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Lighting FAQs

1. How do I choose the correct lighting for my home?
 
The correct lighting allows you to enjoy your home to its full potential, adding beauty and drama to every space. Lighting should complement your lifestyle. Prior to shopping for your lights, take into consideration the atmosphere that you want to create and the decorative elements that you wish to emphasize. Remember that light is absorbed by dark coloured rooms and is reflected or intensified by light coloured rooms. In rooms serving more than one purpose, more than one type of lighting should be used. (read below- light layering) Our experienced Lighting Consultants will be happy to work with you to select the best lighting for your home.
 
2. What is light layering?
 
Light layering refers to using more than a single source for the lighting in a particular area. It can be a tremendous force in design. It is the factor that makes all of the other design elements work together.
 
Layer one: GENERAL LIGHTING
General lighting, also known as ambient lighting, provides a comfortable level of brightness. It is the replacement for sunlight, and can be obtained through the use of chandeliers, ceiling or wall mounted fixtures, recessed or track lighting, and with lanterns on the exterior of your home.
 
Layer two: TASK LIGHTING
Task lighting can be provided by recessed or track lighting, pendant lighting, table lamps or floor lamps. Task lighting should enhance your ability to preform a task such as reading or hobby work by eliminating shadows and preventing eyestrain.
 
Layer three: ACCENT LIGHTING
Accent lighting creates interest and adds drama to your decorating scheme by allowing the light to illuminate a specific object (such as a piece of art). Some of the ways to accomplish this goal are by using track lights, recessed lights, wall mounted lights and landscape lights (for the exterior). The huge variety of bulbs available can also greatly change the kind of light output, direction of the light source and the intensity of light output.
 
3. Is a fixture easy to install?

A certified electrician is the best way to avoid problems, both current and future. Even for an "easy" installation an electrician should be used. Not using a certified electrician may void the manufacturer's warranty on your product.

4. Why do the recessed lights in the upper floor of the house turn off and on again by themselves after they have been on for a while?

The recessed lights in your top floor are likely made for insulated ceilings and therefore have IC boxes above them. These IC boxes have thermal cut-off switches built into them (required by CSA) which shut down the unit if a certain temperature is exceeded. This will often happen if you use a light bulb in that fixture that exceeds the recommended wattage. Check the maximum wattage label on the recessed light and make sure that the light bulb you are using does not exceed that wattage.

5. How should I clean my crystal chandelier?

Over the years we have found that the best way to clean chandeliers is by hand and with a soft damp cloth. Once your light bulbs are completely cool to the touch, you may begin. Use lukewarm water and if you need a cleaning agent, add a small amount of a soft soap such as a dishwashing liquid. The primary concern in cleaning is that you do not damage the finish on the fixture frame. It is best to clean crystal chandeliers piece by piece, which, depending on the size of your chandelier, may take a lot of time. An alternative is to fill a spray bottle with warm water and a drop of soap. Spread the area underneath with newspaper, towels, or plastic sheeting, spray the water mixture, and you may let it drip dry or wipe with a clean, dry cloth (not paper towel, as it will leave lint). There are some companies that specialize in fixture cleaning, so if you do not want to wash it yourself you should check to see if this service is available in your area. The most important thing to remember while cleaning is NOT TO TURN THE FIXTURE, as this will loosen the connection that is holding it onto the ceiling.

6. How do I choose the correct size of fixture for my dining room?

There are a few rules of thumb that you can follow for determining the right size of a fixture and hanging height over a table. It's important though that you should start with Rule #1 - break all the rules! There are many factors that contribute to the decision about size and placement, including the style and size of the table, the style of the fixture, the size of the room and personal design style.
Given the above caveat, the general rules about size and height for a suspended fixture over a table are:
Size: about 12" less than the diameter of the table (narrowest part)
Height: 30" to 33" above the table

7. How do I choose the correct size fixture for my hall or foyer?

In most cases, fixtures should be around 6 feet, 8 inches off the floor. If the door will swing under the light you will need it to be seven feet off the floor. This will determine whether you choose a flush, semi-flush, or, for a higher ceiling, a multi-tiered fixture.
Regarding the diameter of the light, consider the following general guidelines: add the length and the width of the area together. For a fixture that is 18 feet long and 14 feet tall the calculation is 18 feet plus 14 feet, which is 32 feet. The measurement of the fixture should be the same but in inches, so about 32 inches. This is a guideline because other things affect how we perceive the fixture, such as style and composition. For example, glass and metal fixtures of the same size will not 'feel' like the same size.

8. Why do I require more light as I get older?

A lifetime of exposure to ultraviolet light changes the eye. After age 30, the human eye begins a deterioration that requires more light to see at the same levels. The lens of the eye starts to become more yellow, which when combined with the amber colour of incandescent light, reduces visual acuity. Having several layers of light can help this problem. Adding something with a cooler temperature, such as a halogen or fluorescent (about 5,000 degrees Kelvin, closest to daylight and the coolest light) is a great solution.

9. Why are pendants so popular in a kitchen?

A light hung three feet above a counter provides four times as much light on a surface as the same light hung at six feet.

10. What can I do with the used fixture I am replacing?

Habitat for Humanity is a wonderful organization that accepts many used product donations. Their goal is to strive for a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live. While their needs and services may vary from location to location, locate your nearest branch to find out what they need in terms of lighting. They usually accept used fixtures, and may be able to provide a tax receipt for them. There may be other charity organizations that would appreciate receiving your used lighting, so check your local area to find out. Donating your used lights is a great way to help someone in need and reduce garbage that would otherwise end up in landfills.

11. What is the definition of CSA?
 
CSA stands for Canadian Standards Association. It is the Canadian safety testing association, although there are branches for International Standards as well, which is why it is highly recognized and widely accepted. This organization has the authority by law of establishing standards and the qualification of products. CSA certification means that a product has been tested and meets applicable standards for safety. CSA field representatives conduct more than 50,000 factory visits worldwide each year to ensure that CSA certified products continue to meet the standards of the organization.
 
12. What is the definition of UL as a safety standard?
 
UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories Inc., which is the American safety association, empowered to ensure consumer safety.
 
13. What is Energy Star?
 
Energy Star is a joint program between the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy. Using Energy Star products helped consumers save $16 billion on their utility bills in 2007. The Energy Star logo is a sign to the consumer that the product has undergone testing to ensure that it is energy efficient.
 
14. The trilight bulb in my new table/floor lamp doesn't work - it goes on after the second 'click' and stays on after the third click.

New sockets on lamps are often stiff. If the bulb doesn't seem to work for the three settings of a trilight socket, it may be that the light bulb is not screwed in tight enough. The trilight bulb has two 'hot' contacts on the base of the bulb and if one of them is not touching the socket base the bulb will not work in all three positions. Note: be careful not to over-tighten the bulb.

15. Why does my dimmer hum?

The dimmer may be making an audible noise for a variety of reasons, some of which can be remedied. First of all, you should make sure that you have a good quality dimmer - poor ones are often the source of this problem. In the case of dimmers, this is an area in which buying brand name products makes sense. Secondly, you should ensure that you have the right type of dimmer for the type of lights being controlled. Low voltage lights need dimmers designed for low voltage loads. Beyond these factors, it may be appropriate to have the situation inspected by a qualified electrician.