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What To Look for In Bathroom Mirror Lighting

The bathroom mirror is not just a functional necessity. It’s a focal point of our daily grooming routines, a reflection of our personal style, and a space where we seek both functionality and aesthetic appeal.Amidst the array of design choices available, one often overlooked aspect is the lighting that accompanies this essential piece of our daily ritual. The right bathroom mirror lighting can transform a dull and mundane space into a captivating sanctuary that combines functionality, style and ambiance.Below, we delve into the world of bathroom mirror lighting, exploring the different types, the essential factors to consider when selecting the perfect lighting solution and some of the best options available. Whether you're renovating your bathroom or simply looking to elevate its ambiance, we've got you covered with expert insights and practical advice.Before reading on, you can check out our ultimate bathroom lighting guide for important background information.Types of bathroom mirror lightsWhen it comes to bathroom mirror lighting, there are various options to consider. Each type of lighting offers its unique advantages and aesthetic appeal, allowing you to find the perfect solution that suits your needs and enhances the functionality and style of your bathroom.Overhead lightingOverhead lighting, also called over-mirror wall lighting, is a popular choice to illuminate your bathroom mirror. These fixtures are typically mounted directly above the mirror. They provide a broad and evenly distributed light that eliminates shadows and ensures optimal visibility.Overhead lighting is ideal for larger bathrooms or those with high ceilings, as it offers ample illumination for the entire space. It creates a bright and well-lit environment, making it easier to perform grooming tasks with precision.Wall sconcesWall sconces are a popular choice for bathroom mirror lighting. They are installed on either side of the mirror at eye level, casting even and flattering light on the face. Wall sconces provide a balanced and symmetrical lighting effect, making them suitable for tasks such as shaving or applying makeup.Wall sconces are beautiful and come in various designs, including modern, vintage and minimalist styles. This allows you to find the perfect match for your bathroom decor. With their balanced and symmetrical lighting effect, wall sconces enhance both the functionality and visual appeal of your bathroom mirror area.Lighted mirrorsLighted mirrors, also known as backlit mirrors, offer a contemporary and visually stunning lighting solution for bathroom mirrors. These mirrors feature built-in lighting behind the mirror surface, creating a soft and diffused glow. The evenly distributed light eliminates harsh shadows and provides excellent visibility for grooming tasks.Lighted mirrors are available in various shapes and sizes, allowing you to choose one that fits your bathroom aesthetic. They offer a sleek and modern look, making them a focal point in the bathroom while serving as a practical lighting source.Adjustable lightingAdjustable lighting fixtures provide the flexibility to direct light exactly where it is needed. These fixtures often feature movable arms, swivel heads, or pivoting mechanisms, allowing you to adjust the angle and direction of the light beam.This versatility is particularly useful for tasks that require targeted lighting, such as applying makeup or grooming specific areas of the face.Adjustable lighting fixtures can be wall-mounted or installed on the mirror frame, offering convenience and customisation.Ceiling lightsCeiling lights that hang above the mirror provide a unique and stylish lighting option. These fixtures typically consist of a pendant suspended from the ceiling, directly illuminating the mirror area. Also, there are many kinds of ceiling downlights that can be either fixed or adjustable to shed light on a particular area or just downward, as needed. Furthermore, there are the regular bathroom bulkhead-style ceiling light fittings with a high IP rating and excellent lumen output. Ceiling lights not only provide functional lighting but also serve as eye-catching decorative elements in the bathroom.They also add a touch of elegance and sophistication, creating a captivating visual impact while effectively illuminating the mirror area from above.What to look for in bathroom mirror lightingWhen choosing bathroom mirror lighting, it's important to consider both the functional and aesthetic aspects to create a well-lit and visually appealing bathroom area.Here are the key factors to look for when selecting the ideal lighting solution for your bathroom mirror.FunctionWhen considering the function of bathroom mirror lighting, it's crucial to assess the specific tasks that you will do in front of the mirror.Adequate brightness is essential to ensure proper visibility for activities like shaving, applying makeup or styling hair. You’ll therefore need to look for lighting fixtures that provide ample light output without creating harsh shadows or glare.Adjustable lighting options, such as dimmers or adjustable arms, are beneficial as they allow you to customise the brightness and direction of light based on your needs. This flexibility ensures that you have the ideal lighting for various grooming tasks.StyleThe style of bathroom mirror lighting should harmonise with the overall design aesthetic of your bathroom. Consider the existing decor, such as the theme, colour scheme and materials used, and select lighting fixtures that complement these elements.Whether your bathroom has a modern, traditional, minimalist or rustic style, there are lighting options available to suit your preferences.Pay attention to the shape, finish, and materials of the lighting fixtures. Sleek and streamlined designs may be great for a contemporary look, while ornate or vintage-inspired fixtures can add a touch of elegance and character.Type of lightingLED lighting has become a popular choice for bathroom mirror lighting due to its energy efficiency and longevity. LED lights consume less energy, making them environmentally friendly and cost-effective in the long run.They also emit bright, white light that accurately renders colours, allowing for better visibility during grooming tasks.Consider the colour temperature of LED lights, which can range from warm white to cool white. Warm white (2,700K – 3,000K) creates a cosy and relaxing ambiance, ideal for creating a spa-like atmosphere. Cool white (4,000K – 5,000K), by contrast, offers a brighter and more refreshing feel, perfect for tasks that require precision and focus.Lamp colourThe lamp colour of bathroom mirror lighting significantly impacts the overall ambiance of the space. Warm colours create a welcoming and cosy atmosphere, while cool colours lend a more refreshing and invigorating feel. Decide on the desired mood and ambiance you want to achieve in your bathroom and select lamp colors accordingly.As indicated above, warm white is commonly used for a soothing and relaxing effect, while cool white or daylight hues are favored for a brighter and energising atmosphere.Also, for those of you that also like taking bathroom mirror “selfies” (we won’t judge), you’ll also want to factor in how the lamp colour may affect your skin tone.Environmental sustainabilityOpting for environmentally friendly lighting options not only reduces your carbon footprint but also contributes to long-term energy savings. LED lights are a prime example of eco-friendly lighting solutions that are highly efficient and durable.LED lights consume significantly less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, making them an environmentally conscious choice.They also have a longer lifespan, reducing the frequency of bulb replacements and minimising waste.Your electricity billBy choosing energy-efficient lighting options, you can also significantly reduce your energy consumption and save money in the long run. LED lights, for example, are known for their exceptional energy efficiency. They require less electricity to produce the same amount of light compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. This means that not only do LED lights have a longer lifespan, but they also consume less power, resulting in lower electricity bills.It's worth noting that while LED lights may have a higher upfront cost compared to other lighting options, their energy-saving benefits outweigh the initial investment.LED lights are designed to last for thousands of hours, providing long-lasting illumination and minimising the need for frequent replacements. This not only saves you money on bulb replacements but also reduces the overall energy consumption of your bathroom lighting.What are the best lights for a bathroom mirror?The best lighting solution for a bathroom mirror depends on various factors, including the size of the bathroom, the placement of the mirror, and personal preferences.For small bathrooms or powder rooms, a combination of wall sconces or lighted mirrors can provide focused lighting without overwhelming the space. In larger bathrooms, a combination of overhead lighting and wall sconces can create a well-lit and visually appealing environment.Case study: Astro LightingAstro Lighting is a renowned and reputable lighting manufacturer offering some of the best bathroom mirror lights on the market.Astro offers a wide range of light fittings to meet various interior and exterior lighting needs. With their exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail, Astro Lighting has established itself as a well-known brand in the lighting industry.Whether you are looking for bathroom lights, bedroom light fittings, wall recessed lights, or other interior and exterior fixtures, Astro Lighting has a diverse selection to cater to your specific requirements.Looking for some beautiful bathroom mirror lighting?When it comes to enhancing the beauty and functionality of your bathroom mirror, selecting the right lighting is crucial. Whether you opt for overhead lighting, wall sconces or lighted mirrors, ensure that the chosen fixtures align with your functional needs and personal style preferences.Visit our online store to explore a wide range of high-quality bathroom mirror lights that will transform your bathroom into a well-lit and stylish sanctuary.

How to Create the Healthiest Indoor Space (Including Lighting and Ventilation)

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the importance of living in a clean, safe environment. The air we breathe in our homes and workplaces can drastically affect our health and wellbeing.Pollutants such as dust, pollen and viruses can sneak into our homes at any given minute and cause a host of illnesses. If you’re reading this article, you may be wondering how to create a healthy living space for your loved ones. Below, we’ll look into how you can create a healthy living space in your home generally, and also through using the right lighting and ventilation systems.How to create a healthy living space So, generally speaking, how do you go about building a healthy indoor space? Here are the steps you need to consider:1. Personalise your living spaceWe spend most of our lives inside. So it’s absolutely essential to select an indoor space that reflects who you are. Whether you’re working from home, lounging around or having guests over, it’s those personal touches that really makes home a home.You can personalise your home by placing pictures and furnishings you love around the home, particular fabrics you like and ornaments you’ve collected throughout your travels.2. Purchase houseplantsWhy leave the great outdoors … outdoors? You can bring the outdoors into your home! Invest in a variety of quality houseplants to make your home feel a little more natural. Houseplants come in all different shapes and sizes, so there’s truly no limit here.Having plants around the home can also purify the air around you, so everyday you can breathe a little better, knowing that less toxins are circling in the air you breathe.3. Take advantage of lightingEvery home needs a good lighting source, whether that’s through natural light or artificial light. Lighting has been known to alter mood, and can transform negative vibes into positive ones. Having a home full of bright light can help lift your spirits and keep you feeling amazing.Below, we’ll look into how you can use lighting to create a healthy living space in more detail, so stay tuned.4. Invest in a ventilation systemSelecting the right ventilation system that’s appropriate for the size and layout of your home is a critical first step. It is important to ensure that the system you choose has sufficient airflow to effectively remove stale air and pollutants from your home.The ECO dMEV (Decentralised Mechanical Extract Ventilation) system, for example, is a ventilation system that uses fans to extract stale air and moisture from a particular room and replace it with fresh air. These systems are designed to be decentralised, meaning that they are installed in individual rooms rather than being centrally located. Traditional ventilation systems rely on natural airflow to circulate air throughout the building. This can be difficult to control, particularly in larger buildings with multiple rooms. ECO dMEV, however, offers more control over airflows, as each room has its own fan that can be adjusted to suit its specific requirements. This means that air can be directed to where it is needed most, ensuring that all areas of the building receive adequate ventilation.How ventilation systems can help you create a healthier living spaceVentilation systems offer several benefits, including improved air quality, increased energy efficiency, and better control over indoor airflows. We’ll outline some of these benefits in more detail below.1. Improved air qualityPoor indoor air quality can lead to a range of health problems, including allergies, respiratory issues, headaches, and fatigue.Ventilation systems can help improve air quality by extracting pollutants and moisture from the air, reducing the risk of health problems. They are designed to run continuously, ensuring a constant supply of fresh air throughout the home.2. Remove condensationCondensation is what happens when the air reaches a certain level that it no longer can hold in moisture. That’s why we see our windows and mirrors ‘condensing’.The problem with this is that it is responsible for creating mould throughout the home, which can lead to nasty smells and even health issues. A robust ventilation system can help you eliminate that condensation, converting a stagnant atmosphere into a fresh and healthy one.3. Alleviate hay fever symptomsHay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is caused by an allergic reaction to airborne allergens such as pollen, dust, and mold spores. These allergens can accumulate in indoor spaces and trigger hay fever symptoms.Ventilation systems can help reduce the concentration of allergens in indoor air by increasing the circulation of fresh air, in particular by exchanging indoor air with outdoor air. This can dilute the concentration of indoor allergens and is particularly important during peak allergy seasons when pollen counts are high.How to use lighting to create a healthy living spaceIn 2021, a systematic review was conducted on papers discussing the impact of lighting in the home on the health of the inhabitants. It was clear that poor lighting can negatively affect people's health and that lighting in general is a key aspect of housing quality.Home lighting affects both the aesthetics and functionality of a home, and can have a significant impact on mood, productivity, and overall well-being. Adequate lighting helps people regulate their normal day-to-day activities and is important for keeping the home safe.Below, we’ll outline how you can use lighting to create a healthier living space in your home.1. Consider natural lightNatural light is an excellent source of illumination that can improve mood and well-being. Consider installing large windows or skylights in areas that can receive natural light to help reduce the need for artificial lighting during the day. Just make sure to have UV-protective films installed to prevent sun damage.2. Use energy-efficient lightingEnergy-efficient light bulbs and fixtures will help you reduce energy consumption and lower energy bills. LED bulbs are a good option for home lighting as they are long-lasting and consume much less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs.3. Install lighting controlsLighting controls, such as dimmers and timers, can help regulate the amount of light in a room and reduce energy waste. They can also help create a more relaxing and comfortable atmosphere.4. Layer lightsLayered lighting can create a more comfortable environment that's suited to your specific needs. Experiment with a combination of ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting to find what your body needs for the day.Looking for more ways to create a healthy living space at home?Now that you know how to create a healthy living space, you can be confident that you know what to look for in choosing your lighting fixtures, bulbs, and home ventilation systems.By taking into account the size of your home, your needs for different rooms, and the types of lighting you require, it is highly possible to create a healthy indoor space that allows you to thrive while promoting your well-being.Here at Sparks Direct, we are committed to contributing towards healthier living spaces with the ECO dMEV, offering continuous ruling ventilation for the home, as well as a vast selection of energy-efficient LED lighting and Dimming systems.

New Energy Label for LED Lamps: What you need to know

You may have noticed that the energy efficiency label on the packaging of LED lamps has changed, and some LED lamps now have a rating of E; do not be alarmed, they are still energy efficient! The reason the energy labels look different is that the rating system has changed in Europe and in the UK, and this blog post tells you everything about the new energy efficiency labels for LED lamps. Some customers were quite intrigued to purchase a 5W or 6W LED lamp and find out that the energy efficiency label says it is E or D. We had quite a few calls and emails from customers concerning this, so we thought we should explain to the best of our ability what all this means. How come an A+++ energy-rated LED lamp is now a D energy-rated lamp? Read below to find out more concerningThe new rules for energy labels for lighting products.The old energy label vs the new energy labelThe new energy efficiency requirementsThe contents of the Light Products New Energy LabelHow to Read the Packaging for a LED LampNew Energy Efficiency Label - FAQConclusion and Further ReferencesWhat are the New Rules for Energy Labels for LightingThe reason there are no more A++, A+, etc is that there are some alterations to the rules for energy efficiency labels. These were triggered by the new EU 2019/2020 Single Lighting Regulation (SLR, laying down ecodesign requirements for light sources and separate control gear) and the new EU 2019/2015 Energy Label Regulation (ELR, laying down energy labelling requirements of light sources). The SLR replaces and repeals three regulations: (EC) No 244/2009, (EC) No 245/2009 and (EU) No 1194/2012, giving a single point of reference for compliance, and it defines in new terms the light sources covered under the regulation and separate control gear. By light sources, we mean anything that emits light such as LED lamps, LED modules, LED luminaires, etc. These new and more stringent minimum efficacy thresholds on light sources and separate control gear push the lighting industry forward to innovate and improve energy efficiency beyond existing technology. Furthermore, they encourage design for a circular economy, reducing refuse and increasing reuse. Products now need to be designed to be more reliable, even upgradable, and the "right to repair" is now enabled; furthermore, they need to contain more recyclable material and be easier to dismantle. All these are good both for consumers and for the earth, for less waste will end up in a landfill. The ELR replaces and repeals two regulations: (EC) No 874/2012 and (EC) No 2017/1369. It defines the new energy labelling requires for packaging, sales literature, websites, and distance selling. All products requiring energy labels will need to be registered into the EPRLEL database, and a QR code that links to the technical product info is mandatory. In the UK, these rules were incorporated into the UK law under The Ecodesign for Energy-Related Products and Energy Information (Lighting Products) Regulations 2021 2021 No. 1095. According to Integral LED, one of our lighting suppliers, "These are new European Commission regulations which were ratified and published in December 2019. Since the UK has left the European Union, it decided to replicate the technical requirements and combine them into one UK regulation known as a Statutory Instrument.  In practical terms, this means the new lighting regulations will apply to EU member states and the UK in a near identical fashion – only specific regulatory markings are likely to vary, for example, CE/UKCA and EU/GB flags on point of sale energy labels."The Old Energy Label and the New Energy Label: what's the DifferenceIt is not just the label that changed but the energy rating has also changed. The old ratings lost clarity as the efficiency essential to the previous regulation had maxed out. There were products rated A, A+, or A++, while the E and F ratings had become redundant. There was a need for better energy ratings to make things more clear and improve the understanding of the energy rating classifications. Here is what the old EU Energy Label used to look like, with a rainbow colour scale going from Green to Red, and a lettering scale from A+++ to E. Here is what the new EU and UK energy labels look like; the revised scale is still green to red in colour, but the lettering scale is from A to G, with more energy efficiency needed to achieve these levels. Just as a quick reference, many lighting products that were rated A++ in the old energy label will now be rated C or D in the new energy label. See here some of the newest LED lamps with the best energy label rating. The New Energy Efficiency RequirementsJust as a comparison, what used to be 120lm/W in the A++ class before 2021, now it is class E in the new energy efficiency requirements.The reason lighting products have lower ratings now on their new label is not that they are less efficient; rather, they consume the same amount of power as they always have, but now their energy efficiency has been lowered. The old energy ratings A+, A++, and A+++ no longer exist; the new scale is from A to G, and B and C ratings are the best in class, the most energy-efficient lights. Unfortunately, there's no way to compare the old label with the new one due to the new energy efficiency requirements. Full explanations and details regarding the Energy Label can be found via this website, and there's a PDF that can help you understand more concerning the label. The focus has shifted from Watt to Lumen; yes, wattage is important, but more light output is appreciated. For example, a 20W halogen spot is equivalent to 190lm LED 12V and 110lm LED 230V, while a 15W incandescent bulb is equivalent to 140lm LED and 130lm energy-saving bulbs. The contents of the Light Products New Energy LabelAccording to the new rules, the new energy labels need to contain certain items, such asThe supplier's name and model number. This refers to the manufacturer's name and the model number of the LED lamp. Energy Rating: the new energy rating on a scale from A to G. Power Consumption: the number of kWh/1000h consumed by the LED lamp; it is rounded up to the next single watt. QR code: QR code to access the detailed product information sheet registered in the European Commission's EPREL database.A wide range of Integral LED lamps can be found on our website, and there are many LED lamps with high efficiency available via LED Light bulbs.How to Read the Packaging for a LED LampOn light products' packaging, you can now find a lot of useful information by reading its label. The new rules are being applied from the 1st of October 2021, and the lighting manufacturers need to indicate either by icons or text concerning the following features:Energy label: The light sources energy consumption in kWh per 1000hWattage: the on-mode power for the light source in WLuminous Flux (lm): indicating how much light the light source emits. A high Lumen value means a more distinguished light. Kelvin (K): is a colour temperature scale used to indicate how warm or cold the light output is perceived. Outdoor use: it indicates whether the light source can be used outdoor - this has to be on the packaging. Beam angle: the angle of the light output in degrees or the range of light output angle.Dimming: the dimming icon indicates whether the light source is dimmable or not. Lifetime: it indicates the light source's lifetime in hours from the start of use until the light output has degraded to less than 70% of the original output. Ra-value (Colour rendering index, CRI): the Ra-value indicates the light source's ability to reproduce a lifelike colour; daylight, for example, has a Ra-value of 100. Here is a list of LED lamps with CRI 80.QR Code: Further product information will be available to consumers via the new QR Code included in the labels. The product manufacturer is responsible for ensuring the QR code links to a relevant information source, this could be for example the new EU product database or their own website. New Energy Efficiency Label - FAQQ: Why are there two different energy labels with my product?A: Over the last 20 years, the energy efficiency of products has improved. This means the information on the energy label needs to change to ensure it can continue to help you find the best products. As the new information is phased in, there will be a short time when products may feature both the old and new labels.Q: Why do the two labels show different information for the same product?A: The new label will show different energy ratings for your product. This may seem strange but the new label has been updated to take into account how you use your products at home, as well as provide more detailed information on other features of the product. This will give you a more accurate and realistic idea of how your product will perform over its life.Conclusion and Further ReferencesThe matter of the energy labels for the light bulbs/LED lamps is a complicated and vast one, and in this guide, we do a quick overview of this issue. There is nothing to worry about if you purchase a LED lamp that has an energy rating of E or D according to the new label; you simply need to check the lumens output and make sure it is low wattage, and it will save you £££ of your bills. Read more on this topic via the following links:Guide to energy performance certificates (via Energy Saving Trust).New Lighting Regulations 2021: what you need to know (via Integral LED)Energy ratings: everything you need to know (via Energy Saving Trust).The New Energy Label for Light Sources (via Label 2020 Europe). The New EU Energy Label Explained (via gov.uk). About the changes to energy rating labels this year (via ML Accessories). 

Guide to Choosing the LED Light Colour Temperature You Need

We used to rely on trusty halogen lamps or classical incandescent lamps, but their time is over; we now need to choose the light colour temperature that we need for our LED lamps. The GU10 halogen lamps and the E27 or E14 incandescent bulbs used to be quite simple to use and replace, and their price has gone down after a while. But we are now in a new age, the age of energy saving, the age in which we use LED lamps to save not just on the electricity bill but also save the planet. However, the LED lamps do not all offer the same light colour: they now can be programmed or set to offer a particular kind of colour in a chart of light colour temperature. What are the Light Colour Temperatures for LED Lamps?If you want to change your old halogen or incandescent lamp and wanted to get a like-for-like replacement, you may be surprised to find out that such lamps are no longer for sale. What you will discover, however, is that there are energy-saving alternatives to these high-energy-consumption bulbs. There is a LED lamp that can replace the GU10 halogen lamp, and there's an E14 (small Edison Screw) and E27 (large Edison Screw) LED lamp to replace the incandescent lamps. But this time you need to choose both the light colour temperature and the wattage. Here are the most popular light colour temperatures for LED lamps:Warm white light: from 2000K to 3000KNeutral white light: from 4000K to 4500KDaylight white: 6000K - 6500KThe Correlated Colour Temperature (CCT) is measured in degrees Kelvin - from 1000K to 10.000K. The lower the Kelvin temperature is, the warmer the light is, and the higher number of Kelvins, the brighter/whiter it is. For example, the candle lamp from 10 years ago offered a colour temperature of approx. 2000K, a halogen lamp would offer either 3000K (when it was yellowish) or 4000K (when it was blueish), and the sunlight offers approx. 6000K light. The higher the colour temperature of a LED lamp, the whiter the light appears. Note: Philips calls warm white around 2700K, neutral white around 4000K, and cool white at 5000K or more. Also, via Wikipedia, we see an enriched version of the categorization of the different lighting colour temperatures. The question is, what is the light colour temperature you need for your lamp?LED Lamps Colour Temperatures and Where to Use ThemIt can be confusing where to use a cool white lamp and where to use daylight or a warm white lamp. This didn't use to be a problem, but now the home user and office worker alike are put in front of the dilemma of choosing the light colour temperature for the setting he's in.There's a variety of colour temperatures, and as the households and offices are switched to LED, the colour temperature has to be just right. We need to identify the correlated colour temperature (also called, CCT) of the existing light bulbs and find the LED alternative, the perfect replacement. Based on the room where you need to change the lamp, there are recommended correlated light colour temperatures for the LED lamps. Remember, the colour temperature of the lamps you use has an important impact on the way we feel and the functionality of the space we use and the activities we perform there. Where should we use Warm White LED Lamps?Warm white light refers to CCT of 2000K - 3000K, and it is more relaxing, calming, and inviting. It is recommended to use warm white LED lamps in locations such as the bedroom, the bathroomthe dining roomthe living room decorative lightinghospitality ambient lightingWherever we need to create a warm, inviting glow, we should use a warm white LED lamp. In the bedroom, for example, we should always use warm white light, because the cool white light can disrupt our circadian rhythm and can negatively affect the quality of our sleep. In the bathroom, similarly, when we use a warm white light, warmer tones are more flattering and relaxing. When it comes to the dining room lighting, it is recommended not only to use warm white lights but also dimmable lamps, so that you can adjust the lighting as appropriate. Similarly, in hospitality lighting and decorative lighting, warmer light colours are recommended. Light fittings that use warm white light are table lamps, floor lamps, pendants, chandeliers, and downlights. Cool White LED Lamps: where to use them and why?The cool white LED lamps, or the cool white colour temperature is recommended in settings where we need to stay alert and focused. At the office, for example, it is recommended to use cooler temperatures, since we need to focus on work and concentrate on the tasks at hand. Similarly, in the kitchen, we can use cool white light to help us stay awake while making breakfast or dinner. Sometimes even in the bathroom, you can use a cool white light to keep you alert in the morning. Some of the locations where cool white LED lamps are recommended are office/work environments, accent lightingbathroom lightingbasement lightingtask lighting garage lightingPlease bear in mind, however, that the correlated colour temperature you need depends on the task or activity to be performed, so if you need to stay more alert in the bathroom, then cool white light can be used, but if you just want a relaxing atmosphere in the bathroom, the warm white light is recommended. Here is an example of a cool white LED lamp and a cool white LED fitting.Daylight LED Light Bulbs and where to Use themThe daylight colour in LED lamps is >5000K, basically 6000K and 6500K. Such lamps emit colour similar to the sunlight, a colour that is not just yellowish (warm white) or blueish (cool white) but whiteish (daylight). Locations, where daylight colour temperature can be used, are security lightinggarages lighting display areas - display lightingtask lighting. The LED flood lights used as security lighting outdoor can offer daylight CCT, shining a bright sun-like light to light the path or expose the intruders. Similarly, if you want to highlight a display or shed light in the garage, you can use daylight LED lamps. Such light is crisp and invigorating, and many task light fittings and security lights use it. They are the preferred light colour temperature in industrial and commercial settings and applications. ConclusionOne of the most common questions we have been asked at Sparks for the past few years, as we make the transition from halogen and incandescent lamps to LED lamps, is what colour temperature the LED lamps should be. As LED technology is developing, there are more and more options for the increasing number of settings, scenes, activities, and tasks. To find out more about what kind of colour temperature you need for your LED lamps, you can give us a call or contact us via email. Note: we now have CCT lamps where you can choose the LED colour temperature before installing it, and if you change your mind later, you can change it again. See these CCT lights here. 

Smart Lighting Control for Warehouses: PIR Motion Detectors and smart LED Lights

Modern lighting controls are commonly associated with office buildings, which seek to create ‘work-friendly’ lighting for their employees; it is necessary, however, to take a look at smart lighting control for larger buildings. Advocates of lighting controls insist that the use of modern lighting should not be restricted to office buildings. Key figures in the lighting industry such as CP Electronics say that smart light systems are suitable for a variety of large buildings, such as warehouses and schools. A key factor to be considered when lighting large buildings are motion detectors. For instance, in a warehouse, an indoor loading bay may only be used for an hour during the day. If the lights were to remain on for the entire day afterwards, it would be a complete waste of energy and money. A key argument for smart lighting control in warehouses: functionality When a warehouse has varying shift patterns with different lighting requirements, a networked solution (whether it be wired or wireless) could be advantageous. A major advantage that comes with a wireless network, such as the CP Electronics An-10 system, is the ease of installation. Furthermore, it is flexible as you can move and scale it as you see fit. However, a wired system may be preferable in very large installations. These environments are sometimes hostile to electrical interference disrupting wireless connections. In terms of smart light functionality, there are other factors to account for, such as the minimum amount of light needed in an area for safety. For instance, in an unoccupied outbuilding you may want minimal lighting to ward off potential intruders. One of the important considerations in regards to functionality is ‘ease of use’ that will all but eliminate the need for end-user intervention. The ultimate goal with systems such as these is for them to be hands-free, in order to save time. A core argument for smart lighting control in warehouses: lower costs Warehouses are similar to office buildings in numerous ways. There needs to be multiple control scenarios to suit different areas of the warehouse. Light may be in constant use during standard working hours in one office, and used barely at all in other areas (such as loading bays). Advances made in lighting control technology allows users to have more oversight of their energy consumption. At present, lighting can account for over half of the total energy budget used in warehouses annually. This is an exorbitant amount that can only be explained by energy wastage. Many manufacturing companies provide smart light systems that make use of modular light controls. CP Electronics, for example, have manufactured the Vitesse Plus system, which has a range of features that will drastically reduce costs. How do smart lighting control save money? The PIR motion detector PIR (Passive Infrared) detectors are a lifesaver when it comes to controlling light usage in warehouses. They operate by detecting moving heat; in a warehouse this may be caused by the workers or machinery in motion. It is essential that the correct form of detector is used - in large spaces such as warehouses long range detectors are necessary. They should be placed at a decent height and without obstruction of their line-of-sight. Alternatives to PIRs come in the form of microwave or High-Frequency (HF) detectors that use low power radars to detect moving objects. However, one downside is that warehouses contain other moving objects that may trigger the microwave or HF detector unnecessarily. Even some loose packaging may cause a ‘false trigger’. PIR detectors also incorporate lux sensors to ensure that areas are only lit if there is not sufficient daylight present. This provides an intelligent way of making use of natural light to ensure energy savings. Why your warehouse should use an LED smart light system The use of smart lighting provides a number of advantages to warehouses, the key one being in energy-efficiency. Smart lighting allows for better optimisation of lighting during critical working hours. It would also be wise to use a system that utilises eco-efficient LED bulbs. You will be saving even more money. There are other advantages provided by most LED light systems, as outlined here. 1. Better dimming capabilities LED lights that are compatible with dimming controls are an important aspect of achieving energy efficiency. Unlike with traditional lights, dimming the LEDs won’t affect the lifespan and long-term quality of light emitted by them. 2. Energy-efficiency LED drivers use very little energy. The combined power consumption of both the light and controller is still significantly lower than those of traditional lighting systems. 3. Minimal heat emission Conventional lights get hot after extended use, while LED lights emit minimal heat. LED lights have become very efficient with minimal heat output which can benefit working environments. Traditional light bulbs emit heat which can negatively affect the efficiency of air conditioning. LED lights do not have this problem. 4. Consistent light with no wait time The illumination that LEDs provide is constant from the moment they’re switched on until the moment they’re turned off. Good quality LED lights and drivers never flicker and don’t require minutes of waiting time to get to their full capacity, unlike traditional light bulbs. You can constantly turn LEDs on and off without affecting their brightness and lifespans. 5. Low maintenance LEDs usually have long lifespans and are robust enough to withstand heavy-duty use. They don’t use electronic ballasts (unlike conventional warehouse lighting) which require regular replacements. The lack of maintenance needed for LED bulbs reduces overhead costs for companies. It also ensures that operations will not get interrupted by scheduled maintenance. Factors to consider when installing a smart lighting control system Control devices used - One of the first things you should consider when implementing a large scale lighting plan is what control device you intend to use. Compatibility - If you are investing a large amount of money into the system then it may be wise to contact the light manufacturer. You should ensure the controls you plan to buy are compatible with the lights. Type of environment - You should take care when siting control devices dependent on ambient temperature, and how likely it is to affect their operation and range. Number and positioning of devices - Position your lights so that there are no ‘blind spots’ in the warehouse. It is important that operators of heavy-duty machinery, such as forklifts, are able to easily hit the control device when required. Be assured, smart lighting is the solution for large-scale buildings, which have more complex requirements than regular buildings. If you introduce the appropriate control regime, not only will installation costs be reduced but savings will be made immediately. This is an incentive which is difficult to overlook for any company. If you have any further enquiries regarding the Vitesse Plus system and the smart lighting control systems from CP Electronics, please leave a comment or email us.

Small Steps to Reducing the Carbon Footprint by Switching to LEDs at Home

Switching all the old incandescent bulbs in your garage (for instance) to LEDs may seem like a small task. However, they say all the little things count and this could apply to one of the most drastic challenges facing our planet: climate change. The UN recently issued a  warning stating we only have 12 years to change our behaviour to avert a ‘climate change catastrophe’. The world is currently 1 degree over its pre-industrial level, and devastating effects can already be seen with dramatic weather events: from hurricanes in the U.S. to record droughts in South Africa. If all this world-scale peril sounds daunting, don’t get overwhelmed. There are some easy steps that you can make to reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to lowering the global temperature to the 1.5% level agreed upon at the Paris Agreement in 2015. Helping the planet with LEDs: making a complete switch to LEDs You can contribute to helping save the environment right now - the first step is simply thinking about how many light bulbs are currently being used in your home. Next, try and guess how many of these are LEDs - and hopefully the answer should be most of them.  For instance, have you made the switch to LED strip-lights along your countertops, shelves and cupboards? What about your exterior lighting? These often exert huge amounts of electricity, and LED Floodlights are shown to save up to 65% in energy savings.  At the top of most ‘how to help the environment’ lists is using energy-efficient light bulbs - LEDs. Studies have shown that making your home more energy-efficient has massively contributed to reducing emissions and helping the environment. Here are some additional reasons for making the switch to LEDs: On average, they are brighter than their older counterparts, producing 63 lumens compared to a paltry 12 lumens from traditional bulbs. They use 90% less energy than their equivalent incandescent or halogen light bulb. They have lower running costs, running approximately 20 times longer. They provide instant, bright lighting. The benefits of a complete switch over to LEDs Have you ever thought how many light fittings in your home are LEDs? The truth is many people have slowly been making the switch following the EU’s ban on halogen light bulbs, which took effect in late 2018, and their phasing out of incandescent bulbs since 2009. However, it is likely that you are still losing energy and money with inefficient bulbs throughout your house. It is worth drawing inspiration from the laudable achievement of British couple Pete and Linda Powell, who estimate they are saving over £400 per year, having switched almost all their bulbs to LEDs in their grand Yorkshire home (see the source below). The energy bill for their five-bedroom house used to rack up to an average of £1,344 a year prior to their mini "lighting revolution". Now it is costing them just £700 (approximately). So what is putting people off from switching to LED lighting? One thing may be that many feel uncomfortable with the low-wattage levels given by LED lamps, having become accustomed to the standard 40W, 60W, 75W and even 100W ratings of traditional bulbs. However, the only reason LED lamp wattages are so much lower is their increased efficiency - they don't need to waste as much wattage. The general rule-of-thumb to keep in mind when buying LEDs is simply to multiply the LEDs wattage by 10 to find its equivalent traditional light in brightness. Saving money while you help save the planet - is there any downside? Some may point to the actual cost of buying LEDs to replace every single bulb in the average household and also install them. It cost Pete and Linda Powell around £500, meaning they made their money back in well under a year - and this was in a large 5 bedroom home. The couple have set a precedent that seems well worth following for the average consumer: make the switch now and see the benefits in the medium/long-term. There is of course the added satisfaction of knowing you are doing your small bit to help global temperatures, before it is too late. As one recent BBC article made clear, improving energy efficiency within our households has actually done more to help the environment than the switch to renewable energy. It has been estimated that by following EU-set guidelines on products such as light bulbs, fridges and vacuum cleaners, energy demand has been reduced by a staggering 103TWh since 2005. Compare this to the estimated 95 TWh cut by substituting fossil fuels to renewables in the same time. While both solutions are needed to make the necessary changes to fight global warming, the switch over to LEDs is a practical step every single one of us can make. Articles that helped inspire this article: The Greenage on the various reasons  you should make the switch to LEDs. The Telegraph, with a piece on how a British couple successfully made the switch to a completely LED lit home. The Guardian on how we need to take action now, to stop the devastating effects of climate change. We found the top ranked way to save the planet Earth at 50waystohelp. Do you think making a complete switch over to LEDs in your home is practical? Tweet us  your thoughts @sparksdirect

Five Reasons you should Visit Sparks Electrical Wholesalers on Holloway Road

Wholesalers have been part of the fabric of life for working electricians since the first ones opened in the early 19th century. This article details exactly how the relationship between Sparks Electrical Wholesalers and local electricians is so mutually beneficial, with discounts, offers, advice, special requirement solutions and customer accounts all part of the negotiations. However, it has become increasingly common to see members of the general public milling around Sparks - and not just to ogle at the beautiful showroom. There's a mix of tradespeople and ordinary members of the  local community that visit us daily. Here are five reasons why North London locals - whether they be tradespeople or not - visit our lighting showroom at Sparks - and why you should too. 1. Product knowledge Sparks has been around for a long time - 30 years in fact - and many of our staff have been around throughout much of our illustrious history. The combined knowledge of Sparks’ over-the-counter salespeople is extraordinary - they have a comprehensive knowledge of the items we stock. You can come in with a basic request such as a ‘I want a white wall light fitting’ for your new bedroom, and the Sparks salesperson will be able to guide you through the process of finding what you need, providing tailored, expert advice. In the lights department, we will figure out if the light should be wall or ceiling mounted (or both), flush or with a stem base, what sort of size and shape, and what kind of style, to complement the room it is being placed in. This support extends to more complex advice for electricians who need to know more about the  domestic distribution boards, for instance, or about the Ryefield boards. Our staff is well-versed in the world of electrical goods of all kinds and their combined knowledge will find a solution to your needs. 2. Pricing Check out the Fluke 1662 Multifunction Installation Tester Kit for Insulation, Volts, Earth, Phase, RCD, Loop, and Continuity Testing - in stock at an amazing price!You rarely get to see haggling in British stores these days, and we don't practice this, but we do give the best prices we can when you visit us in our lighting showroom. This applies to both electricians and members of the public. When dealing with tradespeople looking to buy high quantities of goods or premium products, there is always wriggle room to be explored; there are further discounts applied when larger quantities are purchased. This makes the experience of going to the wholesalers more exciting for those who are want to save some money, rather than facing the fixed prices of conventional retailers. Many electricians prefer to frequently purchase such things as consumer units, Ryefield boards, Astro Lights, Flos Lights, Forbes and Lomax switches and sockets, and Heritage Brass wiring accessories in our showroom because they know the price is unbeatable. This is beneficial for both us - the wholesaler - as we're getting repeat business from someone in the profession, and for the electrician who is obviously getting the cheapest price available.3. Customer service Sparks have followed a growing trend among many wholesalers, offering fast delivery on items that may be in stock at the time of the customer visiting the store, and on items that need to be ordered. Sometimes you may order something that is quite bulky and not so easy to be carried on public transport; in such cases, we can deliver the items for you. And in case the items are not in stock, we can do a delivery when they arrive. It also gifts you ensured safety in delivery and ease of mind with the 30 day ‘no quibble’ return policy that applies to all our products, excluding light bulbs and LED lamps. The face-to-face aspect of visiting your local wholesalers can not be overstated. We are a friendly, local establishment looking to do right by our customers - both old and new - and we have every reason to offer the best advice and customer service that we possibly can. This extends to ‘aftercare’ or follow-up enquiries, where our experienced staff will answer any questions regarding installation, returns, similar products and so on once a product has been purchased. 4. Product availability This is AX4569 - the Astro Lighting Enna Floor LED Lamp in Matt White using a 4.5W 2700K 124lm LED Lamp (non-dimmable) with Switch on the Cord, available hereWe hold large stocks of many of the items that we advertise online and are well-known for. For many of our customers, such as tradespeople and electricians, there is the requirement for instant purchase on certain products, whether it be a screw-in plug or a very particular kind of socket. These are busy people with professions that require them to be ‘on the move’ throughout the day, meaning they can’t be waiting at home for Amazon deliveries to arrive. The advantage of being able to walk out of our showroom with everything you need in hand can not be understated, and is an aspect of shopping at Sparks that is appreciated by most regularly frequenting customers. Whether it is sockets, switches, LED lamps, heaters, underfloor heating mats, or some bathroom fans, we hold stock of most of these popular and much-needed items in our lighting showroom.5. Brand recognition and fidelity We have been operating on Holloway Road, Archway since 1988 and are one of the longest established shops that remains on the street: quite an achievement in this Internet age. Our brand recognition and fidelity have helped play an influential part in this. Our showroom has been open for 30 years, showcasing our most popular and interesting electrical items and light fittings. It has been visited by electricians, building contractors, architects, hotel and interior designers, landlords, actors, TV presenters, and the general public; whether they have something to purchase in mind, or are just there to admire. By putting a welcoming and friendly face on electrical wholesaling, we have managed to stay relevant and popular among Archway residents, and those coming from further out. The fact that Sparks has retained its status as a leading UK electrical wholesaler for such a long period of time demonstrates our informed and welcoming over-the-counter approach has inspired customer loyalty. These are five of the topmost reasons for which you should visit us - Sparks Electrical Wholesalers Ltd - on 659-661 Holloway Road, London, N19 5SE, close to Archway tube station (and Upper Holloway overground station).

LED Replaces Halogen, and how the EU Ban on Halogen Lamps Affects You

On the 1st of September 2018 the EU ban on halogen bulbs has come into full effect; after more than half a century of brightening our homes and streets with halogen lightbulbs, these are finally banned across Europe. The remaining stocks can still be sold, and the capsule lamps, linear lamps, and low voltage incandescent lamps in the oven lights are exempt from this ban, but a continent-wide ban came into effect for halogen. The halogen lamps are to be replaced with LED lamps, mainly to slash emissions and cut down the energy bill, and to prevent the carbon emissions. It is estimated that a consumer would save up to £112 per year when you switch from halogen to LEDs, though there's an initial investment - with many long-term benefits and savings. We all understand the main reason for switching to LED lamps, but there are still some questions that need an answer, such as, Why are Halogen Lamps Banned? According to the European Union directive EC 244/2009, there has been a progressive banning of the less efficient light sources (such as the high wattage incandescent lamps and energy-consuming halogen lamps) with the aim of improving the energy efficiency and cutting the carbon emissions across all countries in the EU. First, the traditional incandescent light bulbs were banned in 2009, and now it is the halogen lamps turn (see our interview with BBC on this topic). The main reason for banning the halogen lamps is because they use much more energy than the LED lamps or the compact fluorescent alternatives, plus, they have a shorter lifespan (2000h, which is approx. 2 years of use when used 3h per day). The ban affects the classic style halogen lamps made of glass, those operated without a transformer, which emit light in all directions, using lamp caps such as E27 (Edison Screws), B22 (bayonet lamps BC), E14 (small Edison screw SES), and B15 (SBC) types. Do I need to Change my Halogen Lamps to LEDs? The EU directive doesn't force any individual user to immediately switch from incandescent lamps or halogen lamps to LED lamps; however, it is recommended to reduce the energy consumption not only for saving money on electricity bills, but also to reduce the carbon emissions. How does the halogen lamps ban affect the regular homeowner? Halogen lamps will still be available for purchase, because retailer such as Sparks Electrical are still permitted to sell through any existing stock; however, these are phased out, and it will be increasingly difficult to source. Of course, some specialist light bulbs where a LED alternative is not available yet (such as G9, G4, and R7s - used in ovens or cooker hoods) will still be available, but as their energy-saving replacements become available, these also will be phased out. What about Brexit and the Halogen Lamps Ban in UK? That is a good question: does Brexit affect the halogen bulb ban? The answer is, Not really, since the UK still follows the EU legislation, and light bulbs manufacturers are decided not to make both high wattage light bulbs and LED lamps to meet the need of both markets. Is switching to LEDs a Cost-effective Solution? Many people are not even considering to switch from their existing incandescent or halogen lamps to LED lamps simply because their light bulbs work just fine - so why fix something that's not broken. Also, as we all know, LED lamps are a bit more expensive than the halogen lamps, at least initially; the prices have decreased year by year as the technology advances and the manufacturing costs are lower, but still, a LED light bulb is a bit more expensive than a halogen lamp. However, a halogen lamp may need to be changed after 2-3 years of use, while a LED lamp may last between 10-20 years (based on 3h or use per day). You as a consumer do not have an obligation to replace your existing halogen bulbs now, before they expire; however, if you want to save money on your electricity bills and extend the lamp life, and if you want to reduce the carbon footprint, then the replacing of halogen lamps is a must. It's worth considering switching to more energy-saving LED bulbs as the nights are getting longer and lights will be on more. Are All LED Lamps the Same? Can they All be Trusted? Switch from Halogen to LED lamps (picture via Integral LED) The LED lighting market is flooded with all kinds of LED lamps, and many times we hear stories of people buying LED lamps which fail either to dim or to work properly. There are fire risks associated with counterfeit or faulty LED lights which are often sold on well-known e-commerce website (as indicated by ECA here), so consumers are advised to only buy electrical goods from reputable retailers. We at Sparks carefully source the LED lamps we sell, and if there are any faulty ones, we replace it like-for-like. However, when it comes to LED lamps we all need to pay a little more attention to such details as the lamp cap used (GU10, E27/ES, SES, BC, etc), the wattage you desire (for example, a 6W LED lamp can be equivalent to a 60W halogen lamp), the colour temperature desired (warm white, cool white, daylight, etc), and whether the LED lamp needs to be dimmed. When it comes to dimmable LED lamps, there may be only some LED dimmers that are recommended with the dimmable LED lamps, so you may have to also change your wall dimmer. It is best to check with a registered electrician on this matter of dimming, since they may need to change your dimmer switch also. If you have any other questions regarding the EU ban on Halogen Lamps, please leave us a comment or read the further articles linked to below. We at Sparks still stock halogen lamps (as stock lasts) and we warmly recommend the alternative LED lamps which are more energy-efficient and longer lasting. Let's save the planet together. Let's reduce the carbon footprint, and let's reduce the energy consumption in our homes, workplace, and public places! More info on EU ban on Halogen Lamps Articles on this topic which inspired us and highlighted some of the main points on the EU ban on Halogen Lamps and their replacement with LEDs: EU product ban on halogen bulbs came into force on 1 September - Households to save Billions Following Halogen Lamp Ban (via Professional Electrician). All you need to know about the Halogen Lamps Ban in the EU - via the Evening Standard. Europe is banning the Halogen Lightbulbs - via the Guardian. EU bans production of 60W incandescent lamps - in 2011, on Sparks blog. EU's ban on Halogen Light Bulbs takes Effect on 1 September 2018 - via EuroNews. Everything you need to know on EU Halogen Light Bulb Ban, via Which. Via Fortune Environment, EU Ban on Halogen Light Bulbs Takes Effect this September. Here's what you need to know about Halogen Light Bulbs being banned in the EU - via inews. The EU's bright spars han the halogen bulbs, via Express.

Save Money, Save the Enviroment, and get Excellent Light with LED Lights

If you're not convinced that the LED lights are the future of lighting (at least the near future) then we have more reasons for you to reconsider. Whether exterior or indoor light fittings, LED lights can easily replace both the residential lights and the commercial lights, bringing with them more energy saving features while maintaining the bright light as needed. There's a shift in the lighting industry from halogen, fluorescent, and incandescent lighting to LED lighting, and the technology is rapidly developing to the extent that you can get a wide range of LED lights to replace your existing lights. There are a great many benefits to both the consumer and the installer when installing LED lights, and in this article we will touch the aspects of "saving money", "saving the environment", and "excellent lighting". Save Money when Using LED Lights When choosing LED lights you can reduce lighting bills by up to 90%, since LED lights use up to 80-90% less power than traditional lights. For example, you can replace a 50W halogen lamp (which uses a lot of energy - and a lot of money - and gives lots of heat too) with a 7.5W LED lamp, thus reducing the energy bill. LEDs use up to 90% less power than traditional incandescent light sources, and they also offer the potential for a noticeable and significant reduction in energy costs. You also save money when using LED lamps because the LEDs offer a lifetime far in excess of traditional lighting, typically tens of thousands of hours. This means that you don't have to change the light bulb that often, so you don't have to pay again for a light bulb! LED lights save you money and reduce your maintenance costs: the long life of the LEDs results in reduced labour costs associated with luminaire maintenance, such as replacing the light bulbs. Save the environment by Switching to LEDs It is quite important to reduce our carbon footprint, and by switching to LED lights we do just that. You can reduce the energy usage - thus save the environment by reducing the carbon footprint - with LED lights, for they typically use less power of an installation compared with traditional light sources. This means that, by using LED lights, you decrease the overall power consumption and you contribute to lower CO2 emissions. Furthermore, the LED lights are mercury-free: unlike the fluorescent lights, the LEDs are free from this pollutant. And on top of that, there's no UV light or IR, thus increasing the range of applications where the LED lamps can be used. It is good to consider the consequences of using a particular light, and in most cases LED lights are an environment-friendly alternative. Get Excellent Lighting with the LEDs Some fluorescent lights (which tend to be energy-saving) need a "warm-up" time period; the LED lights provide instant full brightness. You get an excellent light with LEDs, and it comes on with no waiting time! And if you want to dim the light, you can simply opt for the dimmable LED light bulbs, which are specially designed for optimal dimming performance. You can also choose the light operating temperature, from warm white to cool white, daylight, and natural light. The LEDs can perform well at low temperatures, increasing the areas within which they can be installed. When it comes to retrofitting, there's an LED light solution for almost any lamp and luminaire, and in some cases it is as simple as changing a light bulb! On our website we have a dedicated section of LED lights (LED light fittings), LED dimmers, and LED drivers, with all the pictures and technical specifications needed. This article was inspired from Eterna Lighting's guide to, Why choose LED? (see the pdf file here)

How you can have LED Lighting all Around the House even on a Low Budget!

The LED lights are no longer merely a fancy light-emitting diodes solution for coloured lighting or indicators on electrical devices and appliances; the LED technology is evolving to the point that today you can safely have LED lights all around the house, and this even with a low budget! As seen above, we at Sparks we have a dedicated section that compiles most of the LED lights and LED fittings that we do at the moment, and even at a glance you will be amazed at the wide range of light fittings available that either use or can take LED light bulbs! LED Lighting All Around the House - even with a Low Budget! If you are like most of us, you would like to have LED lights (since they are both energy-saving and "the new thing") all around the house, and, if possible, these lights should also be dimmable. And we know this because MOST of our customers ask us via email, website, phone, chat, twitter, and in person something like this, I want a LED light that is dimmable - do you have any? Of course we do :) and we will continue to bring them in as long as the are high quality, serviceable, replaceable, and with an excellent feedback. And the greatest thing about the LED lights is that their price is going lower and lower, even though they incorporate the latest LED technology! Here are some of the LED lights you could install all around the house without having to bleed money or have a heart attack when you see the price: Indoor LED Lighting The wide range of LED Lights for interior lighting includes LED wall lights, ceiling lights, table lights, undershelf lights, bathroom lights, table lights, bedside lights, etc. For example, the ELAN-LED range of LED downlights is a great solution for dimmable downlights offering a neutral white or a warm white light and coming in white, chrome, or nickel finish. And if you want to change the bezel of this fitting, you can easily do so with the available brass, black, or chrome bezels available, both in a round and in a square version. Moving to the pendant lights, the Firstlight 8613 bar pendants and most of the high-quality pendants can use a LED light bulb, many of which are also dimmable. For a nice concealed lighting we would recommend the USLED range of LED undershelf strip lights - nice looking under-shelf strip lights for anywhere in the house (except the bathroom). In the bathroom you can either use some IP44 rated wall or ceiling lights which take LED, and above the mirror the OMLED10 will definitely save you both money and energy. Do you want to have a bedside table lamp or an LED spotlight with a flexible head mounted on the wall by the bed? There's a wide range of bedroom LED lights, from LED table lamps to children's lamps, bedside lamps, reading lamps, etc. You should definitely check out the NX326 Mento LED light. Outdoor LED Lighting Say "goodbye" to the high wattage and high energy consumption halogen flood lights and "Hello" to the energy-saving LED flood lights! Whether you want to light up the building facade or make sure unwanted visitors are surprised by the PIR-triggered light beam, the LED flood lights are now more affordable and useful than ever. For more concealed lighting and highlighting outdoors you can safely use the many LED strip lights for outdoor. They come in warm white, cool white, or even in RGB color changing if you prefer this, and some of them can be even remotely controlled. For a more fancy rectangular wall-mounted LED fitting you should take a look at the Astro Lighting Puzzle AX0931 LED light - it will puzzle both you and your guests as you can hardly see where the light source is! And if you are not convinced yet, we would like to invite you to visit the LED lighting section on our website where you can see more, read more, and choose the best LED light fitting that you need. If you're from around London and you would like to see how the LED downlights, wall lights, strip lights, etc look like, you can pay us a visit in Archway at our Lighting Showroom - we're open daily from 8.00am to 5.00pm, and on Saturday from 8.30am to 2.00pm.

It's Time to Change that Light Bulb with an LED Lamp - More Energy Efficient!

As the LED lights the LED lighting is being developed and is advancing, there's the same question that our customers ask us, Does this light fitting take LED lamps? And you know what, if we check the manufacturer's updated specs, many of the light fittings we sell on our website can safely take LED lamps (subject to the lamp cap and dimensions). It is safe to say again and again that it is time to change that light fitting you have with an LED one - save the energy, save money, and invest in the future! As we all know, investing in a relatively more expensive LED lamp will both help us reduce our electrical bill and will pay for itself in not such a long time. In this blog post we thought we should make a list of what kind of lights now take LED lamps and / or are completely LED lamps. Watch and be amazed - even the energy saving classical fluorescent fittings and the modular panels (so popular in the office or commercial environment) now can be found in an LED alternative! Here are some of the most recently popular LED alternative. LED Corrosion Proof Fitting Replacing the Fluorescent Luminaire The fluorescent fittings are quite energy saving, long lasting, and with a low maintenance cost; changing the tube will keep the light going on for a long time in the office, on the corridor, etc. They are not that expensive and, honestly, they are everywhere. But now it is time to make space for the new LED luminaires, the ultimate in energy saving, which replace them with a higher energy efficiency, lower carbon footprint, lower energy consumption, and better quality of light. With an IP65 rating and with an efficacy of almost 100lm per Watt, these are supplied with the LED driver (plug and play mains connection system) and can be surface or chain mounted. Great for both industrial and commercial lighting. LED light bulbs - LED lamps replacing the Halogen or Incandescent lamps Do you want to save energy at home or at the office, even though you have to turn the light ON most of the time? It's time to change your light bulbs with their LED alternative. You can now use an LED light bulb with a GLS E27 lamp cap, with a GU10 lamp cap, and even with an MR16 lamp cap (low voltage LEDs). And they come in all shapes and sizes, offering either warm white or cool white light, and being dimmable or non-dimmable. Your choice. We advise, we present, we give you the best prices, and now it's your turn to consider and purchase. And we made this list of the LED light bulbs we have in stock constantly. Ceiling Lights, Wall Lights, Indoor and Outdoor Lights, etc - Most can take LED lamps We all need all kinds of light for wall lighting, ceiling lighting, downlighting, exterior lighting, garden lighting, etc. Check with the specifications of these fittings, most of them can now take LED lamps. One of the reason we haven't been too active on the blog is because we realized: our manufacturer updated most of their products to specify which take LED lamps, and guess what: most of them do! So we got the ball rolling, and now you can purchase not only the light fitting with the energy saving light bulb but also with the LED lamp alternative! To the "wow, that's good news" we will add another "wow", a "word of warning": please check with the manufacturer specifications and / or with a registered electrician before you change the light bulbs / light fittings. As with every new technology and modern alternative, always check before going for it. Local councils, HMO's, and electricians alike would recommend and switch to LED lights in most applications, and we think it's time for YOU also to do this!

Quick Guide to Choosing the Colour Temperature of LED Lights

Many customers have asked us to advise them on what is the correct colour temperature for their LED lights; in this article, we present a quick guide to choosing the colour temperature of the LED lights.Keep reading to find a quick guide on:Warm White vs Cool White - what's the difference?Where should we use Warm White Lights?Where should we use Cool White Lights?Where should we use Daylight Lights?Conclusion: what colour temperature do we need? Before the LED lighting revolution, it used to be so simple: incandescent lights, halogen lamps, and fluorescent lamps; now, things are more complicated, for every LED lamp has a certain Wattage, Lumen output, and Colour Temperature. It used to be quite easy before, when the halogen lamp reached its end of life, you would simply change it to another halogen lamp. Similarly with the incandescent lamps and the low voltage lamps. Nowadays, however, you need to make sure you order the right brightness, the correct colour temperature, and the exact lamp beam so that all these match the existing lamps on the ceiling or the wall. There are many guides, comparisons and charts out there related to the colour temperature of LED lights, and with the recent advancement in LED technology, there are now CCT selectable lamps, which are available via Sparks here. But in this article, we would like to explain the difference between warm white, cool white, extra warm white, daylight, and other colour temperatures that are mentioned on the box of the LED lamp or the integrated LED light fitting. Quick Guide to the LED Lamps Colour TemperatureWarm White vs Cool White - what's the difference?What is the difference between warm white light and cool white light? The colour of light emitted by a lamp can be warm or cool, on a spectrum, depending on the need. The CCT, the Correlated Colour Temperature, in lighting, describes how the colour of the light appears from an LED Lamp or LED light fitting, and it is measured in Kelvins (K). There is a scale from 1000K (which is a very red light) to 10.000K (which is a very blue light). The higher you go on the Kelvin scale, the closer the light emitted resembles blue daylight. The higher the colour temperature, the "cooler" a lamp will look, that is, the more blue-ish the light emitted is. Here is a quick guide to the Kelvins, the Type of lamp used, the colour temperature, the appearance, and the place it is used. Kelvins (K) AppearanceHow it Looks/feelsLight TypeLocation1000Kcandlelight redyellow light1800Kvintage-look filament lamp,orange lightultra warm whitevintage lighting2000K-3000KOrange to yellow or gold white lightCalming light, Cosy, Inviting, and Intimate LightWarm WhiteBedroom, living room, dining room, decorative lights, garden lights3000K-4500Kbright white, blueish whitebright light, vibrant light, inviting, blueish white, crispCool Whitebathroom, home office, work environment, kitchen, commercial properties, outdoor lights4500K-6500Kvery bright whiteappears as daylight, illuminating, powerful bright lightdaylightfloodlight, security light, garage and workshop, hospital, schools6500K-7000Kcool daylight10000Kblue skyblue lightIn simple terms, the colour temperature of an LED lamp is based on how the colour of the heated metal changes as its temperature is increased, from red to yellow and then blue.The range of colours at different temperatures has become useful for describing the colour tint of white light. At Sparks we stock a variety of warm white LED Lamps, extra warm white LED lamps, cool white LED lamps, and daylight LED lamps. The difference between warm white and cool white is that the warm white light is more yellowish while the cool white light is more blueish. Where to use Warm White LED Lights? What about Cool White LED Lamps?Warm white and cool white are the most popular colours of lights; warm white can be either 2700K or 3000K, and cool white is 4000K. Daylight, for instance, is 6500K, and it mimics the daylight. The question is, where is it suitable for warm white light to be used, and what about the cool white light? Based on our experience with hundreds of customers and on the vast knowledge out there related to colour temperature in LED Lamps, here is our advice.Warm White Lights - All Around the HomeWarm white lights are recommended to be used at home, especially in the living room, dining room, and wherever at home you want to create a warm atmosphere, an inviting and relaxing light. The 3000K and 2700K warm white lights offer an orangey-yellow light, similar to what the older incandescent or halogen lamps used to offer. They are ideal for use in the bedroom for ceiling, wall, or table lighting, and you can also use them in the living room, the dining room, the conservatory, and even in the garden as summer lights for example. To create a warm atmosphere at home, warm white light bulbs are recommended for the table lamps, bedside lamps, and desk lights. You can say that there is soft white light between 2700K and 3000K, and the warm white is between 3000K and 4000K on the Kelvin scale. Check out the GU10 warm white lights, G9 warm white lights, E27/ES warm white LED lamps, and the E14/SES warm white LED lamps available at Sparks. Cool White Lights - In the Office and in Busy AreasWhere are the cool white lights suitable to be installed and used? They emit a brighter and more vibrant light, a more blueish light, and they appear closer to daylight. It is recommended to use cool white lamps in more lively areas, where you want to make sure people stay awake and do activities. For example, you can use a cool white LED lamp in the bathroom, in the kitchen, and in utility rooms at home. Also, they are recommended to be used in the office and other work environments. Also, you can use cool white lights in the garage or other places where you need brighter light for completing tasks. The cool white lights mimic the light colour temperature offered by the fluorescent tube lights. Wherever there used to be a fluorescent lamp, the cool white lights are recommended. They are perfect for commercial properties. You can say that cool white is between 4000K and 5000K on the Kelvin scale. See the cool white G9 lamps, E27/ES lamps, E14/SES lamps, and GU10 lamps at Sparks. Also, check out the cool white LED panels, ideal for office lighting, and the cool white LED battens.Daylight Lights - OutdoorsThe brightest and closest to the daylight are the daylight light fittings and daylight LED lamps, 6000K and 6500K. Where are the daylights most suitable to be used? It is recommended to use them where daylight is required. For example, you can use daylight lights and LED lamps outdoors in the yard, forecourt, floodlighting, security lighting, and sports venues. At home you can safely use daylight lighting to light up the driveway or as garden lights. You can accentuate or highlight features outdoors with daylight lighting, but indoors it is recommended to use cool white when you do the same. We can say that daylight is between 5000K and 6500K on the Kelvin scale. Such light shines bright and exposes every detail, hence it is the preferred light temperature for hospitals, large offices, and classrooms. At Sparks we distribute a wide range of daylight flood lights, daylight LED striplights, daylight security lights, and even daylight LED lamps and tubes. Conclusion: What colour Temperature do we need at Home or Office?In conclusion, you can say that it is up to the preference of the homeowner and the atmosphere you want to create in different venues and rooms around the house or at the office. If you want to create a more relaxed atmosphere, warm white lights are recommended. If you want to create an atmosphere for studying, working, and doing activities, cool white lights are the best. If you want to mimic the daylight in order to highlight or light up the driveway or the facade of the house, daylight is the most suitable. If you want to have a table lamp for reading a book or light up a living space, warm white lights are recommended, since they offer a more relaxing light. but if you want the people visiting or working in a room to be alert and have higher visibility, cool white is more recommended. This is valid for both indoor and outdoor lighting. For more information on the colour temperature you need, do not hesitate to contact us.Disclaimer: the images used for the different color temperatures have been taken from the world wide web - they were not created by us. If they are bound by copyright, we can take them down - simply let us know.

What is the Relationship Between the Wattage of a Lightbulb and its Brightness?

As incandescent bulbs are phased out of the domestic market, it's the right time to take a look at what the options are for replacements. It's common knowledge that a modern energy-saving lamp consumes much less energy and so has a lower wattage, but still offers roughly the same amount of light. CFL and LED light fittings are often sold as being "equal" in brightness to a traditional lightbulb: so an 11W CFL bulb emits as much light as a 60W bulb, according to the packaging. How does this work? Well... it gets a little bit complicated. But thankfully, it also gets a little bit interesting. Seeing Brightness Brightness is someone's subjective judgement of the luminance of an object. Without getting too mathematical, it's based on the equation known as the luminosity function - the standardised model of brightness perception. That's an average measurement, not a universal statement. Every person is going to judge brightness ever-so-slightly differently. What the luminosity function describes is the average human sensitivity to small differences: those aptly-named "just noticeable differences." To illustrate the idea: one more "just noticeable difference" is that between a 'classic' chocolate bar and a smaller version introduced when the old version becomes too expensive to manufacture. The observer will hardly be able to notice the difference unless they look very closely. How do we know it's noticeably different, then? If test subjects notice the discrepancy in at least 50% of the tests, that's a just noticeable difference. (In this regard, psychophysics is an endlessly fascinating sub-discipline of marketing.)The Lux and the Lumen The Lumen is the measure of the perceived power of light: the "luminous flux." It's affected by the spectral sensitivity of the eye. A lumen is equivalent to one candela per steradian (1 lm = 1 cd·sr). (And a steradian, by the way, is the SI-derived unit of "solid angle" - a radiated cone of light. It's best thought of as a 2D area in a 3D space, like a patch on the surface of a sphere.) The lumen isn't used to measure brightness, as such - that's a subjective measurement that changes with distance. The further away you get from something, the dimmer it gets. But it is useful for comparing the power of energy-saving lamps and light fittings to their halogen and incandescent counterparts. Some manufacturers list this information right on the box. And it gets still more complicated: lamps are rated in initial and mean lumens. The initial lumen rating refers to the light given when the lamp is new, and as the light source sheds the chemicals inside it, or as its bulb walls darken over time, lumen deprecation takes place. So the average rating is the lumens emitted over the useful lifespan of the device. The Lux is related to the lumen but is measures a completely different thing: it's the SI-derived measure of illuminance. Illuminance is what we think of when we think of "visible light." It is the total amount of visible light illuminating (reflecting off) a point on a surface of a thing from all directions above that surface. Visible light, then, is measured in lux: the luminous flux per unit area. Lux measures the intensity of light that reflects off or passes through a surface. One lux is equal to one lumen per square metre (1 lx = 1 lm/m^2). Home lighting is about 50 lx, while TV studio lighting is usually about 1,000 lx. Daylight tends to hover around the 10 to 25,000 lx mark. So a measurement of lux will tell you how many lumens you need to illuminate an area. 1000 lm concentrated over a square metre will illuminate that spot for an illuminance of 1000 lx, and spreading that same lm value over 10 metres will illuminate that area for 100 lx. The Relationship Between Wattage and Luminance The watt (W) is the measure of power, defined as 1 Joule (unit of energy) per second (1 W = 1 J/s), and the power a bulb consumes has a lot to do with its electrical resistance. The resistance of a traditional incandescent bulb is affected by its filament, depending on its length, thickness, material, and so on. That metallic filament needs to be heated to a high temperature until it glows, and a filament with higher resistance glows brighter - but needs more power. So if a bulb has a brighter-burning filament, it is constructed at a higher wattage. A filament fitted within a 100W bulb has a higher resistance than a 60W bulb and so emits a brighter light. Sadly, a lot of that electrical energy is converted into heat when a lightbulb's sole purpose is to provide light. This is considered to be wasted energy. The rate at which a light source converts electrical power into light is known as luminous efficacy and is expressed as lumens per watt (LPW). The higher the LPW, the more efficient the light source. So while an incandescent light source has a low LPW, an energy-saving bulb has a much higher LPW: more of the electrical input is converted to luminous output. Wattage Equivalence When a manufacturer claims that a CFL or LED lightbulb is "equivalent" to a 40, 60 or 100-watt lamp, what they mean is that the light output is roughly the same, as measured in lumens. That said, it's rarely (if ever) a straight relationship; most of the time wattage equivalency is a rough figure, somewhere in the same "ball park." But in everyday use, that difference is barely noticeable - particularly with the current range of energy-saving lamps. If you'd like to take some of your own measurements and correct us on our science, you are more than welcome to do so in the comments. We stock both incandescent and energy-saving lightbulbs and lamps to aid the research.

More About the Latest and Most Affordable LED Technology (COB, Chips on Board)

The LEDs are a fast evolving technology, from small lamps to higher wattage lamps. They will eventually get to the point where they will replace the high incandescent lamps and even the fluorescent lamps. But not yet. Not this year, but most likely soon, the LED lights will be THE LIGHTS people will use (unless someone develops a better technology for lighting). There is a continual need for innovation in this domain, and it is foreseen that the LED lights are to be the new technology as far as illumination is concerned. LED Lighting Continues to Improve We wrote an article a while ago introducing some of the advantages and disadvantages of the LED lights, and someone recently commented rightly on it saying that CFLs and T5 fluorescent lamps can offer a better CRI (color rendering) illumination output. In the beginning people loved LED lights because of the light effect they offer, and not the color rendering, the illumination effect. Especially the small, tiny LED lights, they offer more lighting effect, giving out the light but not yet matching what we used to have with a dichroic lamp, a CFL, or a fluorescent fitting. The light output is not as crisp, as good, and as useful for general lighting as the lighting solutions we are used to have. But now with the latest LED technologies out there, you can have COB LED lights (Chips on Board). This technology allows multi LED chips to be packaged together as one lighting module, and when it lights up, it looks like a lighting panel (see more here). The Latest LED Technology - COB Halers LED lighting were the market leaders in the affordable LED lights approx. 6 months ago, but now it is the COB technology for the LED lighting. The CREE Chip is also good, the "Rolls Royce of LED Chips", offering brightness and reliability for power LEDs (plus efficient, environmentally friendly LED lights) - read more via cree.com. Note: the Halers LED lamps are no longer available at Sparks. The COB technology will allows the LED lights using it to be dimmable to almost 0 (not 25-30%, as many LED lights do today), and they offer an improved lighting output quality, bringing it more to the color rendering we are used to in the older light bulbs (CFLs, compact fluorescent, etc). Here are some of their advantages: Higher quality. Since the entire PCB (including the LED portion) is all machine-produced at the same time, the end result will be more uniform in construction. Increased thermal dissipation. Better thermal management, because the LED is directly attached to the PCB, giving it more surface area to pass heat away from the LED die. Fewer solder joints. Less soldering means a lower risk of a loss in performance due to a bad solder joint. Larger LED surface area. The better control of the cooling, the larger LED emitters can be built. What's Next for LED Lights? The LED technologies are in a continual development, and we don't know what the future holds for the space of lighting in general. Would we use LED lights in all the lighting applications? Not yet, maybe not in all general lighting applications, because they are still expensive and the light they offer is not refined to be what we need... But as time gos on, as the LED technologies evolve, the LED lights become better and their price is not that high. For now we can recommend you the latest technology of LEDs incorporated in the ELAN range of IP65 fire rated LED downlights available at Sparks for as low as £39 + VAT. Very affordable. They include many of the latest technologies like COB, fire protection, IP rating, energy saving, etc. Also, they come in the Fixed or Adjustable version (fixed or tilting), and each range offers you either Neutral White or Warm White light, in a White or Brushed Nickel finish. Check these out for yourself!

Do the Flicker-Free FIPEL Lamps Mean the End of Fluorescent Lights?

A while ago the BBC reported on a new plastic lightbulb that apparently gives a better quality of light than modern fluorescent bulbs and twice the energy efficiency. The research behind the "FIPEL" technology is now online, ahead of publication in the peer-reviewed journal Organic Electronics (thanks to R&D for the link!). The lighting industry is a technological wonderland lately! "Glowing Layers of Malleable Plastic" FIPEL (an acronym for Field-Induced Polymer Electroluminescence) bulbs were developed by Dr. David Carroll at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. The science is outlined in the Organic Electronics paper above, but in brief: the lights are made from layers of polymer containing nanomaterials that glow when an electric current is passed through them. It sounds like it should generate some heat, but reports say it doesn't. FIPEL also offers a few other, rather futuristic advantages over current tech. The Advantages of FIPEL FIPEL is primarily pitched at the market for fluorescent lighting, such as offices and high-bay warehouses. The most salient advantage is that they don't hum or flicker like contemporary lights, which should bring some joy to office workers. The plastic lamps are also malleable, so they can be arranged into whatever shape you like, and shatterproof. The composite materials can be made to a range of specifications such as ceiling-mounted "sheets." Wake Forest are hopeful that the technology will later be adopted in the retail market. In terms of colour temperature, these lamps are closer to natural daylight than anything available on the consumer market. Fluorescent lamps tend to be "warmer" than the ideal level; LEDs are generally cooler. This means they're great for indoor workers! To stave off concerns about longevity, Carroll claims that he's had a prototype running in his office for close to a decade. But whether FIPEL poses a real threat to fluorescent lighting remains to be seen. PureLux, Wake Forest University's commercial lighting technology arm, are set to bring FIPEL to the consumer market in 2013. There's still no word on pricing - and pricing has been one of the major obstacles for energy-efficient lighting. Until then, why not take a look at the LED light fittings available at Sparks?