New LED Under Cabinet Lights from DEKOR

Looking to add task lighting to your kitchen? Considering new under cabinet lights?  Then have a look at the new LED  under cabinet lights from DEKOR.  I have long been interested in DEKOR as a producer of  ”high quality, high value” LED lighting products, most notably their outdoor LED recessed lights.

DEKOR makes these small LED recessed down lights and stair lights that add warmth and atmosphere to any deck but can be used pretty much anywhere you want to add accent lighting indoors or out. Best of all they come with this crazy 10 year warranty and are ( ladylike fist pump ) made in the USA.

But I digress.

DEKOR seems to be expanding it’s line of indoor LED lighting products with these new LED under cabinet lights.  They are supposed to address a number of issues encountered with LED under cabinet lighting.  According to Duane McCall, DEKOR’s owner/designer and former NASA engineer (!):

“Good under cabinet lights are hard to come by … I didn’t realize this until I went to redo my
own kitchen … if they were any good they cost a lot of money, but still had design drawbacks,
and were difficult to install. Why?”
(From PRWeb)

So he decided to design his own … after all, ah, it’s not like it’s rocket science right?

The video below gives a tour of the product by Mr. McCall, it demonstrates the ease of installation, the energy savings, and sheer versatility of the product. “The pinnacle of LED quality.”

But how good are they really?

Let’s see how they stack up versus what the experts recommend:

How to select residential LED Undercabinet Lighting by the Lighting Research Center

Consumer Reports on Cabinet Lighting / Task Lighting

Light Quantity & Quality

According to Illuminating Engineering Society you need a minimum of 600 lux for chopping and dicing – wouldn’t want to lose a finger. These lights exceed that level so are SAFER than most of what is found on the market.

Back in the dark ages ( 2008 ) Consumer Reports reported that:

Light-emitting diodes, the newest choice, were the most energy efficient undercabinet lighting by far. Their low-profile housings tend to be relatively discreet. But most of the LEDs we tested still produce narrow beams of light, like a spotlight, rather than the even, wide beams best for task lighting. Plus the new technology can be pricey. Except for the $180 American Lighting 021-0001, the LEDs produced a bluish light that can change the colors of some items underneath it. (Learn more about LED lights.)

NONE of that applies to this new DEKOR product.

The light distribution is even and covers your entire countertop, including your backsplash due to a wide angle for light distribution. They’ve got rid of hospots issues on reflective countertops as each LED light bar has 54 SMD LEDs placed close together.

The lights are a nice color with a CCT (3200 K) in the recommended range, a warm white light similar to incandescent lighting. Ah incandescent lighting … enjoy it while you still can.

The lights are reliable and long lasting with a 5 year warranty. It’s not the famous DEKOR 10 year warranty but still pretty good. And the price is right with one LED light bar coming in at under $35.00 and a 4 light bar kit complete with mounting brackets and LED power supply lists for just under $180.00.

Modular Design & Easy Installation

What I love about these lights is their modularity. They have simple “plug and play” connectors. A variety of accessory connectors and mounting hardware is available so you can create the custom kitchen lighting design you want and that fits your kitchen. As much as I love home improvement, I’m not all that mechanically gifted so easy hookup makes it doable for me. It’s low voltage so it’s safe to play with the lights and connectors when the power is live. The DIY video shows a bunch of splicing being done but my understanding is the LED under cabinet light kit comes with a plug and play transformer / power supply too now … so ignore that last bit in the video below.

Parting Thoughts

If you want a finished installation, you should consider getting an add on switch or dimmer to better control your lights, especially if your transformer / power supply is in an inaccessible location otherwise they’ll be on continually on. A dimmer is a must if you also want to be use the lights for mood lighting / safety lighting for your kitchen.

The other thing is the connecting cords may be a little long between lights, you will have to tape them up, I would suggest installing closer along the lip under your cabinet for better hiding. Duct tape and hanging wires under kitchen counters look tacky and will be no doubt visible when the lights are on due to the ( cough ) wide viewing angle.

All in all a nice lighting package, a really cool product, decently priced in the context of its quality.

For more information, check out DEKOR’s new LED Under Cabinet Light.

Does this energy efficient lightbulb make me look fat? Women shun CFLs in droves.

Women don’t like compact florescent (CFL) bulbs. We talk a lot of green – and why shouldn’t we? Studies show women are generally “more receptive to environmental concerns“. But when it comes to buying and using the new energy efficient compact florescent (CFL) bulbs, actions speak louder than words.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll released last week showed that while women are more likely than men to say they are “very willing” to change behavior to help the environment, they are less likely to have CFL bulbs at home. Wal-Mart company research shows a similar “disconnect” between the pro-environmental attitudes of women shoppers and their in-store purchases of CFL bulbs.

The explanation for this green gender gap? Memories of compact florescent light bulbs past.

They were bulky. They were expensive, as much as $25 each. They had an annoying flicker and hum. They cast an icky, cold-white light that made people look pale, wrinkly and old.

Well that’ll do it right there. According to the article, women are “nesters”, concerned about how things look. Men put the CFLs in and women take them out. Maybe it’s about ambiance. But maybe women don’t want to look at pale, wrinkly, old husbands either.

I must confess I use CFLs through the home, including the master bedroom (really low wattage) but not in my office. I’ve tried to use them but found the working experience highly unpleasant. Sounds like it’s time to try again. Compact florescent bulbs are better now. Some are supposed to even approximate the cozy warm glow of incandescent lighting. But attitudes take longer to change than technology.

I tried to find the original poll on both the Washington Times and ABC News websites but all I found is that someone at ABC can predict the future; my query for “compact florescent” returned results from the years 2201, 5005 and up. But no poll from April of this year. Shucks to rely on ABC.

Guess we’ll have to take their word for it. Read the source article, Some wives resent energy-saving bulbs from the Washington Times, reprinted on the Nashua Telegraph.

Movable electrical power outlets: Eubiq is unique

Eubiq in the Kitchen

Eubiq (“electricity ubiquitous”) brings you something unique for your home: the movable electrical power outlet. Meet the Eubiq Power Track System, a sleek, elegantly designed electrical power outlet alternative that lets you “add, remove and reposition power outlets anytime anywhere – by just a simple twist”.

The Eubiq Power System gives you more convenience, flexibility, and choice. It eliminates the need for snaking electrical extension cords and having to move furniture to get to electrical power outlets. The system is available as 110V or 230V and in 2 prong, 3 prong or high capacity electrical outlets versions.

Eubiq Power Track System Power Point Steps

The electrical outlets (“power points”) are mounted on a track as shown above and right. Power points can be positioned anywhere on the track. You simply twist and pull to remove and push / twist to insert elsewhere. Power points are independent of each other. You can also add extra power points to an existing track. Special adapters are needed to actually plug in; adapters are available for Britain, Germany, India, Australia and Japan. The product will be available in North America once it gets UL (Underwriters Laboratories) approval later this year.

The Eubiq Power System is child safe. The track is designed to prevent the electrical parts from being touched. Stick your finger in, nothing happens. The power points have a “patented Grounded Sentry Shutter system that prevents users from touching the live wire parts”. The system has received ASTA BEAB Safety and Quality Product Certification in the UK as well as KTL Safety and Quality Product Certification; more safety certifications are sure to follow.

The Eubiq Power Track System will be available in various lengths and should retail for about $30 / ft. Each track system comes with 3 power points or electrical outlets.

Props: Sci Fi Tech Blog via Cool Gadgets.

Check out the Eubiq demo & website for more information. All photos are from Eubiq’s website.

Product Recall: Lasko ceramic space heaters

Lasko Ceramic Space Heater

Lasko Products has recalled 1.2 million ceramic heaters produced in 2005. These heaters are a fire hazard as “localized heating may occur in the power cord where the cord enters the base of the unit“.

Chances are you aren’t using your heater right now. Still Lasko advises consumers to stop using the affected heaters immediately.

As of the recall date, the manufacturer had received 28 reports of failed power cords, with six reports of minor property damage. No injuries have occurred.

The recalled models are the 5132, 5345, 5362, 5364, 5420, 5532, 5534, and 5566; all except the 5420 are “tower” heaters like the one shown above. You’ll find the model numbers on the bottom of the units or at the rear of the base of the heaters, which were made in China for Lasko Products Inc., of West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Source: Consumer Reports Home & Yard blog.

Check for your model and get full replacement instructions online at the Lasko Product Recall page or call Lasko Products toll free at 1-800-984-3311 for replacement.

New time, money or energy saving products for your home

Interesting review of new products for your home from Newsday. Some I’ve seen, some I haven’t. The products highlighted are:

Read the full story 8 hot household helpers by Gary Dymski on Newsday.com

Aussies go with the flo – to ban incandescent bulbs

Australia has taken a ground-breaking step in reducing energy consumption and addressing the “climate change challenge”(global warming). The government has committed to phasing out traditional incandescent light bulbs by the year 2010.

“A normal light bulb is too hot to hold. That heat is wasted and globally represents millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide that needn’t have been emitted into the atmosphere if we had used more efficient forms of lighting … These more efficient lights, such as the compact fluorescent light bulb, use around 20 percent of the electricity to produce the same amount of light.”
– Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull

Interesting. I wonder if other nations will follow suit. Apparently, similar legislation was proposed in California last month.

Read more – Bright idea? Australia pulls plug on light bulbs.

DIY Part 4 – DIY Advice from a Master Electrician

I stumbled upon Wayne Gilchrist’s DIY Electrical blog, when looking for “real contractor” blogs. There are a lot of home improvement blogs out there, but only a few of them seem to have “real people” behind them, let alone “real contractors”. The blog covers a wide range of electrical articles and questions. Said Wayne, “… people get stumped in the middle of their project a need a simple answer to help them continue forward and complete their electrical project.”

So when looking at writing a series of posts on DIY, interviewing him seemed a natural thing to do.

Curious about when people are making the call. Is it the planning stage – figuring out what they need to do? Or when they’re actually stuck?

Wayne’s answer: when they get stuck. “Most of the time, they have wired almost everything wrong and I need to have them remove everything and start over. I am trying to figure out a way to get these DIYers to come to me first and I will help them plan, design, layout and install their electrical wiring safely and help keep them within their budget.”

Wayne has a new site ezdiyelectricity.com that can help with free articles and diagrams plus reference books (like the National Electrical Code for example) and testing tools you can buy. Wayne is also “working on several ebooks and videos for DIY electrical wiring projects that will include step by step instructions, materials lists and tools lists for each project”. Sounds really helpful.

Enquiring minds want to know more. What types of electrical projects do people tend to need help with? What are they taking on?

“These DIYers are very brave and willing to take on almost any electrical wiring project … You name it, [they're] willing to try it”. Wayne has helped people repair switches, lights and receptacles, install ceiling fans, change breakers, add sub-panels and more over the phone.

One thing Wayne reiterated is that he wished more people would do their research before getting started on their DIY electrical projects. If it works out, Wayne will never hear from them. When it doesn’t work out, he is of the opinion that more research and planning would have made the difference.

Do you sometimes have to recommend they get an electrician if they are in over their heads?

“Yes I do. I always recommend them getting a licensed electrician. I can offer my advice, but it is no substitute for an electrician being at their home. I can only offer advice on the information that is given to me. However, an experienced electrician will look around everywhere and see problems that the DIYer will not.”

One final question. How are these stuck DIYers finding you when they need you? Do they already know of your site? Or do they find you by Google?

Do it yourselfers find Wayne through search engines, doityourself.com, and Yahoo! Answers. Wayne answers a lot of electrical questions on Yahoo. “I have noticed there are a lot of self-proclaimed experts offering very bad electrical advice on Yahoo! Answers” sez Wayne. Well that’s good to know! Sort of scary too.

Wayne offers DIY electrical help by phone, instant messenger, or email. Check out ezdiyelectricity.com for more details and rates.

About Wayne (from research on the internet):

He’s a master electrician with 20 years experience. He has a 5-star rating on ServiceMagic, from real customers with real electrical jobs. Check out his profile on Yahoo! Answers.

Install a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)

A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is a type of electronic device that protects you from deadly electric shock. The device monitors the flow of electricity in a circuit – any sudden changes and it quickly shut off the flow of electricity (up to one-thirtieth of a second). So you’ll still still get a shock but only a small one.

Good places for GFCIs? Kitchens, bathrooms, spas, garages, etc. – anywhere you are likely to use an appliance near water. GFCIs should be installed by a licensed electrician but if you are experienced with electrical work you may consider doing it yourself.

Read The ABCs of GFCI installation by BeJane on the Seattle Times.

An Electrical Safety Primer – Fuses, Breakers, GFCI and AFCI

Came across an interesting article on Gilchrist Electric’s DIY Electrical Wiring Help blog that’s well worth reading.  The original article was Circuit breakers for electrical safety by Ms. Builder in The Clarion-Ledger.  You should also read Gilchrist’s post as it clarifies some points related to UL and National Electrical Code (NEC) requirements for breakers that may not be clear in the original article.

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