Choosing the Right Fluorescent Ballast

Apr 04, 14 Choosing the Right Fluorescent Ballast

Unless you’re an electrician, it’s probably news to you that many fluorescent lights, such as those used in your kitchen or garage, require electrical devices called ballasts to operate. Ballasts supply the proper voltage to start and run the majority of fluorescent lights. Although typically connected by wires in-between the power source and the bulb, ballasts are sometimes included within the bulbs. This is often the case with compact fluorescents, but this rarely happens with fluorescent tubes.

If your fluorescent bulb doesn’t specify that it has a built-in ballast, chances are, you’ll need to purchase one separately. But with the wide array of options on the market, we understand how finding the right ballast can be a little confusing. That’s why we’ve updated our previous article on choosing fluorescent ballasts: to make this process even easier. The comprehensive information below will help you select the fluorescent ballast you need.

Five Factors to Consider

Lamp Type
Knowing the type of fluorescent light you will use with your ballast is a good start to your search. They can be generally divided as compact fluorescents or fluorescent tubes. When researching your fluorescent bulbs, pay attention to attributes that will help you narrow your options down. Bulb name (such as 2-pin, 4-pin, T8, T12, etc.), base type, and wattage are usually the most helpful information.

ANSI Code
When considering a ballast for your lamp, make sure they have corresponding ANSI (American National Standards Institute) codes. Matching ANSI codes guarantees that the ballast you chose can be used with your lamp. However, ballasts are often compatible with more than one lamp, and vice versa. Based on design and start method, certain ballast options may be preferable to others because they can help your lights operate more efficiently, have longer life spans, or use less energy.

Magnetic vs. Electronic Ballasts
Fluorescent ballasts can be either magnetic or electronic in design. Unless you are simply wanting to replace an older magnetic ballast, try to purchase lights that use a newer electronic ballast instead. Although simpler and cheaper, magnetic ballasts tend to flicker and hum, and they consume excessive amounts of energy to operate. On the other hand, electronic ballasts don’t flicker or hum, and they use modern, more energy efficient technology.

Start Methods
Because an initial current can be quite high, fluorescent ballasts are great for safely starting fluorescent tubes. Fluorescent ballasts have four main types of starting methods: Preheat Start, Rapid Start, Instant Start, and Programmed Start. The latter two (with the most current technology) are the most popular. Each start method has its advantages and drawbacks, as detailed in the following chart.

Preheat Start
(Magnetic Design Only)

Preheat Start ballasts require a starter (usually built-in) to establish the circuit through the ballast and pre-heat the lamp filaments. When the filaments have heated up, the ballast then provides a suitable voltage to the lamp. Several seconds may be required to complete the starting operation.

Rapid Start
(Magnetic or Electronic Design)

Rapid Start ballasts preheat filaments to the proper temperature before fully turning on the lamp. Usually, this is only a brief delay. This method diminishes the stress on the filaments from a strong, initial power surge, thereby extending lamp life.

Instant Start
(Electronic Only)

Instant Start ballasts turn lights on the moment you flip the switch. They provide the quickest, most energy-efficient lighting and are intended for areas with infrequent switching and “on” cycles of several hours, as the initial surge from turning on the lamps can damage them in the long run. These ballasts are ideal for offices, warehouses, and retail spaces.

Programmed Start
Same as Programmed Rapid Start
(Electronic only)

Programmed Start ballasts are the newest ballasts on the market, designed to reduce the energy used by rapid start ballasts as well as the damaging effects of instant start ballasts. These ballasts provide slower-starting, energy-efficient lighting that prolongs lamp life and performs well in frequently switched applications. These ballasts are ideal for hallways, stairwells, and bathrooms.


Ballast Factor and Light Output
Lastly, ballast factor is a measure of the total lumen output for a combined lamp-ballast system. By selecting a ballast with an ideal ballast factor, you can optimize the light output of your fluorescent lighting system and maximize your energy savings. To estimate your total system lumens, multiply the rated lumens of your lamp by the ballast. For example, 3200 lumens x 0.77 BF = 2464 total system lumens.

  • Low Ballast Factor (below 0.77)
    Lower energy usage and reduced light output. Ideal for hallways and bathrooms.
  • Normal Ballast Factor (0.77 to 1.1)
    Near rated energy usage and light output. Ideal for most applications, including offices and retail stores.
  • High Ballast Factor (above 1.1)
    Higher energy usage and up to 10% more light output. Ideal for warehouses and areas with high ceilings.

Do you have any questions for finding the right fluorescent ballast? Let us know in comments or give us a shout on FacebookTwitterGoogle Plus, LinkedIn, or Pinterest!

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Introduction to Outdoor Lighting

Mar 26, 14 Introduction to Outdoor Lighting

As most of us are unlikely to be out in our yards enjoying a glass of cool, fresh lemonade in 50-degree weather, it is easy to forget about our outdoor lighting during the cooler months of the year. However, with the warmer weather just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about how you will be illuminating your yard. Here are some basic considerations everyone should keep in mind for lighting their outdoor areas year-round.

Choosing Outdoor Lights

Outdoor/Wet Location Approved
Before selecting an outdoor bulb or light fixture, always make sure the product says it’s suitable for outdoor or wet locations (such as any item in our landscape section). If a product is suitable for outdoor locations, then it’s also suitable for wet locations, and vice versa. Unapproved products may become damaged or otherwise hazardous if sprinklers, pool water, rain, or other damp conditions come in contact with their electrical components. If you’re not sure, you can always try contacting the manufacturer to double check. Sometimes a product will say it’s ULETL, or CSA listed for these locations. These are all acronyms for safety organizations that verify products’ operating capabilities in certain locations, including indoor/outdoor, dry, damp, and wet places.

Line Voltage vs. Low Voltage
While perusing potential outdoor lights, you may have noticed many products are offered in either line voltage or low voltage options. But what exactly does this mean?

  • Intermatic Low Voltage Transformer

    Intermatic Low Voltage Transformer

    Line voltage lights run using the standard voltage that powers most appliances and bulbs in your home – usually 120 volts. This includes table lamps, ceiling fixtures, chandeliers, and more.

  • Low voltage lights require a transformer to bring down their voltage supply to 12 or 24 volts. Common low voltage bulbs include miniature bi-pin bulbs found in landscape lighting and MR16s found in indoor track lighting as well as outdoor fixtures. The primary advantage to using low voltage lights is that they are safer to use; a 12- or 24-volt shock won’t do half as much harm as a 120-volt shock. Also, if you’re buying a fixture that uses an MR16, you will have plenty of options for controlling your lights’ beam spread.

Common Outdoor Lights

Security/Motion Sensing Lights
RAB-STL200HSecurity lighting should be top priority as homes possess multiple points of entry for potential intruders. Of course, you should always keep your doors locked, but wouldn’t it be better to ward off unwanted visitors before they get too close for comfort? These 200-degree motion-activated security lights can provide great coverage for your front, back, or side lawn.

Path Lights
AP-112B-LED-T3-4Many homes have pathways or sidewalks leading up to the front entrance or around their backyard. Whether you’re using them to welcome guests to your home or guide them through your yard, low-to-the-ground path lights will create a warm, inviting ambiance in either location. We offer options in many colors and shades to match whatever theme or color scheme you may have.

Step Lights
TROY-RD1115BNAZSteps are easily the most accident-prone areas in the front or backyard, especially since their presence can come as a surprise in the dark. But with proper illumination, you can greatly reduce this hazard. Step lights will illuminate each step in a stairwell or elevated path, drawing guests’ eyes to the floor and ensuring that these spaces remain accident-free.

 

Can you think of any outdoor lighting essentials we missed? Have any questions? Leave us a comment or drop us a line on FacebookTwitterGoogle Plus, LinkedIn, or Pinterest!

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How to Choose a Dimmer: Four Factors to Consider

Mar 24, 14 How to Choose a Dimmer: Four Factors to Consider

In past blog entries, we’ve suggested using dimmers to provide mood lighting and save energy, but a lot more goes into choosing a dimmer than you think. Have you ever installed a dimmer only to find that it shortens the life of your bulbs or doesn’t work at all? Chances are you’ve chosen the wrong dimmer for the light sources you’re using or the type of wiring you have in your home.

As nice as it would be to be able to install one dimmer with any lighting system and have it work perfectly, that’s just not the case. There are many types of dimmers, all designed to be compatible with certain light sources and lighting systems. When choosing a dimmer for your lights, here are the important factors you need to consider.

Dimmer Type

How many switches control your light fixture? That’s the first question you’ll need to ask yourself when choosing a dimmer. Here are the four basic types for your lights that you can choose from:

Single-Pole Dimmer – The single-pole dimmer is designed for light fixtures that are controlled by only one dimmer in your home. In other words, this dimmer is the only switch used to turn your lights on and off, as well as to dim.

Three-way or Four-way Dimmer – These dimmers are for light fixtures that are controlled by only one dimmer plus one or more on and off switches in other places in your home.

lampdimmer

Lutron Cradenza Lamp Dimmer

Multi-location Dimmer – If your light fixture uses multiple companion dimmers, you will need a multi-location dimmer. Using multiple dimmers allows full dimming control from more than one location.

Plug-In DimmerPlug-in dimmers are used to dim the bulb in your table and floor lamps. Many of these lamp dimmers are compatible with incandescent, CFL, and LED bulbs.

Bulb Type

Incandescent/Halogen – If you are using standard incandescent or halogen lighting in your home, standard incandescent dimmers are what you’ll need to reduce the brightness. These dimmers work in a very interesting way. Many people might think that dimming involves reducing the electrical current, but actually, dimmers rapidly turn the bulb’s circuit on and off at rates much faster than we can see (typically over 100 times per second).

Compact Fluorescent and LED – In order to dim energy-efficient lights, you should first make sure that the lights themselves are capable of dimming. Because technology is advancing, dimmable LED and CFL technology is becoming much more reliable. Once you’ve got your dimmable bulbs, then you can focus on making sure your dimmer is compatible. If you were to try to use an incandescent dimmer with an LED or CFL, it would only cause your lights to not dim correctly or malfunction completely.

Magnetic Low-Voltage (MLV) – Low-voltage lighting systems require the use of a transformer to regulate the line voltage. If a transformer used within a lighting system is magnetic, you will need a magnetic dimmer. Magnetic dimmers are inductive and use symmetric forward phase-control in order to dim.

Electronic Low-voltage (ELV) – Electronic transformers in low-voltage lighting systems require a compatible electronic dimmer. Electronic dimmers are capacitive and use reverse phase-control for dimming.

Wattage

Once you know what kind of light source you’re using, you have to be sure the wattage of your bulbs is compatible with your dimmer. That said, you also must take into consideration how many bulbs you are using on one dimmer. Some people assume that just because LEDs consume less wattage, the same incandescent dimmer can be operated with more LED bulb that consume a fraction of the wattage of an incandescent. Due to something called inrush current, or the maximum, instantaneous input current drawn by an electrical device when first turned on, using more LEDs than you would incandescents on a dimmer will only render the dimmer ineffective.

For example, if dimmer can handle 300 watts of electricity and five 60-watt bulbs, that does not mean that it will be able to handle 30 or more LEDs at 8.5 watts. If a dimmer could only handle five incandescent bulbs, only use five LEDs.

Leviton IllumaTech Dimmer

Leviton IllumaTech Dimmer

Control Style

Once you’ve gotten past all of the technical elements and narrowed down your choices, you can start to focus on the more superficial stuff – like how the dimmer looks. Dimmers come in many different colors and styles, so it’s all a matter of personal preference. The styles of the dimmer switches are varied and come in options as varied as toggles, rotaries, and even touch-sensitive dimmers.

Do you have any questions about finding the right dimmer for your lighting system? Leave us a comment or drop us a line on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, or Pinterest!

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1000Bulbs.com Launches New Line of Fanimation Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans do more than just add decorative appeal to a room’s décor. They can significantly reduce lighting and air conditioning costs. Recognizing the customer’s need for energy-efficient home accessories, http://www.1000bulbs.com is proud to announce Fanimation as its newest ceiling fan vendor. This new product line will include a selection of indoor and outdoor ceiling fans, as well as portable desk and floor fans.

Founded by Tom Frampton, Fanimation has established itself as a leader in the ceiling fan industry with its quality manufacturing, innovative designs and use of unique materials. As a globally recognized brand, Fanimation’s designs have been featured in magazines such as Vanity Fair as well as on popular television shows such as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

“Selling Fanimation’s line of ceiling and desk fans was a no brainer for us.” says 1000Bulbs.com CEO Kim Pedersen. “Their quality is some of the highest in the business and we know that’s something important to our customers.”

With styles ranging from contemporary to traditional, each one of Fanimation’s products has something unique to offer. Ceiling fans that include light kits and bulbs are equipped with beautiful glass shades in various colors. 1000Bulbs.com will also be offering a selection of outdoor ceiling fans. UL listed for wet locations, these outdoor fixtures are ideal for cooling off a covered deck or enclosed patio. For an added element of versatility, many of the fans include remote controls, reversible motors and reversible blades. These fans are available in timeless finishes such as cherry, mahogany and walnut. They also include a versatile array of fixture combinations.The Fanimation FP7900BL Torto ceiling fan is an innovative, modern art piece that also creates a cool breeze.

As the world of lighting continues to move into a more energy-efficient age, Fanimation takes green innovation one step further by offering a selection of Energy Star rated fans. Fans with an Energy Star rating are over 50% more energy-efficient than conventional fans. They are also proud to produce fans with energy-efficient brushless DC motors and integrated LED light kits.

In addition, Fanimation offers a collection of portable desk and floor fans which are a fashionable ceiling fan alternative. Effortlessly combining function and style, these free-standing and wall mountable products feature vintage and antique designs with contemporary appeal.

To see all of the Fanimation products offered on 1000Bulbs.com, visit:
http://www.1000Bulbs.com/category/residential-fans

About 1000Bulbs.com: 1000Bulbs.com is an award-winning Internet-based lighting retailer. The company offers everything from simple, household light bulbs to cutting-edge specialty lighting systems. Nationally recognized for growth, innovation, and customer satisfaction, 1000Bulbs.com is an influential force in the lighting industry. Follow @1000Bulbs on Twitter for the latest company announcements.

 

Feel free to leave a comment or reach out to us on FacebookTwitter, or Google Plus!

Contact:
Paul Coppage
1000Bulbs.com
972-288-2277 Ext: 157
pcoppage(at)1000bulbs(dot)com

 

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Lavish Lamps: A Quick-Tip Guide to Table Lamps

There was once a time when table lamps were simply a way to light a room. Now, not only do they make for great task lighting; they also create a sense of comfort and add to the inspired look of the rooms they are placed in. At 1000Bulbs.com, we have a great collection of lamps with different designs and color schemes for you to add to your decor. Here are a few table lamps that can enhance the look and feel of the unique style of your home.

 

For an Elegant Appearance

Bling your home with one of these radiant lamps. Ideal for living room and bed side tables, these lamps are sure to bring a sparkle to any room they are placed in!

Uttermost 26894 Cascading Crystal Table Lamp

Uttermost 26894 Cascading Crystal Table Lamp

Arteriors 49629-868 – Shimmering Glass Table Lamp

Uttermost 26894 – Cascading Crystal Table Lamp

Kenroy Home 20118BS – Elegant Table Lamp

Uttermost 26440 – Dark Ceramic Table Lamp

Uttermost 26987 – Modern Table Lamp

 

 

For a Nature Inspired Ambiance

Add an extra touch of nature to your living room or den with one of these nature inspired lamps. These lamps have a rustic simplicity and are made of natural material like wood, sand stone, and more!

Arteriors 48572-701 Nature Inspired Polyester Table Lamp

Arteriors 48572-701 Nature Inspired Polyester Table Lamp

Uttermost 27416 – Twisted Tree with Birds Table Lamp

Arteriors 15404-936 – Driftwood Table Lamp

Uttermost 27960 – Rustic Table Lamp

Arteriors 43136-109 – Silver Branch Iron Table Lamp

Arteriors 48572-701 – Nature Inspired Polyester Table Lamp

 

For a Splash of Color

Give your room a color splash with one of these intriguing lamps. Finished in bright colors like green and turquoise, these lamps will be sure to add a sensational pop to any neutral colored room!

Flambeau TA1104 Alluring Table Lamp

Flambeau TA1104 Alluring Table Lamp

Arteriors 17416-543 – Hand Thrown Terracotta Lamp

Uttermost 26347 – Elegant Table Lamp

Arteriors 17392-541 – Porcelain Table Lamp

Flambeau TA1104 – Alluring Table Lamp

Arteriors 17323-354 – Glass Table Lamp

 

 

For a Simple Style

If you are looking for something casual, try one of these simple lamps. The lamps are finished in neutral tones, yet have a charming and simple design to them.

Kenroy Home 20685DB Dark Burgundy Table Lamp

Kenroy Home 20685DB Dark Burgundy Table Lamp

Arteriors 16321-240 – Wood Table Lamp

Uttermost 26481 – Fluted Table Lamp

Kenroy Home 20685DB – Dark Burgundy Table Lamp

Arteriors 17297-210 – Optic Glass Table Lamp

Uttermost 26253 – Bronze Table Lamp

 

For an Industrial Look

Are metal, industrial-type designs your thing? These lamps lamps have just the edge you’re looking for. Made of materials such as steel and iron, these lamps are perfect for your edgy style!

Lazy Susan 626011 Steel Wrapped Wire Table Lamp

Lazy Susan 626011 Steel Wrapped Wire Table Lamp

Arteriors 46264-373 – Brass and Wood Table Lamp

Lazy Susan 626011 – Steel Wrapped Wire Table Lamp

Arteriors 46649-220 – Open Iron Table Lamp

Uttermost 27989-1 – Glass Table Lamp

Arteriors 46673 – Iron Table Lamp

 

 

For a Little Touch of Folly

Unique in style, these lamps bring a whimsical charm to any bedroom, living room, or den. Intricately designed for a distinguishing touch, these lamps are sure to embrace your eclectic style.

Flambeau TA1016 Abstract Table Lamp

Flambeau TA1016 Abstract Table Lamp

Flambeau TA1016 – Abstract Table Lamp

Arteriors 43139-113 – Iron Spine Table Lamp

Flambeau TA1017-S – Vintage Table Lamp

Kenroy Home 20105CBS – Modern Table Lamp

Uttermost 26417 – Hammered Scroll Table Lamp

 

For a Vintage Revival

Trying to retrofit everything in your home? Check out these vintage lamps! Influenced by 20th century modern styles, these lamps are sure to bring a vintage charm to your home.

Kenroy Home 20090SMB Retro Table Lamp

Kenroy Home 20090SMB Retro Table Lamp

Kenroy Home 20090SMB – Retro Table Lamp

Uttermost 27427-1 – Ceramic Table Lamp

Hudson Valley L125-AGB – Crystal Table Lamp

Arteriors 49823-316 – Glass Sphere Table Lamp

Uttermost 26462 – Glass Table Lamp

 

 

If you would like more information on our selection of lamps, feel free to leave us a comment, or write to us Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus!

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New Brand Spotlight: Uttermost Co.

Jun 28, 13 New Brand Spotlight: Uttermost Co.

New to 1000Bulbs.com, the Uttermost Co. features an eclectic product line with a variety of products suited to different styles. The company prides itself in making quality home accessories at a reasonable price. From elegant to industrial, simple to whimsical, the Uttermost line of products has something for everyone. Products featured in the picture include the Uttermost 71018-8 Bermuda wool rug, the Uttermost 23051 wing chair, and the Uttermost 26337-1 crystal leaf table lamp.

 

Lighting

The UL listed Uttermost lighting line has fixtures for every room in your home. Each lamp, pendant, chandelier, and sconce has been hand leafed in either gold or silver with layers of glazes and stains. While the fixtures are handcrafted, they are designed to be paired with the Uttermost mirrors and wall art, using the same finishes to help you coordinate matching sets for your different rooms. Looking for something funky? Check out the Uttermost 26293 tiger stripe table lamp or if you want something more traditional, try the Uttermost 26292 distressed table lamp.

Furniture

Designed for functionality and style, the Uttermost furniture line features a wonderful selection of chairs, tables, benches, and shelves. Each piece of furniture is finished by hand, giving you a uniquely crafted work of art for your living room, game room, or foyer. If you are interested in something playful, try the Uttermost 24168 Dice accent table or the Uttermost 23605 small cow print bench.

Decorative Accents

Uttermost 32234 Proud Papa Painting

Uttermost 32234 Proud Papa Painting

With a variety of designs, Uttermost has a beautiful line of decorative home accents for you to choose from. Some of the most popular pieces include the Uttermost mirrors and wall art. Hand-finished so no two pieces are alike, the mirrors and wall art are both visually stunning and remarkably unique, enhancing any room with your personal style. Along with the mirrors and art, the Timeworks decorative clocks add a captivating appeal, combining a timeworn finish with modern designs. For a rustic addition, try the Uttermost 06664 rustic wall clock, or for something more unique, check out the Uttermost 12793 adjoined circle wall mirror.

Rugs

Hand-tufted or hand-knotted, you will be sure to find the perfect rug in the Uttermost collection of rugs. The rug collection contains a variety of colors and sizes, allowing you to find the ideal choice for your bedroom or living room. Want a rug that is neutral, yet still has a fashionable look? Try the Uttermost 71023-9 Devonshire wool rug. For something that is a tad simpler, check out the Uttermost 73018-5 Danube hand tufted viscose rug or the Uttermost 71000-5 Barhara hand woven reversible rug.

Uttermost has wide selection of gorgeous home decor. With something for everyone, it’s impossible not to find something you will absolutely love. If you are interested in more information regarding Uttermost products, leave a note in the comments, or write us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus!

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