If you have a sloped ceiling in your home or office and you want recessed lights in this ceiling, you'll get some strange results if you install traditional recessed cans and trims. The lights would of course end up pointing at an angle toward the edges of the room and onto the walls, rather than down where you need them.
But this is why sloped recessed cans and sloped lighting trims exist.
We have sloped cans and trims for recessed lighting from Nora Lighting with both new construction and remodel sloped cans and several trims to choose from, including a sloped trim with adjustable eyeball.
Make sure to stop by Lighting Supply for these and other recessed lighting products, or for any lighting products at all. We have an extensive selection of lamps, ballasts, and accessories, and we ship in-stock orders same business day.
As we've discussed in articles like this one, fluorescent lamps need something called a ballast to modulate the electricity flowing through them. These ballasts control the initial surge and ongoing energy required to run the lamp, protecting the lamp from being destroyed.
LED lights or lamps need the same kind of power management, and they normally use a device called a driver. These drivers can either be inside or outside the lamp itself. For instance, in common household LEDs, the driver is inside the lamp, or "integrated," so most people don't even know it's there. In a similar way, household compact fluorescent bulbs have integrated ballasts. This way, people have been able to replace their old incandescent bulbs without having to learn about ballasts and drivers.
Integrated drivers have definitely simplified many lamp replacements, but for businesses across the country using linear T8 fluorescent lamps (tubes) for general lighting, replacing lamps with LEDs was initially complex.
Let's look at an example to understand why. Picture an average T8 fluorescent lighting troffer in an office setting. Behind the troffer, you'd have one or more ballasts running the lamps. Since early LED tubes couldn't run on ballasts, replacing the fluorescent tubes meant removing both the lamps and the ballasts, then installing drivers (separate from the LED lamp) and the LED lamps themselves. This was both complex and expensive.
Today, however, LED T8 tubes generally don't run off external drivers anymore. So it's much simpler and more affordable to replace T8 fluorescent lamps with LED tubes. Here are the two primary options:
T8 LEDs and Ballasts
Many T8 LED tubes are now compatible with electronic fluorescent ballasts. In other words, the ballast works directly with a driver that is inside the LED, making installation is easy. Assuming the fluorescent lights you're replacing are run by an electronic ballast (rather than an old magnetic ballast), it's a light bulb swap like any other. With the power shut off, you simply remove the old fluorescent lamp and replace it with the LED lamp. Just like that, you're running on LED.
Make sure to check the LED specifications, though. Some only work with instant start electronic ballasts, while other work with both instant start and rapid start models. Rapid starts are generally used anywhere you have an occupancy sensor, and could be used elsewhere.
Of course with this simple approach, you may be using a ballast that's already put in a lot of hours. That means it may die long before the lamp and will eventually need to be replaced.
Direct Wire T8 LEDs
As we already explained, most T8 LED bulbs have drivers built inside them, including those that work directly off of ballasts. Some, however, are designed to work without a ballast and are wired directly into the power source.
So if you're replacing T8 fluorescent lamps with one of these, you need to remove the old lamps and disconnect the ballast(s), then hardwire the fixture to the power. You can then install the LED tubes and, from then on, if you ever need to replace one of the lamps (probably 50,000+ hours later), it's an easy light bulb switch.
The disadvantage to this is obviously the extra work in the beginning. The advantage is that you're no longer dependent on external ballasts.
T8 LED Hybrids
At the time of this writing, there's a newer option of T8 LED also available. It allows a direct retrofit, running off ballasts that are already installed (like the first option above); then when the ballast eventually fails, the ballast can be disconnected and the lamp can then be hardwired (like the second option above). In short, it's both options in one T8 LED lamp.
The Advantages of T8 LED Tubes over T8 Fluorescent Tubes
So why bother to upgrade to LED lighting anyway? Fluorescent tubes are inexpensive and, by common standards, efficiently produce quality light. Well different people will have different reasons for moving to LED, but here are some things to consider:
* While modern fluorescent lamps have minimized the amount of mercury needed to produce light, they still do have mercury in them. This is considered a toxic substance, making a broken bulb something of hazard. LEDs do not use mercury.
* Fluorescent lamps can last a very long time, and if you're willing to pony up for longevity, some of them might even outlast an LED. But generally speaking, a fluorescent lamp will last 24,000 to 30,000 hours while an LED will last around 50,000. This nearly doubles the replacement cost for fluorescents in both the physical lamp and maintenance costs over time.
* LEDs are notoriously the most efficient lights available, but fluorescent lights are a close second in terms of lumens (amount of light) per watt of energy used. So in the case of a standard household bulb, for instance, a 60 watt incandescent bulb might be replace by a 13 watt CFL (compact fluorescent light) or a 9 watt LED. Not a huge apparent difference in wattage between the fluorescent and LED (probably under $1 a year in energy use.)
But when it comes to light tubes in a troffer, the energy savings are more substantial. This is because fluorescent tubes send light in all directions; some of this has to be reflected back toward a working surface from the troffer itself. This is an inefficient use of lighting. LED lights, on the other hand, are directional, and send all their light toward the working surface. This is why a T8 LED with nominally fewer lumens (less light production) can replace a T8 fluorescent lamp that produces more lumens.
For instance, you might see a 15 watt LED tube replace a 32 watt fluorescent tube. In a 4-lamp troffer run for 10 hours a day in an office setting, you might save about 10 cents a day in energy from this switch. If that doesn't sound like much, remember that it's close to $40/year, which might entirely cover the initial cost of those LED lamps. After that, every year those savings would go into your business rather than into electricity.
* LEDs offer more and better dimming options.
* The lifespan of an LED isn't shortened with frequent on/off switching, making them a better fit with occupancy sensors -- another tool for saving money over time.
Fluorescent tubes may still be popular for a time: they're familiar, affordable, and easily matched when replacing a lamp that's gone out. But LEDs have finally gotten so affordable that they can pay for themselves quickly, and with new "ballast compatible" LEDs, they've become an easy retrofit option. So what will your business do? Are you ready to make the switch to LED?
We live in an awfully big world with an awful lot of outdoors. No need to light the whole thing up at night, and in fact we need to be aware of light pollution and the impact outdoor lighting has on nature.
But there's still plenty we need to cast lights on for safety and mobility at night. Busy roadways, parking lots, parks, home and building exteriors ... outdoor lighting is a common and important part of modern living. And with the growing popularity of LED technology, we can do so with less need for energy production and maintenance too.
So we thought we'd review the different types of outdoor lighting available with a focus on the upgrade to LED lighting.
Damp Rated vs Wet Rated
Let's start with the obvious: any outdoor lighting will be exposed to the elements, but some will be more exposed than others. Bulbs (or lamps, in industry terms) with direct exposure must be wet rated in order to withstand any water they come in contact with. Otherwise those bulbs should be well protected within a fixture. If they are, then a damp rating will suffice, ensuring that the bulb can handle moisture from humidity, fog, etc. This rating information should be available on packaging or spec sheets.
We've reviewed LED lighting in depth here, if you want to learn more. But in short, LEDs are the most efficient and longest lasting type of lights commercially available today. This means they can stack up huge energy and maintenance savings despite their initial higher cost. They also offer instant on/off capability, unlike many of the outdoor lamps they replace like sodium and metal halide lamps. This opens up possibilities for lighting controls that can help save even more money by using lights only when they're needed.
Here's an example of one project developing roadways that provide lighting only when cars are present.
Now that we've covered the basic points above, let's discuss the different applications for outdoor LED lighting.
Pole or Bracket Mounted LED Lighting
One application for outdoor LED lighting is on poles or brackets. While the average person might not pay them much attention, we're all familiar with pole lighting in parking lots and along roadways.
At the top of a pole, you'll have a direct mount arm or, less commonly, a slipfitter. The direct mount arm extends the light source further from the pole and hosts a cobra head or shoebox LED fixture, directing light downward on a relatively specific area. This extension from the pole is important because sometimes you'll have more than one arm extending from the pole, allowing you to cover more area from a single pole. Even with just a single arm, however, this can help extend the light over the area where it's being used -- for instance some parking spots -- rather than in the grass where the pole is cemented in.
You can also use a slipfitter atop a pole, though these are more frequently used on brackets extending from the side of a building. In the case of a pole, you may need a pole adapter (sometimes called a tenon). The slipfitter slips over the top and is tightened against the pole or bracket with a screw. You can then mount some type of outdoor LED floodlight fixture onto the slipfitter for general lighting. Unlike a direct mount arm, the slipfitter can pivot to direct the light where needed.
Another option for outdoor LED lighting comes from LED wallpacks. These are mounted directly to a wall in areas where light is needed, and their design determines how that light is used. A traditional wallpack is used for general lighting, casting light in all directions from the fixture; this also means sending the light upwards, however, so this style is a source of light pollution.
Cutoff wallpacks, on the other hand, keep the light at or below the level of the fixture, addressing the problem of light pollution. These come in both full cutoff and partial cutoff options. A full cutoff wallpack keeps light close to the building, ideal for lighting a walkway alongside the building; a partial cutoff wallpack sends light further out and can complement other parking lot lighting, for instance. Depending on the proximity of a neighboring property, either one could be appropriate to keep light off someone else's property.
LED Canopy Lighting
Canopy lighting is found in outdoor settings with an overhead cover, like above a porch or covered walkway.
In these settings, it's possible to have recessed lighting as you would indoors. But often you'll find canopy fixtures being used. These hang down from the canopy rather than being inset, although as you can see with some of these LED canopy fixtures, the profile stays very close to the overhead covering and almost appears to be a recessed light when compared with older and larger canopy fixtures.
Landscape LED Lighting
Finally, we have LED lighting used in landscaping to highlight trees, buildings, and signs. These lights are usually mounted on a ground spike or other ground pole that accepts a knuckle mount. You would then thread on either a bullet LED fixture, a universal PAR lamp holder, or a small floodlight fixture. Of course the fixture needs to be wet rated; and if a PAR lamp is used inside a lamp holder, that lamp should be wet rated as well.
We hope this provides you with a useful look at the ways outdoor LED lighting can be used across different settings. As always, we are here to assist with answering your questions and helping with your order. And if you need them quickly, we ship in-stock orders the same business day.
Is it that time again? Well yes, if you've been inside any retailer lately, you've known it was "back to school" time since June. But we like to preserve what we can of summer, keeping it a break from school. So we don't point out the obvious until August.
But now it's August. And as we acknowledged a couple years ago, by now schools need to be planning for the coming school year. That includes the maintenance staff. Among other things, they have to make sure all the lights are up and running when the first school bell rings.
In our last article on this topic, we noted that a number of schools are still equipped with T12 fluorescent lamps; and while newer T12s are more efficient than old ones, you can keep the same fixtures while swapping out to T8 lamps (and ballasts) to save plenty on energy bills.
The LED School Lighting Upgrade
Of course LED lights are even more energy efficient and last longer than fluorescent lights, but we acknowledged the high price of LEDs in that article. That was two years ago. Today, LED T8 lamps start under $10 each and are easy to fit into a T8 fluorescent system.
Besides the fact that LED bulbs produce more light per watt of energy than fluorescent bulbs, LED technology also provides directional light. Fluorescent tubes, on the other hand, send their light in all directions. This means that some of the light from a fluorescent lamp has to be reflected by the fixture back toward the ground. That's like the moon reflecting light from the sun -- it's nowhere near as bright as when you get the light straight from the sun.
In a similar way, to produce the same effective working light as the LED, a fluorescent lamp has to produce more total lumens, which takes more energy. This is why an LED tube can list far fewer lumens (and use so much less energy) while still providing as much usable light.
There's another place where school maintenance teams can put LED to good use, and that's in the parking lots. Typical lots are filled with HID lamps like high pressure sodium or metal halide bulbs. These lamps last nowhere near as long as LEDs, and given the time and cost of replacing lamps at the top of a pole, long life is a big deal.
LED replacements for HID bulbs are commonly known as "corn cob LEDs" because of their appearance. Besides their benefit of longer life, corn cobs also retain far more of their initial lumens than HIDS, so parking lots stay lit the way they're meant to. And as always, LEDs are huge energy savers. By our calculation -- even at today's cost of corn cob LEDs -- the LEDs will pay for themselves in just a couple years.
This means they're definitely worth a close look before maintenance crews or contractors are up in bucket trucks replacing those lamps. Yes, schools are often strapped for cash; but for school districts that can make the initial investment, LEDs are likely to help relax the budget before long.