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Choosing a Lightbulb

Energy saving technology continues to advance and choices are becoming more common. Choosing a lightbulb has gotten more complicated. Getting a great new light fixture is one way to update and brighten your home. Installing the wrong lightbulb can make a room feel harsh or too dark and affect the way furniture, and paint looks. You can still buy the old-fashioned 60 watt tungsten bulb, but as states look at the importance of lightbulb efficiency, it helps to understand the new types of lightbulbs and lighting terminology.

Types of Bulbs
LEDs is the most energy efficient bulb, and also the most expensive. CFLs contain mercury and require proper disposal. Incandescent (halogen and tungsten) are the least efficient and lose 90% of their energy as heat.

Lightbulbs come in many different sizes. When you are shopping, the common lightbulb size/shape is called an “A19 medium base.”

Light output is measured in lumens. As a comparison, the old 60 watt incandescent bulb emits approximately 800 lumens, a 40 watt, 450 lumens, 100w is 1,600 lumens. Knowing the lumens helps you compare output between the different types of bulbs

The amount of electricity use is measured in watts. Your old 60W tungsten (800 lumen) bulb consumes 60 watts. The equivalent brightness in an LED bulb only consumes 14 watts. That is a whopping 75% reduction in energy consumption! Efficiency is often called lumen per watt, or LPM. The higher the number, the more efficient.

You’ve heard of the terms warm or cool used to describe a lightbulb. These can be very subjective. Luckily we can explain that better which helps you compare bulbs. Light is described in terms of color, and measured in temperature (degrees Kelvin). Roughly, 2700K is a tungsten bulb, 3000K is a halogen bulb, and 4500K is a daylight bulb and looks blue-ish. A good rule of thumb is that 2700K is warm and cozy, and best used in living rooms and bedrooms. 3000K looks crisp and is best used in kitchen and bathrooms. 4500K bulbs are great for the garage and laundry rooms. One thing to remember is do not mix the types of bulbs in a room. Mixing mages things look awkward and imbalanced.

When you dim a lightbulb, what happens depends on the type of bulbs. The color of an incandescent bulb when dimmed, warms and looks more like candlelight. Look for “dimmable” as a feature on the lightbulb package. Some of the newer bulbs cannot be dimmed.

Color Rendering
This measurement, CRI, can be important is you are calling attention to fabric or a piece of artwork. Natural sunlight has a CRI rating of 100, which is the most accurate color rendering. If this is important to you, seek a bulb with 100 CRI.

Based on an article by Al DeGenova for Realtor magazine 04-08-21

By |April 8th, 2021|

WA State Destinations

Fresh air and gorgeous views – It is a beautiful state we live in! Here are some great places to visit in our state:

There are 2 wonderful destinations in the North Cascades.
• Lake Diablo is just off Highway 20. You can hike the Diablo Lake Trail, which is under 8 miles round trip. The lake is an eye popping vibrant turquoise and a sight to behold.
• Lake Chelan is another North Cascades destination. This 55 mile long lake offers swimming, boating, and definitely some of the most striking scenery in the country.

Heading South You’ll come to our most iconic peak
• Mount Rainier reaches 14,410 feet. The Mount Rainier National Park, established in 1889, is home to many trails, lakes, and waterfalls.

Take a ferry over to Whidbey Island
• Two hours from Seattle is miles of marine coastline at Deception Pass State Park. You can enjoy camping, kayaking, hiking and swimming.

On the Olympic Peninsula, there are many choices
• Sol Duc Falls Trail, in the Olympic National Park, takes you into the Olympic Rainforest, and to Sol Duc Falls. There are even some hot springs for relaxation

Drive to Southeastern Washington to see the official waterfall of Washington State
• Palouse Falls is not to be missed. This breathtaking area is perfect for camping, hiking and kayaking.

By |March 12th, 2021|

Is Solar Energy Right for You?

You’ve been thinking about how to make your home more energy efficient and what investing in a solar panel system entails. Federal tax breaks for solar panels ends in 2021, could this be the time? Here are 9 things to consider before pulling the trigger.
1. Does the home have solar potential? A common misconception is that solar panels only work in hot climates. To get an idea about your roof’s potential, you can enter your address at Google Project Sunroof, or by looking at maps from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
2. What are your current utility bills? Solar panels typically pay off in 8 years. However your current utility charges also reflect inefficient appliances and lack of insulation. Make sure to update your appliances, and insulation so you don’t pay for an oversized solar system.
3. Think ahead. Do you plan on moving in the next few years? If you lease the system, you’ll need to buy the system before moving, terminate the lease or persuade the new homeowner to assume the lease.
4. Determine a baseline by using a home energy monitor such as Sense Solar to find out your energy hogs before installing solar panels
5. Consider the financing and payoff. Solar panels are an investment that you want to have a payoff. Taking advantage of the current federal incentive can make a big impact. However leasing is not always short term. So you need to weigh advantages of buying or leasing. There are also solar-specific loans and resources available. Do the math.
6. Storage or no storage? Storage is still a premium option, but the prices are dropping. Consider if you have frequent disruptions in electricity from storms or downed power lines. Storage can get you through that. Also, batteries can store energy on cloudy days.
7. Once you have decided to install solar panels, identify at least 3 providers. Do your research, check online, get word of mouth from neighbors, and then ask for online quotes. Next ask the providers to visit your home and get you a final quote. Make sure any cost to upgrade your roof is included
8. Once you have 2 or 3 final estimates, ask more questions. Will the provider install the system or use subcontractors? Are the installers licensed and bonded? Can the contractor explain all the components of the system to you? Who files the permits? Will they help you file for any rebates or tax incentives? What is the warranty? Who does the maintenance?
9. And finally, be patient. You need to do due diligence and feel comfortable with your decision. It may take a few weeks or more to get the job permitted, and all the paperwork sorted out.

From a feature article written by Brandon Doyle

By |March 3rd, 2021|

Carbon Monoxide – The Silent Killer

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless & odorless gas produced by the burning of natural gas, oil & propane in furnaces, water heaters & stoves. These appliances are designed to vent the CO to the outside. However, incomplete combustion of fuel, improper installation, or blockages, leaks or cracks in the venting systems can cause CO to reach harmful levels inside the home. Dangerously high levels of CO will lead to incapacitation or death, with victims sometimes aware that they were in danger.

Homeowners can take action against carbon monoxide poisoning by taking the following steps:
• Never use a gas stove or oven to heat the home, even temporarily.
• Professionally inspect all fuel-burning appliances every year, preferably before the start of the cold weather season when heaters & furnaces are used.
• Appliances include gas stoves/ovens, furnaces/heaters, water heaters & gas clothes dryers.
• All such devices should be properly installed & vented to the outside.
• Have flues & chimneys for gas fireplaces inspected regularly for cracks, leaks, & blockages that may allow a buildup of CO to occur.
• Don’t start a vehicle in a closed garage or idle the engine in the garage even if the door is open.
• Gas powered generators & charcoal grills must never be used indoors.
• Install a CO detector (either battery operated, hard wired or plug-in) on each floor of the home & follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper location.
• Learn what to do if the CO alarm activates.

Based on an article by Pillar to Post Home Inspectors

By |January 20th, 2021|
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