Fire Safety 101, Part 1: Types of Smoke Detectors

Feb 08, 13 Fire Safety 101, Part 1: Types of Smoke Detectors

One of the most overlooked, yet vitally important safety features of any house is the smoke alarm. You’ve spent a lot of time and money turning your house into your home, filling it with irreplaceable things like wedding pictures and family heirlooms. An early warning from the right kind of alarm could help save those things, not to mention you and your family.

Protecting your home from fire and carbon monoxide threats is serious business. In this two-part series, we’ll discuss the different types of alarms, the advantages of each, the placement of alarms, and necessary fire safety accessories. First up are the types of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms available and their individual benefits.

Ionization Alarms

Ionization alarms detect invisible particles produced by fast, flaming fires, usually caused by things like grease or paper, or candles too close to curtains. Ionization sensors are generally better at detecting invisible fire particles sooner than photoelectric alarms. These alarms are either battery powered or wired directly into a power source, which is a definite plus as this prevents the alarm from not functioning due to dead batteries. Many of the wire-in alarms also feature a battery backup, protecting you even during power outages. These alarms have tamper-resistant features, preventing the battery from being removed for other uses, such as for video game console controllers or TV remotes.

Photoelectric Alarms

Photoelectric alarms can detect the large particles associated with smoldering fires, such as an electrical fire that starts in the walls, sooner than ionization sensors. Photoelectric alarms, just like ionization alarms, can either be battery powered or wired into your home’s power source and also provide battery backup. Since there are many different types of fires that can strike your home, it is recommended to install one alarm with ionization sensors and one with photoelectric sensors.

Dual Photoelectric and Ionization

Dual photoelectric and ionization alarms provide protection from fast, flaming fires and smoldering fires. These types of alarms are generally wire-in alarms and also feature a battery backup to keep protecting you during a power outage. Since there is no way to know which type of fire can strike your home, these alarms are recommended because they protect you from both types of fires..

Heat Alarms

Heat alarms detect high levels of heat, and alarm when the temperature reaches a preset level or when the unit detects a steady rise in temperature. Heat alarms are meant to supplement smoke alarms and give early warning of heat from a fire. These alarms are ideal in garages, kitchens, or other places with conditions not suitable for smoke alarms. Garages are usually not heated or cooled, so the temperatures can be below or above the alarm’s operating temperature, while smoke alarms installed too close to cooking appliances can lead to nuisance alarms. Heat alarms are generally interconnectable, meaning if one alarm is triggered, all the alarms sound, giving you enough time to safely escape.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Carbon monoxide alarms are pretty straightforward. These alarms detect dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO). What makes CO so dangerous is that it cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted, so a CO alarm is definitely recommended, especially if you have gas appliances, as these can malfunction and leak the deadly gas. Even if you don’t have gas appliances, a CO alarm is recommended if you have a fireplace, as the burning wood gives off carbon monoxide. Just like the photoelectric and ionization fire alarms, the CO alarms are generally wire-in with a battery backup.

Protecting your home from fire and carbon monoxide threats is easier than you think, and we hope we just made it easier. If you have any questions about these products or just want to share how your home is protected, drop us a comment in the box below or visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus!

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How to Identify Halogen and Xenon Bi-Pin Bulbs

Jan 11, 13 How to Identify Halogen and Xenon Bi-Pin Bulbs

So one of the bulbs in those little “puck” lights under your kitchen cabinets or the light in your desk lamp has burned out. You may have even had a burn-out with a landscape bullet light. Once you figure out how to get the fixture apart, you find a tiny bulb with two pins you don’t recognize. Now what?

Sure, you can throw the entire fixture out and just get a new one. That may be easier, but it definitely won’t be cheaper. What happens when the bulb burns out again (which it certainly will)? Are you going to just keep buying replacement fixtures?

Relax. We at 1000Bulbs.com have you covered. Identifying and replacing your existing bi-pin xenon bulb (sometimes called ’2-pin bulbs’ or ‘T-bulbs’) is easier than you think. Just follow these five simple steps:

Step 1: Measure the Pin Spacing

How far apart are the pins from each other? You can figure this out by getting a ruler and measuring the space between the pins. The space between the pins is measured in millimeters. Write this measurement down as it will help you find the right base type.

Step 2: Determine the Bulb Voltage

Check the fixture housing or socket and see if there is a label that tells you the voltage of the original bulb. The label will most likely have a UL or CSA symbol. If it’s not on the fixture, try to find it on the bulb itself. When you find the voltage, write it down. If you can’t find the label or the label doesn’t list the voltage, don’t worry. You may still find the correct bulb with some tips coming up in step 4.

Step 3: Check the Pin Type

Now check the pins on your existing bulbs. Are they straight or looped? Most bi-pin bulbs will have straight pins, but there are also bi-pin bulbs that have looped pins. Knowing if the pins are straight or looped will help you to further narrow down your bulb selection. Along with your pin measurements and voltage, make sure to jot down if your pins are looped or straight.

Step 4: Find Your Bulb

Now that you’ve got the bulb spacing, pin type, and (hopefully) voltage, it’s time to find your bulb. If you measured 4 millimeters between pins, that means you have a G4 base bulb, which comes in 6, 12, or 24 volts. If your measurement is just a hair wider than 6 millimeters, you have a bulb with a G6.35 base, which comes in 12, 24, or 120 volts. A measurement of 8 millimeters means you have a G8 base xenon bulb, which only comes in 120 volts. Looped pins spaced 9 millimeters apart means you have a G9 base bulb, which also only comes in 120 volts.

Step 5: Install Your Bulb

After you’ve figured out what bulb you need, installing it is simple. Your fixture has a glass lens that fits over the bulb. After you remove the lens, insert the new bulb into the socket and replace the lens. Be careful not to touch the bulb itself, as the oils on your fingers will damage the bulb, shortening its life and maybe even causing it to melt. Some bulbs come with a wrapping around the bulb to prevent damage when installing them. If your bulb didn’t come with a wrapping, wear gloves or use something to wrap around the bulb, but be sure to remove the wrapping after you install the bulb.

That’s all there is to it. Remember, replacing your bulb is much cheaper than replacing the whole fixture. While replacing the bulb may not be as easy, after a few times, you’ll get the hang of it. If you have any questions about these bulbs or just questions in general, don’t be shy! Drop us a comment in the box below or reach out to us Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus.

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Light Post Lighting News: Christmas Light Tour, Holiday Safety, and More

Dec 22, 12 Light Post Lighting News: Christmas Light Tour, Holiday Safety, and More

For this week’s issue of Light Post, we’ve collected some excellent lighting stories, from a Dallas-area Christmas light tour, to some last-minute holiday lighting tips, and even a scoop on how LED lights are helping astronauts sleep. So, post up in your favorite spot and enjoy Light Post.

Farmers Branch Offering Tour of Lights

If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, check out the Tour of Lights in Farmers Branch. This drive-through event features hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights and displays. To get there from the intersection of Interstate 35E at Valley View Lane, follow the candy cane signs down William Dodson Parkway to Farmers Branch City Hall, through the DART station area and to the Farmers Branch Historical Park. What makes this event even sweeter is that it’s FREE. The Tour of Lights runs through December 1 to New Year’s Eve.

Holiday Lighting Safety Tips

These tips come all the from Wayne County, NY, but lighting safety tips are universal and will ensure you have a safe holiday season.

  1. Make sure you inspect your lights each year before putting them on the house. Look for worn or frayed receptacles, cords, and loose connections. If you find anything out of place, replace your lights with new ones from 1000Bulbs.com.
  2. For those who’ve seen ‘Christmas Vacation’, you know that electrical cords and cats don’t mix. Well, neither do toddlers and electrical cords. Make sure cords are out of reach of your four-legged friends and the kiddos.
  3. The only hassle with live trees is keeping up with all the stray needles and refilling the water when your cats drink out of the tree holder. Having a live tree takes a few more safety steps. Cut the base of the tree at a 45-degree angle to allow water absorption. Also, use mini lights as they produce much less heat than regular lights and reduce the drying effect on the tree. Pesky, water-drinking cats aside, your tree will drink anywhere from a quart to a gallon of water each day, so refilling the water prevents the tree from drying out.
  4. All of these safety tips are no replacement for checking and replacing the batteries in your smoke detectors.

LED Lights to Combat Astronaut Insomnia

Apparently sleep is tough to come by on the International Space Station. NASA flight surgeon Smith Johnston explains why: “The station is noisy, carbon dioxide is high, and you don’t have a shower (seriously?).” This is why NASA is spending $11.2 million on switching out the space station’s fluorescent lights for color-alternating LEDs. The LEDs will alternate from blue, white, and red, based upon the time of day. NASA says it plans to have the switchover completed by 2016.

LED Lighting Options Help Christmas Displays Go Green

One year, I put about 7,000 lights on my parents’ house. They liked the lights, until they got their electric bill. However, there are a lot of money-saving options like LED mini lights. LEDs are the most efficient lights you can buy, and will save you a ton in electricity costs. Powering 600 incandescent lights for six hours a day will cost about $80, while the same number of LED lights will cost only $7.

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Light Post Lighting News: New Fluorescent Technology, Rockefeller Tree, and More

Dec 10, 12 Light Post Lighting News: New Fluorescent Technology, Rockefeller Tree, and More

Here at 1000Bulbs.com, not only do we sell thousands of lighting products, lighting accessories,  and (my favorite) Christmas decorations to satisfy even the most seasoned lighting veteran, we also have our ears to the ground, scouring the Internet for news-worthy…news. Introducing Light Post, a bi-weekly gathering of lighting innovations and of course, news. So make sure you swing by every other week for your dose of Light Post.

Wake Forest Introduces Revolutionary Fluorescent Bulb

Physics professor David Carroll and his team of researchers at Wake Forest University have created a fluorescent bulb set to replace LEDs and standard fluorescents. These new bulbs, based on field-induced polymer electroluminescent (try saying that fives times in a row) technology, or FIPEL, are shatterproof, flicker-free, and won’t burn out. No more of the mosquito-in-your-ear humming noise many office workers complain about now. Besides no more humming, these lights give off a soft, white light and are extremely efficient, at least twice as efficient as compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL). Better yet, these lights are long-lasting: Carroll has one that has worked for about a decade. These lights should be available to consumers as early as next year.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting not Hampered by Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy definitely left a dark spot over New York City, flooding pretty much everything, costing millions of dollars, and leaving lots of people without power. However, the Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting erased any dark spot cast by the superstorm. The massive 80-foot Norway spruce, complete with 30,000 lights and topped with a Swarovski star, came to life November 28. The 10-ton tree resided at the Mount Olive, N.J. home of Joe Balku and was a mere 22-feet tall in 1973 when Balku bought the house. Today, the tree measures about 50 feet in diameter. The iconic tree will remain in the public eye until January 7.
After that, it will be turned into lumber for Habitat for Humanity.

Streetlights in Central London to be Controlled by iPads

If this isn’t evidence of technology becoming more and more important in our everyday lives, I don’t know what is. Westminster City Council announced it will be replacing about 14,000 central London street lights with new, iPad controlled smart lights. The iPad application will be able to monitor street lighting levels and reliability, monitor which lights are not working properly, and can even predict when a light will fail. Installation of the new lights will cost about $3 million, but it will save taxpayers hundreds of thousands a year.

Texas Towns and Parks Scale Back Lighting to See Stars

Having recently moved from a small, Texas town to the big city, I can certainly attest for the lack of star-gazing ability here in the Metroplex. That’s why many Texas towns and state parks are fighting light pollution. In recent years, Texas’ state parks have seen a decline in visitors and to lure them back, the parks are promoting chances for night-sky viewing, away from the city lights by advocating cities and towns to use down-facing light fixtures, so as not to pollute neighboring areas with unnecessary light.

LED Lights May Boost Milk Production in Cows

There may be a link between higher milk production and LED lights. An initial experiment done in 2010 at Oklahoma State University found a 6% increase in milk production in cows when traditional lights were replaced with LEDs, which consume at least 75% less energy than conventional incandescent bulbs, in areas where cows were housed. While the research is still underway, and if the results can be replicated in other institutions, not only will cows produce more milk, but the savings over the long run will be tremendous for farmers.

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