The Nuts and Bolts: January 2, 2014

A little DIY, FYI…

Get the Facts About Light Bulb Legislation

On the heels of the 100-watt (2012) and 75-watt (2013) phaseouts, the lighting industry has seen rapid acceleration of technology resulting in growing consumer acceptance of energy-efficient bulbs. Today, one out of every three light bulbs purchased is a CFL or LED bulb. LED technology has experienced the largest growth − more than doubling in popularity during the last year − as prices have decreased significantly and customers have grown more accustomed to seeing LEDs in other consumer products such as televisions, computers and car headlights.


Following are 5 things consumers need to know about the change (courtesy of Lowe's):

1. You can keep your current bulbs. According to the legislation, consumers can still use their existing incandescent light bulbs and retailers are allowed to sell bulbs they have on their shelves and in stock. Manufacturers are simply required to stop producing noncompliant products. Some specialty types of incandescent light bulbs, such as reflectors, three-way, appliance and some decorative bulbs, are exceptions to the law and can still be manufactured.

2. You won't notice a major difference. Halogen light bulbs are a popular pick by interior designers because of their crisp, white light and welcoming ambiance. For customers who love the look and feel of incandescent light bulbs, there is no need to worry. Manufacturers have developed halogen light bulbs that both meet the new efficiency standards and offer the characteristics of traditional bulbs. While these bulbs may cost more up front, they pay off in the long run by saving 28 percent in energy costs over the life of the product.

3. You won't replace your bulb until your baby graduates from college. It's a great time to upgrade to LED light bulbs as prices have steadily decreased while performance and appearance have improved. According to Lowe's manufacturers, an average LED bulb will last more than 22 years (based on three hours of usage per day), and over its lifetime will cost about $30 to operate, whereas an incandescent bulb will cost $165 over the same period of time.

4. These aren't the CFLs of years past. CFLs, one of the most popular replacements for incandescent bulbs, have changed dramatically with recent technological improvements. Manufacturers have addressed common customer feedback so that these bulbs now create better light output and turn on faster when you flip a switch. Once considered a safety concern because of mercury content, today's CFLs contain less mercury than a common household thermometer.

5. There's a full light spectrum for different applications. Light bulbs are available in a variety of color temperatures and should be selected based on application and personal preference. Soft or warm white, the standard color range of incandescent and halogen bulbs measures between 2,500 and 3,000 kelvins (K), providing perfect ambient lighting for bedrooms, living rooms and dens. A bright white or cool white, which measures between 3,500 and 4,100K, is ideal for kitchens, workspaces, bathrooms and other areas of the home where tasks are performed. A daylight temperature of 5,000 to 6,500K is ideal for outdoor applications and detailed tasks.

Arcbazar Introduces New Cost Calculator for Home Improvement Projects

Arcbazar has launched a new online cost estimation tool for clients to get rough quotes for their home improvement projects.

About 15 million home owners each year do some kind of remodeling to their homes, start new homes from scratch, redesign their interiors or improve their landscape designs in the United States. Most people often wonder what such an endeavor would cost their budget. To respond to this recurrent question of clients, Arcbazar, the first-of-its-kind crowdsourcing platform for architectural design projects, developed a tool at allowing clients to quickly get a ball park cost figure on their architectural, interior, landscape, commercial and new residential design projects.

Protect Yourself From Dangerous Carbon Monoxide

As temperatures fluctuate this winter, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is urging customers to be mindful of the dangers associated with carbon monoxide. Several tragic cases of carbon monoxide poisoning take place each year during the winter months as people try to stay warm using a variety of heat sources.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, tasteless and odorless gas that is created by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and wood. If unsafe concentrations of carbon monoxide are present but not detected, the result can be fatal.

Customers should never use generators, or charcoal or barbeque grills inside the home. When using the fireplace to stay warm, make sure the flue is open, so the byproducts of combustion can vent safely through the chimney.

To help prevent cases of carbon monoxide poisoning, PG&E offers the following tips to keep customers healthy and safe:

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector to warn you if concentrations become dangerously high. As of July 2011, all California single-family homes are required by law to have one. Place it near sleeping areas, where they can wake you.
  • When using the fireplace, make sure the flue is open and the chimney is venting properly.
  • Do not idle cars inside the garage, and do not allow snow to block tailpipe emissions when operating a vehicle outdoors.
  • Make sure water heaters and other natural gas appliances have proper ventilation. Older appliances and room heaters that are not vented externally should be inspected annually.
  • Have a trained professional inspect furnaces and other gas appliances.
  • Never use generators, propane heaters, barbeques or charcoal indoors.
  • Ensure that generators are properly installed and operated outdoors.