Too much or too little light in your home each has its own set of problems. Either too much or too little lighting in a given room or portion of a room can cause discomfort or danger. From eyestrain caused by too much bright light to the danger of tripping, the incorrect amount of light is more than just a comfort concern. It’s also health and safety issue.
Too much lighting can even affect sleep. Well then, just turn off the light and go to sleep, right? Actually, there’s more trouble with brightness than meets the eye. All that daylight-mimicking indoor we’ve been creating in our home could be causing us trouble even after we’ve shut off the lights.
It’s understandable that we Lower Mainland folk want to sometimes offset the reality of living in a rainforest by adding a little extra sunshine indoors. (Like on those days when Vancouver lives up to the nickname “Raincouver“, and the nickname “Sunny Surrey” starts to look a lot like false advertising.) So, what’s the problem with brightening up our rooms with wavelength “blue” light created by popular “daylight” bulbs? They’ve been found to suppress melatonin and disrupt sleep.
Re-creating summer sun indoors in January may not be all that healthy. Our bodies seem to long for the time when our ancestors simply blew out the candle and went to bed. But they had lighting problems of their own. They often suffered the eyestrain caused by too little lighting. Humans need lumens– and in the proper dose. (Lumens, in case you haven’t heard, are the new standard of measurement of a light bulb’s brightness.)
Take Control of Your Lighting
These days, we have more control than ever over our home’s lighting– allowing us to get the just right amount of light for each area of each room. Different rooms have unique — and sometimes more complex — needs. Often kitchen and dining areas, living rooms, and even bathrooms require more elaborate, multiple light sources to help create a balance of functionality and mood.
There is a multitude of lighting available, from chandeliers to track lighting fixtures to designer bulbs. But it’s wise to give priority to the types of lighting you need in each room.
Typically, lighting function falls into one of three categories:
1. General or Ambient Lighting refers to the main source of lighting of a room. Beyond that are the sometimes forgotten lighting sources: task and accent lighting.
2. Task Lighting literally brightens up a work or reading area. Desk lamps and under-cabinet kitchen lights are common types of task lighting.
3. Accent Lighting highlights a particular area, like a work of art or a bookcase. It often creates a shadow around the object for a dramatic effect.
It’s not unusual to have all three types of lighting as part of the layered look in a given room, such as the kitchen. But where to start? In most rooms in your home, your first consideration should be ambient lighting. However, for rooms that are mostly used for specific tasks, it might be best to focus on task lighting first. A home office or workshop are two examples. And if you have a hallway that also does duty as a photo or art gallery, you might want to make accent lighting a priority.
Getting the light right in your home isn’t just about brightness, as important as that is. It’s about understanding the types of light, too. At Stapleton Electric, we’re here to help you light up your home’s many rooms and spaces efficiently and safely. Call us at 778-985-9395 or contact us on our website.
Lighting by Number. How to Get it Just Right. Lighting Tips for Every Room.
Getting to Know Lumens is a Bright Idea (More or Less)
If you’re used to thinking in wattage, you’re not alone. But lumens, not watts, are today’s way of measuring a bulb’s brightness. Why not watts? We can thank (or blame) the LED for this new standard of measurement. Watts measure energy use, not light output. With new, energy-efficient LED technology, we can no longer count on simply using watts to indicate how bright a bulb is.
Let’s say you’re used to using a 60-watt incandescent bulb in a living room table lamp. Its lumen rating is 800. If you’re replacing it with an LED bulb, simply look for one with the same lumen rating of 800– which translates to an 8 to 12 watt LED. You’ll probably want to at least double that to 1600 lumens (100 watts incandescent, 16 to 20 watts LED) in a work area.
We’re throwing a lot of numbers at you but don’t worry. Getting the lighting right for each room in your home doesn’t need to be complicated. As you become more familiar with lumens, it will become easier to determine the brightness you’ll need.
Lighting by numbers is pretty straightforward. Simply pick a room, pick a main category from the three main types of lighting, then focus on the brightness needed for each type of lighting in the room. You may need bulbs ranging from 450 to 1600 lumens or more in a single room, depending on each bulb’s purpose within the room.
Here are some suggested minimum lumens for specific areas of your home from the Lighting Research Center, as found on HouseLogic.com
• Reading 98
• Closet 381
• Dressing 1,680
• Dining table 315
• Kitchen cutting counters 360
• Range 450
• Sink 450
• Toilet 45
• Vanity 1,680
• Outdoor entrance 996
• Paths 297
• Flower beds 972
• Stairs, entries, hallways 1,200
At Stapleton Electric, we’re here to help illuminate you on the types of lighting and the lumens you need. And we’ll help you light up your home’s many spaces efficiently and safely. Call us at 778-985-9395 or contact us on our website.