Outdoor Landscaping & Lighting Trends In 2017

What’s New In Landscaping? 2017 Trends To Watch

A lot happened in landscaping this year; in particular, there was a trend toward green. When most people think about the upkeep of their yard, they don’t necessarily think in terms of trends. However, flowers, trees, and other greenery can certainly be trendy; consider everything that must happen in order for landscaping to flourish. The soil must be healthy, for example. There has to be an appropriate amount of sunlight for the plants in the yard to grow as well. However, keep in mind that there is a lot that encompasses landscaping. Landscaping isn’t just flowers, plants and trees; it is the whole area that you are working with. That means that pathways are a part of landscaping. So is decor and furniture. Finally, don’t forget about outdoor lighting; Houston landscape lighting services are a huge part of the process as well.

Just one year ago, landscaping was all about color. If you took the time to look at lawns in your area, you may have noticed a variety of color interspersed in both the front and back yards. Things have gone in a different direction in 2017, and green is now the dominant color. However, because there are many shades of green, there is still quite a variety to see!

Natural is all the rage these days as well. Before this, there was a minimalist focus. That trend toward modernism is a thing of the past, however. Now, it is not unusual to see free-form patios and a fluidity in design. One difference we’ve personally seen is that there is a lot more wood when we go to do lighting installations.

Nature is the focus everywhere, including in the decor, the plants themselves, and more. There is also a focus on the environment, as landscapers try and plant foliage that is native to the region.

If you are considering installing outdoor lighting, pick an energy efficient option. Not only is it good for the environment, but it is less expensive for you in the long run. In particular, if you have a commercial property, you could save a bundle. There is a lot of space to work with, which is why it is important to be conscious of how much energy you are using. For example, if you own a strip mall or a health care center, you could save a lot of money if you pick LED lights for your outdoor areas. And, regardless of the weather outside, your property will always be aglow and will always look its best!

Outdoor lighting in Houston is a crucial part of any landscaping project. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but it also serves an important purpose. Lighting helps you to see better and therefore stay safer, particularly when it is very dark outside. We can help with any lighting project, regardless of the scale. We work closely with you to ensure that you get what you want. We know how to make the process as painless for you as possible, even when there are additional challenges that present themselves along the way.

Get in touch with us or call Robert Huff Illumination & Outdoor Lighting today and let us know how we can help you going forward! We are happy to talk about your options with you.

Robert Huff Illumination Suggests These Houston Outdoor Lighting Techniques For Your Business

Commercial Outdoor Lighting Techniques

If you are looking for an outdoor light installer that is going to bring about a unique design to every commercial project, it is time to get in touch with Robert Huff Illumination experts. Regardless of whether you are looking to change the appearance of a restaurant or a nursing home, each is going to have specific needs that need to be addressed. An example of this would be a nonprofit hospital located in Fort Worth, Texas that used a wall wash technique to highlight the multiple facades of the many buildings.

Robert Huff Outdoor Lighting | Commercial Lighting Services HoustonSo what exactly is a wall washing lighting technique? Basically, this technique is going to create a warm and soothing look over the wall of a particular building. It is designed to look as though the light is bouncing off of the wall, this type of lighting will bring much more attention to any form of a building. This lighting technique will also minimize the texture of the building as it distributes the light evenly. Our Houston commercial lighting experts use this technique to liven the building up and offer the building a chance to shine in the evening.

The opposite of this technique is known as the moonlighting lighting technique. In this situation, the fixtures are placed above as opposed to down. So here the light will be shining down on the building. This helps to create some incredible shadows on the ground.

Another option that our experts can use is up-lighting which makes a remarkable contrasting effect. When a wall washing technique is used, the lights are placed about 12 inches from the wall plane which creates that flat appearance, with up-lighting the spotlights are placed close to the facade for an incredible effect. When this form of lighting is viewed from afar, it creates a dramatic view. Our Houston light installers will use this same technique for trees and other elements of the landscape.

Down-lighting technique is a form that is similar to moonlight with the exception that it is quite a bit bolder. Here the light fixtures are placed high to create a full circle of light over an area.

For an illuminating backdrop, our installers can use the process of silhouetting. This spectacular light show is created with a spread light that is placed between plants, trees, or another structure. This is another form of lighting that can be used for a dramatic effect due to the sharp contrast between the background and lighted area. The Houston commercial outdoor lighting installers know that silhouetting works incredibly well with dark green vegetation.

If you are looking for a way to add safety to the property, you may want to consider path lighting which is actually one of the most important aspects of a commercial property. In this case, small lighting fixtures are placed along walkways, driveways, and to direct people.

The Robert Huff Illumination experts want individuals to know how important this form of lighting is. Once these lights have been installed they will be used to direct pedestrians and keep the property safe.

Path lighting is an aspect of lighting that no commercial property in Texas should underestimate. If you are looking for an incredible way to bring more pedestrian traffic to your business or just want to ensure the safety of your customers this is one of the best ways to do it. In addition, the right type of path lighting can be sued to create incredibly striking pathways through gardens and otherwise dark areas of a commercial property. Contact out Houston commercial outdoor lighting experts to create an incredible design that will work for your business and customers.

If you have any questions about commercial lighting in the Houston area, you need to get in touch with Robert Huff Illumination for the best advice and installation. Our crew has years of experience and a stellar reputation to bring you the absolute best in commercial lighting. Our experts will work any commercial project whether big or small with the same type of enthusiasm and standards. Contact us today to see how commercial lighting can offer your business more safety and profits.

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A Houston TX Outdoor Lighting Company Can Boost Your Profits By Boosting Your Visibility

Commercial Outdoor Lighting And Its Benefits On Your Houston Business

Robert Huff Outdoor Lighting | Commercial Outdoor Lighting in HoustonIf you wanted to play it safe, you never would have gone into business for yourself. The responsibilities, risks, financial uncertainty, and seemingly endless work are not for the timid. Regardless of whether your business is an electronics store or a coffee house, it’s critical that you make your name known since advertising and visibility are necessary to grow your consumer base and your profits from one year to the next.

All sort of advertising can prove an expensive endeavor. You might spend thousands just to get a digital banner on the Internet, and a magazine and might run you just as much. Even promoting something on social media might break your budget. However, your budget should not limit your dreams. Fortunately, there are ways that you can get plenty of consumers talking about what your business does and who it is without spending a ton. Keep reading to learn a handful of these awesome tips:

You might want to consult a Houston TX outdoor lighting company if your business has a physical, brick and mortar location. If your area is rather dark or ‘quiet’ so to speak, then you might want a commercial lighting installation to draw attention to people driving by. A long pathway can make an obvious entrance to your location or just light up your spot inside a strip mall more than others. Even when you’re closed, people can remember your location and maybe see your hours.

Talk to your Houston TX outdoor lighting company about the right mood to set. Your coffee house might use wall sconces, spotlights, and accent lights to create a rather romantic ambiance. Once the day workers are gone, your location might become part of date nights. If you’re looking to cater more to families and children, then use a variety of lights for a rainbow look.

Your Houston TX outdoor lighting company should have options that keep your budget in mind. Installing lights is an unavoidable cost, but using LED landscape lights can provide energy savings that let you keep your utility bills down after everything is put in place and lit up. The right LEd landscape lighting should be able to withstand the climate and elements, so weather isn’t going to speed up your need for replacements. Anytime you can install lighting and save money, your business truly has a brighter future.

Social media is a great way to get advertising done even on a shoestring budget, given the fact that you can create and grow a community of like-minded individuals without paying to promote your posts. Attract and gather those that like your products or services, or just those with similar tastes. Engage them in conversation and learn about their interests. If you run a coffee shop, learn what flavors, beans, and blends people like. Post content about the history of coffee and its health benefits.

Most every modern business has a website or at the least some landing page, where they promote their services or products. An email subscription prompt is a great thing to add to any website you have since you can then collect the email addresses of your site visitors. As your list grows over time, you can sell exclusively to those that once showed interest in your business more than other visitors. That’s a great way to boost your sales.

Another tip for the digital world is adding a search button to your website. It lets your visitors find what interests them most, which means you are catering to your audience. For instance, if you sell DVDs online, you might find out what titles or movie stars people are looking for. If it turns out your visitors have a penchant for science fiction over romantic comedies, you can skew your selections in that direction. You can also find out if there are things that people are looking for that you don’t yet carry so you can add it to your inventory.

Advertise Your Business With Commercial Outdoor Lighting In Houston

There are more ways to improve your business sales and opportunities other than just traditional advertising, and they’re not as expensive either. Whether it’s learning online or doing outdoor lighting, you can find tips, tricks, and tools you can use to make more money and enhance the visibility of your business. Running your own business can mean putting in long hours and facing tough decisions, many of which aren’t going to be in your comfort zone, but if you believe in it and want it, then do what it takes. If you want to shed light on your business for the world to see, then we just might be the Houston TX outdoor lighting company for you. Call us or contact Robert Huff Illumination & Outdoor Lighting today for more information on the commercial lighting services we provide.

Setting Up An Outdoor Living Space With Houston Outdoor Lighting: Tips For Success

Why Outdoor Lighting In Houston Is A Necessity For Your Outdoor Living Space

When you set up an outdoor area, you extend the living space of your home. This is particularly beneficial if you have a small house or you just don’t have enough room to store all of your things. When you create a purposeful area outside of your building, there is no limit to what you can do. You can set up a place to go when you are feeling stressed. You can set up a place to entertain others. Keep in mind that outdoor areas generally improve your curb appeal, so if you plan to sell in the future, you’ve got a feature that will be attractive to buyers. Just think of it; you could have your own place to do yoga, become one with nature or even just read.

If your family includes kids, you definitely need an outdoor living space. This area will give them a place to imagine, a place to run and jump and a place to enjoy nature. You can put up a play structure if you want. A tree house is a possibility as well. And, of course, if you think you will be outside in the evenings, it is a good idea to utilize Houston outdoor lighting services by getting them done correctly. Lights add visibility, which means it will be safer to play outside at dusk. Ultimately, an outdoor living area can help you relax and enjoy life. It also comes in handy when you need to sell your home.

We have worked in the Houston area for several years, and we enjoy lighting up the night for our customers. We’ve installed path lights, pool lights, and accent lights, and we feel confident that we can turn your outdoor living space into something amazing. Based on the work we’ve done, we’ve come up with several tips to help you create the outdoor living space of your dreams.

1. Come Up With A Design First

Before you get started on anything, make your design. You don’t want to dig up part of the yard without having a clear plan for what you want to do going forward. As light installers, we always design a plan first and present it to our clients. We then discuss and revise as necessary, making sure that we adhere to their vision of what they want from the project.

Robert Huff Outdoor Lighting | Residential Outdoor Lighting Houston2. Set A Goal

The size of your house and the size of your yard doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you have a goal and an idea of what you want to see happen in your space. Lighting projects are all different. That’s because the homes and properties are all different as well. You never know what you might run into while on a job. Sometimes, we may need to bring in other professionals to help with your lighting project, like an engineer or an architect. This is done to ensure that you get the best outdoor space possible.

3. Go Green

Eco-friendly lighting is always the best option. You help the planet and you help your wallet as well when you choose to go green. We have LED lighting options that conserve energy and that won’t break the bank. There are even a variety of color options to choose from, so you don’t have to stick with the normal blue, green and red if you don’t want to.

LED lights are useful in a variety of ways. They can set a mood. They can light up an area or simply mark a walkway. They conserve energy and there are so many fixtures that you can choose from as well. Talk to your Houston outdoor lighting services professional and find out what you can do with your space.

4. Get Creative With Seating

You don’t have to keep everything uniform in your outdoor space. Why not set up a few metallic stools and then add some wooden benches as well? Don’t forget your children, either; there is plenty to choose from in the way of kid’s outdoor seating. Get creative and express your personality. Also think about how and who will use the space. You may enjoy lounging in a hammock, for example, while your spouse might prefer a bench. The only caveat here is to make sure that you don’t include too many patterns. In addition, have an overall theme that you can build around.

5. Have A Focal Point

Outdoor living areas should have a focal point. You can incorporate any number of decorative elements, as long as there is a focal point that the eye is drawn to.

Call us now or contact Robert Huff Illumination & Outdoor Lighting today for more information regarding the services we provide!

Houston Commercial Outdoor Lighting Done Right With LED Lighting

What Can Outdoor LED Lights Do for Your Commercial Property?

There are many decisions to make when it comes to landscaping and this is also true of the lighting. One option that you would certainly want to consider, however, is using LED lights. Not only are they environmentally friendly, they cut costs because of their energy efficiency. For those that own a business, staying within a budget is of prime concern and using LED lights is certainly going to push the needle in the right direction. The savings can be used in many other areas of your business, including marketing.

We are going to talk about some of the benefits of using LED lights but before we do, it’s important to know about the energy savings. You may see up to an 80% reduction in your electricity usage when using LED lights because the bulbs are more efficient. That is one of the reasons why it is recommended that all of your outdoor commercial lighting uses LED lights.

How much longer will they last? A typical incandescent lightbulb will last approximately 1000 hours but LED lights may last anywhere from 30,000 up to 50,000 hours. According to some sources, that number may be much higher and could be upwards of 100,000 hours. Another benefit of having these long-lasting bulbs on your commercial property is the fact that it reduces maintenance because they don’t need to be replaced as frequently.

Most people don’t know what makes LED (light emitting diodes) lights unique in comparison to an incandescent bulb. An LED light is a semiconductor device and when you pass electrical current through it, it creates the light that you see. There really is no comparison, because LED lights will last longer, run more efficiently and are a much better choice than a regular bulb. You even have differences in color, with the primary choices being red, blue and green. Did you realize that there isn’t actually a white LED light? When you see a white LED, it is because of a mixture of colors and phosphor material.

One of the downfalls of LED lights is that they aren’t ideal for lighting up an entrance or other areas that need a broad light. They shine in one direction, so that does make them ideal for lighting up a sign or using in landscaping. It is that unidirectional effect of an LED light that helps to make them more efficient. An incandescent bulb throws light in every direction, using much more energy as a result.

LED lights can be found in many different industries. You can find them in your home when you open your refrigerator or when you use a camera flash. They can also be seen in many areas throughout your local area, including traffic signals, aviation lighting and headlamps in your car.

Incandescent bulbs will produce heat when they produce light. When you use an LED fault, on the other hand, there is very little heat loss and they only work when they’re cool enough. They are designed specifically for this type of efficiency.

If you’re considering installing LED lights on your commercial property, it is always a good idea to contact the best outdoor lighting company Houston TX has to offer. They will ensure that the LED lights are not only well-suited for the task but are also compliant with any standards that may be involved in your industry. In addition, you can tell them what you want to have as an end result and they will take your vision and bring it to life. It doesn’t matter if you want to light up the walkway, advertise your sign on the building or shine some light up through the trees for beauty, they will make it a reality.

All types of businesses around the world are now making use of outdoor commercial LED lighting. When you use it at your place of business, it allows your advertising on a property to work for you 24 hours a day. This can be a real benefit because it gives you marketing without having to put extra money out of your pocket. Of course, you would want everything to be designed appropriately for your business and that is another reason why you should have professional designers and installers for your landscape lighting.

Along with using your property for advertising, you can also improve your curb appeal and brand your business using LED lights. They come in many different shapes, sizes, and types including different colors, mini lights and even specialty lighting that will really help to make your landscaping pop. There are even some commercial options available that are very low voltage and those with a strobe effect that will really make heads turn.

When you use a professional landscape company to design and install the lights, there is another benefit that you should keep in mind. Since those companies often work directly with the distributor, they can get you a much better price than what you would pay directly. This savings is passed on to you and can be recirculated in your business for a variety of purposes.

In addition, you don’t want to have your business down and out while the landscaping is taking place. Using the best outdoor lighting company Houston TX has to offer can get the job done quickly so that you can be backed up and running without a hitch. They will even respect the nearby landscaping so that they don’t disturb anything that you may have worked hard to achieve.

It’s time to consider LED lighting for your commercial space. Contact us or call Robert Huff Illumination for more information as to how you can use LED lights to improve your property and your business.

How To Protect Your Outdoor Lighting From Power Surges

Protecting Your Home And Your Outdoor Lights From Surges

Here in Texas, the weather is always unpredictable and often very intense. Some days there are severe lightning storms, other days there is large hail, and some days there are winds that surpass 100 MPH. Unfortunately, none of these conditions are ideal for outdoor lighting fixtures. The weather happens to be responsible for much of the damage they incur.

Understanding The Electrical Surge

Robert Huff Outdoor Lighting | Protect Your Outdoor Lighting From Houston WeatherAn electrical surge occurs when there is a large spike in voltage that happens very quickly. These surges are actually happening around us all of the time. Whenever you enter a room and turn on the light there is a sudden electrical surge in your home’s system. Such small surges are extremely common and nothing to worry about. It’s how the circuits are designed to work and there is no danger to your wiring or to your lights. That being said, over a long period of time, these constant surges can lead to the degradation of equipment.

There are certain electrical surges that should worry you. These are the large surges that are very strong and often originate outside of the house. They may come from a lightning storm or a downed power line. These surges are so sudden and powerful that they could fry every electronic that is connected to the same electrical circuit.

You may have heard of homeowners who unplug their electronics during storms. They do so to avoid these large surges. However, that is not their only option. An alternative is to use a powerful surge protector.

Protecting Your Home And Outdoor Lights

You don’t want to go outside and unhook your outdoor lights every time there is a storm. Instead, you want to rely on a powerful surge protector to protect your lights as well as the rest of your electronics. Your two options are whole-house surge protectors and plug-in surge protectors. Let’s consider each of these individually.

1. Whole-House Surge Protectors.

These offer the best possible protection for your electrical devices. As the name implies, they protect everything that is connected to your home’s electrical circuit. That includes lights, electronics, fans, oven, and any other appliances.

A whole-house surge protector must be installed at the circuit breaker by a professional outdoor lighting company in Houston. They rely on metal oxide varistors (MOVs) to lead the spike in voltage away from the home’s circuit and into the ground. These surge protectors will eventually degrade over time. It’s important that you have them regularly inspected and maintained by a professional. They can typically handle several severe lightning storms with large surges before needing to be replaced.

2. Plug-In Protectors.

A plug-in, or point-of-use, surge protector, on the other hand, can usually only handle a single large surge before they require some maintenance or replacement parts. They are great for protecting a single device or even a group of appliances in the same general area but aren’t efficient enough for the entire home. Furthermore, they can’t really protect outdoor lighting unless it has a plug-in that can connect to the surge protector.

Protect Your Outdoor Lights.

Protecting your outdoor lights from serious surges can save you a lot of money over the years. This is especially true in Texas, where the storms can be extremely severe. Your best option is to utilize an MOV surge protector installed by a professional outdoor lighting company in Houston. Of course, even that won’t protect your lights from a direct lightning strike. Direct strikes aside, surge protectors from Robert Huff Illumination & Outdoor Lightning can protect your outdoor lights from the largest of surges.

Call now or contact Robert Huff Illumination for more information regarding our outdoor lighting services!

Most Common Causes Of Circuit Breaker Problems

Learn Frequent Causes Of Circuit Breaker Trips, Short Circuits, And Overloads

Your fuse box and/or circuit breaker is a critical component of your larger electrical system. It gives your electrical devices and wiring protection from prospective damage or excessive current that might trigger a fire to start.

The main function of your fuse box and circuit breaker is protecting your electrical system from things like damage and fires by first shutting off any current when there is a short circuit or an overload. Without a circuit breaker, unlimited amounts or levels of electricity might flow into your house and start a fire. A tripped breaker or a blown fuse often seem like a nuisance, but it’s still much better than having irreparable damage to costly appliances and electronics, or worse yet, a fire in your home.

Any fuse that cuts off power has to get replaced. However, a circuit breaker can just be reset. Learn what steps are necessary to replace any tripped circuit breaker or replace blown fuses.

Do your breakers trip very often? Learn three of the most common causes behind tripping circuit breakers, as well as what you might do about it.

Just Why Do Your Circuit Breakers Get Tripped?

There are two main reasons why a circuit breaker trips. The first is an overloaded circuit, which is just too much power. The second is a short circuit, which is when the electricity goes down an incorrect pathway. The third reason is often aging circuit breakers that have to get replaced.

Robert Huff Outdoor Lighting | Outdoor Lighting Preservation in Houston TexasReason For Overloaded Circuit:

When any breaker trips, it’s usually a result of one overloaded circuit. Each of your electrical panel’s circuits was designed so they could handle specific amounts of power or electricity. That’s typically 15-amp circuits. Some areas of your home might need to actually handle larger loads. That’s often rooms like your laundry, your kitchen, or bathrooms. Those typically have 20-amp circuits instead. Large appliances might also get dedicated circuits, like water heaters or HVAC systems. Those are often served by 30 or even 50-amp circuits.

All these various circuits have limits, which are measured in amps. If the demand for power exceeds the level or amount of electricity which a breaker can handle safely, then it detects a discrepancy and trips the breaker prior to there being a hazard of overheating or even fire.

You can easily identify the maximum current rating for every circuit, just be looking at your breaker. Each handle should have the maximum amperage written on it.

When you happen to overload any circuit, then it means you’re trying to push an excess of power through a single circuit. That often happens if you’re running a pair or more of big energy-consumers simultaneously. That could be a vacuum and a space heater, a microwave and a television, or a toaster with a window air conditioning unit.

Given that most circuits are built for 15 amps, asking for 20 is going to trip your breaker so you don’t have overheating or a fire hazard.

How you can solve this issue:

If you happen to be overloading any circuit, there is a reason behind it. If you want to keep it from occurring again, then plug one of your biggest energy consumers into one of the other circuits. You might also just stop using one device. In winter, circuits often get overloaded by space heaters. If there are times where you are warm enough, consider unplugging your space heater for a short while.

Older and/or damaged appliances are also potential causes, so it’s critical that you do rudimentary maintenance. It’s a good idea to have an annual electrical safety inspection to make sure that all your installed hardware is still in robust condition. If your home has exterior lights or outlets, use a Houston outdoor lighting professional for your inspection to be sure about everything.

Short Circuit:

Can you think back to science classes in elementary school? You might just remember that closed circuits let currents flow and that open circuits shut the flow off. A short circuit, alternatively, happens when an unintended and direct connection between a pair of points occurs. Electric current always takes a path of least resistance, so a short circuit is most likely going to happen given that electricity is inherently ‘lazy.’

Any short circuit is going to indicate a black or ‘hot’ wire has started touching another wire, which is either another hot wire or a ‘white’ neutral wire. Another scenario involves a hot wire becoming grounded, which might cause the breaker to then trip.

Warning: When any hot wire interacts with any other wire inside your electrical system, then an excess of current gets generated. That creates an abundance of heat and can trigger overheating, circuit damage, and even possibly a fire. Since there’s nothing there to absorb that electricity, any heat buildup is going to happen quickly. That’s just one of many reasons it’s critical to have circuit interrupters in your electrical system.

How you can solve this issue:

If a short circuit is what you have going on, then it’s critical to check out all of your receptacles, light switches, and plugged-in cords for damage. Find the tripped breaker to investigate the circuit which it’s connected to. Make sure the circuits are labeled inside the electrical panel if they haven’t been already, or just confirm the labeling is right.

If you don’t discover issues in your home, consider that outdoor lighting or exterior outlets are an issue, and call in a Houston outdoor lighting professional to check things out.

Should your nose pick up the scent of burning plastic, which might also smell like sulfur or a rotten egg, then you need to call in a professional electrician anyway. Light switches or outlets with burning smells often indicate dangerous wiring situations that might trigger electrical fires. Other signs of possible damage include black or brown discoloration and/or switches or outlets that are sometimes hot when you touch them.

Also look for damaged appliances and frayed cords. In some cases, the short circuit happens inside the appliance itself.

If a short circuit is what you suspect, then you need to turn off any power to that circuit from your electrical panel and then wait until you can have a qualified electrician come out to inspect the circumstances before anyone turns the power back on. When electrical components or wires get crossed, the results are very hazardous, so you need an electrician. More than likely, that professional can replace your bad breaker or let you know which specific appliance is causing issues.

Are your breakers frequently tripping? You might have faulty wiring or loose connections inside the electrical system. A tripping breaker is a strong indication that you need to have an electrician look at your electrical system. If any parts of it go to the exterior of your home, then you might want to get a Houston outdoor lighting professional on the case, as they can handle electrical and wiring issues both inside your home and out.

An Older And/Or Weaker Circuit Breaker Panel:

Short circuits and overload conditions account for most of the tripped breakers that happen. A third potential cause is an older electrical panel which just gets weaker and trips since it can’t handle an electrical load safely any longer.

In Conclusion

Robert Huff Illumination and Outdoor Lighting provides the best solutions for outdoor lighting here in Houston. You will be at peace knowing you are getting your projects done the right way by Houston’s best professionals in outdoor lighting services. Call now or contact Robert Huff Illumination here.

 

How To Weatherproof Outdoor Electrical Plugs And Outlets

Don’t Let Poor Installation Rain On Your Parade

Robert Huff Outdoor Lighting | Houston Outdoor Lighting ExpertsThe dangers associated with mixing electricity and water are well-known. Despite that, many people install outdoor electrical outlets and plugs without really thinking about the dangers that could occur during periods of rain.

Most outdoor outlets are designed with covers that flip down over the top of the outlet when they are not being used. Unfortunately, however, these covers do little to protect the outlet when cords are plugged into them. If you really want your outdoor electrical outlets to be protected, you need to find a way to keep rain away even when they are being used. In fact, this safety issue is so important that the National Electrical Code now mandates that outlet covers that are designed to provide protection while the outlet is in use are mandatory for outlets that are exposed to the weather.

Weatherproofing Electrical Plugs And Outlets

The way that the covers for most outdoor electrical outlets are designed, they don’t provide proper protection when an electrical cord is plugged in. Because the cover can’t close the entire way when there is a cord in the outlet, water can get inside. This can cause all kinds of problems ranging from blowing a fuse to triggering a short circuit in the electrical system.

The good news is, there are steps that you can take to safeguard your home against problems with your outdoor electrical outlets.

Invest In ‘While-In-Use’ Covers For Electrical Outlets

These days, many manufacturers make outlet covers that are designed to provide complete protection from the rain and other types of moisture even when the outlet is being used. These large covers are designed to fit around the entire outlet. They have a door on the front that seals off the outlet. A special opening in the bottom of the door allows the cord to run through without compromising the protection that the cover provides.

When choosing a cover for your outlet, you should look for one that is designed for the type of outlet where it will be placed. It should also clearly be labeled as a ‘while-in-use’ cover. Double check to make sure that the outlet cover is in compliance with the requirements of the National Electrical Code. The cover should be designed in such a way that all potential contaminants including water are kept away from the outlet when it is being used.

Installation Tips

Before you even think about installing one of these covers on an electrical outlet, be sure to shut off the power at the breaker box. Hang a note on the breaker box letting people know not to turn the breaker back on so that you can work safely on the outlet without having to worry about the risk of electrocution.

The installation process itself is relatively simple. All that you have to do is remove the existing outlet cover and install the new one in its place. Most of these covers come with detailed instructions on how they should be installed. You should always follow these instructions to make sure that the cover is installed correctly. After all, the success of the cover depends on it being properly installed.

If you aren’t completely certain that you can install the cover safely, you should hire an electrician to do it instead. There is no point in taking a risk with your health and safety.

In most cases, the cover will be designed to fit around the outlet receptacle. The gasket of the cover should fit snugly around the receptacle, preventing water from getting inside. Remember, you will need to install covers on all of your outdoor outlets if you really want your home to be protected.

One of the most popular uses for outdoor outlets is to power string lights during the holiday season. All of these lights should be plugged into outlets that are covered with weatherproof covers. This will help prevent any electrical problems from occurring.

Make Safety A Priority

Anytime you work with electricity, safety needs to be your top priority. Only install the outlet covers if you are completely confident in your abilities. Make sure that the power is shut off before you begin work. Don’t turn the breaker back on until all of the outlet covers are in place.

Finally, make sure that all of the outlets themselves are designed for outdoor use. Because outdoor electrical outlets are exposed to moisture, they need to be GFCI outlets. They should also be regularly tested to make sure that they are working the way that they should.

For more information on outdoor lighting maintenance in Houston, please contact Robert Huff Outdoor Lighting today or call us now for immediate assistance!

Some Tools Of The Trade When It Comes To LED Lighting in Houston

LED Lighting Guide And LED FAQs

What does LED mean?

LED is short for light-emitting diode.

What is an LED?

An LED is a kind of solid-state lighting that utilizes semiconductors for converting electricity to light. An LED uses about 20% of the energy that traditional incandescent used and can last as much as 25 times longer. LED’s, when compared to halogen incandescent, use about 20% of the amount of energy and will last about 8-25 times longer.

Where can LED’s be used?

LED lights may be used in almost all parts of the house. They can be used with all kinds types of bulbs, including MR reflectors, A-shape, PAR reflectors, recessed, under cabinet and decorative. They may be used to replace 75W, 60W and 40W light bulbs.

Should I make the switch over to LED lighting?

Robert Huff Outdoor Lighting | Houston LED LightingLED’s are well-known to produce less heat, have better energy efficiency and have longer lifespans when compared with traditional lighting. They also function effectively in both extreme cold and heat and are resistant to shocks and vibrations.

The following are some of the major benefits of LED lighting:

Longer Lifespan – LED lights last up to 10,000 hours or 20 years, which compared to traditional incandescent is about 50 times longer.

More Energy Efficient – When compared to halogens and incandescents use less than 1/6th of the amount of energy.

Lower Maintenance Costs – Enhanced durability and longer lifespan translates into less money and time to maintain and replace lights.

Safe to Use – Because LEDs do not emit harmful IR or UV radiation, contain mercury, or heat up, they are safe to use around humans, flammable objects and art.

More Durable – LEDS don’t use glass bulbs or filaments and are made out of plastic, so they are a lot harder to break and last longer.

Easier to Use – Their higher efficiency allows you to string together multiple LEDs together easily without the circuit getting overloaded. The other bulbs stay lit if one burns out.

Why do LEDs cost more than other bulbs?

The reason why LEDs cost more is because it is more expensive to make them. However, over the long-term they save you money since they reduce replacement, maintenance and energy costs. Prices are expected to go down as technology continues to improve.

What is it about LEDs that make them different compared to other types of bulbs?

There are several different ways that LED lighting differs from other lighting choices:

Light source – LED’s are quite small, only around the size of a dot. They are available in various colors, including color-changing LEDs, white, blue, green and red.

Direction – Light is emitted by LEDs in a specific direction, which eliminates the need for diffusers and reflectors which are used for trapping light. Rather than needing to reflect the light the life within the desired direction in the process losing light and energy, LED make directing light in the direction that you want it easy. That is why it is highly recommended to use LEDs for task lighting, uplighting and recessed downlighting.

We recommend that you use LEDs to replace most of your bulbs, including undercabinet lights, lamps, track lights, recessed fixtures, security lighting and outdoor lighting.

There are various colors to choose form, including motion, daylight and dimmable sensors. LEDs work very well in practically every fixture and area of your house.

So what is the difference between more expensive LED bulbs ($40-$60) and cheaper LED lights ($5-$10)?

Like TVs and other electronics, the more expensive and cheaper versions do have differences among them. For the best energy efficiency and light quality, you should purchase the LED products that cost more.

Light quality is measured by the Color Rendering Index on a 1-100 scale. Search for a CRI rating of 90 or higher.

Will enough light be produced by an LED replacement to replace my original bulb?

In terms of light output, LED light are quite similar to other light bulbs. However, you should visit a lighting store and see exactly how a space is light up by the LED light bulb.

LED lights are now able to replace an incandescent of up to 100 watts effectively.

Just how energy efficient is an LED?

LEDs are actually the most energy efficient lighting options that is available. The way that light bulb efficiency gets measured is by lumens per watt or how much the light output (lumens) is per power unit (watt). According to a U.S. Energy Information Administration report, the EIA is projecting that by 2020 LEDs will be producing over 150 lumens per Watt.

Traditional incandescent, by comparison, produce about 13 to 18 lumens per watt. LEDs currently produce about 83 to 100 lumens per watt, which is still the best efficiency available from light bulbs. There continues to be advances in LED technology in terms of energy efficiency, and also improved quality and color temperature.

Remember that the LED bulb isn’t the only thing determining its energy efficiency. That is because the bulb works along with the light fixture. How much electricity is consumed will depend on both the light fixture design and LED device. If a light fixture is poorly design it will comprise even LED devices that are the most efficient.

That is why it is so important that professional electricians be hired for designing and installing your LED outdoor lighting in Houston as well as your indoor LED lights. LED efficiency does vary by device. To find the most efficient LED devices search for the ENERGY STAR label. Staring this year, LED devices are available at over 100 lumens per watt.

When purchasing LEDs, what should I be looking for?

Always search for lights that an independent testing laboratory has tested and read the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) listing.

If you are going to use LED lights outdoor, be sure they have been rated for using outdoors.

Enjoy all of the Benefits that Outdoor LED Lighting provide

Lighting architects and designers prefer using LED for their outdoor lighting applications. That is because they prove arm white light without having to sacrifice lumen output.

Improve lighting quality and minimize energy consumption by contacting Robert Huff Illumination for all of your outdoor LED lighting needs.

LED holiday lights are available in a broad range of styles and colors, including globe lights, icicles, rope lights and twinkle lights.

For more information on outdoor LED options, call or contact Robert Huff Illumination.

Robert Huff Educates On Outdoor String Lighting Patterns

8 String Light Patterns For Outdoor Spaces And Events

Outdoor string lights are also called café or bistro lights. Having an outdoor lighting company Houston Texas install quality outdoor string lights can provide your event or backyard with added drama and beauty.

There are several different reasons why they are such a popular lighting choice:

Inviting and Casual Ambiance

Outdoor string lights provide a very inviting and casual atmosphere, which is one of the reasons why they are also called café lighting.

Magical Glow

String lights appear to be magical all year long. With their numerous string light designs and patterns, they provide outdoor spaces with a very festive atmosphere.

Very Versatile

You can easily move string lights and they are very adaptable to any kind of environment or space. They also can be used for reviving any space that is in need of a lighting upgrade.

Not only is outdoor string lighting beautiful, but it is practical as well. A string light design that is well executed will lead guest from one place to the next safely as they are moving around your outdoor area.

8 Different String Light Patterns You Can Use

1. V Pattern

String lighting in a V shape is a classic that never goes out of style. A V pattern works well in a smaller space. Just remember that the vertex on the V needs to be able to support a majority of the weight. Be sure the anchor point is fastened securely and is able to support the weight completely.

2. W Pattern, Zig Zag

Whenever you have a wide space that needs to be covered, you might want to think about using a double V pattern, that is also referred to as a W or zig-zag pattern. They are excellent for fully covering a larger area. The lighting design might also be preferred by some people. Just keep in mind that in order to achieve this specific effect you most likely will need to have several sets of string lights.

3. X Pattern

For clean lines and perfect squares, X patterns are excellent. To really go crazy, you could always add several X patterns and create a diamond, crisscross pattern. Although it might appear complex, it is actually easy to achieve an X pattern. The most difficult part of the process is being able to find anchor supports to place on all four corners of the design.

4. Grid Pattern

If you do not particularly care for a diagonal appearance, you might want to choose a grid-like or square pattern instead. If you have a pergola, deck or porch already with a square pattern, then you might want to use your string lights to follow the straight lines. That will also help to keep things simple since all you will need to do is follow lines that are there already.

5. Tree and Plant String Lighting

Some plants, like dense ivy and trees, can be an excellent way to provide a magical glow to your garden. Draping string lights on trees and plants can be a nice, subtle way to provide your outdoor gathering with a nice glow.

6. Sunray Pattern

The pattern adds more rays on the vertex to the classic V. Since many lights will meet at a central point, that point will need to have a support that is extra strong in order to support the added pressure. Due to the added complexity and weight of this kind of pattern, having a professional do this for you is the best thing to do. Frequently this kind of sunray (or horizon point) kind of string light pattern are used in commercial spaces and lighting professionals such as an outdoor light company Houston Texas installs them.

7. Maypole/Tent Pattern

Imagine a circus tent with string lights going down from a central point from above. That kind of patterns needs to have a strong center pole or beam to support the weight of numerous sets of string lights. Therefore the tent pattern is another one that you want to have professionals install.

8. Scallop Pattern

This type of string light patterns tends to be used mainly for weddings and other kinds of big events. The lights get arranged into a scallop design to provide a classy effect.

The final three string lighting designs (scalloped edge design, maypole/tent and horizon/sunray point) all tend to be used mainly for weddings and other major events.

Whatever string lighting pattern you select, you will end up with a charming and beautiful result.

Talk to a commercial lighting expert to get the most durable and best-looking outdoor string light design and materials.

Commercial String Lighting Benefits:

  • Ideal for Events and homes
  • Permanent Installations
  • Year-Round Use
  • Solar Power Options
  • Sunlight Resistant
  • Weatherproof
  • Durable

Whether you decide to hang your commercial lights yourself or go with professional installation, be sure that proper safety procedures are followed. Also, select string lights that have been outdoor rated by UL or another independent testing laboratory and ensure your outdoor outlets are also GFCI-protected.

Talk to one of our expert lighting architects to enhance your next big event, backyard or patio by getting in touch with Robert Huff Illumination Outdoor Lighting so you can get your free lighting consultation scheduled.