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Hartford Electricians
Lighting and Fixtures
Lighting adds more than just illumination—it adds atmosphere and warmth as well. In its most basic form, it provides a safe and comfortable environment for your home, replacing sunlight. But don't forget that upgrading your fixtures can be a dramatic enhancement to your home design. The rule of thumb is to look for 3 layers of light: General (usually overhead), task, and accent lighting are all necessary to have a beautiful design. The first layer of light to consider is ambient, usually from a ceiling lamp or recessed fixture. Also consider wall sconces or soffit lighting which can minimize shadows and glare.

Task lighting illuminates an area for a specific activity, such as a reading area or kitchen counter. Under cabinet lighting, pendants, or a decorative table lamp would provide this second level of light.

Accent lighting will highlight a particular object or architectural feature in your home. Consider recessed or track lights to accent a beautiful bookcase, plant, or piece of art.

For the most dramatic and cost effective results, install a dimmer. Dimming your lights by even a small percentage saves a meaningful amount of electricity (and money) and dramatically extends the life of your bulbs. Setting your lights to 70 or 80 percent leaves you with plenty of light for most situations, while dimming even lower can make you feel like you're living in a designer magazine. There are a wide range of dimmers which allow you to create lighting moods-different levels for different lights- which are memorized and recalled at the touch of a button.

Home lighting is undergoing a transformation of sorts, as incandescent lightbulbs are being phased out and replaced. New government regulations require that bulbs used in the home must use 30% less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs. (these bulbs covert only about 5% of its energy used for light—the rest is given off as heat. Remember your Easy Bake oven?)

The first alternative to hit the market, CFLs, have not been warmly embraced by the consumer. Consumers don't always react positively to the color of the new CFLs, complaining that the light is "cold" or "flat", their near invisible "flicker" causes eyestrain and headaches. CFLs take 1 or 2 seconds to actually turn on, which can be frustrating, and they frequently don't work with dimmer switches. There are also environmental concerns about the mercury content of some of the newer bulbs LEDs may be a better choice for most consumers. They produce a light color similar to incandescent lights and avoid some of the problems we find with CFL lights. They are also the most energy efficient bulbs on the market, and can last 20 years. New designs mean that there is an LED bulb suitable for virtually every lighting application in your home.

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