10 Design Concepts for the Financially Challenged

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Don’t let the urge to redecorate be hampered by a lack of funds!

These are just a few ideas for redecorating on a tight budget:

  1. Placemats and Table Runners – Using colored cloth placemats and table runners on furniture surfaces will add an accent to your room without causing clutter.
  2. Lamp Shades-You can change out your lamp shades on existing lamps for a lot less than purchasing an entirely new lamp. Try using colors to change the mood of the room you are working on.
  3. Garage Sale Knick-Knacks-Wake up early on a Saturday morning, and hit some garage sales. You can find accent pieces and even antique furniture pieces that will change the look of your room for little cost.
  4. Candles -A set of three candles, whether the same size or different sizes, in different colors, will add warmth to your room. You do not need anything fancy, just a few 3in x 6in pillar candles on a table with a bamboo mat underneath can make a wonderful centerpiece.
  5. Prints -Visit your local craft store and look at their selection of poster sized prints. You can either have these framed, or stop at Wal-Mart for a poster frame. You can get inexpensive poster frames in oak, black, silver, gold, brass…there are usually quite a few options for generally under 20 dollars.
  6. Original Art -Posterboard, acrylic paint, any size picture frame.
  7. Unused Furniture -Using the same acrylic paint, you can paint your unused or old wooden furniture to use as accent pieces.
  8. Tables-Old board games, mounted on a piece of fabric covered plywood and coated with a sealant, can make a fun table top for a child’s room.
  9. Old Books-Stop at your local thrift store and pick up a stack of old books that you can stack on a table to create a pedestal for a candle grouping, plant or lamp in order to some depth on a flat surface.
  10. Lighting-As simple as it sounds, change the wattage of your light bulbs for a whole different look to the room.

Again, some simple and fun ideas to change the look of your existing decor when the money just isn’t there!

(c) 2006 Terri Oh

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3 Ways to Save Big With Solar Energy

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Solar energy is not just for electrical gurus or families able to make a large initial investment, it's for everyone. As the price of solar panels comes down and solar technology more efficient, solar energy is quickly becoming a way for the average family to save big on their monthly energy bills. Keep reading for 3 ways you can save a lot of money in your home with solar energy.

1. Go solar in the garden.

You pay nothing for electricity that comes from the sun, so why not use it in your home's sunniest spot – the garden? Several manufacturers offer solar-powered exterior lights that can illuminate porches, pathways, stairwells and gardens. Some are even bright enough to provide security lighting.

These extremely efficient solar lights use electricity generated by sunlight falling on photovoltaic (solar) cells, which is then stored in a rechargeable battery for use at night. Separate units that have a self-contained solar panel usually need to be placed in a sunny spot during the day, but lights with independent solar panels can go anywhere while you attach the panel to the roof or another sunny location.

2. Harness the sun to heat your water.

If you live in a sunny climate or can back up your solar system with a small, on-demand heater, this could be an ideal setup to save a lot of money. You'll save big on energy costs by installing a simple solar water heater to supplement your conventional water heater. Overall, a solar hot-water system is about 50-85 percent less expensive to operate than electric water heaters. The savings over gas heaters are less substantial, but there are still opportunities to reduce your energy consumption.

Before investing in any solar hot water system, have a heating consultant evaluate the potential savings and determine the system type and capacity best suited to your family's needs.

3. Harness solar power through your windows.

Opening your home up to light can dramatically reduce your heating and lighting costs. When renovating a home, always consult a lighting expert on the best window placement for the longest amount of daylight allowance.

If you're unable to invest in new windows, try simply opening the shades on a cold winter day or brightening a dark room with light paint and sheer curtains that allow the light to come in. For little to no expense, you can save a few dollars every month on your lighting bills.

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LED Pool Lights

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LED pool lights use light emitting diodes to shed light on the pool water. They are fully waterproof and can be used above or below the water. Since their introduction, a lot of pool owners have replaced their traditional incandescent lighting by the pool lights made of the newer technology. Compared with the traditional lighting system, LED lights provide much better color options and best appreciated by their energy saving and low maintenance features.

LED lights are available with color change options that feature various modes to make the pool water appear to be one color or multiple colors at a time. LED is actually the only artificial light source to produce colored light, not just one or two colors, but all the colors of the spectrum. Very often, the LED lighting system come with different preset program with various colors and color changing shows. So besides illuminating the pool, there are options that offer a relaxing and elegant lighting, perfect for outdoor dinner parties, or offer calming colors that provide a nice romantic style of lighting. Color changing LED lights are comparable to the fiber optics pool lights found in other pools, but will save you money on your energy bill.

Although the initial cost of LED pool lights would be a little higher than the traditional lighting, pool owners can save money in operational cost and take advantage of their longevity. They consume a small fraction of the power, up to 90% energy saving. They also require little maintenance as they last considerably longer than incandescent lighting, up to 100,000 hours in average. LEDs don’t typically burn out like traditional lighting, but rather gradually decrease in light output. They are more resistant to thermal and vibration shocks and turn on instantly, making them ideal for applications subject to frequent on-off cycling.

Another reason why LED pool lights are more attractive to pool owners than the traditional pool lights is that LED lights are very eco-friendly and their fixtures are some of the only “green” products that are able to be used at pools. They do not contain anything to harm the environment.

A wide range of swimming pool lights manufactured with LED technology is available on the market. If you have pool light system installed, you can also replace your bulb with certain type of LED light bulbs. Compared to other pool light bulbs, this type of LED pool lights has a small number in power output and uses about 90% less energy. But you still have the brightness. A 50 Watt LED light can have a white output that is comparable to a 250 Watt light bulb.

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Home Light Bulbs – Helping You to See the Difference

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Lighting can make a big impact on a person's health, mood and ability to perform their job. Many businesses have realized using the proper light bulbs can increase a person's ability to think through complex situations, enable a person to make an informed decision and create a positive atmosphere. However, the realization of using the proper light bulbs has not been carried over into the home to enhance one's home life, but there are many reasons why it should.

The typical household light bulbs are incandescent 60 watt GE light bulbs. Incandescent light bulbs can light up a room well, but it is estimated that over 20% of electrical usage in a home comes from lighting a house and out of that amount only 10% is light producing. The other 90% is heat producing, but the heat produced is not even sufficient for completely heating up a room. Halogen light bulbs used in garages and outside are similar to the incandescent light bulbs only they produce even more heat and use more power. With the increase in technology many other light bulbs have been created that provide a higher percentage of light at a lower cost.

Fluorescent light bulbs have become a popular alternative to the typical household light bulbs, because not only can they light up a room, but they are a longer amount of time and use a fraction of the electricity compared to the incandescent light bulbs. Fluorescent light bulbs come in many sizes and there have been some that are made to fit into the light sockets of the incandescent light bulbs. In addition to the reduced cost of usage the fluorescent light bulbs can be purchased to produce a more natural light.

Another low energy using light source is LED light bulbs (LED is short for light emitting diodes). LED light bulbs are commonly used in computer screens, remote controls and digital clocks, but they are beginning to be looked at as the future of lighting. LED light bulbs generate a significant amount of light, but they do not spread the light around the room like the incandescent or fluorescent light bulbs. They do provide an excellent low cost light source for specific areas that need to be lighted such as reading areas. Some manufacturers have made products using LED light bulbs for times when there is no electrical source and items need to last a long time on batteries. A flashlight produced by Sylvania with LED light bulbs, called Dot It Lights has been making its way into the market successfully.

In addition to the higher cost of incandescent light bulbs there is a health factor that the scientific community has studied. The type of light incandescent light bulbs provide is considered an unnatural light. Unnatural light is considered light that is different from the light produced by the sun. The scientific studies have shown that if a person sees a significant time indoors or without natural light their health will decline. Some of the common health problem symptoms are fatigue and depression, but there have been a few studies that have shown lack of natural light can cause cancers as well.

Many light bulbs are now being designed as full spectrum light bulbs. Full spectrum light bulbs are not a specific type of light bulb, but rather a description of the light the light bulbs produce. Full spectrum light bulbs produce light that is similar to the natural light of the sun. In many areas of the world where the sun does not shine these lights are used to promote a healthy environment. Due to many people spending a lot of time inside full spectrum light bulbs should be used in the home to ensure a person receives natural light, or close to natural light, through the day to promote a healthy body.

The benefits of using the right light bulbs at home can affect every area of ​​your life; financially, by reducing cost; mentally, increasing concentration; and bodily, by promoting healthy chemical production. You have nothing to lose, but a lot to gain by using the new technology of light bulbs.

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The Significance of Using the LED Light Bulbs

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Led light bulbs save the energy and above all, saves the money on the electricity bill. The future of the household lighting depends entirely upon the efficient use of the Led light bulbs. It can even become one of the useful tools in the home, especially if one is conscious about the environment or wants to save money in the long run. It gives off more light as compared to the other standard bulb, because the light is very directional and it is affordable.

The operational life of the white LED lamps is 1,000,000 hours, which means that it would provide 11 years of continuous operation, or 22 years of 50% operation. The long operational life of Led light bulbs is totally in contrast to the average life of an incandescent bulb, which is nearly 5000 hours. And, one of the key strength of Led lighting is the fact, that it consumes less power consumption.

With the development of high efficiency and powerful LED light bulbs it has become possible for the proper use of LEDs in lighting and illumination. LEDs are most commonly used in the street lights and for some other architectural lighting, where the colour changing is used. Due to its robustness and long lifetime, it is also used for automotive lighting on cars, motorcycles and even on the bicycle.

Due to its low energy consumption, low maintenance and small size, the modern LED bulbs are used as status indicators and are also used for displays on a variety of equipment and installations. It is even used for a large area LED displays for stadium displays and is used as a dynamic decorative displays. Apart from this, thin, lightweight message displays are used at airports and railway stations, and as destination displays for trains, buses, trams, and so on.

LEDs are even used for the aviation lighting. As, Airbus has used LED lighting in their Airbus A320, and Boeing also plans for its implementation. These LED lighting are also being used in the airport and for the heliport lighting.

Thus, LED light bulbs constitutes many advantages over incandescent light sources and includes lower energy consumption, longer lifetime, improved robustness, smaller size, faster switching, and greater durability and reliability And, it has even been observed that, they are relatively less expensive and requires more heat management than traditional light sources. And, more than this, LED’s are eco-friendly and economically sustainable.

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Comments: Integrating HVAC, Lighting and Building Automation Systems

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LED Scanner Lighting Kit To Make Your Cars Attractive

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The 5050 RGB SMD LED Scanner Lighting Kit contains 4 seven inch LED lights which you can install in your car to give it a stylish look. There are also a number of flashing patters in it which will blow your mind away. Installing this lighting kit is even easier. You have to simply mount the kit to the front grille of your car and connect the red and black wires to the negative and positive terminals of your car’s battery respectively. Having done with that, you will have these beautiful and amazing lights successfully installed in your car. Kids simply love these lights! Here, in this article we have discussed about the features and functions of these lights to give you a glance about them.

Features:

  • The kit comes with a 4 piece 7 inch LED strips (this means that each strip contains 12 pieces of SMD LED Lights).
  • 55 types of different flashing patters to choose from.
  • Comes with a remote control to turn on the LED and to change the flashing pattern. The range of the remote control is 60 ft.
  • It is100% water resistant and so you won’t have to worry about the kit when doing extreme driving.
  • Easy to install and in fact you can do it by yourself as well! All you need to do is to tap the red wire to the positive terminal and the black wire to the negative terminal of the battery.

The functions of its remote:

  • You can turn them on and off with the remote.
  • You can change color of the lights according to your liking.
  • You can also change the flashing patter and pick any other patter from the 55 different flashing patterns.
  • Also, with the remote control you can change the speed with which the flash patterns run.

What is in the 5050 RGB SMD LED Scanner Lighting Kit?

In the package you will get one set of LED knight lights kit (i.e. 12-SMD LED Scanner Lighting Kit) and a remote control.

It will add a new charm to your car and will give it a chic and urban look. With this kit installed in your car it will be hard for the people on streets to let go your car unnoticed. The best thing about this kit is that it is very easy to install and it has 55 different flashing patters to choose from.

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Light Your Front Door in Style

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They say you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. When it comes to your home making a good first impression, the place to start is your front door. Your front door is where visitors first get up close to your property, so it can make all the difference between them being quietly impressed, or distinctly underwhelmed.

There are several relatively painless ways to give your front door a facelift. You can give it a lick of new paint. You can install a smarter letterbox, door knocker or door bell. And, if you have an outside light by your front door – and a lot of us do – you can treat it to a more handsome fitting.

When shopping for a new light to lift your front door from bland anonymity to local celebrity, the first thing to consider is the style of your property. If you live in a contemporary building, is a faux-Georgian lantern really the way to go? If you live in a period house, will some cheap and cheerful repro light from the DIY sheds really do it justice?

One possible solution for all types of property is to use wall-mounted spotlights placed on one or both sides of your doorway, or even above it. As you would expect, the clean, contemporary style of spotlights sits very comfortably with contemporary architecture, especially when they are in a hard-edged material like stainless steel, or a suitable powdercoat paint colour.

However, the form-is-function design aesthetic of spotlights can also be an unobtrusive and minimal complement to period properties, particularly if you choose a fitting in solid copper which, as well as being a pleasingly traditional material, quickly dulls down to blend with its surrounding materials, especially brick and timber.

The second issue to bear in mind when shopping for front door lighting is the kind of light effect it creates. Traditional lighting typically produces a pool of ambient light. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it is rather indiscriminate – do you really want to light those dustbins, or that oil stain on your drive? And if you’re considering security lighting, do you really want to feel like you’ve walked into a high security militarised zone every time you arrive home at night (not to mention the light pollution it creates which could lead to tensions with your neighbours)?

Spotlights, by contrast, shine a beam of light that you can point exactly where you want it. For example, installing a downlighter over your front door will create a tent of light around the doorway, while also producing enough reflected light to gently light the approach to the door. Alternatively, if you have planters either side of your front door, a spotlight for each will transform them into an eye-catching night-time highlight that frames your doorway in light. There are even wall-mounted spotlights that shine a beam from the top and bottom of the fitting for a dramatic and different light effect.

Most of the best spotlights on the market use dichroic halogen lamps which require a 12-volt electricity supply – and that means they need a transformer. However, if that’s beginning to sound too technical for your tastes, or you’re wondering where you’re meant to locate the transformer, there’s no need to worry. Many 12-volt halogen exterior spotlights incorporate an integral transformer, so they connect directly to the mains electricity supply without fuss. Alternatively, there are outdoor spotlights that use the 240 volt GU10 dichroic halogen lamp which, again, connects directly to the mains power. Or if you like the idea of being at the cutting edge of lighting technology, there are now compact wall mounted outdoor spotlights that use the new 240-volt MR16 metal halide lamp which combines very high light output with exceptional energy efficiency.

Whichever lighting technology you choose, your spotlights will look good during the day and your front door will look like a star at night.

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Outdoor Lighting in Commercial Spaces

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Commercial areas and businesses take every effort to attract as many customers as possible, from television commercials to online ads to mail campaigns. However, in a digital world, street traffic is still as important as ever.

Judgments are made in an instant, and the exterior appearance of a business or commercial area can be a vital factor in whether a consumer will come inside or keep on going. Below are some ways that outdoor lighting can improve your business.

  • Every customer likes looking at an attractive building or commercial area. Exterior appeal is nearly as important to a business as what is on the inside. Outdoor lighting enhances the experience of a customer and increases the likelihood of future visits. In addition, lights added to commercial settings like parks or walking areas will create an inviting atmosphere that more people will want to enjoy.
  • Commercial outdoor lighting can make customers feel safe. Presenting a secure atmosphere is vital to bringing in first time customers and encouraging repeat experiences. Ensuring a safe work environment for employees and colleagues is also of chief concern when considering lighting. Parking lots and entranceways are important areas to keep in mind for installation since they can be prime areas for crime.
  • If cost of lighting is a concern, there are options to help you avoid exceeding your budget. LED lighting is a popular way to remain environment friendly by lowering power consumption and thereby your expenses. LED illuminates brighter than other lighting and does not burn out as quickly.

Using commercial outdoor lighting can enhance and draw attention to a given space. Creating a well-lit environment is an easy way to invite consumers to take part in what you have to offer.

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Is Motion Sensor Lighting A Good Investment For Your Home?

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Save money on outdoor security lighting while at the same time, protecting your property (and your own personal safety) with floodlights that are activated when motion is detected by a sensor. Floodlights that are illuminated from dusk to dawn are high-energy consumers and can easily be replaced by automating the activating process.

Motion activated outdoor lighting has a shock value to would be intruders. Suspecting that your home is shrouded in darkness making it an easy target for burglary would be intruders are shocked when they are suddenly flooded with light. It’s just common sense to expect them to move on to a less protected target.

In addition to protecting your property from criminals, motion activated lighting can provide an element of safety for you when you are returning home after dark or if you venture outside to investigate a strange noise. Strategically placed, motion activated floodlights can illuminate the driveway, entryways and other walkways around your home. Some insurance companies will even offer premium incentives for homeowners with this type of security lighting.

The basic mechanics of the motion detection sensor is fairly simple. The active sensor works by pulsing a stream of energy such as microwaves or sound that is sensitive to changes in the environment. Most lighting systems are of the passive variety designed to detect infrared energy. These passive systems known as passive infrared detectors can be calibrated to detect a person by picking up on the infrared energy they emit.

The motion sensor is sensitive to both motion and the amount of infrared energy that it is sensing. The electronics are designed to find a relatively rapid change in the amount of infrared energy it is sensing. This is why these sensing devices are triggered by a person or animal moving and not the slow gradual change that occurs in the infrared energy in the nighttime environment.

Motion sensors are also used indoors and are generally called occupant sensors. A special feature of many occupant sensors is that they detect not only the presence of a person in a particular area but also detect the absence of a person as well. The way they work is fairly simple and straightforward. The motion detector itself is designed to sense both the presence and the absence of a person, send the appropriate message or signal to what is called the control unit which then processes the information and sends a signal to a controllable switch which then either opens or closes a relay which either turns lights on or turns them off.

Besides providing security, the occupant sensor is a very effective energy savings device because of its capability to turn off lights when a room or area is not being used.

There are basically two different systems available for occupant sensors. One type involves a separate unit for the motion detector and controller and a separate unit for the power supply and switch (relay). This setup is the most popular type of occupant sensor and is generally the least expensive. A more recent innovation is called a wall box sensor and includes all the components housed in a single compact package. Wall box sensors are generally less powerful in terms of their detection capabilities than their older counterpart.

Another type of motion sensor uses infrared heat energy generated by a person. These passive devices do not emit any radiation and are strictly detection devices that are designed to be sensitive to any object that emits energy at a wavelength of approximately 10 microns, which is the maximum generated by a person. These devices are generally known as passive infrared sensors or PIR and are restricted by the fact that they are line-of-sight systems.

Finally, a device called an ultrasonic occupant sensor uses a system that sends out ultrasonic waves, which then pick up on how often these waves are reflected. Operating much like naval sonar devices, these sensors detect motion through a change in the frequency of the waves that are reflected. These devices are among the most sensitive sensors when it comes to detecting movement.

RAB is one of the leading manufacturers of motion sensors and provide a variety of sensors, each configured for specific purposes. One of the most popular models is the Stealth 110. This unit provides 110-degree coverage, which translates to 50′ out and 70′ wide. Generally used in commercial or industrial settings, the Stealth 15LV is primarily used as a motion detector in corridors. This unit has a 15-degree coverage and can detect motion as far away as 75′ using a 12′ scan. The Stealth 200 provides 200 degrees of coverage or 30′ out and 100′ wide. The primary application for this model is along the side of a building for close coverage.

RAB also offers motion sensor light kits that don’t involve the more complicated wiring found in the above-noted models. These units have either a bell or a bullet floodlight that illuminates whenever motion is detected in the area covered. The STL110H series has 110 degree coverage or 50′ out and 70′ wide. The STL200H series has a 200 degree coverage or 30′ out and 100′ wide.

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The Best LED T8 Tube for Your Needs

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People have been using linear fluorescent lights (LFLs) for years for lighting commercial buildings as well as for residential units. Over the years, this type of lighting has proven to provide high quality light yield and has reasonable life span in addition to being energy efficient. This especially holds true for the T8 fluorescent lights which only utilize about 60% of the energy that the now phased out T12 lamps used to expend. In the passing of years however, people have continued to experiment and discover newer technologies that can provide more cost-efficient light. Just recently, the T8 tube was introduced in the market for tube lights and has then started dominating it.

So what attributes does the T8 tube possess that can get fluorescent lights users to finally make the switch products? manufacturers had no difficulty winning over incandescent bulbs users since incandescent lighting consumes a lot of energy and emits a rather warm light as compared to the cool lights of the LED. However, when it comes to LFLs or fluorescent lights which are also energy-saving and have a respectable life span, consumers might understandable need a bit more to sway there. For starters, what advantages could the LED tube offer when compared to conventional fluorescent lamps?

For one, the T8 tube guarantees a much more improved efficiency than the much known LFLs. According to actual comparative study done on both T8s for LED and LFLs, previous one came out as 30% more efficient than the later. Another major edge is that they have no mercury content as compared to fluorescents. As you know, mercury is a toxic material that is hazardous to our environment as well as to the health of individuals exposed to it. An LED is also capable of directional lighting, unlike fluorescents. Hence, you are not only able to save energy when using LED, you also experience maximum usage of the light it is able to emit. Fluorescent lights emit multi-directional light, thus some lights are lost on other unnecessary places such as in the fixtures and ceilings. Another advantage of LED is that it is capable of being dimmed without losing its lighting attributes. While fluorescents can be dimmed, you need expensive accessories to be able to accomplish such feature and the light it emits is so poor that it would be better to just switch off the light altogether.

One major characteristics of these lights that makes them the better choice for commercial as well as residential use is the fact that they work better with controls than fluorescents do. Fluorescent’s life expectancy actually shortens when they are put together with sensors and other occupancy controls. LEDs on the other hand can work seamlessly with any control systems since their life span is not impacted by switching them on or off. LEDs produced quality light that is comparable to fluorescents. However LEDs do not flicker unlike in some cases of fluorescent lamp. At present, T8 LED has the capacity to emit light up to 50,000 hours. The average LFL however has an approximate life span of 30,000 hours, which is definitely lagging behind LEDs capacity. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to mention that LFL already has the linear fluorescent light in the market. It has an estimated 84,000 hours life expectancy. Considering such, it won’t be long before LED will be able to introduce a more or less the same product in the market.

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Glowing Bulbs Use Much Less Power

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For those amongst us who has ever wondered what HID ballast does, it is very easy to explain. This small piece of equipment is used to control the power in a gas-filled bulb fitting. The MH ballast does much the same thing and these can be found in fluorescent lights and anything with neon gas inside. Indeed, what it does is to limit the flow of current through the gas so making it cheaper to operate.

These kinds of gas-filled bulbs must have a piece of equipment like this installed because there is no way of controlling the flow of power otherwise. If the lamp was to be operated without this equipment then it would certainly fail for sure.

The electro-magnet variety will allow the light to illuminate on each half cycle of the power as it cycles through the unit. This is what makes fluorescent lights flicker and this can cause some problem in people who are prone to headaches or epileptic fits. There are different pieces of equipment which can minimize this kind of fluctuation by attaching it to two lamps so that one lights while the other one is off and vice versa.

On the other hand, electronic styles of this equipment will use a different method to transform the voltage and this too will cut down on flickering and all the problems that it brings. This is probably the cheapest system too since it runs at cooler temperatures meaning that it uses less power.

Many people wonder how the fluorescent bulbs works and they mostly know that this is a gas-filled bulb. What is actually contained inside is mercury vapor which will only produce ultra violet light. But the lamp has a phosphorescent coating which glows once exposed to the ultra violet light and the result is bright and clear illumination. Although these fittings are larger than the normal tungsten bulbs, they do a lot longer and are much cheaper to run over time.

Today, everyone is aware that we must start cutting back on fuel consumption and as power is produced from fossil fuels sometimes, the need to save electricity is paramount. The newer coiled bulbs for home use are much more compact than the originals and many people are now replacing the old tungsten varieties with these. They are more expensive though but they are a whole lot longer which makes them price competitive over time.

Some countries have already phased out the old tungsten variety of bulbs and many more countries are following suit every year. Sometimes it should be impossible to purchase anything but this energy-efficient bulb which will obviously bring down prices even more as we progress.

Although most of us take lighting for granted, it is obvious that it is a far more complex system being used than first thought. Replacing the inside workings of these lamps is easier since online companies started to offer them for sale and a quick search online will show what is available in this area.

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Color Your World to Productivity

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Did you know the color of your office and surroundings can actually have an effect on your productivity? So if you have been feeling sluggish and seeking an answer in motivation, it may be as simple as picking up a paint brush. A couple of questions you need to ask yourself before you paint, is do you want a relaxing environment, or do you need your workspace to be more stimulating? Some colors motivate, while others distract. If you’re easily distracted, surround yourself with soft, muted colors to relax and calm you and help you get down to work. If you find motivation difficult, surround yourself with brighter colors to provide yourself with more energy. If you don’t have the time to paint at the moment, (or wallpaper), – look around at other items you may be able to change the color scheme on, or add a splash of color to; ie; the couch, throw pillows, chair covers, desk cover, frames, etc . . .

Cool colors, such as purples, greens and blues are more passive in nature, and will make your work area feel calmer. It will help quiet the nerves, lift the spirits, and soothe the soul. These are especially good colors to use if you work with the public in stressful situations, such as a counselor, lawyer, psychiatrist, etc. .. They’re calming and meditative, which will help with thoughtful concentration and reflection.

Use warm colors such as reds, yellows, and oranges, for an intimate and cozy feel. These colors tend to be a bit more active than the cooler colors.

Warm hues are great to use in settings where you want a cheerful and invigorating feel. They help awaken the mind and enliven the spirit. A good motivator for sales and people or for those who need to be creative in their work.

Warm, muted tones tend to work better than bold, bright colors in office environments. Psychologically, bright colors are very stimulating, but also tend to be distracting in working spaces. Decide what will work best for your own personal space. If you are the boss, enabling employees to make their own office space the colors of their personal choice will make for a happier, more relaxed atmosphere, with employees who are more productive.

A good rule of thumb in offices, is to use bright hues as accents, rather than as the main wall colors. Use vibrant colors sparingly in these areas to create the level of stimulation you desire.

If you work with international companies, one thing to keep in mind is the meaning of color in different cultures. For example, in Russia red means beautiful. In China red attracts good luck. In South Africa it’s the color of mourning and for the ancient Romans, a red flag was a signal for battle. The main thing you want to be sure of is that the colors you choose to work with, are not an insult to an international company you do business with.

It’s also good to keep in mind that different colors have different meanings in certain professions. Such as the medical field: Blue means oxygen, which can signify death and dying, yellow is saved for neurology, but is also associated with decay and sickness, red is inflammation and green symbolizes bile.

A few colors are listed below with some of their noted affects and effects:

Red- Portrays dominance, power and attention. Use red to grab people’s attention, and get people to take action. Muted Reds are often soft, cozy and personal. Red can also be used to have a desired cautionary effect.

Green- Relaxes people. As nature colors they provoke growth, fertility, health and harmony. Muted greens are calm, restful and soothing, while shaded variants project trust and order, encouraging contemplation, serenity and repose.

Yellow- Sunny, attention getter, harmonizing, energy, and coveys hospitality. Promotes deep feelings of well-being. Muted shades speak of home, harvest and abundance.

Blue- Cooling down affect. Steady, evoking the emotions of sky and sea. It is calming, expansive and cool. Muted hues recall summer skies, azure mountain lakes, and blue-green ocean depths, helping in deep concentration and reflection. Shaded blues exude a comfort and ease.

Orange- Radiant, luminous, bright, glowing and bold. The muted shades are restful, earthy, natural and soothing.

Purple- Pure purple has the clarity of blue and the warmth of red. The deep colors convey grandeur and luxury, while the lighter shades are elusive and intriguing. Muted purples are airy and peaceful and the shaded purples are soft and shadowy.

White- Represents peace and purity, the color white can be used to give an open, spacious feeling to a smaller work area. Soft, muted, or tinted whites are the best choice for the main wall colors in offices. Pure, bright white, when used in large quantities, can strain the eyes in a brightly lit work environment. Instead, use bright whites for trim and moldings to create a crisp, clean look.

Neutrals- Soothing, comforting, safe and secure, neutrals make a great background for almost any office environment. Neutrals blend with every color, making them the perfect choice for offices that are open to other rooms of the home. Neutral colors are comfortable, yet elegant and understated. Their subtlety makes them versatile, simple to use, and very easy to work with. Lending well to the thinking process, neutral colors are open-minded and cooperative. They are not distracting, making it easy to concentrate on the task at hand.

Neutral color schemes work well with furnishings from all time periods. Contemporary, traditional, and even period furnishings. To avoid looking dull or bland use a variety of different tones with different patterns and textures. Use colorful accents to bring unexpected ‘punches’ of color to a neutral room, or use color to highlight an interesting architectural feature and to bring attention to a focal wall.

For the exterior, using neutral color schemes is probably the safest choice you can make. Neutrals blend with the environment, and are tasteful and timeless, giving them long-lasting appeal. Neutrals harmonize with nature helping to integrate the business with the natural landscape. Neutral colors are unobtrusive, making them useful for camouflaging architectural defects and unattractive areas such as gutters.

Enjoy customizing the colors of your own personal work space. And most of all enjoy the benefits the colors will bring you and your clients.

Remember to always provide adequate lighting. Lighting is critically important for office work-and your eyesight. Use adjustable desktop lamps to help provide additional lighting to create warm, decorative pools of light, especially in the evening hours and at night. Desktop lighting also helps to reduce glare on your computer screen.

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Light Your Road With The Mercedes Benz Fog Light

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Every vehicle needs only the best lighting to ensure excellent visibility for drivers like you. Whether you drive a car, truck or SUV, you need to be sure your lights are in topnotch condition before you head for the road. For the classy Mercedes Benz owners, a special type of fog light was especially made to give you only the best lighting as you cruise your Mercedes Benz on the road: the Mercedes Benz Fog Light.

Equipped with superior function, the Mercedes Benz Fog Light gives Mercedes Benz owners much benefit. What is basically does is to provide a wider light dispersion pattern that is especially useful when driving at night or during total darkness caused by foul weather. The light dispersed by the Mercedes Benz Fog Light is bright but does not cause blinding reflections that could cause accidents. Mounted just below the headlights, this fog light gives Mercedes Benz drivers a better view of the sides of the vehicle. Furthermore, the Mercedes Benz Fog Light is specifically built to resist the normal wear and tear that regular fog lights are prone to.

Like other fog lights in the market, the Mercedes fog lights come in various types and options, with different applications and hues to suit any driving need. For instance, blue fog lights and amber fog lights improve visibility during bad weather. These add style to the car as well. Regular fog lights normally have a range approximately the same as typical low beams. Most of its light is aimed at a level lower than the light of the low beam headlights. Higher-level fog lights such as LED fog lights contain precision crafted lens that keep all of the light low and directly below the eye level of oncoming drivers. With these types of fog lights, safety is taken a notch higher.

The lens and reflectors of fog lights like the Mercedes Benz fog light also differ. The fluting or cuts in the lens determine the pattern of light deflection. Most fog lights use lead crystal since it is the clearest type of lens and allows easier passage of lights. Other fog lights made of ordinary glass or hardened glass have longer lasting use but can be affected by the accumulated dust and dirt which can hinder the light from passing.

When driving and poor visibility sets in, remember to turn on the Mercedes Benz fog lights as soon possible, especially in foggy early mornings or late in the evening. Many traffic accidents occur because of poor visibility. Fortunately for Mercedes Benz owners, risk of danger is reduced once the Mercedes Benz owners are installed. And with its high supply in the market, there’ll never be any worry of having a hard time finding one.

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Comments: Using Lighting to Shoot a Wedding Video

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Advantages And Disadvantages of Solar Lamps

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Solar power is considered to be the most efficient and renewable source of energy used by mankind today. With the development of various technologies, different uses of this renewable source of energy are being discovered. The solar lamp is one among the most effective uses of the energy from the sun. It is also one of the largest growing industries in the world.

The constant rise in the demand for these lamps and lights can be attributed to two factors which include-

* The need to save costs

* Control environment pollution

There are many advantages and disadvantages associated with these lighting options. Some of the most important advantages include the following.

Zero Energy Costs: One of the greatest advantages of a solar lamp is its zero energy costs. As these lamps and lights derive its energy from the sun, it can function free of costs. It is therefore widely used in parking lots and other places where lighting is essential all the time. It helps to save energy and costs.

Low Maintenance: These lighting systems are known to last for an entire life time as it seldom requires any type of maintenance or repairs. These systems derive its power from the sun and therefore recharge automatically every day. However, the panels of these systems need to be dusted once in a week to avoid accumulation of dusts.

Environment Friendly: It is also known to be environment friendly as it does not include the use of poisonous chemicals or gases to produce energy. As these lights draw its energy from the sun, it is considered to be eco-friendly and safe for humans.

No Wire: Another advantage of the solar lamp is that the lights include no wires. Each individual light includes a rechargeable battery package and a photovoltaic panel. It can therefore be easily installed and seldom requires the need of a professional for installation.

Packaged Sets: These lighting systems are available in prepackaged sets. Walkway light sets include rechargeable batteries, LED light bulbs, PV panel and housing. The packaged sets are quite easy to install and seldom require professional assistance.

Quick Installation: Solar lamp lights are easy to install as it includes no wires or electric circuits. It includes only minor assembly and therefore it can be installed easily.

Although these lighting systems include a number of beneficial qualities, it is not devoid of drawbacks. The most common drawbacks or disadvantages include the following.

Initial Costs: The initial costs of buying these lighting systems are quite high, though it requires less maintenance and repairs. It is a huge investment to transform the lighting systems.

Exposure To The Sun: The batteries of these lighting systems depend on the energy from the sun but sometimes climatic variations such as an overcasts sky or storm can prevent the batteries from recharging. Therefore these lighting systems are ideal for areas where there is ample amount of sunlight.

Non Critical Option: As it includes these drawbacks, solar lamps can be used mainly for decorative purposes rather than critical uses.

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Contemporary Floor Lamps

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Lamps have been around for thousands of years. From rudimentary copper bowls that use simple wicker sticks and oil to the wide range of contemporary light sources, floor lamps have undergone different stages of technical and aesthetic evolution.

Today’s floor lamps extend beyond just lightening up homes and business establishments. Contemporary floor lamps now assume a functional role in providing accent, ambience, or character to a particular room or space. This role makes floor lamps one of the most popular fixtures among interior designers, landscape artists, homeowners and building administrators.

Available in different sizes, shapes, and illuminating power, floor lamps may be used to fully or just partially lighten a particular space in order to purposely generate a particular aesthetic or functional effect. Bulbs are usually adjustable in terms of output and angle of illumination and may even come in various colors.

Popular Types of Floor Lamps

Just as there are different styles and techniques of filling up and brightening interior and exterior spaces, there are as many types of floor lamps available for home and building owners. Here are some of the most popular.

Torchiere. This type is among the easily recognizable varieties of floor lamps. Torchieres are also called torch lamps and were already being used in Europe even as far back as the 17th century. The lighting source then were wax candles that were mounted on tall stands made of metal or wood. Today’s version, of course, can be of any lamp type (wax candles, incandescent bulbs, fluorescent light, halogen bulbs, etc.) and any stand material (wood, metal, plastic, composites, alloys, ceramics, etc). Torchieres usually take up only a small space in the room, are shaped unobtrusively, and provide well-diffused lighting by radiating the lamp beams towards the ceiling. For these reasons, torchiere lamps are highly sought after by building owners who intend to optimize limited spaces or project a minimalist style in the interior design.

Arc lamp. The arc lamp is composed of a weighted stand extending towards an arm that is shaped like an arc. Given such configuration, lamplight is usually radiating downwards, making the arc lamp perfect for places where reading or table lamps cannot be placed or installed easily. Because it has a unique shape, table lamps are also popular in both transitional and contemporary interiors.

Tower lamp. Tower lamps are distinguished by their sculptured or meticulously designed frames. Tower lamps often project a clear aesthetic function that often eclipses the lamp’s role as a light source. In fact, most tower lamps have dimmed and colored lighting whose primary purpose is to highlight the three-dimensional artwork in its frame. Moreover, frame design possibilities are endless, with various models evoking Asian, abstract, Art Deco, cubist, and other influences.

Trends in interior lighting

Following the various movements and styles in interior design, trends in lighting also reflect the emerging priorities and values people adopt for their living and work spaces. Ergonomics, style, and ecological sustainability are some of the factors that affect current consumer choices in floor lamp fixtures.. For example, concern for the environment is directing research for the development of more sustainable and power-efficient lighting. In the meantime, the demand for new but sensibly clean shapes, experimentation in terms of redefining traditional lamp designs, and the introduction of innovative materials constitute the impetus that drives aesthetic explorations.

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Photography Basics – Portrait Photography Tips

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People are easily the number one subject for photographs. From party snaps, to photos of children and travel shots of family members in front of famous monuments, millions upon millions of people photographs are taken every single say of the year.

Portrait photography is a little different to general people photography. The intent of portrait photography is capture and display something of the ‘essence’ of a person; to say something about their character, personality, or life.

The three most important things to get right in portrait photography are camera settings, lighting, and your relationship with your model.

Camera settings for portrait photography

Because taking portrait photographs is all about a person’s face (or if it’s a wider shot, their head-and-shoulders), classic portrait photography settings seek to remove anything distracting from the background of the shot. This mimics the effect of looking at someone’s face from very close up, and makes the subject ‘pop’ (this is photographer-speak for ‘stand out and capture attention’).

The way to achieve a distraction-free portrait photo is to use a wide aperture, often as wide as possible (f/2.8 or f/4 are popular choices). Wide apertures produce a shallow depth-of-field, which renders anything far from the plane of best focus – i.e. the background – as a soft blur.

Aside from a wide aperture, the only other important setting is ISO. This should be as low a number as possible (e.g. ISO 100), as higher ISOs will lead to digital noise, which is particularly ugly in a portrait.

There’s one offshoot of portrait photography where the recommended settings are different, and that’s environmental portrait photography. Environmental portrait photography seeks to show a person in their ‘natural habitat’, which is often their workplace. Here you want to show the background, so a smaller aperture is appropriate.

Lighting for portrait photography

Lighting in portrait photography can be as complicated as you like. Professional portrait photography is almost always done in a studio, where the lighting can be 100% controlled. If you’re reading this, chances are you don’t have your own photography studio, so let’s discuss a simple lighting scheme you can set up at home.

First, position your model at a window. The light coming from the window should be bright, but not direct (i.e. not coming directly from the sun). You model should be facing you, side on to the window. Light from the window light will obviously light up the side of their face that is closest to it. Then, position something on the other side of your model that will bounce reflected light from the window onto the other side of their face. Anything white or reflective will do, for example a piece of white cardboard or a sheet of aluminum.

Now you have a basic, flattering light scheme, with the main light source on one side of your model’s face, and ‘fill’ light from the reflector on the other. Don’t forget that you should frame the shot close enough that the reflector is not in the shot.

Interacting with your subject

Portrait photography inevitably says something about the relationship between photographer and subject. Unless you’re shooting professional models, the hardest thing about taking portrait photos is not in fact camera settings or lighting, but ensuring that your model is comfortable and relaxed enough to give you good results. A model who feels awkward, uncomfortable or self-conscious will not photograph well.

Often the best strategy to relax your model is simply to engage them in conversation, as this will take their mind off the camera. They’ll probably get more comfortable with the process after you’ve rattled off a few shots, so schedule a decent amount of time and plan on taking your best shots towards the end of the session.

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Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting

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Low voltage outdoor lighting fixtures generate areas of safe secure light around your home and garden. They come in a wide range of styles and sizes and can be easily installed by a home owner. Look for high quality construction, you can spend as little as $10.00 for a fixture or as much as $200.00 for a solid brass fixture. Avoid low priced all plastic fixtures as they are poorly made and will not last long outdoors. We recommend buying your outdoor lighting in a kit and save a few bucks. A good quality kit will cost you $100.00 to $200.00.

Lighting kits usually contain six well made all metal fixtures, 100 feet of low voltage number 16 wire that connect them together, six lamps and a step down transformer that converts ordinary house current from 120 volts to 12 volts. The step down transformer just plugs into an electrical outlet and the output connections then feeds 12 volts to all the fixtures. For greater value buy an expandable lighting kit with a step down transformer rated at twice the wattage of the total number of fixtures it contains. Expandable means that the transformer can power extra fixtures if needed.

Low voltage outdoor lighting fixtures are made in several different styles. Spotlights focus light on to a tree or highlight important architectural details of your home. Choose a kit that contains a halogen bulb for a bright directed beam of light. A Path Spotlight is ideal for lighting the key plants in your landscaping or walkways. Use Tier accent fixtures for narrow paths as they direct light downward. Other fixtures spread light downward in a circle illuminating everything in a wide radius. Post lantern fixtures with larger halogen bulbs directs the light outward and are ideal for replacing existing gas or 120 volt post lamps.

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Vacancy Vs. Occupancy Sensors

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The most convenient feature of occupancy sensors is their ability to automatically turn the lights on in a room or space when they detect movement within their range. Occupancy sensors are very valuable in exterior lighting for added security, and have many other beneficial uses in the home. Another beneficial attribute of occupancy sensors is their energy efficiency. These low voltage modules can be ceiling mounted or mounted in your existing wall switch junction box and can most notably save significant amounts of energy by turning lights off when occupancy is not sensed for a designated amount of time.

With so many advantages, it might not seem too unreasonable to replace all of your home or office’s light switches with occupancy sensors. However, this may not be the best idea to rush into because what you soon might realize is that in some cases this may be more of an inconvenience than a convenience. You may be wondering how, so a few examples will help to clear things up perfectly.

Rooms that are great for occupancy sensors are garages, basements, bathrooms, rec rooms, and sometimes kitchens. In these spaces, it is common for an occupant to walk into the space with their hands full making turning lights on a hassle and if leaving the room with their hands full the same conditions apply. Also these rooms are active spaces. The importance of this is that the lights will not turn off on you if you are remaining relatively still in the space.

One may notice that there are several common rooms left off of this list. These rooms are bedrooms, TV rooms, and if you have pets, other common areas. It may be more practical to install vacancy sensors in place of occupancy sensors in these spaces. The difference between a vacancy sensor and an occupancy sensor is the manner of which they are turned on. Each light switch will detect the lack of occupancy and turn the lights off, however only the occupancy sensor will automatically turn the lights on.

The benefit of a vacancy sensor is that if you don’t want the lights to turn on when you walk into an area, they will not unless you manually turn on the switch. This is practical in bedrooms so you might not wake anyone sleeping in a bedroom when you enter, or if you roll over in bed the lights will not illuminate. The vacancy sensor is especially beneficial from an energy efficiency point of view in children’s bedrooms if they tend to leave the lights on constantly. In TV rooms occupancy sensors may not be the best choice for similar reasons. If your light switch controls overhead lighting that might not be desired when watching TV in a room, the lights will not turn on when someone walks in or if you get up to get a snack. A special case in common areas where occupancy sensors may be a nuisance is if you have pets. Animals are large enough to turn on occupancy sensing switches. If they roam the common areas at night, this may cause unnecessary energy consumption.

As mentioned early, the use of occupancy sensors in kitchens can sometimes be a good idea. This all depends on the placement of the kitchen in the floor plan of the home, and how other rooms may run into the kitchen’s space. In an open floor plan home where the kitchen is considered a common area, a vacancy sensor may be a better idea especially if you have pets. If the kitchen is in its own separate room from the rest of the house, an occupancy sensor is an excellent idea, especially if natural light is not abundantly present. Occupancy sensing lights will help you see where you are going as soon as you walk in with your hands full of groceries. A combination of an occupancy sensor switch controlling LED under cabinet lights will be convenient in function and also provide modern luxury to your space.

With all things considered, consumers can make smart decisions when deciding which rooms to install occupancy sensors and which rooms vacancy sensors may be more appropriate. Some manufacturers offer occupancy sensing wall switches with an optional function to turn it into a vacancy sensor. One cannot go wrong with these products as he or she can decide after they install the switch, which function best suits their needs.

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Tips for a Safe and Enjoyable Sky Lantern Flying Experience

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Flying sky lanterns are not fireworks, but they have the power to create even better visual effects than fireworks. As fire is involved in lighting them, many people feel that they can cause fires. In fact, some senators in the US have tried to get such lanterns banned during ceremonies and celebrations in their towns. But, in reality, sky lanterns are safer than most fireworks as they are made from fire-resistant materials.

The fire in the lanterns heats up the air, and the hot air collects in the lanterns. This hot air pushes the lantern skywards. Once the fire is extinguished, the air within the lantern cools down, and the lantern gently floats down to the ground. As the fire lanterns come downwards only after the fire has burned out, they do not constitute a fire hazard. And, by taking proper precautions while lighting the lanterns, you can guarantee that no damage is caused by these lanterns.

Dos of Launching Sky Lanterns

Buy Branded Sky Lanterns: If you buy them from a well known store or online web store that specializes in selling such lanterns, you minimize the chances of anything going wrong. On the other hand, buying a sky lantern which is even slightly damaged can have disastrous consequences.

Choose your Ground Wisely: An open space would suit your lantern decoration a lot better than a crowded space. Make sure that you keep a reasonable distance from skyscrapers. Also, most places have laws against flying the lanterns within 5 miles of airports. So, make sure that you are not close to any airport.

Let Emergency Services Know in Advance: If you plan to launch too many sky lanterns at the same time, you must notify emergency services in advance. This is of special significance in coastal areas as people may mistake the gliding lanterns for emergency flares.

Take Precautions: There is hardly any chance of the lanterns catching fire while they are in the sky. Things can go wrong only when you are lighting them. It would be best to keep sand or water close to ensure that there is no fire if something goes wrong while lighting the lanterns.

Don’ts of Launching Sky Lanterns

Ensure there isn’t too much Wind: If the wind speed is more than 5-7 miles per hour, you may want to consider shelving your flying lanterns celebrations. High winds can take the lanterns far away, and this could be dangerous.

Keep Away from Kids: While flying sky lanterns are easy to light and harmless, it would be a good idea to keep them away from children. If a child is lighting the lanterns, make sure that a responsible adult helps him and guides him.

Don’t Smoke or Drink while Launching Lanterns: Lighting flying lanterns requires some attention and concentration. If you are drunk, you may end up burning the lantern instead of lighting the wick. Smoking while launching the lanterns gives birth to the possibility of starting a fire. So, avoid that too.

Don’t Wear/Carry Inflammable Stuff: While lighting the lanterns, you will use fire. So, it makes sense avoid wearing clothes that easily catch fire. Also, keeping any stuff that can catch fire close by while lighting the lanterns is not a good idea either.

As long as you follow the simple dos and don’ts of flying sky lantern lighting, you will minimize the risk of fires and enjoy a safe and joyous celebration.

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