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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Quick Ways To Cut Energy Bills this Summer

Summer’s now in full swing, which can provide a challenge for many families when it comes to energy bills. You want to be comfortable, but staying comfortable can get expensive. Wouldn’t you rather spend your money on summer fun instead of paying for air conditioning? Luckily, there are some simple ideas to control those costs:
  • Be conscious of open doors and windows. Sometimes an open window allows a cool breeze and eliminates the need for a fan. On a hot day on the hot side of your house, however, it may just be adding more hot air. If it’s a shady window and bringing cool air, leave it open. If it’s a hot breeze, shut it. 
  • Especially if you don’t have energy efficient windows, keep your shades drawn on the sunny side. Another alternative is to add solar screens or window film. Solar screens will help prevent the sun’s heat from entering the house even when you have the window open, while window films only work with the windows closed.
  • Plant shade trees to help protect your house and your air conditioner. Even considering the cost of the trees, planting strategically now will easily provide long-term savings for you and your family. 
  • Avoid using hot appliances during the hottest part of the day. Try to do dishes and laundry in the mornings and evenings if possible, and consider alternatives to using your stove and oven, such as a slow cooker, microwave or rice cooker to feed your family without heating up the entire house.
  • Use ceiling fans or floor fans instead of your air conditioner. Much of the time, just getting the air moving will help keep you comfortable, and for a much lower cost than running the AC. 
  • Turn off lights when not in use, especially if you’re using incandescent lighting. Incandescent lighting is the most inefficient lighting available today, turning much of the energy it uses into heat instead of light. If you’re ready to make the switch to more efficient lighting, consider swapping those old, inefficient bulbs to LED lighting. LED light bulbs save money in two ways: they use less energy, and they don’t produce heat. This means you can have the lights turned on without making your air conditioner work harder.

Following some or all of these tips will help keep you cool this summer without blowing your budget. Have tips you want to share with other readers? Leave us a comment below!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Product Spotlight: Wagan Tech Thermo Fridge and Warmer with Cup Holders

For years now, we’ve prided ourselves on providing the highest quality lighting supplies to home and business owners looking to save money while limiting their environmental impact. Now, we’re branching out: We’re stocking a variety of other useful appliances to help you live a better life. We’re especially proud of one of the new products we’re offering: a Thermo Fridge and Warmer with Cup Holders from Wagan Tech.

Try this portable fridge out and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. It’s perfect for long car rides, holding up to 15 cans of soda and offering two built-in cup holders so those drinks have a secure place to sit. This product can maintain a lowest temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit for cool drinks and snacks or a highest temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping food at a safe temperature for consumption.

The temperature is easy to control, too. With a hot/cold/off switch and easy-to-read red and green lights that indicate warming or cooling, you’ll always know that this appliance is doing exactly what you need it to do. The superior foam insulation on this fridge makes it especially environmentally safe and energy efficient.

Designed for road trips, the fridge and warmer can fit in the center console, passenger seat or backseat and offers a padded arm rest for added comfort. It also comes with a detachable CD/DVD storage bag for maximum utility, and a carrying strap for added portability. To make it even more convenient on road trips, this fridge/warmer uses 12V power, so it can plug directly into your car’s outlet.

We can’t stop coming up with fun uses for this! Potlucks, bringing food to a new mom, road trips, tailgating… the possibilities are endless! How would you use this?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Giving Your Kitchen a Lighting Makeover

If you’re like many homeowners, you probably wish you could give your kitchen a good update. Of course, kitchen remodels can be pricey, so that’s not always a possibility. However, there’s one relatively inexpensive improvement you could make that will make a huge difference to the usability and beauty of your kitchen: upgraded lighting.

Changing up your lighting can make it easier to see your workspace, enhance the existing beauty of your kitchen and give the room a refreshed look and feel. If you think this might be a good way to change up your kitchen, read on for our top tips:

  1. Consider your workspaces. One of our favorite ways to make cooking a little easier is to install undercabinet lighting above your workspaces. This task lighting makes it easier to chop, measure and mix, and it takes advantage of space you’re probably not using. Don’t overlook your workspaces that aren’t countertops, though: If you have a kitchen island, task lighting would be especially important here, too.
  2. Add your personality. A fun pendant light can add some flair to your kitchen, and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Look around at used furniture stores or Ikea for a great deal on a light that fits your style and décor.
  3. Use dimmer switches. While you might need bright light while you’re preparing a meal, a softer light is nice for serving food or eating a romantic meal. Choose fixtures and bulbs that allow for dimming, and choose a dimmer switch that fits with your décor.
  4. Trust yourself. It’s easy to second-guess your choices when it comes to changing up an important part of your home, but at the end of the day, it’s your home, and your opinions matter the most. Look for light fixtures that you like and that produce enough light for the room, and you’re sure to be happy.

Have any questions about updating your kitchen with new lighting? Leave us a comment and we’ll try to help you out!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Philips-6.5 Watt LED LAMP Dimmable Candelabra

When it comes to lighting your home you want a reliable and long lasting bulb that will light your space without burning a hole in your wallet. The Philips-6.5 Watt LED light is designed to shine bright and preserve energy without racking up a huge electric bill. Create an energy efficient lighting solution in your home by using this long lasting LED light.

Energy Efficient and Environmentally Friendly

The Philips 6.5 Watt bulb saves and avoids wasting energy. This is great for you and the electric bill you pay, but additionally great for the environment. The Philips LED Lamp provides an energy efficient lighting solution that generates as much or more light than a 60-watt standard incandescent light. We have set up an energy saving calculator on our site that will tell you how much money using a bulb like this could save you in a year and lifetime. These energy saving light bulbs don’t emit any U/V light, making them great for the environment. The bulbs also aren’t made with any lead or mercury, meaning that it is easy and environmentally safe to dispose them.

Long Life

One of the biggest benefits from using this Philips LED light bulb is its long life. This bulb can put out 70 percent as much light after 25,000 hours of operation as it does when brand new. Its long life means that it does not have to be replaced as frequently as other light bulbs. Screw in this bulb in places where lights are on for an extended period of time or areas that are hard to reach to get the most ideal usage from this LED light bulb. The sleek, pointed tip design is great for usage in open devices and damp locations.

Before you buy be sure to check that this product fits in your light fixture. Invest in a light bulb that will save you money and last longer. Order the Philips 6.5 Watt LED LAMP dimmable Candelabra today!

Have any questions about this light bulb? Leave us a comment and we’ll try to help you find an answer!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Top 5 Safety Precautions for Home Electrical Work

When working with things like electrical wiring, safety precautions should never be overlooked because they could mean the difference between completing a project successfully and causing injury or harm to yourself, another person or to the property. With how unpredictable wiring can be, you should never take risks when performing electrical work, even if you’ve completed hundreds of fixes yourself. You should always be confident that you are well equipped and prepared to handle the task at hand, and by following the following safety precautions, you can decrease the likelihood of potential hazards.

  1. Power off – Before proceeding with any electrical work, make sure that power is completely turned off at the breaker. Ideally, you should turn off the breaker and then verify that all power has been cut off in that given area – old wiring can sometimes get mixed up in the jumble of repairs and breakers won’t correspond correctly to whatever is labeled. With dangerous work such as this, it is in your best interest to double and triple check for adequate conditions.

    Inform family members and neighbors that you are performing electrical work on your home to avoid any unforeseen injuries. Leave a note on the breaker box that states you’re doing work on the wiring and either tape off the breaker or use a breaker lock to prevent tampering. Even once the connection is shut off, continue to work as carefully as possible as though the power is still on.

  2. Plan ahead - As mentioned before, confidence is key, and if you aren’t confident in your course of action, chances are you won’t be able to complete work effectively or efficiently. Knowing where all of the outlets, switches, fixtures and other electrical components are located will make all the difference and will help guide you through the process more effortlessly. Planning ahead will also allow you to account for the proper tools and to consider the conditions in which you will be working.
  3. Dress properly and prepare – Electricity can strike at any time, and proper attire can help better protect you in the event that something goes wrong with the circuitry. Never do electrical work in socks, slippers or barefoot – you are much better off wearing thick insulated rubber-soled shoes. However, any surface can be conductive in the right conditions, even when wearing rubber boots, so take care in taking preventative measures. It is best to perform work on dry wooden floors or on a rubber mat, because even concrete surfaces become conductive when damp.
  4. Use the right tools – Quality tools that are suited for the job will not only affect craftsmanship, but will also help boost your confidence in knowing the tools you are using will perform how you intend for them to work. Investing in a sufficient tool kit will give you more peace of mind and ensure that you can complete projects as you intended them. Look for tools with insulated handles that won’t carry the electrical current.
  5. Pocket it – As a general rule of thumb, try to keep your opposite non-working hand away from touching other things, especially the ground, as you work with the other. Keep your hand in your pocket or behind your back to make it less tempting to have both hands out at once. In the event that you are shocked, the electrical current will have less to travel through if you're only using one hand, lessening the severity of the shock.

Now that you’re fully equipped with the basic safety precautions of home electrical work, take extra care in preparing for any electrical DIY projects that you may want to take on. Take care to avoid risk and injury, but if you ever feel under-qualified to perform a task, it’s best to just call in the professionals!

What are some challenges you’ve faced when trying to tackle electrical wiring on your own? Let us know in the comments below!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Five Tips for Better Landscape Lighting

Now that Spring is near, it’s time to start thinking about how you want to update your outdoors to prepare for backyard parties. Landscape lighting can be a daunting task for many, but we have a few tips to simplify the process and help you end up with landscape lighting that is perfect for your home.

1. Safety First

The first and most important thing you should do when considering landscape lighting is to check out your property during the day and after dark to determine which areas could benefit from a little extra lighting to keep your guests safe. You don’t want anyone tripping because uneven ground wasn’t adequately lit, so look around your yard and spot any locations that would need extra lighting in order to keep people safe.

2. Show Off Your Best Features

Once you’ve determined the places that need extra lighting for safety’s sake, look around your property for places you want to highlight. Your prized rosebushes? Show ‘em off! If you have something beautiful in your yard or garden, landscape lighting is the perfect way to make sure your guests see it.

3. Don’t Forget Underlighting

An often overlooked aspect of landscape lighting in underlighting, the practice of highlighting certain aspects of your yard by lighting them from underneath. This can be especially beautiful and beneficial for trees, as shown in the picture above. While the best technique for underlighting your trees will vary by the type of tree, but you’ll likely want a bigger spot-type landscape lighting for your trees.

4. Be Welcoming

Your goal with landscape lighting should be to make your guests feel as welcome as possible in your home and yard. Consider adding lighting to accent the front door to give your home an even more welcoming feel.

5. Make a Plan Before Starting

Once you’ve thought through what you might want to light around your yard, make a plan and draw it out. You can use that plan to determine how many and what type of lights you’ll need, as well as to plan how you’ll power the lights.

What are your best tips for using landscape lighting to make your yard as beautiful as possible? Let us know in the comments below!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Product Spotlight: Streamlight Buckmasters Trident HP Headlamp

Looking for a high performance LED headlamp? Whether you’re an outdoorsman (or woman) navigating the dark, damp interior of a poorly lit cave or needing a soft glow to illuminate the pages of your book before you turn in for the night, the Streamlight BuckMasters Trident HP Headlamp is sure to be a handy addition to your home tool box or emergency kit.

Optimized to provide maximum output in a single reflector/LED configuration, the Trident HP Headlamp offers white C4 LED technology with three ultrabright 5mm safety green LEDs within the same reflector and is equipped with three lighting modes to best suit your needs. Choose between using the C4 LED (2,500 candela peak beam intensity with 5 hour runtime,) one green LED (32 candela peak beam intensity with 50 hour runtime) or all three green LEDs (80 candela peak bean intensity with 22 hour runtime).

Other features include a 90° tilting head, an elastic head strap and a rubber hard hat strap. Included are three AAA batteries that power the device. Like other durable Streamlight products, the Trident HP Headlamp is both IPX4 and water resistant, as well as impact resistant up to 2m. Choose between traditional yellow, or popular RealTree Hardwoods Green Camo or Blaze Camo for a little customization. This product also comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

High power headlamps traditionally have a very rugged stigma, but they’re not useful exclusively to the likes of Paul Bunyan. Headlamps are an affordable and convenient item to have laying in your at-home tool box or in the glove compartment of your car. Use it for recreational and day-to-day activities like walking the dog at night on a poorly lit street. When you’re caught with an unexpected home or car repair, shine a little light on it with your trusty Trident HP to better assess the situation.

Have you been left standing in the dark because you didn’t have a headlamp? Or maybe you’ve used your high performance LED for a scenario we didn’t list above. Sound off in the comments below and be sure to check out the rest of our energy efficient lighting online at Energy Saving Lighting!