By Bob Groeneveld
Special to the Langley Advance
As the days grow shorter, the need for proper outdoor lighting becomes more evident.
“Now is the time to assess your lighting needs to make sure you aren’t caught in the dark,” said Heidi Visser, marketing coordinator for Design Lighting.
The folks at Design Lighting suggested that the best place to start assessing lighting needs, as the days grow darker, is with a walk around the outside of the home.
Check to ensure all fixtures are functioning as they should.
“Exterior lighting not only makes a home look more inviting,” Visser explained, “it is an important safety and security feature.”
She said homeowners should consider replacing any burned out conventional bulbs that they find on their walk-through with LED bulbs with equivalent lighting outputs.
Unlike fluorescent bulbs, she said, LEDs don’t require a warming-up period, they tend to be far more reliable in colder weather, and their energy efficiency far outstrips that of incandescent bulbs, producing far more light per watt of electricity spent while they are turned on.
And according to Philips, a leading global manufacturer of all kinds of lighting products, LEDs offer a further advantage over other lights when they are powered through dimmer switches. Unlike incandescent bulbs, which tend to become more yellow as the current through them is reduced, LED bulbs’ colour tint remains the same as they are dimmed.
LEDs, which are made of solid state circuitry and so tend to handle the odd physical bump better than more fragile fluorescent and incandescent bulbs, also are better than fluorescent for uses that include frequent on-off switching. Fluorescent lights burn out more quickly when used that way.
LEDs are more expensive, but they tend to last far longer than the alternatives. LEDs are estimated to last about twice as long as equivalent fluorescent bulbs, and up to 60 times as long as incandescents.
From a home security point of view, LEDs have an often overlooked advantage: they don’t suddenly burn out, but instead, they begin to dim slowly. That means the path along the driveway or in front of the garage isn’t suddenly plunged into darkness.
Proper installation of outdoor LED fixtures can be important. The lighting engineers at Philips point out that LED bulb operation can be affected by ambient temperature. That means when it get really cold – tens of degrees below 0 Celsius – the amount of light they give off can be affected.
At extremely high temperatures, the bulbs can overheat, burning out more quickly than optimum. To ensure that doesn’t happen – although that’s likely beyond the highest temperatures this region is likely to expect – proper heat sinks may need to be installed.
But whether you choose LEDs or not, it’s important to keep everything operating well.
“Make sure to give any exterior fixtures good wash,” Visser advised, explaining, “Clean fixtures project and operate more efficiently.”
A good wipe with a soft damp cloth will usually do the trick. Wipe away dirt and grime while ensuring that the fixture isn’t damaged.
And to ensure you don’t damage yourself, ALWAYS turn of the power to any fixture before cleaning.
And what about inside?
“Inside the home, the living room tends to be our sanctuary over the winter months,” Visser pointed out. “Ensure you have adequate task lighting for activities such as reading or playing board games.”
Strategically placed table and floor lamps can bring light into even the darkest of corners, her expert colleagues at Design Lighting offered, adding “A brighter overhead light is important, but consider installing a dimmer so that you can control the mood in the room.”
Installing programmable switches offers the flexibility of creating different lighting schemes to cater to a variety of moods within the same room.
And remote control of a home’s lighting, for example through the Adorne Wi-Fi lighting system from Legrand which can be run through a smart phone, allows the homeowner to turn on the lights – for exactly the right mood – even before walking through the door.
Design Lighting is located on 192nd Street, just south of 56th Avenue, near the Langley-Surrey border.