Protecting your home with lights

Protect your homeAccording to the FBI, home break-ins are the most common threat to our home.  A burglary occurs every 13 seconds in the U.S. and the summer are the peak months for burglaries to occur.  Now is the time to protect your home from possible break-ins.

Security and Landscape Lighting is one of the best ways to deter criminal behavior around your home.  Lighting your exterior is very important and should be in the front and rear of the home. The lights should be on a timer and there may also be places you should consider motion sensor lighting as well.

Interior lighting is also necessary to show signs of activity inside.  Make your home appear occupied with the use of timers for the lights.

Call today for a free lighting evaluation to see how you can enhance your property’s night time aesthetics while deterring criminals.

Beat the heat with outdoor fans

outdoor fansThe weather has been warming up as we launch into spring in San Antonio.   While the weather right now is very enjoyable, we all know that the oppressive summer heat is just around the corner. Outdoor fans are a great way to beat the heat in Texas.  Landscape Lighting Guru installs outdoor fans and we can help recommend the best type and brand of fan best suited for your home.

One of the brands we recommend, Haiku, offers unique designs that reflect any style.  To top it off, they’re smart and energy efficient. They recently released a wet-rated fan designed for indoor-outdoor lifestyles, and can handle whatever Mother Nature throws at it.  Stainless-steel components and sturdy airfoils mean it will never wilt, wither or rust.

outdoor fan

 

Did you know that fans not only cool you off but also protect you from pesky mosquitoes? According to entomologists, mosquitoes aren’t active when wind gusts exceed 10 miles per hour. You can create your own wind with a fan set on high and that should provide enough of a gust to keep bugs away from you and your guests.  Plus, fans help dissipate the carbon dioxide you exhale and reduce body heat, both of which have been found to attract mosquitoes.

Spring Forward this Sunday

Spring Forward and check your timerDaylight Saving Time (DST) starts this Sunday causing us to lose an hour of sleep this weekend.  The mornings will be lighter and the evenings will be darker making it a good time to check the timer on your outdoor lighting system.

There are several different type of timers used for outdoor lighting and what needs to be updated depends on what type of timer you have.  If your lighting system has been installed in the last few years, you likely have an astronomical timer or a photocell.  Those types of timers should automatically adjust for daylight savings time and you shouldn’t need to do a thing!

If you have a manual timer, you will need to adjust for daylight savings time.  To adjust your timer, you first need to find your transformer which will be located outside (usually near your utilities) or inside your garage.  The transformer is a box and you will unlatch it to open it and find your timer.  To adjust the time, you rotate the dial clockwise until the correct time is shown in the window in the middle of the timer.  You can also adjust the start time and end times for your lights by moving the green and red pins.  The green is the start time and the red is the end time.   In San Antonio, the new sunrise time will be 7:45 am and the sunset time will be 7:45 pm.

If you need help adjusting your timer, please give us a call and we would be happy to walk you through the process – 210-710-7737.  Here are a few interesting articles for more information on Daylights Saving Time.

A new bill was recently filed by a Texas state representative to abolish the DST ritual: Will Texas elect to drop DST?

Great overview done by Time of why DST was started and data on its effectiveness:  Why do we have DST?

 

How to hang Outdoor String Patio Lights

Outdoor patio string lights not only light up your backyard or patio, but also transform your outdoor space into magical setting for entertaining, dining, and relaxing. With a bit of planning, you can create an outdoor living space that you will enjoy from day to night!

So how do you create this magical space with string lights?

Outdoor String Lights

Zig Zag Pattern

1.  Measure Your Space – Know the dimensions of your space and add 2-6 feet of length to your measurements to account for the natural swag of the lights when hung.

2.  Pick a pattern for your string lights. Here are a few of the more popular DIY patterns:

  • Zig Zag  patterns are a fun choice when you want to add full coverage illumination across your space
  • X Patterns work especially well in wide spaces or areas that are square shaped.
  • Square pattern is created by outlining the perimeter of your space.
  • Scalloped Edge patterns work well along a fence or wall.

3. Find your anchor points to create your pattern and make sure you use only stainless steel hardware.

Outdoor String Lights

X Pattern

  • Attached to Trees
  • Hanging against deck railings
  • Fence posts
  • Outlining a roof line
  • Pole – Can have one installed or install yourself

4.  Buy your lights

Patio bulbs are available in several shapes and sizes to complement any size space or decorative style. Globe patio lights are a classic choice with the G40 being the most common in a medium size bulb.  There are also S11 bulbs that have more a balloon shape or S14 bulbs for a more vintage look.  The wire is most commonly found in green but often have white and black available as well.

Outdoor String Lights

Square Pattern

Another important choice you have is whether you want incandescent lights or if you want to upgrade to LED.  Not only will LED lights provide up to 98% energy savings but they also give you the ability to string many different strands end-to-end only utilizing one outdoor outlet.  To dig deeper into the energy savings, assuming you had 100 lamps (typically 4 strands for 100 ft total) running for 6 hours every evening, the incandescent lights would cost ~$330 a year in electrical costs versus the LED lights which would cost ~$3 a year.   So any upfront cost to upgrade to LED when purchasing the lights will quickly be made up if you plan to use your new lights often.

5.  Hang your Patio Lights
The installation process can vary depending on where and how you decide to hang your patio lights. You should consider adding a stainless-steel cable or guy wire to hang your lights to give them more stability. You may also want to have some zip ties, carabiners, hooks, extension cords and a staple gun available for use during installation. (but never staple wires to the trees, or wrap the wire around the tree branches)

Last but not least, plug them in and sit back & enjoy!  If you are interested but not sure where to start, give us a call at 210-710-7737 for a free consultation.

Outdoor String Lights

Scalloped

Ring up the Energy Savings with LED Rebate

LED RebateDid you know that CPS makes it easier then ever to cash in on the savings of switching to LED?  They offer an in-store LED rebate program at many different retailers with an instant rebate.  There are no forms to mail in or receipts to copy.  Visit a participating retailer and look for energy star certified LED lamps.

What is the In-Store Rebate Program?

Our program offers valuable rebates on energy efficient products, like ENERGY STAR® certified lighting. But the best part is, there’s no mailing, no waiting. You save the second you ring up and will continue to see your bill go down each month.


Things to know before you get started:

To learn more about the rebate programs offered by CPS, visit their website at cpsenergy.com

Lightbulb Moment – save money with LED

LED

Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of upgrading your lighting to LED?  Not sure where to start?

The easiest way to start is to replace the incandescent bulbs in the five most often used fixtures in your home with LED.  According to the EPA, these energy star rated bulbs will save you about $75 in energy costs each year.

If you want to take a current open fixture and instantly give it a vintage vibe, try the LED vintage-style or Edison-style lamps.  This a great trick for pendant lighting in your kitchen or a chandelier in your dining room since many of those are open.

Do you really have to abide by the recommended wattage label taped to the lamp cord?  Short Answer is YES – it is a safety issue.  The label lets you know how much heat the fixture can handle without damaging the socket and internal wiring.  However, the long answer is if you are using LED, you have a little more flexibility because they use significantly less energy than standard bulbs so you can go up in wattage if you want a brighter light.  We posted some general conversions of standard bulb watts to its LED counterpart in Lumens here.

 

 

 

Transform your Trees with Lights

Tree Lighting

Up Lighting

Tree Lighting

Down Lighting

Often when you think of outdoor lighting, you think of highlighting the features of your home. Trees are often a lower priority but tree lighting can make such a dramatic difference.  Just one light can make your tree just shine!

There are two main types of tree lighting; up lighting and down lighting.  Up lighting is lighting fixtures placed at ground level and the light shines up into the tree.  Down lighting is fixtures placed strategically in the canopy of the tree to produce a beautiful moon light effect down from the tree.

When a tree is properly lit, it is highlighted during all the seasons. The Guru is mesmerized by the effects of up lighting on this Red Oak tree. In the spring and summer this tree was incredibly beautiful as the light shone up through the branches and the leaves, but now in the winter it creates the feeling of a completely different tree.

What can proper landscape lighting do for your trees?  To find out, give us a call at 210-710-7737.

REfurbish instead of REplace your outdoor lighting fixtures

Refurbish SconcesRefurbish SconcesDo your outdoor wall lights look worn out but you still like the design?  Instead of replacing them, you can reuse them.  Landscape Lighting Guru offers the service to rebuild and refurbish your fixtures.

The sconces pictured here were old and worn but now they look brand new! We took them down; took them completely apart; sanded, cleaned, painted; converted to LED; and put them back together, delivered and hung back on the house for a fraction of the cost of new sconces.  These now energy efficient sconces once again dress up the entrance to this beautiful home.

If you are interested in having your outdoor wall lights refurbished, give us a call at 210-710-7737 for a free quote.

How Smart is your Home? Home Automation for your lighting systems!

Home AutomationHave you ever wished you could control your landscape lighting, water features, or virtually anything that plugs in with your phone?  You can start creating a smart home with this new home automation system.  The system offers a convenient way to automate your low voltage lighting and other landscape features in an easy-to-install wireless system. Best of all, it is conveniently used with any iOS® or Android™ mobile device.

This technology allows you to turn on security lighting at the press of a button, control pathway lighting for easy nighttime entry and create different ambiance for different occasions.  This technology extends to many other outdoor living spaces controlling fountains, seasonal lighting and other outdoor elements.

This wireless smart home technology can be easily retrofitted with existing lighting installations.  It is compatible with any cord connected to a 120V device.  It includes astronomical timing so it auto adjusts dusk and dawn times based on your location and seasonal changes.

If you would like to learn more about how this system can make your life easier, give us a call at 210-710-7737 for a free consultation.  The following video offers more details about the system as well.