Grow Light Basics, Part 2: Types of Grow Fixtures and Timers

Mar 15, 13 Grow Light Basics, Part 2: Types of Grow Fixtures and Timers

In part one, we discussed the different types of lights and their respective coverage. In this part, we’ll look at the different types of fixtures more closely, helping you choose the right reflector for your growing needs.

Once you’ve chosen your bulbs, you have to choose a fixture to give you maximum reflectivity and coverage. There are about four types of grow light fixtures to choose from: high bays, strips, open air HID, and enclosed HID.

High Bays

Imagine lighting fixtures in a warehouse. The high bays used for indoor growing are just modified versions of those warehouse fixtures and come in HID, CFL, and linear fluorescent versions. The HID and CFL high bays are great for starter grows, and are only suitable for growing a few plants due to small coverage areas. On the other hand, linear fluorescent high bays are an ideal choice for T5 fluorescent grow lights, as they have larger coverage areas and operate two to eight individual bulbs.

Strips

Linear fluorescent strips are only suitable for growing compact rows of vegetables or herbs, as they only operate one or two lamps.

Open Air HID

These types of fixtures are the most common type of grow light because they produce high lumens, have great coverage, and provide sufficient cooling. Open air HIDs include wing fixtures and parabolic fixtures.

Enclosed HID

Similar to open air HID fixtures, enclosed HID fixtures include air cooled and “cool tube” fixtures. However, these types of HID fixtures offer two distinct advantages over the open air HID fixtures. One, the bulb is protected by a tempered glass lens, which protects your plants and grow area from glass in the event of a bulb malfunction or thermal shock from overspray of water or other liquids. Two, the fixture offers better cooling. Both types of the enclosed fixtures feature flanges on either end for external cooling, allowing you to send a constant stream of air past the bulbs, therefore keeping both the bulb and your plants at a safe temperature.

Types of Timers

Now that we’ve covered the types of grow light fixtures, we’ll discuss the different types of timers and their importance in your grow project.

Just like you and me, plants require sleep. Generally, plants need 15 to 18 hours of light a day during the growth phase and 10 to 12 hours of light during the flowering stage. For the remainder of the time, your lights should be off. You can accomplish your plants’ lighting needs in a few ways: by manually turning your lights on and off (not really recommended) or by utilizing a simple plug-in timer. Manually turning your lights on and off isn’t recommended for one reason: you may forget to turn them on, or you may forget to turn them off, both being detrimental to your plants’ health. The answer to you plants’ lighting needs is a plug-in timer, offered either in digital or analog format.

Analog Timers

Analog timers are generally cheaper and somewhat easier to use than digital timers. These types of timers have a dial that turns throughout a 24-hour cycle and trippers that turn the lights on and off. You place one tripper at the time you want your lights on, and another when you want your lights off. When the timer hits these trippers, the lights either turn on or off. However, most types of analog timers lose time when there is a power outage.

Digital Timers

Digital timers are definitely the recommended type of timer for your grow light project. These timers work pretty much the same way as analog timers, but offer a few key advantages over the analog timers. For one, they solve the problem of losing time when there is a power outage. These timers have battery backups that remember the time and set points should there be a power outage. Additionally, many of these timers are self-adjusting, resetting themselves for daylight savings time and even calculating sunrise and sunset times based on the time of year.

How’s your grow project coming along? Tell us in the comments below or leave us a note on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus!

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Frantic about Fixtures? A Quick-Tip Guide to Home Interior Lighting

Remodeling your home soon? We have a great selection of lighting fixtures for every room in your home.  Everyone has a personal style, so we have made a mini survival guide with a few fixtures to cater to a few distinct styles. Before we go through the different styles, here is a small guide to knowing what fixtures are best where:

Pendant- best placed in a dining area or a living room

Chandelier- best used in an entry way

Vanity Lighting- best used in bathrooms

Table Lamps- best used in offices, living rooms, or bedrooms

 

Vintage Fixtures: For Those Who Love the 20th Century

Do you live your life wishing your home looked like Lucy and Ricky’s? We have plenty of antique style fixtures to make your home have a 20th century feel.

Hudson Valley Vintage Pendant

Hudson Valley Vintage Pendant

Pendant- Hudson Valley 8001-HN-MM3 Medium Vintage Pendant

Chandelier- Arteriors 89415 Large Iron & Shell Chandelier

Vanity Lighting- Nuvo 60-311 (8 Light) Vanity

Table Lamps- Kenroy Home 20090SMB Retro Table Lamp

 

 

Industrial Fixtures: For Those Who Love Their Lofts

Love the modern look of those big, open, not quite finished loft spaces? Give your home the look you desire with one of these industrial fixtures!

Nuvo Vanity Light

Nuvo Vanity Light

Pendant- Lazy Susan 225033 Wire Rose Pendant

Chandelier- Hudson Valley 729-OB Chandelier

Vanity Lighting- Nuvo 60-922 (2 Light) Vanity

Table Lamps- Hudson Valley L433-PN Pharmacy Desk Lamp

 

 

Elegant Fixtures: For Those Who Love Pizzazz

Elizabeth Taylor loved all things dazzling. Do you share her passion? Browse through some of these elegant fixtures to give your home the sparkle it needs.

Quorum Chandelier

Quorum Chandelier

Pendant- Golden Lighting 8981-3P Echelon Groom Pendant

Chandelier- Quorum 664-24-514 3 Tier Luxurious Chandelier

Vanity Lighting- Hudson Valley 6104-PN Vanity Light

Table Lamps- Kenroy Home 20118BS Elegant Table Lamp

 

 

Simple Fixtures:  For Those Who Love the Basics

Is K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) your life motto? We have a wonderful array of classy and simple fixtures designed for your style. Take some time to see if these are right for you!

Arteriors Table Lamp

Arteriors Table Lamp

Pendant- Quorum 857-4-95 Sleek Pendant

Chandelier- Nuvo 60-2811 Chandelier

Vanity Lighting- Kenroy Home 03393 Vanity Light

Table Lamps- Arteriors DR12035-598 Cannes Hand Finished Table Lamp

 

 

Unique Fixtures: For Those Who Love Whimsy

Trying to find a unicorn? Unfortunately, we do not have one, but we do have plenty of unique fixtures for you to browse through.  See if any of these interesting fixtures are best for your needs!

Arteriors Wood and Iron Chandelier

Arteriors Wood and Iron Chandelier

Pendant- Troy F2805 Medium Pendant

Chandelier- Arteriors 89559 Wood & Iron Chandelier

Vanity Lighting- Hudson Valley 4474-BB Vanity Light

Table Lamps- Arteriors 19205-375 Nautical Table Lamp

 

 

 

Interested in some other fixtures not mentioned? Let us know in the comments section or leave us a note on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus!

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Pop, Lock & Socket: A Guide to Home Light Sockets

You are alone on a dark and stormy night. Suddenly, you hear something, and it sounded like it came from the closet. Slowly you creep to the closet; you open the door, turn on the light, and a pop-crackle-fizzle later there is no light in the closet! As your cat proudly advances from beneath your coats, you begin to check the bulb. The bulb is fine, but oh no, could it be? Not the light socket! What socket do you get? How do you choose? Where do you get it? The place to start is here at 1000Bulbs.com, and we will guide you through the rest in this article.

Pony Cleat Socket

Keyless “Pony Cleat” Socket

Which Bulb is Your Favorite?

The first step to choosing a socket is identifying the base type of the bulb you will be using. Medium base bulbs (E26) are the standard for most residential uses, including closets, lamps, and vanities. Candelabra base bulbs (E12) are seen in chandeliers, as are intermediate base bulbs (E17), which are also seen in ceiling fans. While mogul base bulbs (E39) can be seen in residential applications, it is unusual; they are most often used in commercial applications.

Living Rooms, Terraces, and Bathrooms… Oh My!

When choosing a socket, be sure to remember the application where you will use the socket. In the closet scenario from earlier, a pony cleat socket or keyless socket that can be mounted directly to a wall is ideal. These sockets are best used in applications where you want the light wired to a switch. In a room with recessed can lighting such as a living room or hall, you want to use a keyless porcelain socket, rather than a phenolic socket, in order to ensure that the socket can withstand the heat from the bulb (we don’t need any fires). However, keyless phenolic sockets are perfect for chandeliers and floor lamps, which produce less heat.

Keyed Socket with Pull-Chain

Keyed Socket with Pull-Chain Switch

Got Lamps?

Generally, keyed sockets are the preferred choice for reading lamps. Whether it has a pull-chain, a push switch, or a turn-knob, the ability to have immediate lighting control is present with keyed sockets.

Nickel-Plated vs. Aluminum

The screw shell in the socket is an important factor when deciding what socket to use. In the past, aluminum was the preferred choice as it was flexible and lightweight. With time, science has found aluminum screw shells corrode easily and do not last as long as intended, allowing for bulb and socket failure. Nickel-plated screw shells are becoming more and more popular since they are more durable and last longer. Some lighting companies even require that you use nickel-plated screw shells in order for them to honor their warranty agreement (we took the time to read the fine print for you).

Questions about specific light sockets? Leave a comment or visit us on Facebook, Google Plus, or Twitter!

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How to Choose Under Cabinet Lights

Sep 28, 12 How to Choose Under Cabinet Lights

Halogen, Xenon, Fluorescent, or LED: What is the best type of under cabinet lighting? If you’ve ever asked yourself that question, you were asking the wrong question. There is no “good, better, best” with under cabinet lights. Choosing the right light is a matter of personal preference, and it depends on how much you value dimming, heat reduction, color accuracy, and energy savings.

Xenon Light Bulb

Xenon Light Bulb

Xenon under cabinet lights are an update of older Halogen lights. Halogen under cabinet lights, especially the light “pucks” you see in hardware stores, are cheap and provide perfect color accuracy (color rendering index), but they use tons of energy and waste most of it as heat. Xenon keeps the benefits of Halogen, but burns brighter and cooler. Their color rendering makes granite countertops or trinkets in display cabinets look their absolute best, and because they are brighter than Halogens, Xenon bulbs save energy by using fewer watts than a Halogen bulb.

Fluorescent under cabinet lights are a great choice for bright, energy-efficient lighting that burns cool. They’re a popular choice in kitchen cabinets and pantries because they don’t add extra heat to their surroundings, which can increase the likelihood of food spoilage. Unfortunately, there are a number of trade-offs. Fluorescent lights have relatively poor color rendering — 80 CRI to Xenon’s 100 CRI — so they distort colors and make granite and marble countertops and backsplashes appear washed out. Furthermore, while they use much less energy than Halogen or even Xenon, they are not dimmable and some models are slow to reach full brightness.

LED Under Cabinet Light Bar

LED Under Cabinet Light

LED is the newest, most energy saving option for under cabinet lighting. To many, LED under cabinet lights are the perfect option. Unlike fluorescent, they are instant on and many models are dimmable. Unlike Halogen and Xenon, they also create very little heat. However, they do have two drawbacks: Color rendering and cost. Like fluorescent lights, their CRI is in the 80-90 range, so they aren’t the best choice when color accuracy is highly valued. They also have the highest up-front cost of any under cabinet choice. On the other hand, they will save the most in the long-term. LEDs use only a fraction of the energy consumed by other types of under cabinet lights. Even better, they last 20,000 to 60,000 hours,  so you’ll never have to replace them and will save on bulb replacement costs.

Again, your choice of under cabinet lights will depend on your specific needs. In general, however, if you prize color accuracy and don’t mind the heat, choose Xenon, but if you prefer energy savings and cool operation, go with fluorescent or LED. Of course, that’s only what we think. Let us know which under cabinet lighting option you prefer in the comments, or drop us a line on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus.

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Emergency Lighting Guide: Emergency Lights

Aug 24, 12 Emergency Lighting Guide: Emergency Lights

In last week’s article, we discussed one major part of emergency lighting: Exit signs. In this week’s article, we’ll discuss the second part: Emergency lights. A note before you continue: Try not to confuse the terms “emergency lighting,” an overview of the entire topic, with “emergency lights,” a special light that comes on in the event of an emergency or power failure.

Like exit signs, emergency lights are a complex topic, yet also like exit signs, the regulations dealing with emergency lights come down to the same two important documents: OSHA 29CFR and NFPA 101, also known as the Life Safety Code.

Basic Requirements

The portion of OSHA 29CFR dealing with emergency lights (1910.37(b)) is relatively vague. It simply states, “Each exit route must be adequately lighted so that an employee with normal vision can see along the exit route.” NFPA 101, on the other hand, is much more specific. In section 7.9.2.1, it states:

  • The emergency light must provide illumination for no less than 1-1/2 hours.
  • The initial illumination of the emergency light must be an average of 1 footcandle (10.8 lux).

If you are unfamiliar with footcandles, essentially what the NFPA’s requires is that the light cast on any one square foot of an exit pathway must be equal to one lumen or more (a footcandle is equal to one lumen per square foot). This is something you’ll need to consider when choosing your emergency lights and why many of our lights include photometric charts. An emergency light with typical 5 watt tungsten heads may be appropriate for typical applications, but in many cases, you may need one with Halogen heads or even a special high wattage emergency light.

Testing

NFPA 101 also includes specific language about testing your emergency lights. Section 7.9.3 states:

  • A hard-wired emergency light must be tested monthly for a minimum of 30 seconds.
  • A fully battery-operated emergency light must be tested yearly for a minimum of 1-1/2 hours.

For the sake of convenience, not to mention safety, we highly recommend using self-testing emergency lights. These units continuously monitor the input voltage to the fixture as well as the condition of the battery backup. Should the fixture fail a test, an indicator light will signal that it needs to be serviced. At that point, you can choose whether you need to troubleshoot the input power, replace the emergency light battery, or replace the fixture altogether.

Other Considerations

Items not covered in NFPA 101 but still worth considering include remote capability, emergency ballasts, and aesthetic considerations. Remote capability allows you to connect multiple emergency lights, exit signs, or remote heads together, which will all trigger in the event of an emergency. Emergency ballasts keep fluorescent lights operational in the event of a power failure. Finally, you may want to consider the color and style of the emergency light you choose; after all, it will become a part of your décor.

If you have questions or comments about emergency lighting, be sure to let us know in the comments section. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus!

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Emergency Lighting Guide: Exit Signs

Aug 17, 12 Emergency Lighting Guide: Exit Signs

Are you opening a new business or planning a shiny, new remodel of an existing place of business? One of the things you’ll have to consider—whether you want to or not—is emergency lighting.

There’s good news, however. Despite being a technical subject, federal guidelines on emergency lighting boil down to the contents of only two key documents: OSHA 29CFR and NFPA 101. If those sound like challenging reads, they are, but this introductory article should help you get started.

Because this is a relatively large and technical subject, we’ll be splitting it into two parts: The first part, which you’ll read today, deals with exit signs, while next week’s article will deal with emergency lights.

Let’s start with a question: How many exits does your place of business have? Every one of those exits will need an exit sign. The requirements here are simple. The exit sign must legibly state the word “EXIT” in letters at least 6 inches high and with a 0.75 inch stroke. (29CFR 1910.37(b)(7)). That’s easy; in fact, you would be hard-pressed to find an exit sign in the United States that doesn’t meet those requirements.

Unfortunately, that’s the only easy part. There’s no point in having an exit sign if your employees can’t see it, is there? Your exit signs must be fully illuminated, either by an external light source or by internal illumination. Save yourself some trouble here and go with internal illumination. Using an external light source requires a whole new list of rules that, trust us, you don’t have time for. Besides, with all the pre-approved, self-luminated exit sign options available—LED, Tritium, even photoluminescent (glow-in-the-dark)—why would you use anything else?

Though a little light goes a long way, even with the brightest exit sign, you’ve still got the problem of corners, hallways, and winding corridors. OSHA also requires that, unless the exit sign is in plain sight from every point in the building (good luck with that) you’ll need additional signs with arrows that point the way the door (29CFR 1910.37(b)(4)). Fortunately, most every exit sign available today does double-duty as both an exit sign and a directional sign. To make your exit sign a directional sign, simply punch out the “chevrons” on either side of the unit and mount the sign to point in the appropriate direction. Only in very high-end “designer” exit signs will you need to order a special unit with pre-applied or glass etched directional arrows.

Speaking of “designer,” there’s no problem with injecting some aesthetic sensibility into your emergency lighting. Typical white thermoplastic exit signs work fine on white or off-white walls, but with darker walls (movie theaters being an obvious example) black thermoplastic units look much better. If you run a hotel or an upscale retail store, a unit with a brushed aluminum face or even an elegant edge-lit glass exit sign is a better option. Plus, with any LED exit sign you’ve got the choice of red or green letters.

Be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed so you don’t miss part 2 of this series next week! While you wait, you can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.

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