Gone are the days when gas furnaces were installed with instructions to keep the pilot light on year-round to “reduce moisture” in the unit. Thereby, sustainable home initiatives are now widely followed, and just like electronic ignition has replaced old-school pilot lights, LEDs and smart apps are quickly making incandescent bulbs museum pieces.
Short History Lesson
Incandescent bulbs were the go-to lighting source for many years. Your parents probably used these exclusively, as they could get them in many different wattages from 15 to even 300. Terms like lumens were rarely mentioned, and the warm, yellow light that incandescents cast was welcomed. While fluorescent lighting was invented around 1904 and did cause major light bulb manufacturers to improve their incandescent bulbs, many families felt that the stark fluorescent light was better suited to workshops, garages and basements. Furthermore, fluorescents needed things called starters in order to operate, and the long bulbs were very fragile. A General Electric (GE) scientist named Nick Holonyak invented the first Light Emitting Diode or LED in the 1960s. He knew then that he had something very special, as he called his invention “the magic one.”
Today you can buy an LED shaped like an incandescent bulb that will fit in many old fixtures. LEDS can now be connected to dimmers, although you must be sure that you are matching the LED and dimmer electronics. Add smart apps to the LED world, and you can save big energy dollars while helping the environment as your carbon footprint shrinks. In addition, LED bulb prices have come down significantly in the past couple of years.
Apps – What You Can Buy
Just start basically, and work with an app that can turn your lighting on and off from your phone. If you’re uncomfortable at first in programming the app to turn your lights on and off at certain times, just use your device to do it manually. Then, if you have a few spare minutes at work, you can easily learn to use the app to automatically turn your lights off when you leave for work, and turn them on just before you get home, or when it gets dark.
A smarter home with a smarter app will be able to interface lights with outside conditions. When it’s sunny outside, your app used with certain lights can make your rooms brighter or darker. For example, when you’re sitting in your Houston apartment and it suddenly gets cloudy and your home gets dark, your app can adjust the lighting to match outside conditions. Super easy, huh!? Some upscale apps that are paired with special LED lights can also change the room lighting color.
We know LEDs last two to four times longer than conventional light bulbs. In addition, they throw very little heat. Remember the days when floodlights were used in kitchen areas? By merely walking under them you could feel the heat! Also take into consideration that if you spend $360 annually for incandescent lighting, LEDs shrink that cost to $55. Add a smart app to the mix, and you can save even more and contribute to the planet’s sustainability. And when you’re saving money for your first home, all of these eco-friendly savings can really add up.
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