When it comes to creative lighting choices the possibilities are infinite. Here are just a few worth looking into:
Rope Lighting is nothing more than flexible plastic tubing that contains a tiny light every few inches. Rope lighting is approximately a half inch in diameter and can be easily concealed behind the front edge of upper or lower cabinets, above crown molding and even as edging on stairs and counters. It is amazingly easy to work with and some come with a plug and play extension cord that can be painted to match existing baseboard or the wall. Rope lighting adds drama and interest.
Recessed halogen lighting is very bright and too harsh for many uses, but a little can go a long way. The nice thing about recessed lighting is that it can be purchased in a low voltage variety that uses a lot less electricity for the amount of light provided. Also, low voltage halogen bulbs are really inexpensive and they last forever. Unfortunately the recess fixtures themselves are somewhat costly – about $100 each.
Xenon lights also are very bright and are available in a low voltage version as well. Best of all they don’t burn very hot and work well in damp locations such as kitchens and bathrooms. Bulbs that burn hot can be a problem in moist areas because the hot bulbs can crack when contacted by cool moist air.
Compact fluorescent lighting is still the best bang for your buck. They are available to fit just about every conventional light socket made and they last forever. Take your time and shop wisely. Compact fluorescents are becoming a good by. For a couple of bucks you can pick one up that will last for nearly a decade. Old fashioned tungsten bulbs just don’t cut it anymore.
Keep in mind that when working with light fixtures – especially the recess type – where heat buildup can be a serious problem. In fact, recess light fixtures now come with built in heat thermostats that will shut the fixture off when it overheats. By the way, if you are experiencing recess lighting outages you may want to look into ventilating the fixture from within the attic. If the bulb is burned out and yet it turns itself off from time to time your recess light fixture is trying to tell you something. Maybe the bulb is too large for the fixture (too many watts) or the wrong type.
By the way, changing a light fixture can be a breeze. Three wires to replace: A white one a black one and a green (or bare) one. Make sure the power is off before attempting this project. Also, use a voltage tester (cost is about $5) before touching any of the wires in the electric box. And keep in mind that just turning off the light switch is not really the safe thing to do. Turn the power off at the electric panel. Oh, and don’t forget to put a sing on the electric panel that warns folks not to open it while you are working on your project.
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