Know Your Lighting ABC’s … continued

From Accent to Zone lighting, we’d like to clarify some common ~ and not so common ~ lighting terms you may hear as you build or renovate your home!

Damp Location: UL listing for fixtures used in a moist unexposed area, such as a bathroom or porch area.

Deck Lights: Deck lights typically mount to the outside of a home or to the railing of a wooden deck. Since they are located near where people sit, good shielding and proper mounting height are important to reduce glare.

Decorative Bulbs (D): General service bulbs available in a variety of wattages and shapes. Decorative bulbs include flame, teardrop and candelabra shapes, among many others.

Decorative Fixtures: Decorative fixtures help establish the tone and style of a room. Decorative fixtures are meant to be seen, which means their brightness should be kept low enough to avoid glare.

Dichroic Coating: Film that reflects visible light and transmits infrared light. Reflector lamps with dichroic coatings, such as most MR16s provide a cooler beam because most of the heat goes out the back. Dichroic PAR lamps are often called “cool beam.”

Die Casting: Casting in a reusable mold (the die). Die-casting are generally precisely manufactured parts requiring a high initial investment in the die.

Diffuser: A translucent piece of glass or plastic sheet that shields the light source in a fixture. The light transmitted throughout the diffuser will be redirected and scattered. Opal glass and plastic, etched glass, fabric and paper shades act as diffusers.

Dimmer: Control that varies the output of the light source by reducing the voltage or current to the lamp.

Wireless Dimmer
Wireless Dimmer

Direct Lighting: Lighting that casts all, or at least 90%, of its light downward. The term can also refer to the distribution of light or the fixtures that produce this type of lighting. With intense beams, direct lighting is very dramatic, rendering forms and textures well. Typical fixtures include recessed lights, track lights, some pendant lights and task lights.

Direct-Indirect Lighting: Light comes from up and down. This light is well balanced and pleasing. Light that is predominately direct is also called”semi-direct.” Typical fixtures include most pendant lights, wall brackets and wall valances. Uses include task/ambient lighting over tables and in hallways.

Downlights: Downlights usually refer to recessed downlights. However, some designers use the term to describe any fixture aiming straight down.

Direct Mounted: Direct-mounted fixtures are typically bowls that are fastened to a ceiling holder. Most use diffusers of glass or acrylic. Beveled glass is also popular. These fixtures work best for low to moderate light levels.

Dual Mounting System: On ceiling fan units. This system enables you to mount a fan on a down-rod or flush to the ceiling.

Eclectic Design: A style of interior decorating that mixes different styles and period of lighting and furniture.

Energy-Saving Lamp: A lower wattage lamp, generally producing fewer lumens.

Entry Lights: Lights at the entry of a home that help guide visitors and provide security. These pieces can also be used to light breezeways.

Etched Glass: Glass treated by an acid bath, producing a satiny, diffused surface or design.

Eyeball: A recessed, adjustable accent light that protrudes slightly below the ceiling.

Extension Pole: Used to adapt a fan to high ceilings, lowering the fan from the ceiling.

Extensions: Piece used to make height adjustments for the shade on the harp.

Facet: Side of a prism, seen most often in crystal glass chandeliers and other wall fixtures.

Crystal Sparkles!

Faux Stone: Plaster and other material can be molded and textured or finished to look like real stone. Genuine stone is usually too heavy for the body of a light fixture, but is popular for the bases of portable lamps, where weight is an advantage.

Figure Lamps: A staple of Art Deco design and lighting. From this period most figure lamps portray a female figure, often holding a globe shade. Victorian figure lamps often involve cherubs or young maidens. Animal and cartoon figures in children’s lighting are more modern examples.

Filament: The tightly coiled tungsten wire of an incandescent lamp; glows to produce light when electricity flows through it.

Fill Gas: In incandescent lamps, usually argon or krypton with trace nitrogen. In fluorescent lamps may be argon. Halogen is used in halogen incandescent lamps.

Finial: Screws in the top of the harp to keep a shade secure on a lamp, and also serves a decorative purpose.

Fitter: Part of a fixture that accepts a glass or plastic globe. The diameter of the fitter determines the size of the neck or opening in the globe.

Fixture Types: Fixtures are described by their mounting and lighting qualities. Types include chandeliers and lanterns, diffusing and shaded pendants, wall-mounted lighting, close-to-ceiling fixtures, outdoor fixtures, portables and ceiling fans.

Flood: The wide distribution of a reflectorized lamp, abbreviated FL. Also a fixture with a widespread light throw.

Floodlights: Floodlights create a widespread distribution of light, perfect for illuminating a wall, sign or large object. A floodlight should be well shielded with an accessory louver or shield to avoid stray light and glare. You can also use
plants to block unwanted light.

Fluorescent Lamps: A light source consisting of a tube filled with argon, along with krypton or other inert gas. When electrical current is applied, the resulting arc emits ultraviolet radiation that excites the phosphors inside the lamp wall, causing them to radiate visible light.

Fluorescent Troffers: Recessed fluorescent fixtures for 2-foot and 4-foot lamps, generally in modular sizes; used commercially.

Flushmount: A type of ceiling fan or ceiling fixture that mounts directly to a junction box, and does not have a down-rod to maintain maximum clearance from the floor.

Flush Mount Light

Footcandle (FC): Unit of illuminance (light falling on a surface). One lumen falling on one square foot equals one-foot candle. Also, a measurement of the amount of light reaching a subject.

Frame-In Kit: Part of a recessed downlight connected to the electrical circuit and generally installed when the ceiling is open. The electrified mounting form or housing which supports the optical assembly of a recessed fixture. Frame-in kits are of various types according to the nature of the construction and the lamp.

Framing Projector: Fixture with lens and shutters, creating an adjustable, sharp-edged beam to outline pictures and other objects.

French Country: The French country style relies on the warm tones of the Provencal countryside, golden yellows, pure blues and deep reds. Lamp materials can be in wrought iron or antique finishes and the rooster theme is seen frequently.

G Lamp: Globe-shaped incandescent, generally for exposed use.

General Lighting: Also known as ambient lighting, general lighting provides an area with overall, non-specific illumination. General lighting radiates a comfortable level of brightness, enabling one to see and walk about safely. It can be accomplished with chandeliers, ceiling or wall-mounted fixtures, recessed or track lighting or with outdoor fixtures. A basic form of lighting that replaces sunlight, general lighting is fundamental to lighting a home.

General Lighting with a Chandelier

General Diffuse Lighting: General illumination from light cast evenly in all directions. Typical fixtures include pendant globes, chandeliers, and some table lamps.

General Service (A) Bulbs: General service bulbs are inexpensive and are readily available in a variety of wattages and shapes. They produce a yellowish white light that is emitted in all directions. Available in either clear or frosted versions.

Gimbal Lighting: An adjustable ring that holds the PAR or MR lamp by its rim. A gimbal ring track fixture has no housing.

Glare: Bright lighting that causes discomfort and impairs good visibility. Possible causes may be light sources that are too bright for the application, or fixtures that may not conceal bulbs sufficiently, among many others.

Grazing Light: Directional light at an acute angle, which emphasized texture. The sources of grazing light must be close to the surface. See also Wall Grazing.

Grill: On a ceiling fan, the lower part of the housing, which has many different designs.

Ceiling Fan Grill

Grounding: Connecting electrical components to earth for safety.

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Posted in Boston Magazine, Go Green, Lighting News, Lucia Press

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

Edith Wharton