Make your home shine with Inside Lighting

Inside LightingThe winter months are a perfect time to focus on indoor lighting.  Consider updating and upgrading inside lighting to be more modern and efficient.  The Guru installs new interior lighting as well as retrofitting current fixtures.

Sometimes all it takes to upgrade a room is to switch from a hanging light fixture to recessed lighting (often referred to as can lighting). Recessed lighting has become more popular over the last decade for many reasons.  Recessed lighting makes a room feel bigger because it actually takes up less visual space in the room. Because the light cans are set into the ceiling itself, nothing hangs down to interrupt the visual space of the ceiling. Another advantage of recessed lighting is its wall washing effect.  The wall washing effect is a great way to cast light on a wall you want to highlight for design reasons such as works of art, fireplace or a bookcase.

Inside Lighting

Temperature of Halogen Recessed Light

Do you already have recessed lighting in your home?  It is likely you still have the normal halogen cans in your ceiling.   A great way to freshen up the lighting in a home is to convert halogen recessed lights to LED. Most people are aware of the cost savings benefit to switching to long-lasting LED.  However, there is even more reason to consider switching to LED when talking about recessed lighting.  There is a huge temperature variance between halogen and LED lamps.  Halogen cans are so hot when the light source is on that they need to vent to the attic to prevent fires.  The picture shows the measurement of heat coming off a halogen recessed fixture.  Another issue with the halogen recessed lighting is when they are off the attic air is venting back into the house.  At this time of year, that means when the lights aren’t on, cold air is venting back into your home through the recessed lights.

An LED retrofit makes sense for two reasons.  One is that you use way less energy and you don’t heat up your room which is forcing your HVAC system to work harder.

Inside Lighting

Temperature of LED Recessed Lighting

The picture shows the measurement of heat coming off an LED recessed light.  That is a huge difference compared to halogen and depending on how many recessed fixtures you have, it is adding considerable heat to your home while you spending a of money cooling it off in the summer.

Another benefit to an LED Retrofit is that you are not letting your cool air through the vent holes into the attic when they are off. Retrofit LED cans are way better than just swapping to an LED lamp.  When you swap to an LED lamp you are still leaving the vent holes in the existing ceiling can open to the attic.

An LED retrofit gives you piece of mind knowing that the fixture is built for the LED it contains and will give you the best overall lighting and offer the longest life for the fixture.

Alternatives to Holiday Lights

As the holiday season is in full swing, it is time to make sure the outside of your home is as decked out as the inside of your home.  If you like the idea of having a cheery yard, but don’t want to spend the time or the money hanging lights from the roof line, there are other easy things you can do to make your yard more festive as an alternative to holiday lights.

Replace the bulbs in your existing outdoor lights

Purchase some red and green LED light bulbs and replace the bulbs on your front porch lights. You can make it even more festive if you change the landscape lighting that shines on your home.

alternatives to holiday lightsAdd a little greenery

An easy way to greet your guests with holiday spirit is with greenery on the door.  A fresh, fragrant greenery adds an aromatic touch especially now with so many artificial trees.  This can be in the form of garland around a post or porch rail or a wreath or swag on the door.  You can add some battery powered Christmas lights to your wreath to really make it stand out!

Wrap the base of a tree

Grab a few strands of lights and an extension cord and wrap a few trees in your yard.   You don’t have to get out a ladder and try to light up each limb.  With the majestic oak trees in San Antonio, just wrapping the bottom part of the tree can showcase both your tree and your holiday spirit.  Start at the base of the tree and wind them tightly around the tree.

Grab some projection lights

Laser or LED holiday lights are in very easy way to project colorful lights or images onto your house so it looks completely festive, without all the work. You can purchase a projector at most any store these days for a reasonable price.   You just stake it into your front yard and the light display will across the front façade of your home.

Add whimsy with yard art

Reindeer, Snowman, Characters, oh my – there are so many pre-lit yard art available anymore it is hard to pick just one.  But remember, more is not necessarily better!  Just a few festive pieces will add to the festive season without griswalding your home!

If you would like to get on our holiday light reservation list for next year, please let us know.  We will contact you next fall to firm up the details!  In the meantime, try out some of these alternatives to holiday lights this season.

Is your outdoor lighting ready for the holidays?

 

Holiday

With mild weather in the forecast, you may consider moving your holiday gatherings outside this year.

To be prepared, check your outdoor lighting as nothing ruins a holiday get-together out more than poor lighting. Even if you aren’t thinking about having a party, but are more about some avid decorating, you need to make sure that your lighting is up-to-date and working properly.

While it will be mild weather, the evenings will cool a bit and will be perfect weather for a patio heater or fireplace. With a few additions to your patio you can extend your use of your patio to all year round including the upcoming holiday. Adding a fire feature to keep it warm can create a focal point, serves as a place around which to gather, entertain, relax, and enjoy time outdoors.  In case you missed it, check out our recent post on choosing a fire feature for your yard

As the holiday decorations start to go up this time of year, we often receive calls regarding electrical problems with the bathroom, garage or outdoor outlets not working. The usual cause for this problem is that the outdoor Christmas lights have tripped a GFI outlet or circuit breaker in your home. Standard circuit breaker will trip if you over load the wiring with too many lights on one breaker. GFI circuits are a little bit different. Morning dew, rain, or a sprinkler may introduce a bit of moisture into the Christmas electrical plugs and this could result in a ground fault. Weather proofing or covering of the electrical outlet and plug connections should reduce nuisance of GFI-Tripping.

HolidayHow to check your circuit breaker: First, unplug the outdoor lighting. Second, go to the electrical panel, check the circuit breaker and reset it if needed. Now, test the outlet for power. If it’s working, allow time for the wiring to dry out and reconnect your lights.

GFI outlets are outlets with the test and reset buttons in them. Many times, the GFI outlet in a bathroom or garage that feeds power to the outdoor outlet has tripped because of a wet plug on the holiday lights. Now, what to do: First, unplug the outdoor lighting. Second check all the GFI outlets by pushing the test and then the reset buttons. Check for GFI outlets in the bathrooms, basement, garage and the outdoor outlets themselves. Now test the outlet for power. If it’s working, allow time for the wiring to dry out and reconnect your lights. For more details on resetting your GFI outlets, check out our previous post here.

National Night Out Good Reminder for Security Lighting

Security Lighting

Tonight many communities across Texas will celebrate National Night Out and it provides a good opportunity to talk about security lighting.  NNO reinforces the importance of making our communities a safer place to live and play.  The event is designed to heighten awareness of crime and how the community can help.  Burglars search for homes that give them the best opportunity to break-in without being detected. Lighting adds an element of surprise and establishes an occupancy pattern that deters intruders from targeting a home in the first place.

Residents that use outdoor lighting as part of their security plan significantly decrease their changes of being burglarized. In fact, homes without security measures such as alarms and outdoor lighting are up to 300% more likely to be vandalized. Home security statistics tell us that burglars will usually bypass a house if it requires too much effort. Adding light will make it more difficult for them to get onto your property and access your home unseen, thereby deterring potential intruders from making your home their next target.   Many people think of motion sensors and flood lights when it comes to security lighting for your home but it doesn’t have to be this way. Lighting your residence can bring together beauty and the function of security, giving you peace of mind.

The following are a few tips to consider when looking at security lighting for your home:

First, you’ll want to complete a security analysis of your home’s exterior. Walk your property at night and look for areas that might be vulnerable. Thieves will look for easy access points, so make note of any dark spots, ways they could get into your home, or hide on your property. Check all doors, sliding doors, windows, window wells, trees close to the home, anywhere someone could possibly get in or hide without being seen. Donʼt forget about your driveway, garage, or carport.  If you have a large property or acreage, you might want to consider lighting the perimeter of your yard or property, especially if you have lots of trees or a wooded area where someone could potentially hide. Lighting the perimeter makes it even more difficult for a potential intruder to get onto your property, and even more difficult for them to get near your home.

Now that you have a good idea where all the vulnerable areas of your home are, you can start adding light by up-lighting, down lighting, or using path lights. If your front entrance is dark, up-lighting front columns or other architectural features will not only accent the beauty of your home, but will also add security. For dark paths and walkways around or between the house and garage, you can use path lights, down lights, or a combination of both.

Consider having your lighting system setup to be controlled by timers. With a timer you can set the time your lights come on and turn off every day. This makes your home appear to be occupied if your out of town for long periods of time, our just for the evening.

Security Lighting can add curb appeal, safety, and security to your home. If you would like a free consultation on how Landscape Lighting Guru could help you with a security lighting plan for your home, give us a call at 210-710-7737.  A well-designed security lighting system can be beautiful while still providing you peace of mind.

 

Ants wreak havoc on lighting systems

 

Ants wreak havoc on Outdoor Lighting Systems

Recently, a potential customers questioned the value of spending a little extra time and money protecting their outdoor electrical systems and lights from fire ants.  Those ants may seem tiny but they can cause a huge problem to your landscape lighting system. In the Guru’s experience servicing lighting systems, one of the biggest problems we see is ants nesting in one of the electrical components.

AntsIn Texas alone, costs associated with fire ant damages to electrical and communications equipment totaled $146.5 million per year (Source: Texas A&M University).  And it’s not just fire ants, other ant species are attracted to your outdoor lighting.  This can short out your entire outdoor lighting system and it will require a service technician to check all the connections and fixtures to find the source of the problem and fix it.

It may not sound like a big deal, but the ants can actually ruin the equipment by either chewing through the components or bringing in dirt to create a nest leading to moisture issues.  Ants love electricity. Everything from A/C units to water well electrical components are on their list of things to destroy. Not only does it cause damage to the equipment but it also is a safety concern.

There are various opinions on why the ants are attracted to electrical components but the key to fixing the issue is through prevention. We now have an ant preventative that we add to new systems and can add to maintain and protect existing systems. They are added to every tree mounted fixture, every jbox, every power post and every transformer.

Another prevention technique used by Landscape Lighting Guru is improving the wire connections which are a common access point for ants.  We use heat shrink connections instead of wire nuts to help prevent ants access to the wire.  Not only does this improved connectivity, but it also will not allow insects (Ants) getting in. Additionally it will prevent all the corrosive elements that can deteriorate in your system.

Last but not least is best prevention technique is to have regularly scheduled maintenance to reapply the pesticide and look for any potential problems.   Ants can be an easy fix if you catch it before they have done damage. When we provide yearly maintenance we have been able to prevent expensive damage and outages.

Don’t let ants ruin your professionally installed landscape lighting system. Protect your investment by keeping the ants out!  We offer lighting maintenance service plans for existing systems that includes the ant treatment.  To see the damage ants can do, check out a few videos from a few of our recent service calls.  If we can help you with your lighting, please give us a call 210-710-7737.

 

Comparing Landscape Lighting Bids Apples to Apples

comparing bidsSo you are looking at installing outdoor lighting and you’re doing your research to pick 3 companies to get bids from. After all, it is the smart and responsible way to find any contractor.  First off, the best way to find a reliable company is to ask your friends and neighbors if they have a company they would recommend.  Be sure to look at the company’s online presence including customer reviews and testimonials.

After you have picked a few to call and have initial meetings, now you have three great bids to consider, but are they the same? Probably not. How do you know that the lighting contractors you’re talking to are giving you pricing for the same thing?

Here are a few things to watch for:

First off, make sure your bid is in writing.  Are they professional? Examine the contract and determine if it is fair. Also, ensure that the legal agreement includes the payment schedule and bid price as well as the scope of work and details on the fixtures.

One of the big differences in lighting bids are the quality of the fixtures that they are installing.  There is a huge variance in fixture price that is directly based on the quality of that fixture.  If you are comparing a bid using cheap fixtures that won’t make it through a season vs fixtures that carry a lifetime warranty, there is likely a huge initial cost savings with the cheap fixtures that will have you paying more in the end when you have replace it.

The fixture manufacturer’s offer different warranties on their fixtures so be sure to ask what type of fixtures the contractor will install and what warranty comes with the fixture.

Finally, can you communicate with them? This may seem like simple stuff, but don’t take it for granted. First, can you call or email them and have them get back to you with answers to your questions in good time? And second do you understand each other? And do you understand the explanations they give you?

Every business is a little different and the goal is to find the one that is right fit for you!  It is not as easy as just picking the lowest price bid as that may not get you what you are looking for.  You aren’t just looking for a fair price but also the company that offers great service and high quality.

The Top 3 Lighting Trends You Need

Top 3 Lighting Trends you need to know about

We have rounded up the three biggest lighting trends that are hot right now and are must haves for your home.  They are fairly simple changes that have a huge impact on your life.

Lighting Trend #1: Lighting Sensors

Is there a room in your house where the lights are always being left on?  By replacing your current light switch with an occupancy sensor switch, you will never leave the lights on again!

top 3 lighting trendsAn occupancy sensor will automatically turn on the lights when you enter a room and it will turn them off once you leave.   Not only is it convenient but it saves energy and saves you money on the electric bill.

These sensors are ideal for rooms where the lights are accidentally left on such as pantries, closets or bathrooms.  They are also ideal for rooms you enter when your hands are full such as your laundry room, kitchen or a work/storage room.

The sensors have setting options on them to adjust the sensitivity as well as how long the light should remain on after you leave the room.  This is handy if you are making trips back and forth into the room so you don’t have the lights turning on and off constantly.

To read more about it, check our post http://landscapelightingguru.com/occupancysensorswitch/

lighting trends

 

Lighting Trend #2: Lighting inside cabinets and drawers

Don’t you hate it when your cabinets or drawers are so dark that you can’t see the contents, and you can’t find what you need? Tired of using a flashlight when you need to venture into a dimly-lit space? Well, trendsetters these days have found elegant solutions to that problem: they’re adding lighting inside those formerly-dark spaces.  In many cases, when you open a drawer or cabinet, the light inside is triggered to instantly turn on.

 

 

 

Lighting Trend #3: LED

lighting trendsLED lighting continues to be top trend in indoor and outdoor lighting and will remain that way for years to come.  The US Department of Energy forecasts that LED lighting will comprise 75% of all lighting sales by the year 2030.

This is such an easy trend to get on board with – retrofitting your current fixtures is as easy as changing out your light bulb.  LEDs (light-emitting diodes) have been constantly evolving and improving since they were introduced. The latest LED technology offers a broad range of colors and intensity levels with ever-increasing energy efficiency.  It saves you money right away in electrical costs and longer term as you don’t have to replace the bulbs as often.

  • High Efficiency – LED uses 75% less energy than traditional lighting Better for the environment and saves you money
  • Extra long life – LED have a life expectancy of 50,000 hours that is an average of 15 years. In addition, the light output remains consistent throughout its lifespan. The long lifespan requires very little on-going maintenance.
  • Variety of Color Options and size – LEDs can match the warm tones of incandescent lighting, overcoming the cold, blue-white light of the past.
  • Surface temperature – LED lamps remains cool which allows for improved safety and no energy loss due to heat.

If you would like to learn more about these lighting trends or any other indoor lighting options, please give us a call at 210-710-7737.

 

 

Putting your Property in the Best Light – Value of a Good Lighting Designer

Value of Good Lighting Designers - Landscape Lighting GuruHave you decided to invest in outdoor landscape lighting but now not sure who to trust with the job? The appearance of your home and landscape after outdoor lighting has been installed is dependent on one thing—the landscape lighting design. There are many different companies installing landscape lighting but few have actual experienced lighting designers to create the right design for your home and property.

Landscape Lighting Guru provides experienced, trusted outdoor lighting designes. Our team creates custom solutions that beautifully illuminate and accentuate your landscape and your home. LLGs experts will work closely with you to achieve the best lighting effects possible for your environment.

 
Value of Good Lighting Designers - Landscape Lighting GuruSo where do we start?
As we tour your property together, we’ll discuss what you want the lighting to accomplish. Is it mainly for safety and security? For accenting your beautiful views of your landscape from the interior of your home? Is it to accentuate your home? Do you have a special sculpture or water feature you want highlighted? Our lighting designers will suggest different ways you can accomplish what you are looking for and give you new ideas to consider. They will then create a fully custom lighting design for your home and property.

 

 

With the right design, we can install your custom lighting system that will transform your home. We utilize the highest quality lighting fixtures, materials and installation methods, which are backed with a limited life time manufacturer warranty. This unmatched combination of customer service and expertise will achieve the look and feel that you’re looking for—and that your neighbors will be envious of.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with a landscape lighting designer, please give us a call at 210-710-7737 or email us at info@landscapelightingguru.com. We look forward to working with you.

Still not sure? Here are a few recent testimonials that speak to the design element of our work. For more reviews, check out our testimonial page.Value of Good Lighting Designers - Landscape Lighting Guru

 
“The lights truly are beautiful. Each time I look at them at various times of the evening or morning, I see something new and interesting. Thank you for bringing your gift to us. We enjoyed working with you as well. Thanks for your availability and for your tree climbing crew.” ~Carol Stehling

“Thank you very much to all the folks at the Landscape Lighting Guru. Our pool and surrounding areas was awesome during the day…and a dark abyss by night. The LLG team designered an awesome lighting plan and executed the install to perfection. The crew was timely, did great work, was very cordial, and we could not have been more pleased. We even had them re-do the lighting at our home entrance as well. Would highly recommend to all” ~Brent Poss

“We have known Darryl, our “landscape lighting guru,” since 2010 when we were looking for help and inspiration for landscape lighting at home. Darryl provided both and did a spectacular job in both front and back yards. The live oaks are particularly dramatic. Many of our neighbors have stopped by to say how much they like the landscape lights! In 2016, we brought the landscape lighting guru back for holiday lighting. We were delighted with the show stopping results – like a festival of lights in our front yard! Even strangers driving by stopped to compliment the lights. If you’re looking for a creative eye and beautiful living, you can’t do better than the landscape lighting guru.” ~Laurie A. Weiss
We service the Texas Hill Country including, Fredericksburg, Boerne, The Dominion, Fair Oaks, San Antonio, Horseshoe Bay, Marble Falls and New Braunfels, Texas.

Get Ready for Summer – Mosquito Control

As the days get warmer, its time to get your outdoor living spaces ready for the hot summer ahead. Create a comfortable outdoor space for you and your guests with these tips:

Get Ready for Summer Spruce up the patio for summer

Start the summer off with a fresh start – Clean the porch floor, exterior windows and doors.  A pressure washer can make this task even easier!  If you have porch furniture, clean it off and wash the cushions.  Lay down a fresh doormat, and plant a pot of flowers.

Keep mosquitos away

Having warmer weather and longer days means we’re entering mosquito season. Nothing will drive you inside as quickly as getting bit by mosquitoes.  Keep the mosquitoes from biting by installing a mosquito repellent system. Take preventative measures by regularly checking your property for standing water and emptying it.

Landscape Lighting Guru, Outdoor Lighting, Dominion, Fair Oaks Ranch, Boerne

Set the mood with outdoor lighting

A well lit space not only keeps you safe but also sets the mood.  You don’t need a lot of outdoor lights, you just need the right ones in the best locations.  If you already have a lighting system, we recommend an annual checkup to replace any bulbs that are out and redirect the lights based on your landscaping that has grown from last year.

You could also add some fun new lighting to your outdoor living space– we love the look of string lights or these custom designed LED fish basket lights the Guru installed. We designed these fish basket lanterns to hang in the client’s trees in the back yard. We love the way they sway in the trees and light up the entire yard.

Keep it Cool

Of course summers in San Antonio and parts of the Hill Country are going to be Hot!   Outdoor fans have come a long way and not only offer some cool air but have great designs too. 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.

Landscape Lighting Guru, Water Feature, Outdoor Lighting, Fredericksburg, New Braunfels, Horseshoe BayKeep the water running

The best way to prevent costly repairs to your fountain is with routine maintenance.  Our goal in service and inspection is to keep your water feature working as well as on the day it was installed.

Don’t have the time for another to-do list?  Landscape Lighting Guru offers top of the line products and services for many of these and would be happy to discuss your outdoor needs. Give us a call at 210-710-7737 to create an outdoor living space that is fabulous!

Testimonial Tuesday – Excellent Feedback!

Today we feature a testimonial we received last week from a recent project.  We are so thrilled that the customer is happy and enjoyed their experience.

“Thank you very much to all the folks at the Landscape Lighting Guru. Our pool and surrounding areas was awesome during the day…and a dark abyss by night. The LLG team designered an awesome lighting plan and excuted the install to perfection. They crew was timely, did great work, was very cordial, and we could not have been more pleased. We even had them re-do the lighting at our home entrance as well.  Would highly recommend to all”  ~Brent Poss

To read more reviews on LLG, please visit:

Google – https://goo.gl/Iq4Ir4

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/landscapelightingguru/

Angies List – AngiesList.com/Review/8797346

Our website –

Testimonials