Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

LEDs for Xmas

Every Christmas, fat, multicolored Christmas lights line the rain gutters of the Kelly home. My husband Patrick bought them as a protest against the proliferation of white icicle lights dripping from our neighbor’s eaves. “Santa must get confused by all that sameness,” he told the kids. Fine, I thought, but Santa’s not paying the electric bill. I started looking around for other options.

I knew LEDs use less power than incandescents, so I put in a call to Greg Thorson, owner of a website called Environmental Lights, based in Rancho Bernardo (858-521-0233; environmentallights.com). It turns out I was right about the power but wrong about the potential savings.

“An incandescent light is made from a filament that you run a lot of current through,” explained Thorson. “As those electrons run through that very thin wire, they get very hot, and the filament glows. But what’s coming off is 90 to 95 percent heat and only 5 to 10 percent light. LED lights are different — they’re semiconductors. You have a positive and negative junction, just like you would on a computer chip. When you run electrons over those junctions, you get an emission of photons. LEDs generate a lot less heat and a lot more light, and, depending on the frequency at which those photons are given off, you can get red, green, blue, or amber lights.”

The upshot is that “LEDs need only about 10 percent of the power you need for incandescents. That makes everything a lot easier. You can hook up 210 watts’ worth of lighting on a single string. A typical LED string uses about 5 watts of power, so you can put 43 strings together if you want to light up that spruce tree in your front yard. You don’t need the heavy cabling or the special circuits, which makes them especially good for large installations.”

Even so, said Thorson, “For a homeowner, the savings that comes from using LEDs instead of incandescents is pennies. It’s not a compelling factor, because LEDs are more expensive.”

There are, however, other advantages. “LEDs don’t burn out the way incandescents do…you can expect, typically, 50,000 hours. And because they’re more rugged than incandescents, they tend to do better when you drop them. You end up wasting less time replacing bulbs.”

If they do break, you can just throw them out. “LED lights don’t contain mercury, and the good ones don’t contain lead. Pretty much all of our Christmas lights are low lead — they’re ROHS [reduction of hazardous materials] compliant.”

This year, said Thorson, “The multifunction lighting [$21–$30.40 for a 24-foot string with 70 lights] is popular. A lot of our customers are pro installers making large orders, but the multifunction lights are also great for homeowners. You can buy a little controller [$9.99–$11.99] with a dial on it, and that can drive up to eight strings with eight functions — things like sparkling, fading on and off, or moving in a wave. The multifunction nets [$44–$59 for a 4.5 x 8.5-foot net] are popular, too. And we have a new product called snowfall lights [$115–$259]. The basic idea is that the lights chase down a line, like a movie marquee. We have them in several formats: a 23-inch tube and a 33-inch tube that are indoor-outdoor, and a set of ten [$119] that you can spread around your Christmas tree. It gives a subtle sense of motion — a discreet, downward strobe instead of the blinky-flashy Las Vegas stuff. We also have the snowfall lights on our ornaments [$119 for a set of five].”

Thorson granted that his prices for LEDs were higher than those you might find at Home Depot (EcoSmart 50 multicolor LEDs, $19.97) or Lowe’s (GE 50 multicolor LEDs, $18.97). But, he noted, “You also get only around three choices of products [at retail outlets]. And they might have stock for only three weeks. After that, they’re out until next year. We have over 300 products available year round on our website.

“We have homeowners who are willing to spend a lot of money to make their houses look great. If they need some advice, I’ve trained my people to answer their questions. And, at my store, you pay less [per unit] the more you buy.”

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
MISTER LOVER
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
SCOTT MOUNTAIN BIKE $3000,
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
REGULATORY AFFAIRS SPECIALIST
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 30, 2020
Frenchie french bulldog
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 26, 2020
Bay Park, $1195
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 30, 2020
Ad
Previous article

San Diego open restaurants – Central

Where to get your pick-up order
Next Article

Alexander Hamilton: one of the Founding Fathers of the United States

He also founded the United States Coast Guard and the New York Post
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Every Christmas, fat, multicolored Christmas lights line the rain gutters of the Kelly home. My husband Patrick bought them as a protest against the proliferation of white icicle lights dripping from our neighbor’s eaves. “Santa must get confused by all that sameness,” he told the kids. Fine, I thought, but Santa’s not paying the electric bill. I started looking around for other options.

I knew LEDs use less power than incandescents, so I put in a call to Greg Thorson, owner of a website called Environmental Lights, based in Rancho Bernardo (858-521-0233; environmentallights.com). It turns out I was right about the power but wrong about the potential savings.

“An incandescent light is made from a filament that you run a lot of current through,” explained Thorson. “As those electrons run through that very thin wire, they get very hot, and the filament glows. But what’s coming off is 90 to 95 percent heat and only 5 to 10 percent light. LED lights are different — they’re semiconductors. You have a positive and negative junction, just like you would on a computer chip. When you run electrons over those junctions, you get an emission of photons. LEDs generate a lot less heat and a lot more light, and, depending on the frequency at which those photons are given off, you can get red, green, blue, or amber lights.”

The upshot is that “LEDs need only about 10 percent of the power you need for incandescents. That makes everything a lot easier. You can hook up 210 watts’ worth of lighting on a single string. A typical LED string uses about 5 watts of power, so you can put 43 strings together if you want to light up that spruce tree in your front yard. You don’t need the heavy cabling or the special circuits, which makes them especially good for large installations.”

Even so, said Thorson, “For a homeowner, the savings that comes from using LEDs instead of incandescents is pennies. It’s not a compelling factor, because LEDs are more expensive.”

There are, however, other advantages. “LEDs don’t burn out the way incandescents do…you can expect, typically, 50,000 hours. And because they’re more rugged than incandescents, they tend to do better when you drop them. You end up wasting less time replacing bulbs.”

If they do break, you can just throw them out. “LED lights don’t contain mercury, and the good ones don’t contain lead. Pretty much all of our Christmas lights are low lead — they’re ROHS [reduction of hazardous materials] compliant.”

This year, said Thorson, “The multifunction lighting [$21–$30.40 for a 24-foot string with 70 lights] is popular. A lot of our customers are pro installers making large orders, but the multifunction lights are also great for homeowners. You can buy a little controller [$9.99–$11.99] with a dial on it, and that can drive up to eight strings with eight functions — things like sparkling, fading on and off, or moving in a wave. The multifunction nets [$44–$59 for a 4.5 x 8.5-foot net] are popular, too. And we have a new product called snowfall lights [$115–$259]. The basic idea is that the lights chase down a line, like a movie marquee. We have them in several formats: a 23-inch tube and a 33-inch tube that are indoor-outdoor, and a set of ten [$119] that you can spread around your Christmas tree. It gives a subtle sense of motion — a discreet, downward strobe instead of the blinky-flashy Las Vegas stuff. We also have the snowfall lights on our ornaments [$119 for a set of five].”

Thorson granted that his prices for LEDs were higher than those you might find at Home Depot (EcoSmart 50 multicolor LEDs, $19.97) or Lowe’s (GE 50 multicolor LEDs, $18.97). But, he noted, “You also get only around three choices of products [at retail outlets]. And they might have stock for only three weeks. After that, they’re out until next year. We have over 300 products available year round on our website.

“We have homeowners who are willing to spend a lot of money to make their houses look great. If they need some advice, I’ve trained my people to answer their questions. And, at my store, you pay less [per unit] the more you buy.”

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
$695 EASTLAKE ROOM RENTAL
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
Guitarist Forming
San Diego Reader Classified ads
February 6, 2020
Over 470 comics for $123
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
LIVING ROOM AVAILABLE
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
JUMPSTART YOUR SUCCESS
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
Previous article

San Diego open restaurants – East County, South Bay, and Tijuana

Next Article

B-sides, studio outtakes, and live performances

Tom Brosseau, Sluka, Planet B, Iration, Alvino & the Dwells
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close