Beware the LED Killers – Over-Heating & Over-Voltage

LEDs are the greatest lighting source available, but in the RV environment they have two Achilles Heels — Over-Heating and Over-Voltage.

LEDs are tiny slivers of semi-conductor material (p-n junctions for the geeks who want to know), a piece of silicon doped with rare earths that is mixed to emit photons in the visible spectrum whenever a proper voltage is applied across the junction such that an electrical current runs through the semiconductor. Like a true diode, LEDs resist letting current run in the wrong direction. The chemical composition of the p-n junction determines the wavelength of the emitted photons, so you can have red, amber, green, and blue LEDs, among others.

White LEDs are most often made using a native blue LED that shines blue photons into a phosper that in-turn re-emits a spread spectrum of light across a range that looks like white light to the human eye (for the geek, that is Stokes radiation).

Comparing regular lights to LEDs, the standard incandescent light bulb is only 15% efficient in converting the wattage into useful light. Fluorescent lighting is at best 50% efficient. LEDs have an efficiency of 85% or higher in converting the electrical energy into useful photons. This light source is the most efficient of all the choices we have for light in our RVs, boats, and homes.

None of our light sources are 100% efficient — there is always some residual heat. And it is the heat energy that destroys the light source. With incandescents, the 85% wasted energy is heating the filament to a temperature between 600 and 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. At those high temperatures the filament is literally vaporized away over time, most often within a thousand hours or so, and the bulb simply burns out.

LEDs, too, are heated by the flow of current through the circuit. LEDs will immediately fail when the junction temperature exceeds 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Properly designed LED circuits require two very important features to be successful: protection from over-heating and protection from over-voltage. Often the over-heating is related to over-voltage.

Even when an LED is operated at a carefully controlled voltage, it still generates some heat. This heat must be removed from the LED device at a rate that ensures the junction temperature does not exceed the operating limit. The best way to do this is to place the LED device on a “heat sink” that has the capacity to soak up the generated heat from the LED and move it to a place where it can be radiated into the air or some surrounding heat pit. Early generation LEDs did not bother with this problem since the printed circuit board they were used on was generally large enough to serve as a sufficient heat sink.

As LEDs became more advanced, and more LED emitters were placed upon a single semiconductor device, the problem of heat dissipation became more accute. The requirement for doing a good thermal analysis of the printed circuit board holding the LED chips became apparent to those who understood what they were doing. Others tried to use the old technology with the new chips, and their products consistently failed.

The heat generated by an LED device strongly depends upon the input voltage to the device. If an LED circuit is designed to handle the heat load and operate only in a 12.8-volt environment, it will not operate well in a 14.7-volt environment. It will deteriorate and die much sooner. It’s lifetime will be only a few thousand hours, rather than 100,000 hours. And if the over-voltage ranges up to 18 or 24 volts, the LED device may die immediately.

A fully charged type-27 lead-acid battery typically provides a maximum of 12.8-volts. Some people assume that is the operating voltage of an RV. But if you connect to the Shore Power Pedestal and let your AC/DC converter charge your battery, the line voltage will rise to 13.8-volts. If you have a solar system, the controller may raise the line voltage to 14.7-volts. Battery equalization runs typically increase the line voltage to 16.6-volts for two hours or more.

Most of the early designers producing LEDs for the RV environment assumed a 12.8-volt environment, and their products failed at a remarkable rate in today’s RVs and boats. Some learned that if they did not provide some kind of voltage regulation or power regulation on their LED circuits, product failure rates went out of sight.

How the designer protects the LEDs becomes important when you are concerned with overall power efficiency. If the LED circuit has a simple voltage limiter, it “throws” away any excess voltage, reducing the efficiency of your LED in using the available power. On the other hand, if the LED circuit has a power regulator, it converts excess voltage into usable power by taking less current from the main line. Ask your LED supplier how they are protecting their LEDs and what is the cost for such protection. Many of the LED sales people do not understand the basics of the problems with heat and voltage. Will they give you a decent warranty for all conditions, like the full 100,000 hours – about 11 years?

LEDs are a big investment. They are expensive, but if they are constructed properly and used properly, you will have many years of great service, and they will pay back their original cost many times over. But you must be sure the LEDs you use have sufficient protection against excess heat and against voltage vagaries that can destroy them sooner than they should die.

Go for quality, and ask for proof, and a warranty.


Recessed Ceiling Box Lighting

We’ve all seen the basic florescent lighting fixture. Bare, bald, bland and industrial looking lighting isn’t the way to go in your interior design much less your garage space. That’s where recessed box ceiling lights come into play. Best of all, you can install these recessed light sources into an existing kitchen, bathroom or laundry space with ease. Use this guide and you’ll be on your way to getting the most out of your basic florescent tube lighting.

Before you begin

Before doing any electrical work, always turn off the breaker to the source. You can test if the power is shut off by testing it with an electrical meter. You can buy these for less than $5 at any hardware store. If you’re not sure, just turn off the breaker to the entire house. Be sure you have a flashlight handy to work in the now dark place.

Besides electrical wiring causing shocks, the recessed area where the light fixture is going to be installed in needs to be checked for structural irregularities that might make this job impossible. As long as there is room between joists, trusses or other structural material, you can remove the material and create the box; otherwise, you will need to choose a suitable location for your recessed light.

Padding out the space

Ensure that your lighting fixture is going to fit into the space with a quick measurement. You’re going to want to add a minimum of two inches of space around the ballast on all sides. This will prevent any fire problems from occurring. That means if you’re going to use ½ inch drywall, you’ll need to add an extra three inches to the space around the box. Using a few studs or other suitable deadwood material, frame the box so that each side is plumb and square.


Trimming the interior or exterior of the box out is the next step. First, install the wiring and ceiling light fixture into the center of the opening. Now drywall can be attached and cut around the inside of the recessed box. Next, attach a piece of trim around the inside edge of the recessed box. Cut the trim on 45 degree angles on each end to get a picture frame look. Ensure that the frame hangs in on each side ½ inches. Square the trim using the 3-4-5 measuring method. This is accomplished by measuring in the vertical direction three inches, then in the horizontal four inches. Now connect the two marks with a diagonal measurement. If it equals five, then the frame is square. If it’s not, some minor adjustments may be needed to make the frame square. Once the frame is square a piece of frosted glass or crushed ice plastic may be used to cover the florescent ballast.


Save Energy With LED Lighting

LED stands for light emitting diode and it is the most efficient lighting technology that is developing most rapidly in the world today. When you have the best quality LED, you will enjoy the greatest durability and better light as compared to other kinds of lighting. There are many things you may not know about this kind of lighting, but if you did, you would agree that it is the best kind of lighting as compared to others.

Saving on energy

This type of lighting is energy efficient to a very great extent and it comes with the potential of changing the whole lighting structure in the world. There are different kinds of LEDs and some are used for residential purposes. Some of those that are the best quality save around 75% of energy and they last around 25 times when compared to the incandescent lighting. This will translate to great savings, especially if more and more people decide to use this kind of lighting in the future.

Differences with other forms of lighting

There is a big difference between the LED kinds of lighting compared to others.

The light source: this is one of the differences. LEDs are of a fleck of paper size. They are also a mix of blue, green and red and therefore they emit white light.

The direction: LEDs usually emit their light in a very specific direction and therefore there is no need to use diffusers and reflectors to trap light. This makes them very efficient for a variety of uses. Other kinds of lighting require reflection and usually a lot of the light doesn’t get to areas targeted.

Heat: usually, there is very little heat emission. The incandescent bulbs release around 90 percent of energy in the form of heat while the CFLs stand at 80 percent.

Different uses of LED

Today, there are a wide variety of industrial and home products that offer LED lighting. The list keeps on growing. This rapid growth of the technology has led to more products as well as efficiency in manufacturing and that’s why consumers can enjoy even lower prices. Some of the most popular products include:

  • Commercial and industrial lighting: since LEDs are directional and efficient in nature, it has made them a great idea for lots of industrial uses. They are quite commonly used in parking garage, streets, walkways and all other sorts of outdoor areas that need light. Others include task lighting, modular lighting, as well as refrigerated case lighting.
  • Lighting in the kitchen: LEDs are directional and small and therefore they are best for countertop lighting used for reading recipes and cooking. The color appears blue or cooler than most would desire in a kitchen and shadowing can occur. It is therefore important to select the products carefully so as to find what is most ideal in your target space.
  • The recessed downlights: these are often used in bathrooms, hallways and residential kitchens as well as in different commercial and office settings. Many people are using the downlights and the LED has decreased wattage to a great extent.


Lighting Tips for Your Bedroom That Will Dazzle!

If you don’t absolutely look forward to retreating to your bedroom at the end of the day for some much needed rest and relaxation from the world and its troubles–then something is wrong, very wrong! The living room, kitchen, even the bathrooms–all of these areas are open to the prying eyes of the public including friends, family, and guests. Therefore, we tend to decorate a little conservatively in these rooms but there is no reason for that trend to follow you all the way into your precious bedroom–especially when it comes to your lighting fixtures!

Let’s just imagine what the typical bedroom is illuminated with–some sort of flush-mounted ceiling fixture that is possibly complemented by a table lamp or two on either side of the bed…sound about right? Well, you can easily change all of that and make the bedroom a welcome retreat again by making a few simple changes, such as:

1. Install wall sconces on either side of bed and eliminate clutter of night stands and table lamps

2. Adding a chandelier or hanging pendant made from elaborate glass or intricate design

3. Creating a sitting area and use floor lamp to save space and add task lighting

4. Installing track lighting controlled via dimmer switch above headboard area

A pair of Tiffany wall sconces will bathe the bedroom in soothing light that has been gently diffused by the colorful art glass used to make the lampshades. To make the space more ergonomic and to keep everyone happy, it is best to wire the sconces separately so that each person can use the lights whenever they like without bothering the spouse. Whether you decide to go with Tiffany wall sconces or some other design–just be sure that the fixtures coordinate with the other lamps, pendants, and other light sources in the room.

A chandelier is admittedly a bit extravagant for the bedroom. However, a classy yet stylish pendant adds the perfect amount of subtle sophistication to the space. Classier than a simple flush-mounted ceiling fixture, the pendant will flood the area with ample ambient illumination when centrally located. Be sure to purchase a hanging pendant that complements the other décor and furniture in the room because the right fixture will complete a room while those clashing with the décor will disrupt the entire look and feel.

Creating a little sitting area in the bedroom is always a great idea because it truly creates a place in the room where you can relax without going to sleep. Because you might want to do a little light reading or simply concentrate on some job or other, it is a good idea to add some task lighting to the area. Remembering to buy fixtures made in the same design and style of others in the room, some options to task lighting options for the sitting area include:

1.Floor lamp


3.A pair of table lamps

Finally, to either provide additional lighting for reading in bed or simply to add some accent lights, you might want to consider track lighting above the headboard. When all of the other lights are turned off, the track lights will be serve as accent lights. Just remember–the track lights will become permanent fixtures in the room so don’t install them without thinking about their long-term impact upon the space.

The bedroom is the one room in the home that you can and should keep private. This is not a room that you want to display to guests and family–this is your personal sanctuary so feel free to indulge and decorate the space as you see fit. Just remember, the best lighting fixtures in the world will make a room look worse if they are not matching in design, style, and materials. Be sure to do your homework and decide upon the design and style of fixtures you want before committing to a purchase.


Give Your Deck A New Look With Decorative Lighting

Fitting of a deck on the house can allow you to use extra working space and there must be appropriate wood outdoor deck lighting which serves both the purpose for security and illumination. If you have outdoor pool where you would like to enjoy by sitting around and have some leisure, you can use wood outdoor deck lighting. You can decorate the deck by placing tables and chairs where you can not only enjoy quite dinner but also doze off in the summer evenings.

You can modify the basic structure of the house through various stuffs available in the market for designing the house. If your priority is safety then subdued light of 12 volts will be the right one for you for wood outdoor deck. Such a light will not be harmful for the kids playing around who might unknowingly touch it and it is also safer for pets as well. And it is not hazardous if situated near the pool area incase of it falling into the water.

One of the best alternatives is the use of fiber optics as it is heatproof and electric shockproof. It is safer in the under water fittings and is really helpful in designing pools. Another benefit for wood outdoor deck lighting is the graphics of the color. It can be made to change accordingly with the change in the season but only when it is used in fiber optics.

Beautification and Security-Hand in Hand

Deck can be used for stairways walking into the house or into the pavement; it will create remarkably good sense for wood deck lighting and also avoid the injuries by falling from the stairs for visitors and family. You can also decorate the mounted deck by installing railing which can be decorated with small and soft lighting which will not only provide illumination of the stairways but also give facelift to the wooden deck.

You can make use of different structures of wood outdoor deck lighting to give definite designing of illumination in different styles. Light fittings can be separated and put apart which will provide illumination to a larger area and can be changed accordingly with your requirements. Here you can also have choice for 20 volts and 120 volts lighting for bright or soft illumination. You can create a different look every few months by installing the different types of lights according to different whether conditions.

You must keep in mind that wood outdoor deck lighting should be fitted in such a way that it completely matches the design of the house. There are lots of choices available for wood outdoor deck lighting in different elements, shapes, shades fittings and easy-to-use guide through which you can design it by your own. This saves money for hiring any professional for it.


Outdoor Landscape Lighting Basics

Deciding to add outdoor landscape lighting to your home temporarily for an event or permanently can produce in multiple bonuses for you. There are basic types of outdoor lighting that you should know, so that you can get the one that suits your taste.

Solar Powered Outdoor Lighting

This type of outdoor lighting gives a very obvious benefit. There is zero operating cost with this lighting. Once you have them installed where you want them, the sun charges an internal power supply in the fixture. The lights automatically go into action after the sun sets, due to an electric eye sensor built in the fixtures.

It can be used to mark driveways or illuminate pathways. However, the technology has not come to the point that is able to make the lighting bright enough for lighting up much of your landscape or your home. Installation is quick and easy, since they have on board power supply, so there are no wires to run.

The major drawbacks in these types of lights are that they are somewhat dim, plus the length of time you can expect them to stay lighted. Sadly, the brightness and duration are directly related. Basically, the light is brightest even before it perceives the darkest part of the night. This can be one of least versatile systems, but also the cheapest.

Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting

This is among the most common types of lighting systems used today. Even though they are electricity operated, their voltage is very low (between 10 and 12 VAC) and this allows you the opportunity to take on the installation by yourself.

There are transformers available that can decrease the voltage to a safe level. In this way, the wiring to the lights doesn’t have to be as deeply buried into the ground, unlike in traditional lighting. This significantly diminishes the cost for installation.

There are also a variety of fixtures to choose from when using this kind of system. Choices vary from spotlights, path lights, and recessed accent lights. These are very decorative fixtures too. With this, you get easy installation with your landscape devoid of being an eyesore.

This is the most cost effective and versatile system that you can install. However, be sure that you have sufficient knowledge before you attempt to install this kind of system by yourself. If not, then it would be best to hire a professional to do the job for you.


Uses for Copper Foil

Copper foil is a relatively rare product among the many different household products that are bought and sold each year. But, nevertheless, uses of the foil remain numerous and it has many applications throughout the home and in industry as well. It isn’t used in most homes because it was largely replaced by aluminum foil because of its better flexibility and heat resistance. However, copper foil still exists and it still has some applications that aluminum foil simply can’t compete in.

The first application that copper foil excels in is in creating stained glass art. Stained glass art is the process of cutting stained or colored glass and then joining the pieces together to form beautiful designs. Copper foil plays a large role in this process because it is used to join the glass pieces together.

First, the glass pieces are cut out and laid into an intricate design that will later be glued together. After this, the foil is cut into strips and is placed between the two pieces of glass. The glass edges are then wrapped with copper tape that is adhesive and then they are soldered together to bond the two pieces of glass together. This creates a strong bond between the glass pieces which will last for years.

In addition to creating beautiful stained glass projects, the foil can also be used in repairing windows and creating new windows. Since Copper Foil is so good at bonding pieces of glass together, it is often used when windows are damaged or cracked. The window pieces are usually separated while a piece of the foil strip is placed in between the two pieces of glass. After this, the strips are soldered together to form the windows together. This will create a strong bond that will be virtually indestructible.

Another application in which the mentioned foil is sometimes used in is protecting and preserving some products and other chemicals throughout the house, although the foil has lost most of its use in the home because of aluminum foil’s rise in popularity.

The main use of copper foil as mentioned earlier is in creating stained glass artwork. The foil is used here because it is lightweight and easily seals the two pieces of glass together with minimal effort. Copper foil is also used to repair broken windows and is sometimes used in the household to preserve non food products and chemicals.


Casio CTK Review

The Casio CTK-2100 is a low-cost keyboard with a 61 piano-style key layout. It includes a USB port for general MIDI support. This keyboard is aimed at beginners, with a Step-up learning system that gives instructions on how to play.

The positives:

Plenty of features and functions for the price. 150 rhythms, a sampling function, a voice pad function, and the ability to connect a CD or MP3 player via the audio input so that you can play along to your favorite song on the keyboard. It has a step-up learning system that makes it easy to hear the progress made in your playing skills.

It has hundreds of pre-programmed songs that break down and show you how to play them exactly, note by note. A really great teaching aid.

  • New Voice Pad function
  • New 48-note polyphony AHL sound source
  • 400 Tones, 150 Rhythms
  • New StepUp lesson system
  • Sampling Function, Audio-in Terminal for mp3-Player

The negatives:

This is a beginner keyboard at a budget price. Therefore the key weight is light. You may hear noise from the keys when you press them. You cannot affect the tone by pressing the keys hard or easy – as with a real piano or more expensive keyboard. But this is not a big deal to most people buying a keyboard in this price range.

  • The headphones can be difficult to figure out (premium package).
  • The stand can be difficult to put together (premium package).
  • The LCD is not very bright which requires good lighting to see.
  • Occasional packaging issues.

The Casio CTK-3000has a 61 Key Piano Style Touch Sensitive Keyboard, 400 total onboard Tones, 150 Rhythms and Digital Effects. It has the Step-up Lesson System, audio inputs for a MP3 player, USB port for MIDI implementation and a pitch wheel.

The positives:

The touch sensitive keys makes it more like playing a real piano and therefore a good value for the price.

  • Plenty of onboard tones, rhythms, and effects for the price.
  • Digital readout is easy to see.

The negatives:

  • The keys are light and can be prone to noise, as with any inexpensive keyboard.
  • The holder for the music on the keyboard isn’t the greatest.
  • Does not come with a/c adapter.

The Casio CTK-4000 is an affordable instrument with a 61 Key Piano Style Touch Sensitive Keyboard, 570 total onboard Tones, 180 Rhythms and Reverb plus Chorus Digital Effects. Packed with great features such as Casio’s famous Step-up Lesson System, audio inputs for a MP3 player and a USB port for MIDI.

Featuring a 61 note keyboard with Piano Style, Touch Sensitive keys, 570 sounds, 180 rhythms, Reverb and Chorus Digital Effects, built-in USB and an audio input for an MP3 player.

The positives:

Doesn’t feel as cheap as some of the more inexpensive models.

  • Quality digital sounds
  • Plenty of volume with a full, rich and improved sound than lesser models (AHL and arpeggiator).
  • Velocity sensitivity aka Touch response (note that velocity sensitivity is the speed with which you hit the keys, not the pressure with which you hit the keys).
  • 48 note polyphony (24 note for dual-layer tones like Strings Piano)
  • Split function: divide the keyboard into 2 zones, anywhere. Supports octave shift (1 octave) of each zone.
  • Layer function: layer 2 sounds for a rich effect. Layer effects on only right-side zone if split function is active. If using Dual-layer tones, up-to 4 instruments sounds are produced simultaneously.
  • Adjustable Reverb (10 levels), Chorus (5 levels), Key Transpose (12 notes), Octave shift (2 octaves) Pitch tuning (approx 100 cents), preset scales (16 scales)
  • Auto-Harmonize function: 12 types, adds additional notes to your playback, active only if auto-accompaniments are active.
  • 90 Arpeggiator Patterns: Up, Down, U/A Type A, U/D Type B, Random. Arpeggio Hold function.
  • 305 Music Presets: Based on popular songs, the tone(s), rhythms, tempo and other settings are available as presets on the keyboard. Just select the preset and start playing. Songs include Careless Whispers, How Deep Is Your Love, Killing Me Softly
  • One-Touch Rhythm Presets: Upon selection of a rhythm, activate Rhythm preset to automatically select the suitable tempo and tone. Very useful if you are moving from Trance (140 bpm) to Slow Jazz (80 bpm) and don’t feel like hammering the tempo button 60 times or pressing multiple keys to change the tone from Synth to Sax.
  • Full Range Chord: In this mode the keyboard recognizes and plays the chords if any 3 keys are pressed anywhere on the keyboard. Selecting chords is not limited to the Left-zone of the keyboards anymore. Very useful for Harmonium players of India who typically play melody using chorded formation.
  • Indian tones (15) & rhythms (7 types)
  • Great training features and onscreen help.

The negatives:

  • No weighted keys
  • No pitch wheel
  • No stored settings of music can be saved.

The Casio CTK-5000 is the flagship of the CTK-series. Featuring a 61 Key Piano Style Touch Sensitive Keyboard, 670 total onboard Tones, 200 Rhythms and Reverb plus Chorus Digital Effects. Packed with great features such as Casio’s famous Step-up Lesson System, audio inputs for a MP3 player, pitch wheel for additional expression over sounds, Line Outputs and a USB port for MIDI. All this makes CTK-5000 more realistic and expressive than ever before at this price range.

Featuring a 61 note keyboard with Piano Style, Touch Sensitive keys, 670 sounds, 200 rhythms, Reverb and Chorus Digital Effects, built-in USB, line outputs, a pitch wheel for greater expression and an audio input for an MP3 player.

The Positives:

  • Better action on the keys than from the lesser models. Keys seem to be somewhat weighted. Keys are less noisy than the lesser models.
  • Acoustic sounds are realistic.
  • Speakers are great – very loud with no noise.
  • Great ability to layer sounds.
  • A fantastic selection of 90 harmonies & arpeggios.
  • Full range chord feature (keyboard automatically selects the right chord).
  • 32 Registration Memory (store keyboard settings like Tone, Style, Tempo, Layers and recall at the touch of a button.
  • 800+ sounds.
  • XLR outs.
  • Recorder: 6 tracks x 5 songs, 1 lesson song, approximately 12,000 notes total.
  • Metronome.
  • Pitch wheel added.

The Negatives:

  • Time consuming access and programming.
  • Manual is not entirely clear on some subjects.


A Trip Through Rimini – The Past and Present

If Sigismondo Malatesta a famous 15th Century Lord of Rimini came back, what would he make of Rimini today? Apart from some of the obvious differences between the renaissance city of Malatesta and the modern city today, (Malatesta's castle is still standing) the presence of cars, modern buildings and electrical lighting would probably amaze him. The most amazing thing though apart from the above would probably be Rimini's move to the coast.

The city of Rimini in Malatesta's era had its defences inn which ran around what is today known as the centro storico. When Sigismondo Malatesta came to power he decided a change was in order and promptly embarked on a vast building program which included the Tempio

Malatesta – one of the finest examples of neo-classical architecture in Europe – and his mysterious and very modern fortress, the Rocca Malatesta. The city of Malatesta was built on top of the existing city – in other words on the site of the Roman city of Ariminum which was founded in the year 286 BC Malatesta used the existing Roman monuments at the time, including the famous Ponte di Tiberio and Arco d'Augustoand incorporated them into his city. These famous monuments can still be seen today on your trip to Rimini.

Taking a walk around Rimini today, Malatesta would find the beautiful sandy beaches and their magnetism quite puzzling during the summer months. Back in Malatesta's day the practice of lying in the sun on the beach and going for a dip would have been strange if not dangerous as the beaches back then were places for smuggling and brigandry as they were away from the city of Rimini's main defenses. Italian cities just like

Rimini were often at war with each other and were in continuous conflict with their neighbors. Malatesta, through his life was in a continuous power struggle with Federico da Montefeltro, Lord of Urbino and also the Pope.We also know that Pope Pius II excommunicated Sigismondo in 1460 declaring him a heretic.

So when did Rimini start to become a city that is, for Italians and the many tourists from the world over, synchronous with sun, sea, and sand? In his fascinating study of the history of sea bathing in Rimini – Una costa lunga due secoli (Panozzo Editore), Professor Feruccio Farina, of the University of Urbino, sheds light on one of the first tourist to take a dip in the beautiful sea in Rimini. Her name was Elisabeth Kenny, and she was the young Irish wife of a Roman noble. Professor Feruccio Farina says that she is recorded as having visited the city of Rimini in the summer month of August of 1790 (over 300 years after the death of Sigismondo Malatesta), and stayed for over two weeks to benefit from the wonderful sea air and waves .

Rimini is one of those classic holiday destinations for Italians and tourist alike. Rimini has been blessed with sun, sand and sea as well as culture. The classic beach holiday and culture holiday coexist here in Rimini much to the delight of all that arrive here. Rimini is easily reached by numerous direct flights from many cities around Europe.


Keeping Dinosaur Eels (Bichirs) In Tropical Freshwater Fish Tanks or Aquariums

Dinosaur eel

The dinosaur eel is the common name for the Grey Bichir, Polypterus Senegalus, though it is a fish and not an eel. There are more than a dozen species of this fish but the Grey Bichir or Senegalus Bichir is the most common and is popular among aquarists. This Bichir is covered in dark grey horizontal bands that become paler as the fish grows. Some Bichirs can reach over three feet in length, although most species, including the Senegalus Bichir, grow to around one foot.

Natural habitat

In their native habitat they can be found in lakes, rivers, floodplains and swamps in Africa, especially the Congo River and Nile. They are capable of surviving in waters with low oxygen content and can move in search of food or to find other wet areas in their home dries in time of drought.

Characteristic features

The misnomer of dinosaur eel (hereafter referred to as Bichir) comes from the prehistoric appearance of this elongated fish. Its snake-shaped body is covered by thick, bone-like scales made of an enamel-like substance called ganoine, which resembles the now extinct earliest ray-finned fishes. It has a distinctive series of up to 18 dorsal finlets, each one with a sharp spine, which are erected when it is agitated. The fleshly pectoral fins, which control the slow movement of the fish, are attached behind and below the gill openings. It is also able to travel over land using its strong pelvic fins. Bichirs can also breathe air via a lung-like modification to their swim bladder. Other characteristics include a pair of blowholes, a long lower jaw and external nostrils which protrude from the nose to enable the Bichir to hunt by smell since its eyesight is poor. Females tend to be larger than males, while adult males have thicker dorsal spines and broader anal fins.


Bichirs are predatory and essentially carnivorous and will attack and feed on small fish that are easy to swallow as well as slow-moving fish. They will also eat insects, crustaceans and frogs. Since they are nocturnal they will feed mainly at night.


After a series of energetic twisting movements, the male Bichir fertilizes the eggs by enveloping the female’s genital opening with his anal and caudal fin. He then scatters the eggs using thrashing movements of his tail. It is difficult, however, to get Bichirs to breed in captivity. Some aquarists have noted that even if a male and female are present, the male is often unresponsive and will not fertilize the eggs the female releases.

Aquarium size

Due to the length Bichirs grow and their need to breathe air, it is important they are housed in long tank aquariums that are not too deep, possibly even a fish tank table. Aim for an aquarium that is at least three times the adult size of the Bichir you have or plan to purchase. Choose fish tank aquariums that are no more than eighteen inches deep and do not fill completely with water. This is important as Bichirs need to be able to breathe from the air and therefore have to be able to swim quickly to the surface and back to the bottom where they dwell.

Being able to use oxygen from the air enables Bichirs to survive out of water for several hours. Given this and the fact that they have the instinct to move out of one place in search of food in another, it is recommended to have a tight-fitting lid on your aquarium!

Aquarium decor

A thin layer of soft sand or gravel is fine as substrate. Bichirs also like hiding places, especially as they prefer to stay out of the light during the day. So it is much more enjoyable for them to have robust plants, rocks and tunnels which allow them to display more natural behaviours. Plants attached to wood work best as Bichirs tend to displace plants rooted in the substrate because of their size and when searching for food.

Water conditions

As they are tropical freshwater fish, Bichirs require a temperature of 75-85 F. They like a pH of 7 or slightly below and prefer water that is a little hard. Of course, it is important to perform frequent water changes to ensure the quality of water is good in your tropical freshwater aquariums.

Aquarium lighting

Bichirs are nocturnal so they will be typically lethargic during the day and active at night. Rather than switching the aquarium lights off complete, provide the semblance of a natural nightfall by installing a blue moonlight bulb so you too can experience some action from your Bichir!


Being carnivorous, Bichirs love to be fed baitfish, mussels, shrimps and bloodworms. They will also readily accept frozen foods. Some aquarists have tried to encourage them to take dry foods by only supplying them until their hunger overcomes them, and have found they can adapt OK. However, I would mention that this is not their natural diet.

Tank mates

Given the large size of Bichirs and their predatory nature, it is extremely important to match them with suitable tank mates. Do not keep them with fish smaller than three inches which can provide a ready meal! It is better to match Bichirs with bigger fish as they will not bother as much with fish they cannot swallow. Siamese Tigerfish, Angelfish, large Barbs, Cichlids and Knifefish are possible tank mates. It has been observed that suckermouth Catfish tend to suck on the skin of Bichirs which irritates them and so it is not advised to keep both types of bottom-dwelling fish. Also avoid matching them with overly aggressive species. In a very large fish tank it will be possible to keep several Bichirs together, provided they are around the same size. They should generally tolerate each other, apart from fighting over the food!

To keep or not to keep?

Bichirs are interesting specimen fish but do be aware of all the issues involved in keeping them, especially the size of the tank and the other tropical freshwater fish you have or plan to have. Bichirs also cost more to keep than other fish, though they are a very hardy breed. Keeping Bichirs in a suitable environment requires careful planning!


Tips to Keep Your Baby Safe in Summer

Yes, summer does that to your baby – transform him/her from a little bundle of joy to an irritable and shrieking tiny-horror troubled by dehydration, rashes, sunburns and itches all over. It leaves you wondering how you can make the first summers of the baby’s life cool and fun. Here is how:

Keep your baby out of harsh sunlight

Summer is no reason to keep your baby locked up at home; every baby needs its share of fresh air and sunlight. However, a baby’s soft sensitive skin is particularly vulnerable to lasting sun damage. So make it a rule to stay indoors between 10 am and 5 pm when the heat is unbearable. Instead, go for a stroll in the relatively cool early morning or evening. While outside, remain in the shade as much as possible and avoid too much direct sunlight.

Proper clothing keeps the baby cool

Synthetic fabrics make the baby hot and uncomfortable. Besides, it blocks air passage causing prickly heat or rashes. Cotton clothes are the ideal choice as they keep the body cool and allow air to flow freely. The baby’s head and face can be easily protected with a wide-brimmed hat – preferably, one without a constricting elastic band.

A dollop of sunscreen – is it safe for babies?

Sunscreen in summer is crucial because sunburns sustained in the first 15 years of life are responsible for skin cancer later. Though there are no confirmed reports that sunscreen itself is unsafe for babies, you might choose not to apply it on infants less than 6 months old. On older ones, an SPF 50 sunscreen recommended for babies protect skin against UV rays from sun. A generous quantity of this sunscreen should be rubbed into skin 30 minutes prior to stepping out into sunshine; for added defense, dab sunscreen on parts of skin covered by clothing. While driving in a car or even on a cloudy day, let every inch of your baby be sunscreen protected!

Sunglasses make your baby look and feel cool!

Opinion is divided but some suggest that good quality sunglasses can protect babies’ eyes from sun. Plastic fancy/toy goggles are damaging to the eyes and do not offer adequate protection. Always, buy good quality sunglasses – whether for your baby or for yourself!

Keep the baby hydrated at all times

A baby’s surface area is high compared to body mass, so they get dehydrated quickly. Babies below 6 months of age should be breast-fed whenever they like. Others must be encouraged to take extra drinks of water at regular intervals. If signs of dehydration – no urination for 4 – 6 hrs, crying without tears, sunken eyes etc – are noted, give enough water and apply a wet sponge to the forehead at once, to revive the baby. If symptoms persist rush to a hospital: your baby could be suffering from heat stroke.

Keep your guard up against food poisoning

There is at least one group that loves the heat and humidity of summer – microbes. They flourish in foodstuff causing food borne illnesses. To avoid contamination, wash your hands clean before handling food; all surfaces coming in contact with food, like dinner service, cutting boards etc should be meticulously clean. While traveling, carry moist towelettes or tissue for cleansing. It is safer to discard food left out of refrigerator for over 1 hr. The water your baby drinks can be as much a source of microbes as the food: see that every drop of water ingested is safe.

A pristine baby pool delights and cools

Splashing in the backyard pool affords the baby instant relief from heat. And for the parents, it is a delightful scene to watch. Make the experience hassle-free by ensuring that water is treated to kill microbes: otherwise, it can lead to pink eye, sore throat, cold etc, or diarrhea, if water is accidentally swallowed. From time to time check diapers and in the event of a leakage change the water. Remember not to change diapers by the pool; take the baby to the bathroom instead. In summer steer clear of public swimming pools, spas etc. All this guarantees that your baby is playing in water that is as fresh as it looks.

Drive those insects away

Swarms of insects launch full-fledged attacks, and those nasty red rashes on pudgy hands and feet make us wonder if babies are explicit targets. To shield your baby against bites deploy insect-repellents, preferably with natural ingredients, like oil of lemon, eucalyptus, citronella etc; use a product safe for babies and follow directions. While applying, avoid their hands (obviously enough, they put their hands in their mouths all the time!) and the area around mouth and eyes. Wash off as soon as possible. Apply more to clothing than to skin. However, insect repellents may not be safe for infants under 2 months. In case you are repelled by repellents, as some parents are, invest in long trousers, long sleeves and a mosquito net; lighting citronella candles in the evening can drive mosquitoes out of your house. As a matter of principle, avoid infested areas, and start clearing that wilderness in your backyard!

Erase those rashes and itches

Even babies sweat profusely in hot weather. Accumulated sweat clogs skin pores (especially under the elastic band of nappies) causing rashes and itches. Cloth nappies fashioned out of good quality cotton dries sweat faster. Frequent bathing, moisturizers and medication help banish those rashes and itches. Home remedies like applying yogurt or a cooling pack of Fuller’s earth and rose water can alleviate rashes. Greasy moisturizers and commercial talcum powders should be rejected as they make the condition worse. If you are in the habit of giving the baby oil massages wash the oil off thoroughly.

Sometimes, bringing up a baby seems like a whole lot of responsibility, doesn’t it? Except, before their arrival life was not nearly as rewarding. And we wouldn’t dream of taking chances where they are concerned, would we?


Why Are Chandeliers So Expensive?

There has long been a belief that chandeliers add a sense of class and sophistication to a home that cannot be achieved with any other sort of lighting fixture. And it is true that they are very aesthetically pleasing in a classical sense and form a feature of the space rather than just providing illumination. This has led, however, to a stereotype that only wealthy people can have chandeliers in their homes. And this may be true, simply for the fact that these fixtures can prove to be a highly expensive investment. But why is this, and what can’t there be cheaper chandeliers available too?


One of the main factors that determine how expensive a chandelier is going to be is what materials have been used in its construction. Some fixtures make use of crystals (Swarovski being a popular choice) to make them appear more elegant and extravagant but, as crystals aren’t overly cheap, this really bumps up the price of the finished chandelier. Likewise, a fixture that makes use of an expensive silk fabric is going to be worth much more than one that uses a standard blend that you could buy in any store.


Another of the factors that plays a role in how expensive a chandelier is going to be is its size. It makes sense that a mini fixture is going to be considerably cheaper than one that would be at home in a ballroom, especially as the size of the chandelier is directly proportional to the type and amount of materials that are used in its creation. If a mini chandelier is made out of crystal, however, and a much larger one out of wrought iron, logic dictates that the smaller could prove to be more expensive.


The final factor that determines how expensive a chandelier is going to be is who designed it. If you are looking at a fixture that has been created by one of the leading lighting designers in the world, you would expect to pay a pretty penny for it. If you have found one in one of your regular department stores, however, you would expect to pay much less.

At the end of the day, there actually are cheaper chandeliers on the market – you just have to know where to look and what you’re looking for. When you take into account the materials, size and designer of a particular fixture, you should be able to tell whether you are getting a bargain buy or not. The next time you visit a lighting showroom, take a walk around and look at each detail of the chandeliers on show to find one that you can afford.


Solar Lights – A Way to Lighting Up Your Yard After Dark

Illuminating gardens, decks and walkways at night with outdoor lighting can create a whole new look and feel around your home. People choose outdoor lighting for a variety of reasons:

Accenting trees, shrubs, planting beds or architectural features to turn them into focal points.

Illuminated paths, steps and walkways to make navigating them easier.

Security lighting to make your property more secure.

Adding outdoor lighting can be very easy. The first step is to choose a system that’s right for you. There are a wide variety of options to choose from and prices to fit just about any budget. Solar lights are a popular choice because there’s no wiring to install and no electricity bill to pay. They may cost more than other options, but you do save a little on your electric bills and you can move them around a lot easier than ones that are hard-wired.

The most widely used type of outdoor lighting utilizes solar power. Solar lights are economical, safe and easy to install. A nice feature about solar lights is that the lights can be easily moved to compensate for plant growth or for different lighting effects.

A couple of options for solar lighting would be:

Globe lights are designed to cast small pools of light on the ground. They’re ideal for softly illuminating the edge of the patio.

Floodlights send out a stronger, focused beam of light–perfect for highlighting a specific tree, bush or area of the yard or garden.

To get started, develop a diagram and lay all the lights on the ground where you want them. Adjust until the location and spacing is to your liking. Once you are satisfied where they should go, push them into the ground. If they don’t look right, pull them up and move them. It’s as simple as that.

A few lights in the right places can give your yard or garden a magical feel at night. The simple do-it-yourself installation allows anyone to setup professional type lighting at a fraction of the cost that a professional would charge. Installation of solar lights could not be easier. Because there is no wiring and no dangerous mains voltage, they can be set almost anywhere to create new focal points for evening viewing.


Enhance Your Room Design With Dynamic Lighting

As an interior designer, I often use lighting to create drama when my client’s decorating budget is tight. By simply adjusting ceiling lights, using inexpensive table lamps, or strategically-placing accent lighting, I’m able to increase a room’s impact at a lower cost.

Lighting has come a long way in the last 10 years. You can now easily find a sophisticated lamp or chandelier within your budget that will help you create beautiful dimension for your interiors.

Before you shop for your ideal lamp or lighting, though, you might want to take a trip to your local art gallery or museum to see how they use lighting to enhance the artwork.

You can also get a lot of great lighting ideas by visiting your local shopping center. You will find a large variety of light fixtures and applications throughout the mall.

Once you’ve gotten ideas, you will want to visit a lighting store to make your purchases. Don’t be intimidated by the huge selection of lighting possibilities. There’s a lighting solution for every need.

Below is a simple guide to lamps and shades.


  • Accent lamps: You can use these lamps in bedrooms, bathrooms, hallways, entrances and any spot that may need extra lighting. They’re generally under 20″ tall and provide just the right amount of accent lighting.
  • Table lamps: These are usually from 25″ to 32″ tall. You can use table lamps for general purpose lighting in living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms and family rooms.
  • Desk lamps: These are usually 12″ to 20″ high. You can use them to light a specific work area.
  • Floor lamps: You can use these lamps in dark corners or areas that regular lighting may not reach.


  • Shade size: There are three dimensions to shade sizes: top diameter, bottom diameter, and height.
  • Shade material: Shades can be made of almost any material. The most common are silk, cotton, linen, plastic/vinyl and paper.
  • Shade height: Generally, the height of the shade should be equal to the measurement taken from the base of the lamp to the bottom of the bulb socket.
  • Shade width: Shades should be at least as wide as the widest point of the lamp body. Many people prefer the lamp shade to be several inches wider than the lamp.
  • Shade length: At eye level, the bottom of the shade should cover the bottom of the socket.

No matter which lamp or shade you select, you’re sure to greatly enhance your room design.


Outdoor Lighting is Versatile and Easy

Looking for a way to liven up your backyard or patio that’s both easy and fairly inexpensive? Check out the often overlooked and underappreciated world of outdoor lighting fixtures. These fixtures range from wall sconces to post-mounted lights to hanging lanterns, and all of them make your outdoor areas more inviting after the sun goes down.

We all want to enjoy the outdoors, especially during the warm summer months, but a poorly lit yard usually means the party is moving indoors once darkness falls. Keep the party going outside by adding some sconces to your perimeter walls. Spacing out some wall fixtures every eight or ten feet adds enough light to allow the kids to keep playing outside while also adding some style to your backyard. Another option is adding solar powered path lights around the perimeter of your yard. These inexpensive lights won’t provide the same amount of light as electrical fixtures, but they are an extremely energy efficient way to add a little ambiance to any outdoor setting.

For yards with well defined patio areas, a great option is post-mounted lighting. These light fixtures are ideal for wood railings, especially at corners and openings. For open yards and patios, these fixtures work just as well by installing wooden or metal poles in the ground and mounting the lights atop them. These post-mounted fixtures come in a wide variety of styles ranging from modern designs to more antique, classic looks.

Nothing says “outdoors” like a lantern. Now you can enjoy the classic look of a hanging lantern without the hissing noise that accompanies the kerosene camping models. Hanging lanterns are ideal for eaves and covered patio areas and are often very easy to install and maintain. Turn your patio into a rustic campsite or look into the sleeker, contemporary styles of this classic light fixture.

Every outdoor area can benefit from proper lighting, and installing many of these great outdoor lighting fixtures is easier than you might think. Keep the party going longer and get more use from your outside areas.


Great Designs – Lamps and Lighting

Lamps and lighting fixtures for the home are in abundance – in shops and malls, designer outlets, mail order catalogues and online. The home decor market has increased as consumers have become more style savvy, with more disposable income not to mention the explosion of home makeover television programs.

That the home lighting market has gone into such overdrive should come as no shock. In particular the last decade has seen a great rise in lighting manufacturers and a proliferation of many innovative and highly creative lighting designers.

But lets not forget what really lies behind this exciting new upsurge in the design of light fittings: lamps and light fixtures for your home.

A good quality light fitting is one which satisfies the aesthetic requirements (for example, has colors which will match and/or complement the colors of its surroundings) and adheres to safety guidelines as well as being properly constructed. For instance, floor lamps need to have sturdy, robust bases so that they do not tip over easily. For safety reasons, properly manufactured light fixtures should not overheat and scorch the shade or object of light focus, and so forth. As

well as these other factors for consideration are the ease of installation, ease of maintenance, portability, durability, economy and adjustability.

To choose the correct light fixture for your surroundings, try to visualize the lighting effect you desire:

What do you want the light fitting to do?

Will the light source provided by this fitting be adequate for the task at hand?

Will this light source be complemented by other light fittings in the room?

How will this light fitting be controlled?

Depending on the type of light fitting you have in mind, the distribution of its light is affected by using the principles of diffusion, refraction or reflection and are further affected by the type, shape and style of fitting and the materials it is made from. For example, spotlights, desk lights and ceiling-mounted downlighters emit a precise and focussed beam of light on the objects they are directed at.

Baffles and louvers are other light-manipulating devices commonly used in light fixtures. A “baffle” is a device attached to a light fitting to help prevent glare. The grooved indentations often seen on the inside of many cylindrically shaped light fittings are “baffles”. The grooves have the effect of reducing apparent brightness when you look into the light fitting from certain angles.

Louvers are blades, made from translucent or opaque plastic and metal, which reduce glare by preventing a direct view through the opening of the light source fixture.

Despite the use of louvers and baffles in many lighting designs, the most common way of manipulating artificial light in a room is the shade. This could be an integral part of the light fitting (as with spotlights) or separate (as with the traditional table lamp).

The choice of lampshade is highly personal and is affected by factors such as the color, fabric and size of the shade. Of course, one is so spoilt for choice these days that it should not be too difficult to find the exact lampshade you need to match a particular style or color theme.


What Is Your Rate?

What is your rate?

This is the one question on every business owner's mind, especially because renewal prices are generally trending upward. They ask the question as if they are buying gasoline, or an oil change for a car. If the gas station a few blocks down the street has a better price per gallon, then we go there. Every penny counts! This is the working mindset for commodity product shopping, toothpaste, shampoo, cotton swabs … whatever. We purchase it, use it up, throw away the empty package and go buy more. No brainer, easy!

Procuring energy for your business in today's market is not that simple. Unlike comparing gasoline prices at two different stations blocks apart on the same day, business owners do not typically have a way to compare multiple offers simultaneously. There are a lot more factors that go into the price / rate of energy procurement. Whomever you ask "What's your Rate?" needs some information from you in order to render a credible answer. They need to know usage, seasonal fluctuations, changes in use pattern, when your current contract ends, green energy requirements, bandwidth requirements, and so much more.

A much better question to ask your energy supplier rep would be: What is covered by your quoted rate? There are 7 factors that every energy supplier is legally obligated to pay. Your rate can cover all of them. However, not all rates cover all 7 factors. When all 7 factors are covered by the quoted rate, the rate is a fixed rate. When some factors are not included in your rate, your rate is variable. Those factors that are not covered by your rate will have to be paid somewhere. So you will either have monthly rate fluctuations or monthly line items added to your invoice. Both the fixed rate and variable rate products have their appropriate uses. The energy consumer must be advised on the different outcomes to be expected in total out-of-pocket expenses for their energy.

Then there are contract language considerations. Some contracts are very tight; others have a tremendous amount of wiggle room from the supplier. Some have stricter payment history requirements; I can not know what any company qualifies for without a fair amount of information from you, the business owner. I want to help you save time and money over time.

I recently had a meeting with a large independent grocery store owner. He just completed a renovation complete with lighting upgrades. He went from fluorescent tubes to LED lighting. His usage reduced enough to generate an addition bandwidth fee. The fee made his lighting upgrade not profitable in the short run. A thorough review of contract language could have saved this owner quite a bit of money.

Procuring energy for your business is more complex than rate shopping. Rate shopping wastes your time and your money.

You can start the process by having a utility bill audit. There is no up-front cost to you, and we may find that your company is eligible to receive hundreds of dollars each year in discounts and credits because your utility had been charging you incorrectly. You do not even need to change suppliers. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Marco E. Dimbo – Procurement Expert Advisor at Ohio Energy Guide.


Walkway Lighting – A Beautiful And Inexpensive Addition To Your Home

Moving into your new home or deciding to add some upgrades to your existing home is a great adventure, especially since there are so many different ideas that can make your home amazing. One of those ideas is walkway lighting, since it can make your home look great and keep it safe as well.

Even if your yard is small this kind of lighting will add to your home. It’s a great way to show off your landscaping, or even to add some additional light to make your home look more welcoming. It’s hard to feel welcome when you are approaching a dark house. Most homes don’t have enough outdoor lighting, but adding lighting to your walkway can provide just enough light to make your house and yard look great even at night.

But adding lighting will not only improve the curb appeal of your home, it will make it a safer place as well. It is essential for homes with stairs or curved walkway, but even works great at homes with straight walkways as well. The added light can make it easier for people arriving or leaving your home, while also keeping unwanted visitors away at night.

There are two types of walkway lights you can install at your home, both of which look great and provide great safety benefits. The first type, solar, only requires the power of the sun to work each night. They charge on their own during the day when the sun is out, and turn on by themselves when the sun starts to set. They don’t require an electric source other than the sun, and don’t need to be plugged in or turned on each night.

Electric lights obviously do require an electric source, but can be turned on and off whenever you please. They provide more light than typical solar lighting fixtures, but this can vary depending on the type of light bulb inside the fixture. They are installed much like Christmas lights, and can even be set on a timer to turn on the same time each night.

Walkway fixtures can be found in a number of different styles and colors, which makes them easy to fit almost any home décor. They work great at almost any home, and can make your house look more appealing while providing a safe atmosphere for your entire family. Solar and electric fixtures each have their advantages and disadvantages, and they both work great for their intended purpose.

If you are considering adding something new to your home, walkway lighting really is the way to go. It can completely change the look of the outside of your home, yet can be simple and inexpensive to install.


Bathroom Lighting Ideas To Consider

Bathroom lighting can make the difference between one that is adequate and comfortable to one that is irritating and oftentimes not sufficient for your bathroom. This is why you need some bathroom lighting idea so your bathroom lighting will fall on the former category.

When looking around for the lighting to have on your bathroom, try to consider the manufacturer that offers fixture installation as well as the lighting. There are those that offer this kind of service. The best thing about getting them is that they are capable of considering the overall designs of your bathroom and will come up with the proper lighting to complete the whole bathroom design.

Furthermore, take into account the many purposes you and other members of the household are using the bathroom. It may be the area where you dress up and groom yourself. If this is the case, you probably would want the kind of lighting that does not reflect any shadows and shades.

If the prime purpose of the bathroom is for bathing and other related things, then having a centralized lighting fixture may be enough. You do not have to add more bulbs on the sides of a mirror. This is not the best option if you are also saving up on energy consumption.

Keep in mind also that there moist and moisture thrive inside the bathroom. Your lighting should be durable enough to withstand those things. If positioned improperly, it might even cause some serious problems to you and your home.

The bathroom is one part of the house where you and your family frequently come to. Having the right kind of lighting will ensure that all struggles in trying to look good are eliminated. It also means that you will not grope around just to find what you are looking for.

Look for some bathroom lighting idea that you think will suit your needs the most. With the variety of ideas out there, there is definitely one that will work for you and your bathroom.


Add Nighttime Function to Your Home with Outdoor Lighting

Would you like to increase the amount of time that you can spend outdoors at your home? Having the right scheme of outdoor lighting to allow for nighttime use of an area is the most important factor for allowing you to do this. The types of lighting you should consider using to enhance your outdoor area include: porch or patio lighting, garden or landscape lighting, and path lighting.

Porch or patio lighting should be carefully planned, since these places are the most common functional areas used at night. This is also a great type of lighting to use around a swimming pool to allow for use at night. Lighting for these areas is very important for safety and visibility. The lighting needs to be reliably bright, making wall mounts and flood lights common choices. Lighting for a porch or patio does not have to be mounted on the exterior of the house. Rope lights and deck post lights are two examples of lights that attach to your porch, not your house.

Garden or landscape lighting is used to highlight special features and focal points of your landscaping. Many lights of the same lighting type can be used in an area, and they can be placed at strategic locations in your garden so that you can enjoy its beauty at night as well as during the day. Special garden lights such as spotlights can be used to highlight focal points of your landscape, such as a fountain or water garden.

Path lighting is great for clearing a walkway in your outdoor living area. It also looks great when it's used to define the perimeter of an area, such as a freestanding flower garden.
Before purchasing outdoor lighting fixtures, be sure that they are designed for outdoor use. Outdoor lighting fixtures are made to be durable and resistant to weather conditions, so they are made of strong materials including shatterproof glass, plastic, aluminum, and stainless steel.


Benefits of Solar Lighting

A solar light is one that captures the sun’s rays and stores them to then power the light when it becomes dark. Seems easy enough, right? And it is. A solar light will have a solar panel or photovoltaic cell that the energy from the sun is captured in and then that energy is stored in a rechargeable gel cell battery for future use. Once the sun goes down, a controller senses that no more energy is being gathered so it automatically turns on the LED light and viola, you have light that is using energy from the sun.

LED lights, or light emitting diodes will emit that light in a controlled way, efficiently and they also have a long life, meaning you won’t be replacing those solar lights any time soon.

So we know what solar lights are and how they work, but how are they beneficial for us? For starters they are totally green. This means environmentally friendly because they don’t need to be plugged in, they aren’t draining our electricity and they are not emitting any harmful gasses back into the atmosphere. In other words, they are clean.

Solar lights are also renewable. Each day the energy gets renewed by the sun. You don’t have to replace them each day, they simply go about their business of recycling the sun’s energy day after day, even when the sun isn’t shining directly onto them. They are also a benefit because they are available all of the time. Once it gets dark they come on, each and every night. They are reliable, easy to install and offer a low voltage option when compared to other sources of light.

Solar lights are stand alone. They don’t need to be near an outlet or near anything in particular. They can be used anywhere and everywhere from gardens to docks and from boats to walkways. They light our way no matter where we may be and they save energy doing it. They are also durable and long lasting so you aren’t replacing them each and every year.

Solar lights are a unique way to make your home more beautiful, they come in many applications and many shapes and sizes, but they all do the same thing– They use a renewable resource to power themselves, and since the sun isn’t going anywhere they can be used indefinitely. Solar is a great way to light our way, each and every day.


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