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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Selecting Proper Exterior Wall Mounting Lighting
There are varying configuration designs for exterior wall mount lighting. Some can be a completely flush to the wall mount configuration. Some are flush with the lantern portion extending outward from the flush wall mount plate. Some extend downward considerably from the center of the mounting back plate. And some have the lantern extending upward considerably from the mounting back plate. Unfortunately, the selection of your exterior wall mount lighting should not be based solely on design, style, or simply what you like. A major consideration is the position of the existing electrical mounting boxes. Of course, an electrical mounting box can be repositioned by a qualified Electrician. This may not be an easy task with home construction involving brick, stone, stucco. And with older homes, moving the electrical mounting box location may result in completely rewiring, according to local code (and may require a local permit).

All too often we see a beautiful homes' curb appeal denigrated because of poor wall mount lighting design selection. Many times we see upward lighting designs mounted way too high, downward lighting designs mounted too low and flush mount lighting mounted too high or too low. They simply look aesthetically uncomfortable. As a general rule, the lantern portion for a residential entry should be at eye level of just above eye level. Of course, this will vary greatly depending upon scale of the entry, door, sidelights, etc.

In addition to incorrect light fixture configuration design, we often see a wrong fitted design on a home. For example, a distinctly Prairie lighting design installed on Colonial style home or on a Tudor style home can look awkward. A contemporary style light fixture installed on a grand Tudor Revival style home will also appear awkward. A misfit light fixture can be the result of selection based upon personal taste of the light fixture design without consideration of the context of the home's style. Consider consulting with a Designer or Architect when selecting exterior lighting for your home or building. Most high quality lighting made in USA is crafted based upon finish and/or glass options  and are non-returnable. Best to make certain you are selecting and ordering an appropriate lighting design and scale.

A near fool proof method that we recommend (and use) for our customers when selecting a light fixture is a "printed model" approach. In many cases, we can email an actual sized elevation drawing of a pre-selected light fixture to our customer. The printout may need to be pieced together because of size. The printout will indicate the center mounting point for mounting to the electrical box. The printout can be cut out and taped to the mounting box location on the home. Some customers will also make a crude box to the size of the fixture's projection and tape the printout to the front of the box and hold it up to the mounting location. This will provide a clear indication as to whether the scale of the fixture, mounting location for the fixture design is comfortable or appropriate.

Very often, our customers will snap a picture of the entry, and email it to us. They will provide the dimension of something in the picture and we can render in the light fixture to an approximate scale at the exact location of the mounting box. We then email this back to our customers. This can also be invaluable when selecting exterior lighting. Both methods are services we that we provide generally at no cost. You will not find this kind of service with the typical white background online stores. We know our product lines well!

We certainly hope the above information has been useful.

YOU CAN CLICK ON THE DIAGRAM BELOW FOR A LARGER VIEW.


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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Friday, March 4, 2011
Dry, Damp, and Wet Location Ratings
Light Fixture Ratings for Dry, Damp, and Wet Locations

There are distinct differences between Dry, Damp or Wet ratings. Most light fixture and ceiling fan designs sold in the United States have been tested and rated by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), an independent product safety certification organization. Some have also been tested by Intertek and have an ETL Listed mark.

It is not uncommon to become a little confused about UL ratings, particularly when selecting or specifying for a project. The following are some basic guidelines regarding UL ratings for lighting.

Dry Rated (UL listed for Dry Locations):
A dry location is an indoor area that is not normally subject to dampness. It may include a location subject to temporary dampness provided ventilation is adequate to prevent any accumulation of moisture such as in a bathroom.

A typical dry location can include kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, foyers and hallways. A typical dry rated light fixture would be a wall sconce with an open top.

Damp Rated (UL listed for Damp Locations):
Light fixtures and fans indicated "Suitable for Damp Locations" or "Suitable for Wet Locations" can be installed and utilized in a damp location. A damp location is typically an exterior or in some cases an interior location which is periodically subject to condensation or moisture. Damp rated light fixtures may have most of the wiring encased within the metal components of the fixture design but with a portion of the wiring exposed. An example of this would be a chain hung pendant with the wiring running through the chain links into the canopy and electrical box.

A typical damp location can include bathrooms, indoor pool areas, utility rooms, or covered porch or patio.

Many of our customers select to install damp rated light fixtures in exterior locations covered by a very large overhang. However, the height of the light fixture installation location is very important in this instance. The very bottom of the light fixture should be at or above a 45 degree angle drawn from the edge of the overhang (see diagram below). The light fixture should be fully protected from water, particularly from storms.


Wet Rated (UL listed for Wet Locations):
Light fixtures and fans indicated as "Suitable for Wet Locations" should be installed and used in a wet location (indoors or outdoors). A wet location can be an indoor or exterior location in which water or other liquids may drip, splash or flow onto the electrical components of the lighting or fan. Wet rated light fixtures will typically have all wiring encased within the metal components of the fixture design.

A typical wet location can include open decks, stairwells, patios, uncovered porches, exterior walls, gazebos, pergolas, and walkways. Common light fixtures for a wet location are column mount fixtures, post mount fixtures, bollards, wall mount fixtures, deck fixtures, and line voltage landscape lighting.

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Posted by Joseph     0 Comments Friday, March 4, 2011
Proper Chandelier and Pendant Heights
This is an important consideration when selecting and ordering a chandelier or pendant light. This issue comes up frequently with our customers and can potentially confuse to the point of frustration. We'll try and make it simple in the following.

Chandelier and pendant heights will vary greatly depending upon installation location as well as pendant or chandelier type. Some chandelier or pendant designs are an up-light design with an open top (inverted).  Some are designed with an open bottom or closed top and bottom.

Open Top Chandeliers And Pendants (inverted):
Most people will prefer not to view into the open top of an inverted chandelier or pendant. This may be true for two reasons.  Many people may not want to see the actual light bulb(s) or light source. Some may also prefer not to view the construction aspects of the light fixture. You may want to install your inverted light fixture at a height where an above averaged height person cannot view into the open top of the fixture design. This can be a challenge in an architectural environment where there may be a stairwell, balcony, or cat walk within the vicinity of the installation location. Consider this when selecting a light fixture design.

Open Bottom Chandeliers And Pendants:
Again, some people prefer not to view the actual light source or construction of a light fixture. In this case, a chandelier or pendant should not be installed too high. For example, for a foyer installation, you may want to consider a light fixture design that has a closed bottom. For a chandelier to be installed above a dining table, consider the vantage point from a seated position. It should be mentioned that many folks are not bothered at all by the interior view of a light fixture and appreciate the added downward brightness that an open bottom light fixture can provide.

Note:  Many chandelier and pendant designs are available with optional loose fitting bottom glass panels. Please inquire whether this option is available.

Chandeliers For A Dining Room Table Application:
There are general guidelines in determining a proper overall height (extension) of a dining table chandelier. The same applies to a pendant for a breakfast nook or table. Generally speaking, you will want the very bottom of the chandelier or pendant to be from 30" to 35" from the surface of the table. Much depends upon the design of the chandelier or pendant, as well as personal preferences. Since ceiling heights will vary greatly, this overall height will vary.

The following is the recipe for calculating a proper height...
Ceiling height minus (-) your table height minus (-) your desired distance from the table surface (30 to 35 inches).

Example:
Ceiling height of: 120 inches
Table height of: 30 inches
= 90 inches
Subtract 30 to 35 inches (lets use 32 inches)
= 58" (this is the desired overall height or extension of your chandelier or pendant)

Many of our chandeliers are made with a stem and can be made to any overall height or extension. With a stem construction design, connecting to the ceiling plate or canopy, the overall height cannot be modified after being made. Most chandeliers or pendant designs are designed with some length of chain or chain links allowing the end user to adjust the overall height or extension at the time of installation. Make sure that you are ordering your light fixture with enough stem and chain links for your ceiling height.

Pendants Above A Kitchen Island:
An island pendant should be installed at a height that is also from 30-35 inches from the counter surface but does not greatly obstruct any valued view. An important factor is the width of the island. For example, with an island that is quite wide (30 inches or more), a low hanging pendant may not get in the way of any functional activity such as food preparation. Low hanging pendants over a narrow island or an island where seating is present, may present a problem. We always suggest hanging some string from the ceiling or taping a tape measure to the ceiling and playing with varying heights in determining a comfortable pendant height. Very often, we will email an actual scale drawing of a pendant to our customers and they will print it out, cut it out and play with the height. This is a fool proof method.

Chandeliers And Pendants For General Room Installations (not above a table):
This one is a common sense approach. Make sure that the bottom of the light fixture is well above the head of a tall individual (at least 80 or more from the floor).  This one is mostly an aesthetic judgment based upon the light fixture design and ceiling height.

Foyer Pendants:
Very often,  a foyer may have an important feature such as a unique window. You may want to consider hanging a pendant at a height where it can be viewed within the window area from the exterior. Generally, a foyer pendant should be installed about 1/3 down from the ceiling to the bottom of the fixture so that the light can be dispersed evenly within the foyer space. Light dispersion will vary greatly depending upon glass type (diffuser type), quantity of light sockets, bulb type, and wattage. Many foyer pendant fixture designs can also be adjusted in height, on site. It is important that you be present at the time of installation to assist in determining a height. Do not leave this decision solely in the hands of an Electrician or Contractor. They would typically prefer that you make this decision. many foyer pendant designs may also be available with a closed bottom option.  Please inquire.

We certainly hope this information has been helpful. Please do not hesitate in contacting us if you have any questions or would like some height customization to your lighting order with us.


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Oak Park Home & Hardware offer high quality lighting designs. We provide customized lighting solutions with manufacturers such as Arroyo Craftsman Lighting, Mica Lamp Company, 2nd Ave Lighting, and UltraLights Lighting.

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