What You Need to Know About Home Lighting
Is it time to upgrade your home’s indoor lighting? If it’s been a little while since the last time you did, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised at the options out there. In this post, we’ll help you sort out what you need to know before you buy your next light bulb. And if you need more help, your friendly, knowledgeable SESCOS electrician is just a phone call away.
The Four Functions
Light has four essential functions in a home.
Ambient illumination: general lighting that simply takes a room or a house from darkness to light. Examples are the overhead lights you flick on when it gets dark outside or outdoor security that turn on when they sense motion.
Task lighting: focused, usually brighter light that allows you to bring sharp, pinpointed light onto a particular job you’re doing. Examples include desk lights, under-cabinet kitchen lights, and in-book reading lights.
Accent lights: pinpoints of light that complement the ambient lighting by focusing on specific objects or areas in a room. Examples might be sofa lamps or wall sconces.
Decorative lighting: this usually refers to decorative fixtures like recessed lights, strings of holiday lights, or chandeliers. It can also refer to lighting schemes that incorporate color and blend with other elements in your home design.
It’s usually impossible for one light fixture to perform all or even some of these jobs at the same time. That’s why the best lighting plan incorporates these four functions to create a home that is well-lit, inviting and comfortable.
What is Wattage?
The term wattage is confusing when it’s used to compare the brightness of various bulbs. Wattage level indicates how much power a bulb uses, not the amount of light it generates.
It makes more sense to think in lumens, which is the measure of brightness created by a bulb. Speaking of bulbs, a lighting upgrade is a perfect time to get away from your standard incandescent light bulbs and begin exploring energy-efficient options like halogens, compact fluorescents, and LEDs. Your SESCOS electrician can help you get started with just one call.
When selecting bulbs, think about how much brightness you need for each function of your home, and then look for bulbs with the corresponding lumen levels.
Coolness and Color
Two key factors that affect the way light looks and feels are its coolness level and its base color.
Cooler lights are the closest to natural, outdoor light. If you’re wondering why that rug or piece of artwork looks so different outside your home than it does inside, it’s because of the different tones that the different lights are casting.
When choosing a bulb for its color qualities, there are two important scales that electricians and lighting contractors use.
The Coloring Rendering Index (CRI) is the scale used to measure how closely a light reveals the true, natural colors of objects the way sunlight does. Most incandescent bulbs have low CRI numbers and halogen bulbs have high ones. LED bulbs used to be known for low CRI levels but they have improved remarkably and are now a favorite lighting system for art displays, design studios and other places where color rendition is vital.
The Kelvin index measures the base color of the light and the level of coolness or warmth it emits. The higher a bulb’s Kelvin score, the bluer the light and the more closely it resembles natural sunlight. Sunlight has a Kelvin or K ranking of 5250K, while the average halogen bulb has a 3200K rating and an incandescent bulb clocks in at 2600K.
Color Me Confused?
If you’re confused by all the discussion of color and lighting options, or you’re not sure where to start, give SESCOS a call. We’ll bring our knowledge, our experience and our passion for customer service to your home lighting project.
A SESCOS consultant will walk you through the various lighting options, including energy-efficient ideas and new smart technologies. When it comes to innovative solutions, call SESCOS and get ready for a bright new day.