15 Dec 2014

With spring rapidly approaching in the Northeast, we will want to spend as much time as possible outside. Consider installing landscape lighting in strategic locations to enhance your property while giving you more outdoor time. Designed to work with the layout of your patio and yard, landscape lighting can extend your indoor environment outside, giving you a more usable and enjoyable living area.

Before you select your lighting, come up with a plan for how you want your yard to appear, keeping both safety and visibility in mind. Lighting can be added to direct people to where they should walk and to add ambiance and safety to your property. If people can see your pathways or where the terrain of your yard changes, they can move around in the space with much more ease and confidence. With landscape lighting in place, you, your family and your guests can comfortably maneuver your outdoor living area as if it were an extension of your indoor living space.

There are many options available for your outdoor lighting project. Consult with a landscape lighting design professional who can advise you on what type of lighting should be used for each area, such as solar or hardwired, to get the look and ambiance you want. They can help you place lights to highlight the strengths of your yard and redirect attention from the less graceful areas of your property. With the right lighting design, you can create a space that can be enjoyed all summer long.

You will want a plan that includes different types of lighting, such as:

  • Uplighting – for illuminating objects as trees, shrubs, your house and various other plants situated above the general landscape plane.
  • Patio and walkway lighting – for ensuring people can safely walk around your property.
  • Flood lights – to ensure safety and visibility for an area that has activities such as a playground or cooking area.

Lighting your yard is not only practical but it allows you to creatively augment your property so that it gracefully stands out in your neighborhood. Your plan should ensure that your lighting is appropriate for each location so you don’t have overly bright or distracting lights in the wrong locations.

Outdoor living spaces are a wonderful addition to any home. Landscape lighting can help to make these spaces both practical and artistically pleasing so that you can eat, drink, and relax outside, well into the evening hours.

How are you planning to enhance and extend your living space?

15 Dec 2014

One of the important aspects of being a homeowner is making sure that your home is as safe and secure as possible. While some of the simple things, such as locking your doors and securing your windows may seem like no-brainers, outdoor security lighting can be just as important. Whereas locks and other measures stop a burglary in progress, well-placed security lighting serves to both deter would-be criminals and provide you with safe passage when navigating the outside of your home. Here are a few things to think about when installing home security lighting:

Include Motion Sensors

Motion sensors are able to detect motion through the use of passive infrared technology. This will both give you an early warning that someone may be near your home, as well as shock any prowlers when they get too close to their home.

Enhance Surveillance

In addition to bringing light to shadows and increasing the visibility around your home, an outdoor lighting system can be a huge help to surveillance cameras. There are many cases where otherwise perfect videos have been ruined because there was insufficient lighting. If your home has a surveillance system, make sure that the areas that are being monitored are well-lit at night to ensure that you get high quality footage.

Utilize Smart Timers

One of the main purposes of your security lighting is to make your home look as occupied as possible, especially when it is not. In order to facilitate this, consider placing all of your security lighting on a timer so that it turns on and off at specified time. To further secure your home, use timers on a handful of interior lights as well, to make it look as if people are inside.

Choose Professional Installation

While there are many DIY kits out there to install, having your system professionally installed can make a world of difference. The first thing that you will notice about a professional system is that the quality of equipment is much higher. Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, having your lighting professionally installed will ensure that it is properly connected to a reliable power source. Because your lighting is useless without this power, so it pays to make sure that both the primary and secondary power sources are good to go.

Where Should I Illuminate?

One of the biggest questions that most people have is where they should illuminate. The simple rule is this: illuminate all dark, shadowed areas around your home. This includes any nooks and crannies. That being said, there are several places that typically benefit from home security lighting. Garages, for example, are a common place to install motion-sensor activated security lights. These lights, when properly adjusted, will turn on whenever a vehicle or person enters your driveway, illuminating your path. Doorways, porches and other entryways are also ideal for the installation of security lighting. Whether you are installing more motion activated lights, or always on spots, it is important to keep these areas illuminated at night.

Home Security Lighting – Safety, Security and Beauty

Lighting up important areas of your home, such as your garage doors and entryways can go a long way toward improving the safety and security of your home. On the one hand, doing so can very likely deter anyone who considers breaking into your home. On the other hand, security lighting will also light your way when entering your home at night, helping you avoid trips and falls. It may even make it easier to find the keyhole when opening your front door.

Have you installed exterior lighting to increase your overall security and safety?

28 Nov 2014

In honor of Earth Day, Local Electrical will educate you on the value of converting your home’s lighting to the new energy efficient CFL light bulbs.

What is CFL?

Compact fluorescent lamps, or CFL’s, emit light when electricity ignites the mix of gases inside the bulb, creating high energy, invisible, ultra-violet light, which is absorbed by the bulbs fluorescent coating and transformed into visible light.

CFL light bulbs meet the energy standards set by the 2007 light bulb law that was designed to make screw-in light bulbs more efficient. The law is being phased in over three years and refers to the manufacture date of the light bulb. In other words, if you have the older light bulbs, you don’t need to throw them away. But when you buy new light bulbs, you should look for the newer energy efficient models.

Why Choose CFL Lighting?

CFLs are quickly becoming the low-energy bulb of choice for those concerned with the environment and want to reduce their energy bills. CFL light bulbs emit the same amount of light as incandescent light bulbs but use 75% less energy and last approximately 10 times longer. And although the cost of the bulb is slightly higher, its longer life span and less energy usage will result in lower annual costs.

How to Choose the Right CFL?

Choosing the right CFL lighting for your needs can be confusing. Light brightness and output for CFL bulbs are measured by “lumens” rather than “watts” which is used to measure output on incandescent bulbs. Hardware stores offers help on choosing the right size, color temperature and brightness to ensure you replace your old incandescent bulbs with the ones that suit your lighting needs.

Light Bulb Law – The Future

The three year phase in of the light bulb law is only the first part. By the year 2020, bulbs will be required to be 60 – 70% more efficient than the standard incandescent bulb. The CFL light bulb meets this requirement today. If you want to be ahead of the game, begin converting your home to CFL lighting that meets the energy requirements now and save money for your and the planet for your children.

09 Jan 2014


The holidays are one of the most festive, and therefore, most decorated times of year. It is during this brief period of time that we literally deck the halls with as many lights and decorations as we can stand. Unfortunately, the holiday season is also one of the busiest for firefighters. All the beautiful lights that you string across your home can also present aserious electrical hazard if the proper precautions are not taken. Before flipping the switch and showing off your hard work, make sure you have followed a few simple electrical safety tips and precautions. This will not only ensure that you remain safe from electrical shocks and fire, but also that your lighting display is built to last.

Holiday electrical safety tips to safeguard you and your family:

  • If you use a real Christmas tree, make sure that you keep it watered the entire time that it is inside your home. When dry, these trees can go up in flames in seconds. By keeping it watered, you preserve its fresh look while reducing your chance of it becoming ignited by an electrical short or excessive heat.
  • Before placing lights on your home, check each strand thoroughly for any damaged cords, frayed ends or loose connections.
  • If you have older lights that do not have fused plugs, replace your old strings with new ones. Fused plugs add an additional layer of safety by preventing sparks in the event of a short circuit.
  • To avoid any unwanted damage to your holiday lights during storage, store them in a tightly sealed container. This will help prevent any damage from water or rodents.
  • Make sure that you replace all burned out bulbs with a bulb of the correct wattage.
  • Never use tacks, nails or screws to hold your lights in place. Instead, use insulated hooks that will help prevent shorts.
  • Elevate the plugs of any cords that are running across the ground. This will help keep them free of snow, water and debris that could cause damage and shorts.
  • If you must run any extension cords across the ground, tape them in place to prevent people from tripping over them. When people trip over the cord, it not only presents an immediate falling danger, but also an increase in wear on your extension cord.
  • Only buy lights that have been laboratory tested. You can typically find the UL listing on the outside of the box. This ensures that the lights have passed rigorous safety and performance standards.
  • Always check the recommended usage for your lights. This means only using indoor lights for inside use and outdoor lights for outside use. Many of today’s lights are rated for both indoor and outdoor usage. Indoor only lights, however, have thinner insulation that is more easily damaged when exposed to the elements.
  • Always turn off your lights whenever you are sleeping or not at home.
  • Avoid overloading electrical circuits. This can lead to overheating and tripped breakers.
  • Plug all outdoor lights into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. These outlets are designed to shut off the flow of power whenever a short is detected.

As a result of haphazard installation and ignoring many basic safety rules, the holidays often result in more fires than there normally are. This fact should not, however, stop you from decorating your home the way that you want to. With a little holiday electrical safety planning and following the above electrical safety tips and using a little common sense, you can avoid almost all electrical fires.  So be festive and decorate well, but make sure you do it safely so that you can enjoy your display for years to come.

09 Jan 2014

A great way to add a little bit of style to your home is to install custom lighting fixtures. Because the light fixtures that are installed standard on most houses are very nondescript, neutral or even boring, this is a very simple change that can have a dramatic effect on the overall look and feel of your living spaces. Because there are so many different styles and varieties of light fixtures, you have any number of options for the different areas of your home. Naturally, because each room has a different purpose, you will want to choose different light fixtures that are best suited to each individual environment.

Although you can accomplish a certain amount of this effect with freestanding fixtures, you will get the most bang for your buck by having an electrician replace your existing fixtures with those of your own choosing. In this situation, you have three main groups: recessed lighting, surface mounted lighting and outdoor lighting.

Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting fixtures are unique in that they are completely recessed into the wall or ceiling that they are installed into. This type of lighting is particularly popular whenever you wish to highlight or accent some feature of your home. It is also ideal for places such as hallways and small bathrooms where space is at a premium.

Surface Mounted Lighting

Most of the lighting in your home is probably surface mounted. This means that it is mounted to a box in your ceiling, but is not recessed into the ceiling itself. Surface mounted lighting gives you some of the most options when it comes to decorative styles, form factors and even lighting technologies.  Regardless of the decorative scheme of the room that you are changing, you are sure to find a surface mounted fixture that complements it very well.

Outdoor Lighting

Naturally, outdoor lighting is any type of light fixture that is designed for and works best in an outdoor setting. Although many of the designs and form factors are similar to indoor lighting, it is important to remember that the two are not interchangeable. An outdoor fixture must be built with more robust, weather-resistant materials in order for it to regularly withstand the elements. This means keeping it sealed from moisture and having a tough exterior that resists fade and other obvious wear and tear.

Whenever you decide to update an area in your home, consider starting with the lighting. Adding more robust lighting to a small bathroom, for example, can make the room feel larger. In contrast, using indirect lights with dimmer switches in a family room can make it much easier to provide the lighting required to relax, entertain or watch movies.

Whether you are choosing custom lighting for a new construction project, or just refreshing the look of your home, you can find lights of nearly any shape and style at your local home improvement store. Take a little time to browse the available options and then give your electrician a call. They can not only help you install your lights in a safe and secure manner, but also ensure that you have made a choice that is built to last.