An effective way to change the mood or feeling of a room in your home is to increase or decrease lighting. Lowering lighting can be as simple as installing a dimmer switch and increasing lighting can be achieved by swapping the existing light fitting for a brighter type, or adding additional lighting points.
Feature Lighting can compliment a focal feature or add flair to any space.
Floor level lighting can be used to outline hallways and access routes; various types of wall lighting can be used to make shadows and add depth or perspective to a room,
The fact is, there are endless lighting solutions, understanding what is right for you will enable you to cost-effectively achieve the desired effect.
Thomas Edison invented the “long lasting” incandescent filament light in the 1880s, since then it has not changed much at all. Even with modern incandescent lamps, 95% of the energy consumed is dissipated as heat, the remaining 5% is light (and in some cases sound)
The bottom line is, incandescent lights use ancient technology, they give off poor light colour and are not reliable. Small fluctuations in voltage can easily blow them as you usually find following a lightning storm or power outage.
The fluorescent light was commercialised in the early 1900s. While still old technology, a fluorescent light is far more efficient than an incandescent light. They’re particularly useful in areas that require bright white light (sheds and garages, offices etc) they are also used as heat lamps (UV) black lights and infrared.
Fluorescent lights are available in a range of shapes and sizes, from long tubes to traditional bulbs.
A halogen lamp is basically an incandescent lamp with a halogen gas inside, this gas creates a chemical reaction that protects the filament increasing its life and color at the same time as maintaining clarity.
Halogen lights have the highest operating temperature, there are some states in the US that have banned them as they’re a fire hazard. However, they provide a clean white to warm blue color. Halogen lights are best suited to specialist applications where appropriate heat protection can be applied. Most low end recessed down lights are halogen. Some halogen down light fittings will fit a modern LED lamp which is far more efficient and a much lower fire risk. Most hardware stores have a compatibility table where you’ll be able to determine weather you can can simply upgrade lamps.
LED (light emitting diodes) are quickly taking over the lighting world. They are at the forefront of lighting technology. LEDs are highly efficient and give off a small amount of heat. LEDs have few limitations that will affect the homeowner and give off a cool white light. Long story short, they’re the best for all home applications, from floodlights to kitchens and low mood lighting in a living room.
The biggest downfall of LEDs is the price. They are considerably more expensive than most other types of lights but if you were to consider the low operating cost and the fact they last up to 15 times longer than other lights, they’re probably more cost effective in the long run.
Common Fitting types
Bayonet fittings would have to be the cheapest fitting available. They are usually either edison screw or bayonet cap configuration (ensure you buy the correct lamp) Only basic lamp shades will be compatible with a bayonet fittings. Bayonet fittings are commonly used in bathrooms and laundries.
A ceiling rose is to be used with a hanging bayonet fitting. It allows you to hang the lamp at your desired height. A lightweight lamp shade can be suspended from the cable. A customized light fitting is usually required for heavier lamp shades. A Vested Utility Electrician can assist you in selecting the correct fitting for your lamp shade.
There are many types of systems available, some mount to the ceiling while others span an area suspended by either the conductors or a catenary wire. Because there are many lights on a track system, you can angle individual lights so there are no shadows regardless of where you stand; perfect for a kitchen.
Downlights or “recessed luminaires” are a sleek way of lighting an area. They are particularly good in rooms with a low ceiling as they do not protrude at all, some models are able to be angled to point in a particular direction. They are generally used in groups as they don’t offer as wide an angle of light as other surface mount lights. Halogen downlights can pose a fire risk if installed incorrectly, newer LED versions are much more safe and efficient but come at a price.
Planning a new installation
Like all electrical work, it is far cheaper to get it right during the building phase than later on down the track, so it pays to have a clear plan from the get go. If you’re going to source the fittings yourself, it is recommended you talk to your Electrician prior to purchasing them. Time and time again, interior designers select the prettiest bespoke lights they can find, only to find they are completely impractical and provide less light than a candle. The highest quality fittings you will get will come from an Electrical wholesaler. Be sure to do your homework before you outlay thousands on electrical components; any Vested Utility Electrician will be able to assist in the planning of a new installation.
Buying light fittings online
Australia and New Zealand have some of the most strict electrical standards in the world; before you buy any light fittings online, ensure they comply with AS3137-1992. All light fittings must be installed by a licenced Electrical Contractor in compliance with AS/NZS3000 and all downlights (recessed luminaires) must be installed in compliance with AS 60598.2.2:2001
If you have more questions, please contact Vested Utility or leave a message in the comments box below