – especially if one is carrying a lot of things. Path lighting could be incorporated with nearby objects and plants, allowing the lights to serve dual purposes. For example, the lamp could illuminate a bush while indirectly lighting up a nearby stepping stone.

Low Voltage, Waterproof

Driveway lights are exposed to persistent rain, snow, heat and rough treatment. Keeping the units in working condition for the long term starts with purchasing variants with protective features. Waterproof and dust tight mechanisms could be helpful in making the lights more resilient to the outdoor environment.

Low voltage (12V or 24V) should also be considered for driveway lighting. Small lights that are on the ground and directly exposed to unpredictable outdoor elements, such as morning dew and rain, should be low voltage for safety. Other luminaries, like pole lights, don’t have to be low voltage if they’re well protected.

led strobe lights

Self-contained LED Strobe Lights for Continuous, Reliable Operation

LED Strobe lights are essential luminaries for law enforcement, hazardous locations and busy, industrial sites. Unlike spotlights, they have very different, passive applications. Operators use them for notification or early warning systems, to ensure nearby workers are aware of potential encounters or dangers that lie ahead.

Due to their passive nature and factoring in their maintained operational requirements, LED strobe lights are perfect candidates for self-contained technology. Self-contained lighting trends have emerged in the past decade, as a solution to automated, maintenance-free illumination.

Is it time to switch over to self-contained LED strobe lights for your business? Keep reading to find out!

Benefits and Advantages

For LED strobe lights, self-contained refers to a unit that is battery powered or rechargeable and capable of functioning on its own for long periods of time. Furthermore, the luminaries could come with versatile mounting options, to reduce the need for meticulous or intrusive mounting on temporary surfaces. Some self-contained lighting systems support periodic self-testing mechanisms. This feature isn’t commonly found in LED strobe lights.

When used as a maintained light, a self-contained LED strobe luminary is considered to be more reliable, compared to one that is not. For example, a unit that relies on wired power connections come with several points of failure: wires (prone to damage via corrosion, cutting and high/low temperatures), power source (sudden power outage) and more.

Self-contained LED strobe lights usually come with features that make them less prone to damage. They could be waterproof, low voltage and come with sturdy housings or lenses. To cater to maintained modes of operation, the luminaries are designed to consume very little energy and are slightly dimmed to reduce power consumption.

Uses and Applications

Self-contained LED strobe lights are incredibly useful for supporting emergency services. Since they can function with extra reliability, operators don’t have to keep checking on them – a task that is difficult in extreme weather conditions or when the light is mounted in an inaccessible part of the truck or building. Without reliance on a centralized power source, the lights can continue to function when connection to a large battery or grid is unavailable. This increases safety during application.

For hazardous locations, such as oil and gas facilities, processing plants and agricultural storage sites, the units could reduce the need for maintenance. This is a huge advantage in preventing accidents on the job site, as workers would not need to spend a lot of time adjusting or repairing the LED strobe lights.


solar led

Solar LED – Maintenance-free, Hands-off Lighting Applications

Maintaining lights in remote job sites and industrial facilities is extremely difficult. Often times, lighting systems are installed in hard-to-reach locations and require a team of workers to dismantle and re-lamp a group of luminaries in the building. Such operations typically take days to complete, depending on the size of the establishment.

Keeping lights fully operational is another aspect of maintaining lights that is staggeringly tedious. In the event of power outage, workers must deploy portable lights, setup a generator or simply wait for the power to come back on. These solutions are ineffective for businesses with demanding, daily operations.

solar led

Solar LED

Solar LEDs can be used to address operational inconsistencies associated with lights on the job site. Such luminaries are equipped with a compact solar panel, battery unit and controller. Businesses set the lights up in an area of the facility that receives large amounts of sunlight. The panels harvest energy from the sun, store power in the battery and the lights use the stored power for illumination.

LEDs are suitable options for solar-based lighting systems. Compared to their outdated alternatives, such as incandescent, fluorescent and metal halide lamps, the units consume far less energy. They are also appropriate for meeting low voltage (12-24V DC) requirements in industrial buildings. Since they require small amounts of energy during operation, the storage capacity of the battery component does not have to be large. Moreover, due to their lengthy lifespan, businesses don’t have to invest in costly labor for maintenance or re-lamping projects.

This also makes solar LEDs a great option for remote job sites, like offshore drilling, emergency services, military camps and mining sites.

Full Automation (Photocells)

To get the most out of solar LED, the systems must be able to minimize energy consumption on its own. In busy work sites, no one has time to monitor the status of lights. For solar LEDs, the most effective solution includes installing a day/night photocell. This device turns the light off during the day (when the location’s primary light source is the sun) and keeps the light running at night (when artificial lighting is mostly needed).

As a result, operators can benefit from full automation, while avoiding the need to check on the status of the luminaries. Some photocells are able to detect cloudy or rainy conditions as well. This feature is useful for locations that experience erratic weather patterns throughout the year. Lastly, photocells could make solar LEDs more efficient by reducing the amount of natural energy that needs to be harvested from the panels. For more information regarding Solar LED Lighting, please visit: