What are the basic types of lighting?

There are three basic types of lighting that work together in your home:
  • Ambient or General Lighting
  • Task Lighting
  • Accent Lighting A good lighting plan tends to combine all the three types of light to bring out the function and style of any room.

What is Ambient Lighting?

Ambient Lighting provides an area with an overall illumination. This is also known as General Lighting as it radiates a comfortable level of brightness and it allows you to see and walk around safely. Many a times such as in laundry rooms, the ambient lighting also serves as the primary source of task lighting.

How can ambient lighting be accomplished?

Ambient Lighting can be accomplished by incorporating chandeliers, ceiling or wall mounted fixtures, recessed or track lights and with lanterns that are wall mounted outside the home. To have a good lighting planning it is fundamental to have ambient lighting in all rooms.

What is task lighting?

Task lighting as the word already suggests helps you perform specific tasks. This type of lighting helps you read, groom, prepare and cook food, doing homework, playing games, work on hobbies, and about any other thing that requires close focus. This can be provided by recessed and track lighting, under cabinet lighting and by portable floor and desk lamps. Keep in mind, that task lighting completely avoids glare and shadows and should be bright enough to prevent eye strain.

What is accent lighting?

If you are looking to add a little bit of drama to your room, then you should consider accent lighting to create visual interest. Accent lighting helps create focal points and draws attention to subjects such as houseplants, paintings, sculptures and notable possessions. Some designers use it to highlight the texture of brick or stone wall, window treatments and outdoor landscaping. For the best results, accent lighting requires at least three times as much light on a focal point compared to the general lighting surrounding it. Many a times, accent lighting is usually provided by recessed and track lighting and wall-mounted to highlight wall pictures.

How many recessed downlights should I use in each room?

This is a very common question that is difficult to answer as many a times this only depends on some important variables. It is crucial to consider the height of the ceiling, the brightness and darkness of the ceiling walls, the walls around the room and the floor. Other variables that should be taken into account and figured out well before any final decisions are taken are which recessed downlight you should use, the type and wattage of the lamp and the purpose of the recessed downlight.

What are the rules of hanging a chandelier?

As a rule of thumb, the height of the main source of light should be 30”-36” above the table. A minimum of 150 watts total in the chandelier is recommended. Besides, using a dimmer on your chandelier give you the possibility to change the ambient light based upon your dining situation. Below you can find some guidelines for you to consider when choosing your chandelier:
  • 10’x10′ rooms should use a chandelier with a 17″-20″ diameter
  • 12’x12′ rooms should use a chandelier with a 20″-16″ diameter
  • 14’x14′ rooms should use a chandelier with a 24″-30″ diameter
  • A chandelier should be no smaller than half the width of the table beneath it, and no larger than the table width minus 12″

Where should I use a mini pendant?

Lately it has become a mandatory aspect to have a pendant or island lighting in designated kitchens. These pendants give your space that extra touch and bring about an attractive aesthetic focal point. They provide the right functional light that is fundamental to complete the activities carried out in the kitchen. Depending on the size of the island such pendants should be hung at least 30”-40” from the island.

What about bathroom lights? What are the guidelines?

Three sources of light are recommended for bath and dressing areas. Dressing areas require eye-level lighting, at least 30” apart with a minimum of 60 watts. Never direct light onto the surface of the mirror. The overhead lighting should be at least 75 watts per partitioned area of the bath including the shower. Adding a night light is very helpful in this room for added safety.

Why do I need a floor lamp?

Floor lamps are recommended as they easily provide task lighting for reading, homework and for other day-to-day tasks. They provide a downward beam of light.

What are torchieres?

Torchieres reflect their light upwards towards the ceiling and walls creating ambient effects. Ceilings usually look higher and rooms feel larger.

What is the best height for a wall light?

They should be installed 60” from the floor. The recommended space between fittings should be spaced 8”-10” apart.

What is the ideal standard when it comes to desk lamps?

Desk Lamps especially the portable ones should be utilized in rooms where task lighting is lacking, and additional light is needed. We suggest that light sources on desk should be 16” above the work surface and around 13” from the desk front.

How can compact fluorescents be used?

Compact fluorescents cannot be used in lights with motion sensor. Some of these bulbs can be used with dimmers. Compact fluorescents can be used whenever it is possible as they have a longer life and put out four times the light of incandescent light bulbs.

What is the main function of dimmers?

Dimmers are devices that are connected to a light fixture and is used to adjust the brightness of the light. They are extremely functional as they provide the flexibility to vary the amount of light depending on the size of the space, the mood that you would like to achieve as well as the task or activity that is being performed by the present individuals.

What are LEDs?

LEDs are light emitting diodes. These are electronic components that convert electrical energy directly to light through the movement of electrons within the material of the diode. LEDs are important because due to their efficiency and low energy, they are beginning to replace most conventional light sources.

What makes LEDs more robust than other light sources?

LEDs have no gases, filaments and no moving parts to fatigue. They provide light through a one-step process that takes place within the diode. There is no glass to break or screwed contacts to loosen.

What are the economic advantages of using LEDs over conventional light sources?

Although the initial cost of conventional light sources is less than LEDs, the operational and maintenance costs of LED are significantly lower. LEDs, having a longer life, reduce maintenance and lamp replacement cost. Because LEDs need to be replaced less frequently, the owner spends less on new lamps and the labour needed to change them. LEDs also consume less energy; thus the overall cost of a LED system can be significantly lower than that of conventional lighting systems. Most applications with LEDs offer a payback period as low as three to four years.

How do I know that a light fitting is safe?

In Europe, every light fitting must have a CE label. This tells you that the seller claims that the fitting conforms to all the relevant European safety standards. The most important of these is EN 60598 which covers electrical, thermal and mechanical safety.

Why do LEDs require power supply/power?

LEDs are low voltage devices. Therefore, they require a device / Power supply unit / driver, or integrated electronics that convert line voltage to low voltage to run the LEDs. Sometimes The driver has electronics that can interpret control signals to dim LEDs.

What are the main advantages of dimming LEDs?

Dimming LEDs offer the following advantages:
  • Saves energy, because less energy is used for reduced output levels.
  • Extends life; the electronic components run cooler. This not only extends the life of LEDs but also increases the life of the phosphor coating that is used to produce white light.
  • Helps designers create ambient lighting presets to create mood settings.
  • Increases flexibility in usage of space. A brightly lit space for reading or an office space can turn into a presentation/conference area by dimming.
  • Increases productivity by enabling individual control of lights to reduce eye strain and fatigue, or to improve concentration.

Why do some LEDs flicker when dimmed and turned off?

This is usually due to incompatibility between the driver and the control system. When purchasing an LED product, it is important to use the correct driver type as specified by the manufacturer. It is also important to check that the LED is dimmable. Some retrofits are not.

Is lifespan reduced if the LEDs are frequently turned on and off?

Unlike discharge lamps, LEDs are semiconductors and their life span is not affected by the number of times they are turned on and off.

How much longer does an LED last than a conventional light source?

Typically, an LED will last four times longer than a CFL and 25 times longer than an incandescent source that puts out the same amount of light.

Why are LEDs considered green technology?

LEDs are more efficient than most other light sources, so they usually consume less energy for a given task or at a specific light output. Also, they do not contain hazardous materials such as toxic mercury. Moreover, LEDs have a longer lifespan and hence reduce the frequency of disposal of lamps.

How are LEDs disposed recycled?

LEDs are primarily made of electronic components like PCBs, diodes, semiconductors etc. Therefore, they must be treated in the same way that traditional electronics are treated. They collected separately from household wastes and must be treated the same as standard electronic equipment.

What should one consider during the planning of a home installation?

During the planning of a home installation, one should consider various cabled systems to prevent modifications at a further stage of the installation. These include power, lighting, extra low voltage, TV – media sound, CCTV, alarms and Smart Home Systems.

What is the approved electrical standard in Malta?

The standard adopted for electrical installations in Malta is the British standard. It is governed by the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE) regulations. The back boxes used in the wall are referred to as a 6x3 box for the larger box or a 3x3 box for the smaller counterpart. These are standard boxes and are used by most brands including Legrand and Schneider Electric.

What is the adequate amount of sockets to be considered in a room?

There should be an adequate amount of socket outlets in each room. Special consideration should be given to the kitchen due to the amount of worktop appliances in use. A cooker unit is a special type of double pole switch that also includes an independent socket outlet. Another area which is worth considering putting extra socket outlets is besides your bedside table in master bedrooms and an IP rated socket in your garden.

What are double pole switches?

Double pole switches are used to isolate appliances such as water heaters and air conditioners. Other appliances that may be connected to a double pole switch include pumps and white goods such as microwave ovens, refrigerators and freezers.

Shall I consider wiring accessories in the bathroom?

No wiring accessories are permitted in bathrooms and showers except for a shaver unit that is electrically isolated by a built-in transformer. The only way out of this is a pull switch if necessary.

What is a gang? How does it function?

The number of circuits controlled by a switch is called the gang. For example a 2 gang switch controls 2 separate lighting circuits A special mention is in a main bedroom where the lighting may be controlled from each side of the bed and also from the entrance, this can be 2-way or intermediate. Dimmer switches can also be made to function in this way, however not all, so attention to this when planning.

Why do you use a 5Amp socket outlet?

One may also make use of a 5 Amp socket outlet for lighting. This is a non-standard socket with round pins purposely intended for a table or floor lamp.