There's a lot of talk these days about fancy LED "smartbulbs" that dim and change colors and can be controlled by smarphone apps. There are plenty of uses for these bulbs but, for now, they're still in an early adopter stage -- they're expensive (some are $60 or more per bulb) and potentially unsafe, as hackers may be able to access your WiFi network through the bulbs.
Luckily, you don't need expensive bulbs or WiFi hubs to save money with smarter lighting. All you need are light dimmer switches and/or occupancy sensors -- and Lutron is a leading manufacturer of both.
Lutron light dimmers come in many styles, including rotary dimmers, pre-set paddle dimmers, and more. These let you set lighting levels as needed rather than continually running lights unnecessarily at full brightness. Lower lighting levels save you on energy costs and can help to extend the life of light bulbs.
Why would you want to dim lights? At work, this might be useful in a meeting room during slide presentations when some light is needed for participants, but a darker room is needed to see the slides. If you happen to use them in your home, they can set a nice mood for dining. They also offer a gentler way to start or end the day. No more squinting under bright lights when you first wake up!
But dimmers aren't the only way to save money on lighting costs. Occupancy sensors help to ensure that lights are only on when they're being used. They can use various technologies (including multi-tech sensors) to detect movement or sound; many, like the Lutron occupancy sensor pictured here (and sold here), are based only on movement. This is adequate in many settings where occupants aren't blocked by walls or shelves within a room, as a good sensor like this one can detect subtle movements and keep lights on when needed.
While occupancy sensors are probably most familiar in business settings, there's no reason not to use them in a home. Parents forever frustrated with kids not turning off the lights have these as a solution for saving watts and saving money.
If you're looking for solutions to help you save money on lighting -- including dimmers, sensors, and even more efficient light bulbs -- Lighting Supply is here to guide you in your choices and help you with your purchase if you ever need a hand. Give us a call and see what friendly, experienced customer service can do for you!
Most of us who grew up in America probably learned that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb (and even our replicas of historic bulbs are called "Edison bulbs"). But in the age of the internet, it's much easier to research topics like this and learn the truth. Like many of the things we learned in elementary school, there are some truths here but also a lot of facts that fill in the bigger story.
Like many inventors throughout history, Thomas Edison wasn't working in a vacuum (though he was working on his bulb with a vacuum pump). In fact, many other inventors had worked with incandescent lighting before Edison. This simply meant that they had some sort of wire or filament that they could get to incandesce (glow) by passing electricity through it. And therefore they could create light.
The first recorded instance was in 1802 by Humphry Davy, who passed electricity through a platinum strip to make it glow. This was almost 80 years before Edison received his light bulb patent!
But let's make a modern day comparison to what was happening. Imagine that someone had invented the first cell phone, but that their phone only allowed for 10 second calls, the battery only lasted 20 minutes before you had to buy a new one, and it only worked from one location. If that were the case, you could certainly say that this person had invented the technology, but you'd also know that almost no one would use that phone or be able to afford the continual battery replacements.
In other words, that hypothetical phone paved the way for something great, but it wasn't practical to use and it wasn't commercially viable since no one would buy one. In a similar way, several people had developed some kind of incandescent light bulb before Edison, but his was the first that was practical and commercially viable.
Following the analogy of being able to use the phone in just one location, the phone itself is not the only consideration; you need towers or satellites to make them work. Likewise with light bulbs, you need distributed electricity, and this is part of the solution that Edison also brought to the table.
Perhaps the closest feat to Edison's prior to Edison's patent was the success of Joseph Swan, who developed an "evacuated" incandescent bulb and had it patented in England around 1880 -- the same year as Edison's patent, though he had publicly demonstrated it in 1878. "Evacuated" means he had used a vacuum pump to remove air from the bulb to prevent the filament from oxidizing. This followed a much earlier bulb by Swan, and was made with improved vacuum pumps.
But Edison created bulbs that burned brighter (were more useful) than many early efforts, and his bulbs simply lasted longer (were more affordable). While his earliest "successful" light bulb lasted just over 10 hours, he and his team eventually developed a carbon / bamboo filament that allowed a bulb to run for more than 1000 hours -- a similar life span to incandescent bulbs still in use today (though we use different filaments now). Part of his success also came from an improved vacuum in his bulbs. And with the country's first electricity company, he provided the means for people to actually run their light bulbs.
In short, he made bulbs that were practical to use and commercially viable, and this is what we really mean when we say "Thomas Edison invented the light bulb." He didn't invent the concept. He invented the means for us to use the light bulb in everyday life.
Look around indoors and it usually doesn't take long to spot recessed lighting. It's used in homes and businesses across the US, and two of the most popular bulbs for recessed or "canned" lights are BR30 and BR40 bulbs. These names refer to the shape (Bulged Reflector) and width of the bulb (30/8" or 40/8", or roughly 4 and 5 inches across).
Some homes have dozens of these bulbs, and some businesses have hundreds of them. So you can imagine the energy and cost savings if each bulb dropped its energy usage by 35 to 55 watts. Well this is what happens when you move from halogen or incandescent bulbs to LED bulbs ... and now for a limited time, we have a special offer that's hard to beat.
We've already discounted our Toshiba BR30 and BR40 LEDs. But for a limited time you can save an ADDITIONAL $4 per bulb by using coupon code 4OFF914 when you check out!
This drops the price of the bulbs to $13.59 (BR30) and $19.59 (BR40) each. This is a rare, low cost for any brand, much less a top brand with a 5-year warranty! So if you've been thinking about replacing your canned lights with LEDs, now is the time. Don't delay. Click here to shop for them!
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