Understanding Relative Humidity and Your AC

Humidity – the amount of moisture in the air – is of tremendous importance for your comfort and for your health. It also impacts the energy costs of operating your AC system, the biggest energy hog in your home. When you reduce the humidity in your home, you also reduce the risk of mold and mildew growth. When humidity is low, you also feel cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

Humidity is a complicated topic.  There is always some moisture in the air. Relative humidity is the amount of moisture relative to the amount of moisture the air can hold. If the relative humidity is 50%, then it is half “full” of water. If the relative humidity is 100%, it cannot “hold” more water. When rain clouds form, they are at 100 % humidity, but the ground-level humidity could be much less.  If the air around you is at 100% humidity, it is holding all the water it can. It does not mean it is raining, just that the air is saturated with water!

When relative humidity is low, we feel cooler because sweat evaporates easily. People feel most comfortable when the relative humidity is around 50%. Your AC system is designed to de-humidify the air, so it is important that it does this properly or you will not feel comfortable even if the temperature is cool. You will also find yourself sneezing and coughing, because humidity promotes the growth of allergens. If humidity is too low, you will have a dry throat and be trouble by static electricity as well as dry, itching skin.

As air cools, it become less able to hold water. At a certain temperature, it will condense into water (the dew point) or ice (the frost point). The dew point varies depending on the relative humidity. Currently, (October), the dew point in South Florida is 65 degrees… meaning condensation will form at this temperature. In Maine, on the other hand, the dew point is now 40 degrees.

Normally, during hot weather, condensation will form on the outside of your windows if you run the AC very cold. This is because hot air can hold more water than colder air. When the air touches your cold windows, it condenses. Indoor humidity that is too low is more common during winter, because cooler temperatures and heating cycles lower moisture in the air more rapidly. In the summer, relative humidity that is too high is a more common issue.

Condensation on the inside of your windows is a sign that something is imbalanced in your AC system. Your AC system includes your entire home, so if you have leaky windows that will affect the relative humidity inside your home and how hard your AC has to work to remove moisture. You buy humidity gauges (hygrometers) for around $15 apiece to measure the amount of relative humidity in the air. Buy several, leave them in place, check the relative humidity, and then swap the positions to check the accuracy of your readings.  If the temperature is at 76 degrees, the relative humidity should be around 50%.  In the winter, it should be no lower than 30%.

Stay Tuned for our next post “The causes of high relative humidity in air-conditioned buildings…

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How To Choose Bathroom Sink Fixtures

Photo Credit: Google

Photo Credit: Google

Bathroom sink

Photo Credit: Google

Photo Credit: Google

Photo Credit: Google

 

 

Function is just as important as style when choosing your bathroom sink fixtures. Even if you do not remodel your bathroom, changing the sink faucet and handles can sometimes make your bathroom more functional.

Faucet Centers

Believe it or not, there is something of a science behind choosing the right sink faucet.  The first thing to do is measure your faucet centers. Sinks come with premade holes for the faucet and handles, and with different spacing between holes.

A single-hole faucet is needed for a sink with 1 hole. Usually these are lever type faucets. The advantage of these faucets is that they take up very little room, so you can use them with a smaller sink in a smaller bathroom. It is also easier to use by children and makes it harder for them to scald themselves by because there is no hot water tap by itself. A single lever faucet is also easier for older people or people with arthritis to use. They can be a little more fragile and often the entire faucet needs to be replaced if it breaks. The disadvantage is they have a modern look that is not in keeping with traditionally styled bathrooms.  A variation on this faucet is the vessel faucet, which is a tall faucet designed to accommodate the height of vessel sinks.

Centerset faucets have the faucet and 2 handles mounted onto a single base. They can be used on sinks with 1 hole and sometimes 3 holes. These are the most difficult for people with arthritis to use, and they are difficult to clean because the handles are so close to the faucet. But this is a very common style.

The widespread faucet has 2 handles set off from the main faucet, It is easier to get hot water only out of. And it has a more traditional look but you can also find very sleep, contemporary widespread faucets. Crossbar handles are the most traditional of all and are found in period baths.

There are also wall mount faucets, which are rarely used except in high-end bathrooms. They require a special plumbing set up. Electronic touch faucets are used mainly in commercial settings. You might want a gooseneck style faucet. Do you dye your hair? Consider getting a faucet with a spray nozzle.

Height

Think about how you use a sink. If you like to fill a glass with water, your facet has to be high enough to do that. Many bath sinks are shorter to prevent splash out. You will also want a higher faucet if you wash your face at the sink.

Materials and Construction

Faucets can be built based on one of several principles. Compression faucets rely on washers to manage the water flow. This is the conventional way to make a faucet. You do have to clean the screen every so often. Newer faucets use balls, cartridges, and disks. They are easier to operate and maintain, bur the plastic parts used in most of these faucets mean they are very durable. Cartridge faucets have a cartridge flow mechanic that can be replaced if there is a leak. Faucets with a pair of ceramic disks are the most durable and trouble-free, but they can also be the most expensive.

Pricing

Pricing can be anywhere from $20 up to $1,000 or more for a solid-brass faucet set with designer styling. Remember that leaks waster water, and water is expensive is many parts of the country. So sometimes it is worth spending a little more to get the quality needed in such a heavily used fixture.

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Black LIghts And Bug Zappers

Photo Credit: Black light news

Photo Credit: Black light news

 

Black lights are used for decorative effects, in medicine for diagnostic and healing purposes, for the detection of counterfeit money, for curing resins, and also for detecting fluorescent minerals in rock and fluorescence in blood for crime scenes. Black lights often need special fixtures. A Wood’s lamp is used in science and in forensics.

Black light fluorescent tubes are similar to regular tubes, except that they have a dark blue-purple coating. They are available in a variety of sizes and watts, including the F15T8/BLB which is used in standard fluorescent tube fixtures. If you want to spice up your home for Halloween this October, a few black light tubes will due the trick.

Black light tubes are also used for tanning beds. The ultraviolet light is thought not to damage eyes and skin, although overuse can do both.

Another type of UV fluorescent bulb emits ultraviolet light to attract insects, which are then electrocuted by the device. These bulbs emit visible light along with ultraviolet light, so they do not have a purple filter. They appear bluish-purple to the naked eye because the less visible mercury emission spectrum is block by plain glass. These bulbs are designed as “BL” and are not suitable as a replacement for BLB tubes in BLB-designed fixtures.

The first black light was created in 1904 using Wood’s glass as the container for an incandescent bulb. These are the black lights you often find at party stores. They are very inefficient, burn hot, and have a short life. Mercury vapor black lights also use Wood’s glass, but have very high power ratings up to 1000 watts and are used for theatrical displays and concerts. Both types of Wood’s glass lights are primarily decorative.

A Wood’s lamp is used in dermatology to identify some skin diseases. It was first used in 1925 in dermatology to identify fungal infections, and is still used today to detect fungal and bacterial infections and to diagnose tuberculosis, vitiligo, ethylene glycol poisoning, and erythrasma.

Black light is also used to authenticate bank notes, oil painting and antiques. When you go to a club, you will often be stamped with fluorescent ink, which will identify you as a paying guest under a small Wood’s lamp.

Now that we have shed some light on the subject of black lights, call us to order your decorative lights and bug zapper lights

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Restaurant Lighting and Light Fixtures

Photo Credit: Google

Photo Credit: Google

 

Photo Credit: Google

Photo Credit: Google

 

There is a recipe for appetizing restaurant lighting, and sometimes it can make or break a restaurant. LED bulbs, which come in a variety of shapes and colors, are an effective way to modulate mood. They are available in large sizes to create a big impact in focal features. Some are waterproof, so you can use them in waterfalls, water walls, and fountains to create the perfect splash. If you have an Italian restaurant, consider using red and green LED lights to make a statement.

Open show kitchens are popular in restaurants, but offer a unique lighting challenge. The kitchen must be a bright, clear-light work environment, which is fine with CFLs, but the food must be delicious looking as it is made and waits under heat lamps to be served, which pose a problem with CFLs. We offer energy-efficient light bulbs in a variety of colors to make your food look as good as it tastes. These include a combination of kitchen and over-the-table lighting to set the right mood in your restaurant. Did you know that people have a bigger appetite when the light is dim? It’s true. So even if you have a bright show kitchen, keep over the table lighting subdued. And put your grill front and center of your show kitchen. Guests like the drama and the orange-red of the flames as your chefs work helps take the chill off bluish CFL bulbs. We offer halogen lights that are ideal for kitchens and cast a clean, bright light with savings of up to 80% on energy costs.

Restaurants with big windows are fabulous during the daytime, when natural lighting (the ideal type of lighting made by Mother Nature herself) floods the space and food prep areas. Many restaurants are not so lucky, particularly those located in the interiors of shopping malls. To mimic the warm of natural sunlight, install large overhead fixtures with alabaster-colored shades and combine with wall scone floods and strategic LED lights. Newer restaurant lighting fixtures include honeycomb modules and chandeliers that use gorgeous LED modules with diffusers. Available in a range of colors. LED modules can create dramatic effects and are useful in restaurant seating areas. GE makes super-mini bulbs for low-watt fixtures that provide richness and accuracy of color. These bulbs retrofit with existing systems and can burn up to 15,000 hours.

Architectural LED power grids are a fast and simple way to install energy-efficient, bright LEDs in a variety of colors. These illuminated grids are up to 64% more efficient than fluorescent, have no lead, mercury, or glass and offer a 50,000 hour lifetime.The interlocking grids can be quickly constructed into backlighting such as behind a cocktail bar or on ceilings for an overall illumination… and they come in a wide variety of colors.

Hungry for more information? Just give us a call and talk to us about your restaurant lighting challenge.

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How To Light Hotel Rooms… To Brighten Guest Satisfaction

 

Photo Credit: Google

Photo Credit: Google

Hotels know the cost savings provided by replacing inefficient incandescent lighting with compact-fluorescent bulbs. But guest complaints are common because CFLs can have an unpleasant light quality. They also have a short lag before they reach full brightness, which guests dislike when walking into an unfamiliar space, including a hotel room. To keep guests happy requires a little extra care when choosing CFLs and CFL fixtures, but it can mean saving money with risking guest satisfaction.

Bathrooms and Entries: Always choose a CFL that warms up to full brightness in 30 seconds or less. Some CFL bulbs take longer than others to warm up, but there are newer brands that have instant-on technology. This is especially important for the entry light when a guest first flicks on the light when entering the hotel room, and in hotel bathrooms were light is a safety issue.

Size and Shape: Big, bulky spiral CFLs look cheap in an upscale hotel environment. Choose the smaller, compact size CFL bulbs for hotel room fixtures and lamps. If a bulb is readily visible, such as in a bedside lamp, there are CFL bulbs designed to resemble incandescent bulbs that give a much better impression. You can also get CFLs to fit and look good in chandeliers, ceiling fans, and wall-mounted swing lamps. There is no reason to make guests think “cheap!” every time they switch on a light, when we offer energy-saving bulbs for every possible need.

Dimmable and 3-Way Fixtures: Guests usually want and expect these fixtures in their hotel room. For maximum guest comfort, include a dimmable general purpose light, such as a ceiling light, and at least one 3-way table lamp near a reading chair or bedside. Only CFLs that are specifically designated as dimmable will work in a dimmable light fixture. Other CFLs will flicker and burn out if used with a dimmer switch. Likewise, 3-way CFLs are required for 3-way fixtures. Standard CFLs will not turn on until the third click of the lamp switch, which is an annoying guest experience and makes them think maintenance is not doing a good job of keeping the room fresh and in good working order.

Color Temperature: The color that CFLs emit can be unpleasant, even glaring. Choose bulbs in the 2700-3000K color temperature range, especially in bathrooms and near hotel room mirrors. The light color is similar to incandescent bulbs and will not make your guests look washed out and unhealthy when they look in the mirror as they brush their teeth.

Colored Lampshades: While not strictly part of your bulb choice, the lampshade has a big influence on light color. Trying using lampshades in pink-beige tones for a warmer, more flattering tone. Your guests won’t know why, but the illumination will be more pleasant and cast a more hospitable glow.

LEDs – LED bulbs come in the same sizes and shapes as incandescent bulbs, can last over 22 years if burned 3 hours a day, and offer a multi-directional light output with clean, bright 3,000K color. With no mercury and great energy savings of 77% compared to incandescent, LED bulbs are the perfect one-to-one replacement bulb for just about any hotel room fixture.

LED Strip lights are another way to add light and a design to a hotel guest room. By adding these strip lights to the top of a headboard you add extra lighting and ambience not to mention they are easy to hide.

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How To Keep Bathroom Fixtures Like New.

 

Photo Credit: Google

Photo Credit: Google

 

Nothing is sadder than a bathroom with pitted chrome or bronze finishes gone from antique to merely elderly. Even if you can’t afford to completely renovate your bathroom, new plumbing fixtures update your style and give a fresh, clean look that bathrooms are all about. A few tips on maintaining your bathroom fixtures will keep them looking like new.

Chrome fixtures are not solid chrome, because is too soft to use except as a high luster coating over other metals. Residue buildup will cause it to pit, exposing the metal underneath. By then it is too late, so regular cleaning is the key to maintaining a mirror-like finish.  A damp rag and some soapy water are all you need for regular maintenance. Never use ordinary household cleaners, because acids eat into chrome and abrasives scratch it. You can clean around faucet bases and drains with a soft toothbrush dipped into soap and water. About once a month, go over your chrome fixtures with a one-to-one mixture of warm water and vinegar. This will help remove tough lime scale. If your chrome is rusty, try rubbing it with aluminum foil and the vinegar-water solution. It works! Dry your chrome bathroom fixtures with a microfiber rag and then polish with a special chrome polish from your local auto store. Auto buffs use it to buff a metallic shine onto their expensive wheels.  You can also use wheel cleaning clay, which will buff out most scratches.

While chrome is the most popular bathroom fixture finish, oil-rubbed bronze fixtures have a special elegance.  These fixtures are more corrosion resistant than iron and brass, but they require upkeep or the patina will turn green and the finish will corrode. Use soap and water to wipe away toothpaste, hair gel and other products on a daily basis. Remove stubborn grime with a mixture of 1-tablespoon salt to 3 quarts of warm water, and then rinse clean. Once a month, clean your bronze fixtures with 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of white vinegar and enough white flour to make a gloppy paste. Coat the paste over the fixtures; let it dry for an hour, and then rinse with warm water and dry with a microfiber cloth.  You should also wax your oil-rubbed bronze fixtures once every 3 or 4 months. Use liquid car wax. Ordinary cleaning solutions like glass cleaner will cause your bronze fixtures to corrode and turn green, so stick to soap, water, and salt.

Brushed and satin nickel fixtures are sophisticated, but they gunk up with hard-water deposits. Most bath and tub cleaners are acid or ammonia based and will ruin your fixtures. Soap and water will do the trick. For tough water deposits, use a soft cleaner like Bon-Ami or Barkeeper’s Friend, but no steel wool, please. Please avoid products that say they remove rust or tarnish, as they usually contain acids that remove the protective finish. When it gets bad, try 50/50 white vinegar and water with a soft cloth. Remove and soak the shower head. WD-40 will restore the finish on nickel fixtures; it too is available at the auto parts store.  Some people swear by Stainless Steel Magic, which you may already use on your stainless kitchen appliances. Protect the finish with car wax. Stainless Steel Magic will also clean your stainless steel bathroom fixtures, but don’t wax them.

Be aware that some antique-looking fixtures have a “living finish” that is designed to develop a patina with age. Vinegar will remove that finish. And many fixture manufacturers warn you against using Scrubbing Bubbles on fixtures; it is meant for tile. Forego the use of plastic scrubby sponges; they can damage your fixtures beyond salvation. Brass and copper fixtures can be treated the same way; most metal cleaners will wear down plated finishes.

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August 22nd is Angel Day…So Shine Like One!

 

Photo credit: Google

Photo credit: Google

 

August 22nd is Be An Angel Day. It was first celebrated in 1993, but the idea behind it is timeless: do something nice for someone else, and recognize the nice people in your life. And while good deeds will light up your life, angel lamps add a dash of cherubic sweetness to a dark corner.

You can find a dozen celestial variations on Angel Lamps at KamensFineThings.com, for around $40 apiece plus shipping. For a little girl’s bedroom a Renaissance angel glows in bas-relief when lighted, $25 from Freewebs.com/BeckysGifts or Ferrisville.com. Or choose a resin pair of cherubs in a pink lamp with fringed shade, from Collectible-Glass.com for $25. EBay and Etsy, of course, have tons of retro angel lamps from a nicer era.

Now, if your tastes are less sweet, angels do come in all guises, including the very sleek Artemide Cosmic Angel Suspension light, created by super-minimalist designer Ross Lovegrove. Or flank your sofa with a pair of Angel Wing lamps in antique white or gold leaf by Regina Andrew Design, at around $700. Class will cost you, but it isn’t easy to make angels chic.

Sadly, the entire Angel’s Touch Collection of plastic “Tiffany-Style” lamps is anything but angelic. It was recalled in July 2013 due to shock and fire hazards. They were sold exclusively by Cracker Barrel, so it shouldn’t be hard to know if you have one.

Where angels really shine is on the road, with aftermarket Halo Headlights and Angel Eyes for your vehicle. Projector, LED, Euro, and Dual Halo Projector headlights increase nighttime visibility but mostly they make your vehicle look stunningly exotic. Halo Headlights start around $100 and blaze at more than $500, uninstalled. Car enthusiasts love to argue about the best ways to pimp their rides, so you’ll have to do some research on what will work with you. The simplest and cheapest way to go (and glow) is with LED angel Eye Headlight Accents, for around $10.

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Lighting Up Fashion With Style

Veronique Cote Sculpture dress

Veronique Cote Sculpture dress

 

Artist Véronique  Côté used hundreds of LED lights and a wire frame to create “Donkey Skin,” a sculptured dress that reflects her interest in fairytales. While this is art and is not meant to be worn daily, fashion and lighting do mix it up, particularly for evening wear.

UK-based CuteCircuit, a fashion tech company, has launched two lines of ready-to-wear dresses and tops embedded with LED lights. Some, like the “K-dress.” allow you to control the color and pattern of your lights. Enlightened by Janet Hansen offers faux fur coats, scarves, and other types of clothing for both men and women that are festooned with color-changing lights. They also create clothing by special order and spectacular costumes for stars such as Britney Spears, Rihanna, and Bow Wow.

Illuminated clothing is priced beyond reach for most of us, but you can go clubbing in a fiber optics LumiTop from LumiGram for 189 euros. Or, if you have some sewing skills and plenty of patience, you can embed flexible, neon-colored LED lighting in just about any garment. You can also create your own glowing wire clothes, similar to those worn by the band Daft Punk, using electroluminescent wire, also known as EL wire. Both are available through eBay. Send us pics of your brightest fashion ideas!

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How Lighting Affects Your Mood…

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Have you noticed when the sun is shining bright outside you feel happy? Do you notice a change in your mood when it’s gloomy outside? Well that is because lighting can affect your mood. Lighting can make you feel relaxed, agitated, happy or sad at any given time. Research show that when its dark your serotonin levels are at the lowest point, but once the light shines it increases your serotonin levels. Which help to shift your mood…  It’s the same as when you are feeling stressed you go into a room light a candle and just sit and relax.

This is also true for places you visit like a restaurant, which has dim lighting and candlelight to create a romantic atmosphere. Or a spa that has set a tone that is serene and relaxed. Even nightclubs have special lighting that put you in the mood to dance the night away. Lighting can even make your marriage proposal or wedding an unforgettable event! So the next time you feel down head outside and let the light shine….

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Light up your summer nights!

I am one of those people who never need a reason to throw a party. Especially during the summer which comes packed with family birthdays. And nothing says summer like hosting a fabulous party outdoors with the warm breeze and cool drinks it makes for a great time. When the sun goes down, the party can still go on…using lighting and creating an ambiance.That is sure to keep your guest happy. Below are some great DIY lighting ideas that can add elegance to your party while illuminating your backyard.

                                                      Twine Light Strings

Photo Courtesy: Google

Photo: Google

                                               String Lights & Paper Lanterns

Photo Credit: Google

Photo : Google

                                                         Hanging Lanterns

Photo Courtesy: Google

Photo : Google

                                                        Mason Jar Lights

Photo Courtesy: Google

Photo: Google

Let’s host a summer Shindig!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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