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.

Curb Appeal is important for Halloween

We are only two weeks away from the night when your front porch will have the most traffic it has all year long…trick-or-treaters on Halloween!  With all those neighbors ringing your front door bell, we thought it was a good time to highlight the importance of curb appeal.  Boosting your curb appeal is not only great for resale, but can be something you can enjoy too.  Here are a few quick tips to easily improve your curb appeal.

Curb Appeal for HalloweenAdding Seasonal Decor

This can be as simple as a wreath on the door and a pumpkin on the stairs for fall.  If you are looking for a Halloween decor for this season, we thought these floating witch hat luminaries at polkadotchair.com looked so cool.  You know we love our lighting!

Add Outdoor Lighting

Speaking of lighting, it has a huge impact on your curb appeal.  Not only that but it provides safety from your guests and security from any unwanted guests.

So where should you start with front yard lighting?  The first place is to look at your front porch.  You should have lighting around your front door. This helps a guest find the front door and it helps you identify a visitor before opening the door.  Lighting around your front door can be as easy as sconces on either side of your front door.  It can also be a chandelier that hangs over the front door space.

Next turn your attention to the pathway between your driveway or street to the front door.  Are there any stairs or steps that need to be lit for safety?  Consider path lights to mark the way for guests and also to highlight your landscaping.  After that, you can turn your attention to up lighting on the facade of your home and down lighting from your trees to make your home really stand out.

Plant some Flowers

You can create an instant garden using decorative pots and seasonal flowers.

Paint the Front Door

Your front door is the first thing people see when coming to your home. Make your house stand out from the rest by painting it in an inviting color that compliments your home.

Adding curb appeal doesn’t have to be a big, expensive project.  With just a few small changes, your home’s curb appeal could have a big improvement.  At a minimum, do make sure you check the safety of your front porch and make sure your light bulbs haven’t burned out.  If you need help or suggestions for adding or changing your outdoor lighting, please give us a call 210-710-7737.

 

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.

 

 

Lighting up your Grill – Grill Lighting done right

grill lightingHave you fired up the grill this season and are you prepared for a fun summer of Backyard BBQ’s?  We loved the article below from Houzz with 8 great ways to improve your grill setup.  Our favorite tip and the one we wanted to expand on today is the second one – Let there be light focusing on grill lighting. The author jokes, “Did you know that improper lighting accounts for 52 tons of burned meat every year? OK, I made that up, but proper lighting is key for any grilling station, and not just so you can see what you’re cooking.”  While we agree that the statistic is likely not accounted for, the problem is real folks.  So what is the best way to light your grilling area?

Whether you have an expansive outdoor kitchen or a modest grill area, the right lighting can dramatically change your food preparation, cooking, and dining experience.  The first priority for your outdoor cooking area is lighting the working space. The area needs plenty of lighting, preferably from high above so the light is not in your eyes.  To eliminate shadows and prevent overcooking of foods, use two or more lights from different directions. LED lights should ideally be mounted 10 to 15 feet above the ground and pouring light over each of the cook’s shoulder.

If your barbecue is some distance from your table, make certain that you have adequate light to guide you in carrying the food to and from the eating area.  This may not require separate planning since there usually is enough spill light from the two areas.  If you have a larger work space, under-countertop lighting is not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional. It makes finding things in the cabinets or mini fridge a lot easier.

A landscape lighting designer or specialist will have the experience and knowledge to consider safety, security, and beauty when creating a custom lighting design. Some projects are trickier than others and getting a designer involved as you’re building or making renovations will prevent any headaches later down the road.  If you need help lighting your San Antonio or Hill Country outdoor grill area, give us a call at 210-710-7737.

Looking for a simpler fix?  Until you are ready to light up your outdoor cooking area, a clip-on grill light will make the job easier in the meantime.  They have different ways to mount to your grill – make sure you check your grill and find the one that would work best.  Also, look for one with a flexible neck on it so you can move it around as you need to.  Last but not least, make sure the grill light is LED so it lasts a long time.  With Father’s Day just around the corner, this would make a great gift for the BBQ man in your life!

 

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!

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas with LED Holiday Lighting

LED Holiday LightingIt is beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the homes the Guru is busy decorating this holiday season. Majestic live oak trees look magical when their twisting limbs are highlighted with LED holiday lighting.

Looking for something easier?  Swap out your current outdoor lighting lamps to colored LED for the easy holiday lighting. This picture is the effect seen on the ground when red and green lamps create a moonlighting effect.

LED Holiday Lighting

LED there be light

With the days getting shorter, we are using our indoor lighting a lot more in the evenings.  If you haven’t already made the transition to LED bulbs for your indoor lighting, NOW is the time.

Not sure where to start?  Overwhelmed by the choices at your local home center?  Landscape Lighting Guru will guide DIYers with a quick and easy LED cheat sheet to get you started!

LED Cheat Sheet

Source: energyfix.com

LED Cheat Sheet

Source: lifehacker.com

Traditional incandescent bulbs are being phased out to make way for more energy-efficient LED bulbs. In addition to efficiency, LED lighting can be more durable, versatile and longer lasting.  LEDs last a lot longer – 1 LED bulb is the same as 25 Incandescent bulbs! The average life span for LED is 22 years compared to an incandescent that less than a 1 year life.

 

LED bulbs come in many different light brightness just like the old incandescent bulbs. However, it can be hard to determine what LED bulb you need because incandescent light bulbs are measured in watts while LED is measured in lumens.

LED lamps are available in many different colors of light.  A traditional incandescent bulb produces a warm, soft light around 2,700-3,00 Kelvin (K).  For a cooler, more neutral white choose an LED bulb with 3,500-4,000K.  If you prefer a blue daylight look, LEDs with a Kelvin of 5,000-6,000K will be best.

LED Cheat Sheet

Source: LEDexchange.co.uk

If you need help with your transition to LED, give us a call at 210-710-7737!