Electrical

Lighting

Man’s Banishment Dark

For an unimaginably long, long time, humans lived without artificial lighting.  Total darkness was normal after the sun had set every day. Stars, the moon and an occasional meteor or comet were the only illuminations. Monitoring the movements of these heavenly lights across the sky was man’s primary night time entertainment. The sky was a free, big screen, 3D show with re-runs every night. Human fascination with this theater in the sky no doubt led to the many miraculous observations that early man accurately noted about our universe long before the telescope was invented. So, the saying is true that only darkness can reveal the light…thank you, darkness, for that!

Around 100,000 years ago man learned how to control and utilize fire. This meant that light could now be brought into the cave during the night. As happens with technological advances, the utilization of fire sparked (literally) two new professions: Lighting design and firefighting.

Lighting Design

Once the profession of lighting design began, seeing in the dark improved, albeit at a slow, smoky pace. Art began to blossom and cave paintings, deep in the earth, were now decorating the stony walls of early man. Then late in the 1800’s, a revolution happened when electricity began to be used for incandescent light bulbs. When that happened, everything changed.

mage of artistic lighting fixture hanging from ceiling
Decorator lighting fixture

Light bulbs made it possible to illuminate just about anything and even initiated jokes about how many (fill in the blank) does it take to change a light bulb. In 1999 LED lighting began to become main stream and within a few years essentially made changing the incandescent light bulb an almost obsolete activity.

Light Emitting Diodes

LED’s or light emitting diodes are different because they have no filament to break or burn out. They also use very small amounts of power. These attributes make them an attractive light source despite their higher cost. Their only problem has been in trying to emulate the nice warm, sexy colors of the old incandescent bulbs. Advancements continue though, and as of this writing in 2017 manufacturers seem to be making good progress in resolving that issue.

For our purposes here, lighting refers to built-in, residential type light fixtures as opposed to floor and table lamps. Good light design should bring a visually stimulating element to your home while also providing for the practical aspects of adequately illuminating work areas. Lighting design is part art, part science, and is a skill developed with practice in the field.

For everyday living and working, good lighting makes a difference. Unfortunately, most homes in the US have not had this level of professional design help with their illumination.  If your home suffers from poor lighting, it may be a good idea to do some research on the subject or have a talk with one of these fine professionals.

To-Do

  • For energy conservation, it may be good to convert any incandescent or fluorescent lighting to LED as your budget permits.

Maintenance

  • 2x per year: Clean your light fixtures of dust, cobwebs and insects that can accumulate on or in your fixtures.
  • Change bulbs as needed.
Image of fine home showing pendant and recessed lighting
Designer Lighting
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