What Exactly Do UL Ratings Mean?

Nov 19, 14 What Exactly Do UL Ratings Mean?

Purchasing lights for your home or business does not have to be a complicated task, but it does require a little education. Have you ever noticed the UL Rating on a bulb and thought, “What does this even mean?” UL Ratings or Underwriters Laboratories Ratings, actually play a major role in how consumers should choose their light sources. The ratings help distinguish if your lamp can be used in dry, damp or wet locations. This is pretty vital information, as you wouldn’t want to make the mistake of placing a dry-rated lamp in a wet location. Here is a breakdown of UL Ratings and the best applications for various forms of lighting.

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How to Light your Jewelry Display

Nov 05, 14 How to Light your Jewelry Display

Blue diamond engagement rings should speak for themselves. So should the other gorgeous jewels inside the cases across your shop. Yet even with unique hand cut diamonds and superb pricing, your merchandise still has to leave a ‘sparkle’ in the customers’ eyes. The most common sentence uttered in a jewelry store? “It just doesn’t shine enough.”

One of the biggest attractions when visiting a jewelry store is seeing the dazzle of the diamonds. Without that dazzle, no matter how lovely or interesting the jewels being sold are, individuals are not as attracted to the merchandise. Lighting plays an especially crucial role when discussing the “four C’s” of diamonds, which are clarity, cut, color and carat. For each of these qualities to be seen properly, diamonds must be placed in the proper lighting. Lighting in the store and inside of display cases should complement diamonds , and  entice buyers.

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The Importance of Restaurant Lighting

Oct 15, 14 The Importance of Restaurant Lighting

After a long work week, you’re ready to visit your favorite, cozy and quaint restaurant. The service is pretty good, and the food is exceptional, but your attraction to this place has more to do with the ambiance. After an hour or so here, you completely forget about that stressful thing called a job. With a “switch” in settings, the weekend has officially begun.

Whether you’re going for a casual dinner or a more upscale meal, proper lighting plays a major role in your dining experience.  The lighting in a restaurant affects many elements, including food presentation, mood lighting and overall gratification. 

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Poultry Persuasion: The Best Lighting Sources for Chicken

Oct 01, 14 Poultry Persuasion: The Best Lighting Sources for Chicken

Whether you have a teeny coop in the city or a larger barn for your birds of beauty, lighting is vital to the health and vigor of your poultry. Small amounts of lighting during brooding or excessive lighting during growth season may result in financial or production loss for owners. Controlling lumens, temperature and color temperature are essential for chickens.  This means that without the proper lighting, chickens may produce fewer eggs or fail to gain weight in a timely manner. Poultry perceive light differently than we do.  For instance, where we see a yellowish or white glow from a bulb, poultry perceive the light as red because of their intense sensitivity to UV rays. Incidentally, this red light has a longer wavelength which enters the skull and skin of the chickens, prompting them to lay eggs.  In the past, incandescent lamps were often used for poultry lighting, but these traditional lights are now fading due to their short lifespans, increased heat, and higher energy costs.  To ensure the health and productivity of your poultry, let’s break down a few alternative lighting options you may want to consider for your broiler house.

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Beam Angle Explained

Jan 18, 13 Beam Angle Explained

Reflector bulbs are more than just floodlights and spotlights. Like any light bulb, they come in shapes and technologies to fit any application. Two cases in point are the PAR and the MR16. These common bulbs, whether halogen, CFL, or LED, are highly specified, containing engineered surfaces that control the beam of light to an angle so precise it takes seven different classifications just to explain their possible uses!

Very Narrow Spot (VNSP)

The very narrow spot is just like it sounds. At 7 degrees or less for an MR16 or 15 degrees or less for a PAR lamp, this reflector casts an intense, focused beam without a square inch of wasted light. Bulbs with a VNSP beam angle are often used to highlight a small statue or figure on display in a museum or in a jewelry store to make diamonds “pop.”

Narrow Spot (NSP)

landscape lights

Photo by RBerteig (flickr)

Like the very narrow spot, the narrow spot is most popular in commercial applications. At 8 to 15 degrees for an MR16 or 16 to 30 degrees for a PAR lamp, the reflector casts a beam slightly less focused than a VNSP. Look for bulbs with an NSP beam angle in retail settings highlighting a special or sale item or in landscape bullets illuminating a sign or garden feature.

Spot (SP)

The spot, though primarily used in commercial applications, also shows up in homes from time to time. At 16 to 22 degrees for an MR16 or 31 to 60 degrees for a PAR lamp, the reflector casts a medium-sized beam. Bulbs with an SP beam angle are used in stores to highlight a special or sale area or outdoors to illuminate an architectural feature.

Narrow Flood (NFL)

Fireplace Spot Light

Photo by ell brown (flickr)

Businesses and homeowners alike find uses for the narrow flood. At 23 to 32 degrees for an MR16 or 61 to 90 degrees for a PAR lamp, this reflector casts a medium-wide beam. Stores use an NFL beam angle to highlight a display table, while homes might use this bulb in recessed eyeball lights to illuminate a painting over a fireplace mantle.

Flood (FL)

This true “floodlight” has wide variety of applications. At 36 to 45 degrees for an MR16 or 91 to 120 degrees for a PAR lamp, the reflector casts a wide beam. Bulbs with an FL beam angle can be seen in everything from pendant lights in coffee shops to recessed lights in living rooms.

Wide Flood (WFL)

Need a lot of light? There are worse options than the wide flood. At 46 to 59 degrees for an MR16 or 121 to 160 degrees for a PAR lamp, the wide flood has a dispersed beam to cover a large area. Bulbs with a WFL beam angle are common in many general illumination applications from motion-sensing lights above garage doors to recessed cans in auditoriums and movie theaters.

Very Wide Flood (VWFL)

recessed lights

Photo by mccun934 (flickr)

The very wide flood finds its way into specialty applications, more often than not. At over 60 degrees for an MR16 or over 160 degrees for a PAR lamp, this reflector casts an extremely wide beam. Bulbs with a VWFL beam angle are used to illuminate without highlighting any particular object or area. They’re good options for outdoor flood lighting and low-ceiling recessed lights.

Keep in mind these designations vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some brands, like Ushio, throw them out altogether for their simpler system of “narrow,” “medium,” and “wide.” Also note that just because a bulb may have a commercial application, that doesn’t mean you can’t use it in your home. Use reflectors to make your walls a canvas for your lighting ideas, and be sure to share those ideas with us on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or Pinterest!

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