Archives for Tips and tricks

Building A House? Here’s How To Reduce The Cost of Artificial Lighting

Each room of a house requires different levels of general lighting and task lighting. Ideally, general or ambient lighting which is the base level of lighting for the whole room, should be as even as possible. Many home owners today are concerned with how they can reduce artificial lighting for home construction so that the home’s artificial lighting can be as practical and energy-efficient as possible.

The ideal way to approach this issue is to develop a lighting plan. This lighting plan should include both the location and the specifications of the fixtures and controls respective to the architectural plans. Decorative, task, focal, and safety lighting should be addressed in the lighting plan and specifications, along with the ambient lighting prescribed in the codes.

For home owners seeking guidance this can be retrieved from professional lighting designers. Typically, these designers are architects or interior designers with a specialty in lighting. If you are interested in locating a lighting designer in your area then simply contact the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America or the International Association of Lighting Designers.

Another way that a home owner can actively reduce the use of artificial lighting throughout his home is by the use of fluorescent fixtures. Where existing incandescent fixtures can’t or won’t be replaced with fluorescent fixtures, compact fluorescent bulbs can be used to reduce the electricity usage. As an example, a 60-watt incandescent bulb can be replaced with an 11 to 15 watt compact fluorescent, allowing for roughly a 76% reduction. Although compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) cost more than incandescent light bulbs, in reality each bulb saves a great deal of cash over its lifetime. In order to maximize their benefit, use CFLs in rooms with the most traffic. For lights that are used for only short periods of time, specify incandescents with dimmer switches.

Adding dimmers to lighting switches allows several lighting functions, such as task lighting at full illumination and decorative or safety lighting at lower settings. This is especially good as dimming increases lamp life and saves energy because less electrical wattage is used. Even incandescent lamps last longer when a dimmer is installed. For fluorescent fixtures these require either dimmable ballast or additional wiring. Dimmer switches and other lighting controls are rated for total controlled wattage, type of wiring, and type of fixture such as electronic ballast, incandescent, or other.

Some fluorescent lights and fixtures may also be put on dimmers. The benefit of improved artificial lighting allows homeowners to save lots of cash on their electricity bills. For this reason, it is important that home owners take the time to implement methods that will help reduce artificial lighting. This should ideally be done during the construction stages as it can be neatly done.

Article originally published at Source by Anand R

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Hiring a House Painter – 7 Questions to Ask Their References

Painting your home is more than just paint colors and wall textures. When you are selecting a company to paint your house they are going to be spending time inside your personal space so you want someone that will not only do a great job, but someone you can trust, too.

When we repainted our house a few years ago we took extra precaution, because we knew the painter would have full access to our home while we were away at work.

We made a list of criteria, and then interviewed several different painters before making our selection. We wanted to review references, proof of license and insurance, and of course information about how they planned to paint our house.

If their quote was in the right range, and they had proof of insurance and licenses, the next most important thing for us was their references – we asked for them to provide us with customers names and phone numbers – and then we called them.

When people give references they are often reluctant to give a bad reference for someone they know – so don’t ask ONLY questions that have yes or no answer, encourage them to have a conversation about the painting experience.

Remember, your are entrusting your home and its contents to the company you select, it is important that you can rely on them to be trustworthy.

We asked several specific questions when we were verifying the references:

1) On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being perfect and 1 being disappointed, how would you rate your satisfaction with the painter and the results and WHY?

2) What do you wish the painter had done differently?

3) Did they finish their work within the scheduled time?

4) Was the work completed professionally?

5) Were there any hidden charges or extras that were not included in the original price quote?

6) What was the best thing about working with this painter?

7) Would you recommend them to your family?

Number 7 is my personal favorite, there are folks you’d recommend to work for your friends, but do you like them enough to recommend them to work for your family.

Ultimately the painter we selected had not only great references, but brought along a portfolio of painting jobs to show us the styles and options and not just a bunch of paint chips.

As your shop around for a house painter, always remember to check their references.
Article originally published at Source by Michelle Chance-Sangthong

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