Wednesday, May 31, 2017

How to Decode a Base Shape

Base Shape codes can get a little confusing. Let us help you break it down.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

With Everybody Going Green, Vintage Bulbs are Still Hot, Literally and Figuratively Speaking!

Antique, Edison Retro, Nostalgic, or Vintage Bulb, whatever you call them, they are still being used today.

The reproduction of Thomas Edison's first light bulb is quite old and plain, but the exposed-filament bulbs are being used in many restaurants and diners across the globe. Their antique glow has spread like wild fire and is said to be an important part of the décor because it echoes candlelight and flatters both the diner and dinner. These antique bulbs also tap into the popular Victorian Industrial look, retro-chic.

A lot of thought and expense goes into lighting eateries. Upscale budgets easily reach six figures — because it can shape a diner’s experience almost as much as the food. But these antique bulbs, though less efficient than fluorescent or LEDs, can build an ambience at a cost.

With everybody going green, these bulb are still hot, literally and figuratively speaking! Even though they use a lot of energy, they are being sought-after, not only for restaurants and diners, but also for home décor. The demand is said to be high enough that even retailers like Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware and Anthropologie sell them for a pretty penny.

Just like bell bottoms (or flare pants, or widelegs, whichever name you choose), nothing ever goes out of style.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

11 Essentials to Have Before Severe Weather Hits

Being prepared with the most accurate forecast is essential, but sometimes mother nature sneaks up on us without warning.

We've seen severe, and well, weird weather in this country over the years. From strong wind storms, to sleet and hail, to tornadoes, even a few feet of snow. Let us not forget the arctic temperatures leaving cars and buildings encrusted in ice. Then there's the brush fires, earthquakes, mudslides, and flooding to deal with. No matter where you live, you've probably dealt with a few of these at one point or another.

We can't always predict the weather, but we can be prepared when we know what's coming our way.

Are you storm and emergency ready?

At a minimum, you should have these 11 basic emergency supplies listed below:

- Water: 3-day supply for evacuation/2-weeks for home
- Non-perishable Food: 3-day supply for evacuation/2-weeks supply for home
- Clothing: including a jacket or coat, long pants, a long sleeve shirt, sturdy shoes/sneakers, hat and gloves, and a sleeping bag or warm blankets for each person
- LED Flashlights: LED Flashlights offer very bright light, last forever and require few battery changes.
- Battery-powered or Hand-crank Radio
- Extra Batteries: This is a no-brainer! Spare batteries are important for your weather radios, flashlights, you name it.
- First Aid Kit: Available at the Red Cross Store or any retail establishment.
- Charged Cell Phone (with charger)
- Medications (at least a 7-day supply)
- Multi-purpose Tool
- Duct Tape: Universal fix-it solution

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If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at 1-800-772-5267 or you can email us at

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Which Light Bulb is Dimmable?

If you would like to be able to control the brightness of a bulb, you will need one that is dimmable. Being able to adjust your light source means you’re able to create the perfect atmosphere anywhere.

Dimmable Incandescent Bulbs
Incandescent Bulbs have the largest controllable dimming range from 100% full light, all the way down to 0%, no light. Incandescent Bulbs produce light by allowing an electric current to flow through a metal filament surrounded by inactive nitrogen and argon gas. The current heats the filament and produces light at the same time. Reducing the current will produce a little less light but doesn’t prevent the incandescent from working. Lowering the voltage will benefit your incandescent bulbs, causing them to outlast their typical 1,000-hour life span.

Dimmable Halogen Bulbs

All halogen bulbs are dimmable; this includes xenon and krypton bulbs as well. A halogen bulb operates the same way an incandescent bulb does. However, halogens have a quartz capsule and some additional gas from the halogen family that slows down the burning process of the metal filament, allowing them to last twice as long as incandescents. Your incandescent hall light and the halogen bulbs in your track lighting can share dimmer without a problem.

While dimming makes incandescents last longer, your dimmable halogen bulb may come to a premature end. When a halogen bulb is dimmed down to 20%, the gases around filament begin to build up on the capsule glass instead. Then the bulb begins to operate as an incandescent, leaving the filament to overheat and burn out.

Dimmable CFL Bulbs
Dimmable CFL's are dimmable because of the special electronics in the ballast (housed in the plastic part at the base of the bulb) which steps up the current to be extremely high frequency to create a circuit through the gas in the tube and ignite the bulb. The modern CFL-compliant dimmers work with this, but they also work with other types of bulbs, by reducing the current flow.

NOTE: Non-dimmable CFLs cannot and should not ever be used with dimmer switches. This isn’t so much because they won’t perform well, but because it actually presents a pretty serious fire hazard. Fire is probably a remote risk, but it could happen, more likely it could damage the bulb or substantially reduce its lifespan.

CFLs have less resistance than incandescent bulbs, which means all hell breaks loose when they are exposed to the electrical fluctuations that a dimmer sends. They can actually consume up to 5x the current as when they're not connected to a dimmer. This overheats the bulb and can actually catch on fire.

Dimmable LED Bulbs
While many LED bulbs are now dimmable, not all of them are and not all of them dim daylight lighting in the same way. Since LEDs consume such a low wattage, many types of dimmers do not function with LED in the same way that they do with high wattage load incandescents.

When dimming an LED, you may notice the following:
- Smaller amount of dimming range
  (Typically 70-90% range vs. 100% with incandescent)
- LED Bulbs may not shut off at lowest dim setting: this is caused by the dimmer thinking the bulb is completely off due to the low amount of wattage an LED consumes
- On dimming systems based on X10 or Power Line Carrier (PLC) control technology, LEDs may flicker when modules are communicating due to the small fluctuations in power on the line
- Current LEDs do not shift color when dimmed, in other words they will not offer a soft fiery glow when dimmed like an incandescent

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Many Heroes in the Month of May

The month of May is looked at by some as Heroes Appreciation Month. It is also be looked at as National Military Appreciation Month and National Inventors Month. However you look at it, May is the month of many heroes.

Everybody who does something good, important, and valuable deserves a day in their honor. Memorial Day, an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May, honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Many people observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Flags are also positioned half-staff to remember the more than 1 million men and women who gave their lives for our country.

Teachers certainly are among the most deserving too.
The first Tuesday of May honors those hard working, patient and understanding people whom we entrust our children to. Teachers mold our kids in a positive direction, affecting who they are and who they become. From Kindergarten through college,
teachers are an important part of our children's lives.

Then we have inventors and their inventions, who shape the way we live our lives. Thomas Edison is usually credited with the invention of the light bulb, but the famous American inventor wasn't the only one who contributed to the development of this revolutionary technology. The story of the light bulb begins long before Edison patented the first commercially successful light bulb in 1879.

In 1800, Italian inventor Alessandro Volta developed the first practical method of generating electricity. Made of alternating discs of zinc and copper -- interspersed with layers of cardboard soaked in salt water -- the pile conducted electricity when a copper wire was connected at either end. Alessandro Vota's "glowing copper wire" was considered to be one of the earliest manifestations of incandescent lighting. Shortly after, an English inventor named Humphrey Davy produced the world's first electric lamp by connecting voltaic piles to charcoal electrodes. However, neither of these were a practical source of lighting. These resources of lighting either burned out quickly or were way too bright for use in a home or work space.

Soon after, a scientist, a chemist and an inventor designed light bulbs that solved problems of previous inventors; but none got as close to perfection as Edison and his team of researchers. After testing different materials that could be used for the filaments, Edison and his team found that carbonized bamboo filament could burn for more than 1,200 hours. Then, years later, came the carbon and tungsten filaments; tungsten being the primary material used in incandescent bulb filaments today. But just like the number of other filaments, incandescent bulbs and tungsten are going to be the thing of the past.

The men and woman who died serving our country, the educators who instill respect, value and integrity in our children, and the inventors who changed the world we live in all have one thing in common, and that is a hero. A hero is a brave person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.

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