Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Light Control Education

Why do you use dimmers?
In the past, before the "light bulb law" I used dimmers mostly as a way to save energy. With the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, energy usage is now regulated. That does not mean that you no longer need to do your share to help with energy consumption. It means that now more than ever before there are more options and more ways to save energy.
I still use dimmers to save energy, even with more energy efficient bulbs (It is true that your energy usage decreases when the lights are dimmed with energy efficient bulbs) - but I now find myself more concerned about how well a bulb dims. Take for example my little kitchen I just remodeled, I am using 10 of a 7 watt MR16 LED bulb and 3 of a 10 watt LED PAR20 bulbs. I choose bulbs from TCP, a 7 watt MR16 GU10 LED bulb in the 2700K with white housing that looks great in my white glass shade track heads from CAL. The PAR20 also in a 2700K from TCP bulbs goes in a metal pendant from Murray Feiss, the Dutch pendant shown here, and here, that hangs over my island/bar. These bulbs dim remarkably well, they go very dim, and I love that the housing is white so the bulb doesn't stand out inside my track heads. I have all 100 watts on one dimmer switch, I used the Ariadni dimmer from Lutron. I more often than not have these lights dimmed. (Side Note: can you believe I light up my entire kitchen with 100watts of light, not including my under cabinet lights which is a total of 12.75watts (not on a dimmer)- So 112.75watts lights up an entire kitchen- really well! Incredible!) In my kitchen I use my dimmer more for comfort than I do energy consumption. When I am cooking I want a lot of light, but in the early morning or later in the evening I want soft light. Do you find this true with you as well?
Do you know that not all CFL and LED's are dimmable?? Yep- here we go again, we want to use energy efficient bulbs, we want to save energy but why is it so complicated??
I feel your pain- I really do!  
I have customers who come in all the time and feel frustrated and overwhelmed with all these changes, some who come buy bulk of the incandescent bulbs (yes, we still have a few) so they can use incandescent bulbs even after the energy bill is fully implemented at the end of 2014.  I even feel overwhelmed by all the changes, new product seems to hit the market everyday. I want to test all the new product and see if it's as good as advertised- especially when it comes to dimming capabilities. 
At the store we try to make sure that the product we recommend meets a standard we would all be willing to take home and use. Gary Felt, aka the in house light bulb expert, spends a significant amount of his time ordering and testing new bulbs. We test the bulbs on the showroom floor, in the offices, the shop, the bathrooms, and in the warehouse. We test so many bulbs in different applications, if you need a good bulbs ask us to help, we can give you some recommendations! I recently came across a helpful guide that I want to share with you, Lutron, one of, if not the biggest distributor of light controls/dimmers has a LIST, an ever changing list, of dimmers that are compatible with the CFL and LED bulbs. You can use this list to find a bulb that will work with the dimmer you all ready have or find a dimmer that will work with the bulb you like best. Keep this list in mind when you buy you next energy efficient light bulb, you're going to need it, of course you can always just call, email or better yet stop by the store, we are here to help!

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