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Total Retrofit? Probably Not. Single Room Automation? Now We’re Talkin’!

February 23, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Category: Lighting

A complete retrofit of an existing home to incorporate smart technologies for energy management and home automation can sometimes be overwhelming to Bay Area homeowners, both in terms of cost and complexity. Because the energy and time savings from utilizing such systems can be significant, it is worth looking at lower cost solutions.

One option is to use single room automation. Unlike systems that are installed throughout a home using structured wiring and data cables, single room systems can often be installed into existing Bay Area homes without tearing out walls to run additional wiring. While they are sometimes limited in functionality, many of these systems can be expanded later.

An example of an effective single room automation solution is lighting control. Many lighting control systems offer automatic timing devices to adjust lighting based on user settings. Some of the more modern systems, however, are more automated and use sensor inputs to control lighting in a single room.

Room lighting comes in two forms – natural light and artificial light. Natural light “harvesting” is a term used to describe the use of daylight to augment artificial room lighting during daytime hours. Some companies, like Lutron, now make small systems that combine dimmer switches with automatic window shades. Other companies, like HAI, make systems that are modular and can start in one room and expand to additional rooms.

These systems can be combined with sensor technologies to increase flexibility. Daylight sensors can be used to determine light levels and automatically lower the level of artificial lighting in the room by adjusting the dimmer switchers. This system also works with a motion sensor to determine the presence or absence of people in the room, and can raise or lower light levels accordingly. The new dimmer switches are compatible with dimmable LED or fluorescent lighting.

Single room solutions make sense in a number of cases: for small, open concept Bay Area homes where one large central area is the location of the majority of activity in the home; classrooms, studios, or exhibit rooms with high levels of natural light; and, larger, older homes that may be inherently energy inefficient, but are difficult to automate with a whole-house system. The bottom line is that with new products on the market, there is a solution that can increase energy efficiency in lighting in a convenient, automated way, even for those on a tight budget. Discuss some of these options with your Bay Area electrician, who can help you determine if these technologies are within the realm of possibility for your home.

Can’t Find Just the Right Lamp? Make Your Own!

January 24, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Category: Lighting

If you can’t find just the right lamp to suit you or add interest to your Bay Area home, consider making one. You can use almost anything for the base-a stack of old books, old crockery, a bottle, an old bobbin, even a stack of baseballs. The only criterion is that you have to be able to drill a hole through it. Here’s how to do it:

Materials and Tools:

decorative object to be used as the base
drill with a 3/8-inch bit
block of wood (stained and finished to desired color)
four wooden button caps for lamp base
wood glue
threaded lamp rod with nut and bolt
lamp kit, including lamp cord, socket and harp
hacksaw
screwdriver
file
utility knife or wire strippers
lampshade

Steps:

1. Drill a hole through the center of the item you’re using as a base. It may be necessary to mount the item on a block of wood to create a sturdy base, in which case you’ll need to drill a hole in the block of wood as well.

2. Stain or paint the wooden button caps to match your base. Glue the button caps to the bottom of the base. This will raise the base and allow a lamp cord to pass under it.

3. Using a hacksaw, cut the lamp rod to the desired length and file off any rough edges. Thread the lamp rod through the bottom of the decorative object and wooden base. Use a washer and nut to secure the rod from the underside of the base.

4. To make the lamp cord easier to thread through the rod, place masking tape around the end or the cord. Then thread the lamp cord through the lamp rod from the bottom of the base until you have about 5 inches of cord sticking out of the top of the rod.

5. Thread the socket components onto the lamp cord in this order: the lock nut, the neck, the harp holder and the socket cap. Be sure to screw the socket cap onto the rod securely; this is what holds all the other parts in place.

6. Pull about 2 inches’ worth of the lamp-cord wire apart. Use a utility knife or wire strippers to strip off ½-inch of insulation from each wire, being careful not to cut the wire.

7. To prevent the wires from being pulled back through the lamp rod, tie an underwriter’s knot by making a loop with each end of the wire. Hold the end of one loop in front of the joined cord and the other loop behind the joined cord. Pass each end through the loop formed by the opposite wire and tighten the knot. To be sure the knot is secure, pull on the plug end of the lamp cord.

8. Attach the wires to the socket. To make sure there are no frayed ends, twist the strands of the exposed wire in a clockwise direction. The neutral wire, which is usually ribbed, is connected to the silver terminal. The hot wire is connected to the brass terminal. Bend the wire around the screw in the same direction that the screw will be turned and tighten.

9. Tuck the wires down and fit the socket cap in place. When the socket cap clicks, you’ll know the connection is secure.

10. Add the harp and a lampshade.

Now you have a lamp for your Bay Area home!  Remember, for more involved electrical wiring or lighting solutions, you should always call your Bay Area electrician.

Article Source:  http://www.hgtv.com/decorating/homemade-lamp/index.html

If you are looking for professional lighting instillation in the San Francisco area, then please call us today at 800-944-2252 or complete our online request form.

Get On The Right Track With Your San Francisco Home Lighting Options

December 6, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Category: Lighting

Track lighting can be tricky to use properly in your San Francisco home. It has two strengths over most other sorts of lighting. First, it is flexible. You can easily move your fixtures from one place to another across your ceiling. Second, it is directed. Rather than light rooms generally, it generates beams that fall on particular objects or areas. In this article, I will discuss when it is best to use track lighting as opposed to other types. Your San Francisco electrician is also a great resource for learning about the versatility of track lighting and its possible applications for your own home.

Use #1 – Accent Lighting: The most common use of track lighting (and, indeed, the reason for which it was invented) is for what is called “accent lighting.” This allows you to illuminate “accents” in your San Francisco home, like works or art or architectural details. Track lighting is perfect for accents, because you can easily move around your works of art and have your lighting follow them. The directedness highlights the details and nothing else.

Use #2 – Ceiling Ambient Lighting: Another fun use of track lighting is to turn the fixtures upward toward the ceiling. This has an interesting effect. Rather than have directed beams, you get diffuse light that bounces off of the ceiling. This can be especially effective if your San Francisco home has cathedral or other beamed ceilings. Put the track on top of the beams (where they are invisible), and shine them on the ceiling. The reflected light emphasizes your ceiling and also illuminates your room.

Use #3 – Task Lighting: Another common use of track lighting is to use it for various tasks, especially in the kitchen. This way, if you ever remodel your kitchen or simply move something around, you can easily move your lights to compensate. However, don’t fall into the common mistake of putting the lighting fixtures behind or above the people using counter space. You will just generate harsh shadows that will make the light hard to use.

Track lighting has a number of uses. It is especially good for accent lighting, but there are a number of other possibilities you can explore. Discuss the various options for track lighting in your home with your San Francisco electrical contractor.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Daniel_Bader,_Ph.D.

San Francisco Lighting Your Way to A Brighter Home with Proper Interior Lighting

November 7, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Category: Lighting

Proper lighting plays a crucial role in maintaining a good ambiance in your house. It doesn’t simply provide beautiful appearance but it’s also functional at most times. Aside from the comfort and ease that it provides, proper lighting can also give enlightenment, not just literally. Hence, if you want to end up living in a perfectly designed home paired with good lighting features, you should keep an eye on the San Francisco interior lighting.

Probably one of the most important factors in achieving a decent home is making the right lighting choices. The lighting needs of your house vary on its design and on the part where it needs lighting. Helping yourself out in looking for the San Francisco interior lighting that would suit your needs and could highlight good combination with the design of your house wouldn’t be that hard. Of course, awareness on which lighting effects would go well with your house structures and styles is also needed. Well, on this note, you could visit websites or simply browse for possible designs. Plus there are companies found on the internet that offer home improvement tools such as lighting bodies that offer their service and products. You could also seek help from lighting experts so you surely wouldn’t miss out on this task.

A good San Francisco interior lighting is vital factor not only in achieving a beautiful home but also in having a positive outlook in life. To fully incorporate this idea, certain factors should be put in mind. Remember, your lighting equipment choice should fit with your lighting needs in the particular in your house. If you want to put lights in the stairways or corridors of your home, it’s best to have wall lighting. This type of lighting is used when placing lights in the ceilings is not appropriate. Basically, picking the perfect lighting bodies for the different parts of your home can be critical. The function of the particular room shouldn’t be compromise in lieu of fine-looking lighting equipment.

Sleeping moments are normally spent in the bedrooms; here, strong lighting effects could be a bad choice. If you’re the type of person who has the habit of reading books or other paper materials before going to bed, you could try putting a lamp shade near your bed. On the other hand, your kitchen needs balance lighting effects to effectively do your kitchen works. Indeed, your choice of San Francisco lighting features is a key factor in setting out a beautiful and comfortable home.

 

 

 

If you are looking for a professional electrician in the San Francisco area, then please call us today at 800-944-2252 or complete our online request form.