DESIGN 101: LIGHTING - CARE & MAINTENANCE!

This month, Design 101 has been all about lighting.  Now that you've found the right light fixtures for your home, let's talk about making them last!  Below are some tips and tricks to help you care for your lighting investment.

Z_Gallerie_Chandelier

Z_Gallerie_Chandelier

Chandelier from Z Gallerie

General Cleaning Tips

Believe it or not, light fixtures can get damaged inside your home if they are not properly cleaned and cared for.  To keep you fixtures looking their best, follow these steps:

  • Give fixtures a light weekly dusting
  • Know you're finishes.  Polished brass tends to weather more easily than other finishes such as chrome or nickel.  Make sure to use gentle cleansers that won't corrode, strip, or damage your fixture's finish.
  • Glass globes can be cleaned with a damp cloth.  For stubborn stains, you can use a cleaning product such as Windex.  Just make sure to remove the glass from the fixture so you don't get any of the cleaning product on the fixture itself.  Please be careful when removing glass globes.  They can be fragile and break easily, so we suggest holding them securely with one hand while using the other hand to remove screws and finials.
  • Fabric shades can be lightly dusted.  For a thorough cleaning, you can use the soft brush attachment on your vacuum to suck away dirt or dust.
  • Crystal chandeliers can last for generations if cared for properly.  For general cleaning, try a soft damp cloth to clean the crystals and frame.  If heavier cleaning is needed, consider a non-abrasive crystal cleaner.   We recommend wearing gloves while you clean your crystal chandelier to avoid adding new smudges and fingerprints.
Bulb Shapes

Bulb Shapes

Life Expectancy of Light Bulbs

The other week, we discussed how to choose a light bulb.  Before you decide to hang a 12-arm incandescent chandelier on your 20 foot high ceiling, you may want to consider how many times you'll have to step onto a ladder to change the light bulbs!  Below are average life spans of light bulbs (according to eHow):

  • Incandescent =  1,000 - 2,000  hours
  • Halogen = 4,000 - 8,000 hours
  • Compact Fluorescent (CFL) - 10,000 hours
  • LED = 30,000 - 50,000

If you find that your light bulbs are dimming very quickly, first try reducing your energy consumption.  Turning off lights when you leave a room can help you save energy and money.  Also, adding dimmer switches to your light fixtures can help extend the life of the bulbs.  If neither solution works, you may want to call a local electrician to ensure your fixtures are wired correctly.

Recycle_Bulb

Recycle_Bulb

Image from Homesessive

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Small Bar

How to Dispose of Light Bulbs

When throwing away burnt out bulbs, you should consider the type of bulb you are disposing of.  Compact Fluorescent (CFL) bulbs contain mercury, which is a hazardous material that can be harmful if emitted.  Your state may have regulations on recycling light bulbs, so before throwing anything away please check your local guidelines.  Earth 911 offers helpful information on recycling light bulbs and more.  When disposing of any light bulb, we suggest first putting the bulb into some kind of protective covering, such as the original box it came in, to prevent shattered glass from scattering.

Do you have any light fixtures that you brought back to life?  Tell us your story - we love to hear from you!

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Happy Lighting.

RB.

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