As winter sets in, the quality of lighting in your home becomes apparent. During the spring and summer months natural light helps to offset the darker areas of your home. But, when there may be upwards of twelve hours of darkness in a day, dark spots become obvious. These are areas in the home that need to be better lit up for you and your family to maximize the enjoyment of your living spaces.
Are you in the process of a home renovation? If so, there are a lot of aspects that go into giving your space a makeover, whether it’s only one room or the entire house. One thing you might be thinking about is updating your current light fixtures. How can you choose the lighting that will be best both aesthetically and in functionality? Here are a few types to consider.
When people buy a home they tend to look at the interior and exterior of the property and overlook its ‘guts’ and nothing is gutsier in a house than its electric system. But, because the average homeowner knows or understands little about electricity – and this is not an indictment, after all electricity is a sophisticated subject – it is usually not discussed until something goes wrong! So, how can we help you as an electrical service company? Here are just a few of the services we provide to help put your mind at ease.
If you celebrate Christmas, then you likely enjoy the decorating that comes with it. Nothing puts you in a holiday mood quite like a tree lit up, carols playing in the background and festive lights highlighting your home’s exterior. The downside of this is the amount of time and energy it takes to install outdoor lighting. Never mind the threat to life and limb when it comes to putting up the lights and taking them down. Often, it must be done between weather events that include everything from snow storms to hail. So, while sitting by your fireplace enjoying a hot cup of chocolate, you may have been thunderstruck with the idea – why not keep your Christmas lights up all year round? Well, let’s investigate the pros and cons of this idea more closely.
• Use white lights to decorate your outdoors, that way they can be enjoyed year-round. While red, green, blue and yellow lights scream ‘Christmas’, white lights are pure and quietly elegant. Put these up all around your home and you can turn them on and off whenever the mood suits you. Just don’t use white lights that are indicative of winter weather, such as icicles.
• Today’s outdoor lighting is able to be programmed to change colors to match the season or holiday – red for Valentine’s Day, pastels for Easter, red, white and blue for the 4th of July. Even so, the most advanced lights are still only intended to be left out for perhaps up to 3 months, then it’s time to take them down. The reason is simple – the cords that cover wiring are subject to cracking and wearing out in regular weather. This makes them electric hazards instead of electric delights.
That’s right. Lighting that is left out too long can become dangerous to health and home. If left on the roof or trees they may spark and catch fire, leaving your home in ruins. In fact, if you take the time to read the warranty and instructions included in each package of lighting – manufacturers recommend you not keep them up over extended periods of time. For now, outdoor lighting should be used in limited time frames.
As for the hassle of having to put up and take down the lights, consider it all part of the season! For all electricity-related information, contact the experts at J.M Mullen Electrical Services.
Welcome to the 21st century where things that were never thought possible are now becoming quite commonplace. Need an example? Look no further than the concept of heated sidewalks and floors. If you live anywhere that experiences snow, ice, hail or freezing rain as part of your outdoor climate, these systems may be ‘just what the doctor ordered’.
Heated sidewalk and driveway systems are also known as ‘snowmelt’ systems. They work to prevent the buildup of snow and ice on everything from trails to driveways and patios to sidewalks. Snowmelt systems are even applicable to roadways. However, they do not come without a price. Therefore, the way to ensure their economic viability is to consider installation in limited amounts, such as within a specified area of a sidewalk (like the 3-foot center or middle area of the walking path).
The great thing about snowmelt systems is they operate throughout an inclement weather event such as a snow or ice storm. Their benefit extends to the cost-savings that are incurred through labor, such as highway and local snow removal and the use of deicers and chemicals that perform this duty, again saving money and the environment all at once.
Of course there are drawbacks, the first of which is the prohibitive costs that are incurred with revolutionary ideas such as this. Making snowmelt systems widely available across an area would appear to be more expensive than the current method of attack to precipitation. But as with any new idea, costs continue to go down as more homeowners, businesses and municipalities take this concept seriously.
The same can be said for heated floors in homes. Once an idea limited to futuristic cartoons and shows, it is becoming more commonplace in homes. Many homeowners consider heated floors to be a smart energy choice as the heat radiates upwards and warms an entire space versus the use of costly space heaters or simply raising the temperature on your thermostat.
If you are interested in learning more about snowmelt systems or radiated floors, contact the experts at J.M. Mullen Electrical Services. When it comes to your electrical needs, we have you covered.
Handyman or Electrician? The difference might shock you.
Our increasingly busy lifestyles can easily be thrown off kilter when something around the house breaks down. You may know someone who does all kinds of repairs and can take on your latest emergency. Some handymen say they can do it all: electrical work, plumbing, anything. But, that isn’t necessarily true and it could be an expensive mistake.
Cold weather is just around the corner and for many people, it also means higher utility bills. Prepare for the winter weather and put money back in your pocket with these tips.
1. Turn Down Your Thermostat
You may want to simulate summer temperatures during the chilly winter months but cranking your heat up to the 70s and 80s will cost you additional dollars. Take advantage of your cozy sweaters and fuzzy slippers and keep your thermostat at 68 degrees during the hours you’re at home. When you go to bed or while you’re at work, shave off a few more degrees and save even more.
2. Smart Homes
If your home is wired with smart capabilities, take advantage of the scheduling features and let your system automatically raise and lower the temperature around the clock. You can also schedule when lights come on and go off, saving even more money.
3. Energy Star Appliances
The fall is a great time to replace appliances that are past their usefulness and energy efficiency. You can find great deals on appliances just before the holidays when stores are moving out year-old inventory and preparing to bring in appliances with the latest gadgets. Look for appliances that are Energy Star qualified to save the most.
4. Eliminate Drafts
Keep the warm air in your home by checking around doors and windows for drafts. There are a variety of low cost options to keep your house toasty and draft free. Check your electrical outlets as well as doors and windows. You may be surprised to feel cold air seeping in through the receptacles. There’s an easy fix: insulate the outlets. Foam gaskets are easy to install behind the plate but aren’t the best solution for keeping out cold air. Use a special fire-resistant foam to insulate the area in and around the receptacle.
5. Check and Change
Establish a routine for changing filters on your heating system and having your unit checked to be sure it’s functioning at its peak efficiency. Depending upon your home’s conditions, filters should be changed every one to three months for the best results.
Take a little time to prepare for the coming cold weather and save yourself some money in the process. The experts at JM Mullen Electrical Services can check the various systems in your home to ensure they’re performing properly and saving you money. Call us today to schedule a home checkup.
If you’re looking for something to put the finishing touch on a redecorated room or freshen up your current look, consider reaching into the past for a unique, vintage light fixture. These fantastic lighting finds add a wow factor to an otherwise ordinary room. Some of these fixtures require updating, but the effort is worth it.
Vintage light fixtures can be found at architectural salvage shops and antique stores. Flea markets and estate sales are also good places to check out and may be less expensive. Speaking of price, depending on what you’re looking for, the cost may be comparable to modern light fixtures or, if you fall in love with a really spectacular piece, thousands of dollars.