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Healthier Living | Child Safety | Eco Friendly Tips

Replacing Standard Incandescent Light Bulbs with LED Light Bulbs

by Barbara 14. April 2014 07:31

Question about when, where and how to replace incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs.

Question: "How do I know what bulbs to purchase for replacements? Are there any places that I should not use an LED light bulb? They are certainly more expensive now that stores are selling 60 watt incandescent bulbs, 6 bulbs for $2.00. Thanks. Tim."

Answer: First, as many bloggers have noted, you have to see these bulbs as investments. You won't save hundreds of dollars in a year or two on your electric bill unless you have a huge building that needs all its lights replaced. The savings comes over time and with convenience, the convenience of not having to replace light bulbs in rooms where lamps or ceiling fixtures are on for many hours per day or year. LED stands for "light emitting diodes."

Second, you must make sure that replacement bulbs are dimmable ones for lamps or fixtures that have that feature. And there are no "3 way" bulbs like 50/100/150 available as yet.

Third, there are no 60 watt, 75 watt, etc. bulbs. Every bulb is rated in lumens. Lumens are the amount of light that is produced when a bulb is powered on.

Here is a basic chart that should help:

Incandescent Bulb Wattage             Lumens           LED Bulb Watt Equivalent

25 watt                                          250                4-9 Watts

40 watt                                          450                9-13

60 watt                                          800                13-15

75 watt                                          1100              18-25

100 watt                                        1600              23-30

125 watt                                        2000              22-40

150 watt                                        2600              40-45

Warm white is the preferred color for most people in their homes.  2,700 and 3,500 Kelvin are what you are looking to purchase for home use.

So remember that lumens are what you are looking for, not wattage.

Here is an A19 LED 60 watt equivalent bulb that Safe Home now sells. Equvalent to a 40-60 watt incandescent bulb yet uses only 8 watts of electricity. Epistar LED chip. Warm white color. Short neck. Not dimmable. 3000K. 180 degree beam angle.

As Safe Home continues to add LED bulbs, I'll be adding them to this blog.

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

 

Reflector Style LED Lights for Gradual Replacement of Ceiling Reflector Light Bulbs Reduce Costs for Businesses and Homeowners

by Barbara 10. March 2014 09:58

Question about the Dimmable BR30 16 Watt LED Short Neck Light Bulbs to replace reflector type ceiling bulbs.

Question: "These light bulbs look a lot like the incandescent lights in our family room ceiling. Changing them is a real pain: requires a very tall ladder. We do like to dim the lights when we watching TV. Is it possible to mix these? The cost is a lot more. We don't like fluorescent bulbs: takes too long to come on and cannot be dimmed. How long should these bulbs last? What could our power savings be?" Thanks. Devin.

Answer: These dimmable LED short neck bulbs resemble the reflector type spot light bulbs. The warm white glow is similar to an incandescent bulb. Each bulb gives essentially the maximum light of a 100 watt bulb when not dimmed yet uses only 16 watts of power. Figure on about 3 years or 50,000 hours of use per bulb. The light is instant on, not like a CFL type bulb. BR30 light bulbs have an expanded reflector: the results are  narrow soft-edged rays and fewer shadows. Use these LED light bulbs for spot lights, flood lights and indoor lighting. 180 degree beam. This is a UL listed light bulb.

LEDs, or light–emitting diodes, are semiconductor devices that produce visible light when an electrical current is passed through them. LEDs are a type of Solid State Lighting (SSL), as are organic light–emitting diodes (OLEDs) and light–emitting polymers (LEPs).

Incandescent bulbs are inexpensive except for the 65 to 100 watts of energy used. (And 100 watt bulbs are hard to find these days.)Here in Iowa the cost per KWH (killawatt hour) is about 7.2 cents, the 12th less expensive in the USA. In the north east the cost can be as high as 18 cents per KWH. The price of LED lights is going down. My son recently began replacing burnt out reflector type bulbs in his ceilings with LED's to lower his power costs over time and to avoid dealing with ladders in rooms with vaulted ceilings. He figured this was less expensive than installing motion sensors to turn off lights in rooms where there was no movement. (His children support the Linn County REC by forgetting to turn off lights when they leave rooms).

We also sell replacement bulbs that look just like incandescent lights in the shape. These LED bulbs use only 8 watts but give the light of a 40-60 watt incandescent bulb. LED Bulb A19 8W, 40-60 Watt Equiv., Warm White, Short Neck. Again figure on 50,000 hours or 3 years continuous use.

Another option to the reflector lights is the COB PAR30 Dimmable LED Bulb, Warm White, 16 W, Short Neck. This has a narrow beam of 60 degrees. Also an Energy Star bulb. COB stands for "Chip on Board." Again UL Listed and Dimmable.

We hope this helps with your decision!
Sincerely,Barbara

Kill A Watt Power Monitors Help You Reduce Electric Bills

by Barbara 23. February 2014 11:57

Question about the Kill a Watt Electricity Usage Monitors.

Q: "Electric costs in Florida are to increase up to 30% this next year. What advice do you have about deciding which electrical appliances I should replace with more energy efficient ones? How can I measure current usage without going to a lot of expense?

Answer: I suggest you begin checking power usage on appliances with compressors, i.e. refrigerators, freezers, window air conditioners and dehumidifiers. Most appliances over 8 to 10 years old are energy hogs. I replaced my old manual defrost freezer (circa 1971, much in need of a new gasket) about 10 years ago, I checked the power usage  and was horrified: a new unit would pay for itself in less than 2 years just in energy savings!

If you want to check the power usage of a system such as your TV, DVD, speakers, etc, the easiest choice is by using a Kill A Watt Power Strip with Surge Protection


Currently, there are several models of Kill A Watt meters available:


Thanks for your questions. Remember that there are some electric company rebates on Energy Star appliances.
Sincerely, Barbara

Practical Ideas to Reduce Heating and Cooling Bills Now and In the Future

by Barbara 4. February 2014 06:37

Question about how to reduce my energy bills without spending a lot of money.

Q: "My gas bills this winter almost doubled with the very cold weather. Can you give me some ideas about how to reduce my bills without being cold? Thanks. Phil"

Answer: First, contact your gas company to learn if they have a one time free energy audit available to customers. If not, I suggest you contact several insulation contractors in your area to give you their opinions about the R values in your attic and side walls. You may choose not to add additional insulation. With some rebates available in some areas, adding insulation may not be as expensive as you believe.

Next, check for air leakage from your unused electrical outlets that are on the outside walls of your home. Safe Home sells a variety of plugs and covers to reduce the leakage. For examples, look at the electrical outlet covers and sliding door outlet covers such as CoverPlug Duplex Outlet Cover for Electric Outlets, the Plug Guard Energy Saving Safety Outlet Cover, the IVORY STD 3-Prg 1 Screw Outlet Cover,6/PK, the Kiddy Cop Outlet Covers, Leviton 12777, 12/Box, or the Sockit Lockets.  We installed the Care Cover outlet covers one bitterly cold January years ago and learned how much cold air was blocked from entering our home.

If you choose outlet plugs, I suggest you purchase insulating covers that install behind each electrical outlet. To install, remove your current outlet cover, push the insulation around the plugs and replace the liner and the outlet plugs.

Use insulating foam around all water lines into your home. Make sure the "flaps" seal tightly on exhausts from clothes dryers.

Purchase a set back thermostat for your furnace. Many utility companies have a rebate to help pay for this unit.  Do remember that setting the temperature back means that time is required to get the temperature to a comfortable level. We learned in June 2013 that our original furnace was undersized: the new one comes up to daytime temperatures much faster. We keep our nightime temperature set at 68 degrees and daytime at 72 degrees. The natural gas fireplace keeps the family room comfortable on the below zero days and nights.

Change your furnace filters regularly. Choose a MERV rating that works with your furnace. Too high of a MERV rating means you'll not get much air through your filter. Safe Home filters have two layers of filtration. When the white layer gets gray, it is time to change the filter. The second layer filters out odors and chemicals; the first, dirt, dust and pollen. Safe Home filters come in one inch sizes that are self-sealing due to an internal frame and in 4 inch filters that have a self-sealing perimeter.

Use supplemental electric heaters where you need them. We suggest the ECO SAVE Ceramic Heater that is compact and efficient and used only 750 watts of electricity. If your feet get cold while the rest of you feels comfortable, then consider the Toasty Toes Heated Footrest.

If you have the money and your furnace is 15 or more years old, consider replacing the furnace. Make sure you get at least three bids. If the BTU ratings vary a lot, get another bid or two. YOu don't want an oversized furnace nor an undersized one (like the one we had for over 20 years).

We replaced both AC and the main furnace this summer with next to the highest efficiency units. (Total cost was $5400 less the rebates.) The new furnace is two stage, i.e. two blower speeds. We got rebates from both the gas and electric companies. Also we did not choose the most expensive units available. Sometimes you have to choose between a few thousand dollars and paying your HVAC person annual AC and heating tune-ups.

This past month we did use an electric ceramic heater set at 65 degrees F in our tiled bathroom and another one in the kitchen (ceramic flooring). That took the chill off in those rooms. Unfortunately, our new kitten has yet to learn to keep his claws in. So the insulated window shades remain up even in the cold weather. (A toss up between ripped shades and more insulation or keeping Buddy from climbing them.)

If you have other questions, please contact us.

Sincerely, Barbara

Lumens and Durability of a Solar 80 LED Outdoor Motion Security Light

by Barbara 16. June 2009 08:45

Question about the product Product Code: =TD-MXS-40225, the Maxsa Innovations Motion-Activated 80 LED Security Floodlight.

Q: "Are the led lights changeable on this Maxsa Innovations Motion-Activated 80 LED Security Floodlight? What number of lumens does this light give?" Neel

Answer: No, the 80 LED's are not changeable. However, they are rated for 30,000 to 40,000 hours of on time. The lumens are about that of a 40 watt halogen lamp.

Recently, a residential treatment center in New York state chose to equip their center with these lights as a cost-saving, security measure. For this security light, you need a ladder and not an electrician to install the lights. And with solar power you save on electricity, too. The 15 foot cable to the solar panel even lets you install the light inside a building if you choose. Included is a 6V 4ah sealed lead acid rechargeable battery. This light can detect motion up to 35 feet away within a 180 degree detection area. Time, motion sensitivity and LUX (daylight sensitivity) adjustments. And the light can activate up to 360 times on one charge when on for a minute at a time.

Thanks for your question.
Sincerely, Barbara