Posted on Leave a comment

Is LED lighting safe for our pets?

pets at home

In honour of National Pet Month (April 1 – May 3), we thought this would be a great time to introduce you to a very special member of the Oliver Lamps family and talk about how lighting can affect our precious pets.

The beautiful puppy in the photograph (okay, he’s not really a puppy anymore, but that’s how we think of him) is called Barley. As you can see, Barley’s doing pretty much his favourite thing – sleeping! – and, if you look very carefully behind him, you’ll catch a tiny glimpse of Barley’s new best friend… the LED nightlight that’s been helping him feel safe and calm since his older sister sadly passed away last Christmas.

When Poppy died, Barley had a heart-breaking time trying to cope without her. He was anxious and couldn’t rest and regularly had lots of ‘accidents’ in the night. But then his human mum Lucy, who you may well have met if you’ve ever popped into our shop, had the bright idea of taking one of our LED nightlight’s home to see if it would help. From that very first night, Barley’s had no more accidents, and he’s gradually returned to his happy, contented self again. Now, if he could bring down the volume on his snoring, it would definitely be a win-win!! 😊

Barley is cute, furball proof of how LED lighting can be just as beneficial to our pets as it can be to us. Some people worry that LED’s might be harmful to our four-legged friends, but they really shouldn’t. Safety-wise, LED’s are just as good for them as they are for us, plus they don’t get hot like other bulbs, so your pets won’t risk hurting themselves if they get too close. Also, suppose you’re worried about your cat, dog, turtle or pink fairy armadillo (although other pet species are available (and there really is an animal called a pink fairy armadillo)) straining their eyes by spending too long in the artificial light. In that case, you can always customise your LED smart lighting to reduce its brilliance or change it to a more restful colour.

However, there are a few things to think about where pets and smart electronics are concerned.

Many pets are far more sensitive to light and noise than humans.

You know how, if someone blows into a dog whistle, you can’t hear it, but suddenly every pooch inside a ten-mile radius is suddenly digging up your front garden? Well, it’s almost the same where electronics are concerned. To us, our T.V. and computer might not make much of a sound, but to some cats and dogs, they can sound like a rock concert. For example, did you know that dogs are sensitive to sound frequencies up to 45,000 Hz (cycles/second), and cats can be sensitive to sound frequencies up to 64,000 Hz? When you consider that the hearing sensitivity of humans is between 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, you can understand why your cat runs for cover whenever you turn your hairdryer on! Even the ultra-frequencies produced by smoke alarms can make some animals really agitated.

The other thing to remember is that pets can be far more sensitive to flickering light than we are, and all types of light are prone to flickering now and again. That’s why it’s essential to buy high-quality LED bulbs (the kind we stock at Oliver Lamps) because low-quality bulbs made with cheaper parts are much more likely to produce troublesome flicker. That won’t only be annoying for you; it can also have an uncomfortable strobe-like effect on your animals. To get some idea of your pet’s sensitivity, watch how they behave in front of your LCD TV (which has a similar flicker to an LED light.) Some pets won’t look at an LED TV because the picture just doesn’t seem real. However, we also know about a cat whose favourite place is on the soundbar with his nose pressed to the screen. Just like humans, our animal friends will always keep us guessing!

P.S. Never use high-power blue or green U.V. laser pointers around your pets because it can damage their eyes.

What else?

If your pet does seem to have a low tolerance to lighting or electronics, try unplugging all your devices when you’re not using them (which will save you money as well; leaving unused devices permanently on ‘sleep’ can be a real energy drain.) You could even make one room in your house utterly tech-free, so they’ve got somewhere relaxing to go.

In the interests of transparency, there is anecdotal evidence that suggests certain smaller animals (rabbits and chickens) may, on very rare occasions, be affected by LED lighting, but we’re not aware of any research that has backed that up. As with everything else to do with your animal’s welfare, always consult your vet if you’re ever in doubt.

And there you have it! Barley says woof, and thanks you for reading. Please don’t forget that we’re always here to help whenever you need us for all your LED lighting and lighting appliance needs. Call us on 01328 855028, email [email protected], or drop into our shop for a warm socially-distanced welcome and friendly, expert advice. Who knows, you might even see Barley there one day (if he’s not at home, curled up with his nightlight!)

Stay safe, and see you next month!

Posted on Leave a comment

How is LED lighting leading the fight against COVID?

LED lighting COVID

Happy April, everybody! How’s the easing of lockdown treating you?

Although there are still a couple of landmark dates to go before the country returns to normal(ish), it’s already starting to feel like business-as-usual here at Oliver Lamps! Like most other people, we felt a little bit of nervous excitement and trepidation after Easter week as we brushed up on our COVID-19 safety procedures and made sure that everything was ready for April 12 reopening. Still, it wasn’t long before the first lovely customers walked through our doors, and suddenly it felt like we’d never been away!

It’s great to be back, and we’re looking forward to seeing you all again over the coming weeks and months. Even though we only reopened a few short days ago, it’s been fabulous greeting familiar faces and welcoming in some new ones. Thank you all for your continuing support, not to mention the support you’re giving to all the other businesses in our area. Buying local whenever possible is more important than it’s ever been, and we’re proud to be part of such a positive, caring, and socially conscious community.

If everyone in the country works together like the residents and shopkeepers of Fakenham, the U.K. should be back on its feet in no time at all! (Well, we can dream, can’t we?!)

In the meantime, we are busy making plans for a grand re-stocking sale (watch this space and our Facebook page for more details), and we’re sourcing some exciting new products that will be in our shop and available via our website or telephone order very soon.

Now, here’s a question that we’ve been asked a few times over the past several months, so we thought the answer might be helpful for everybody to know (just in case you’ve been wondering about it too.)

“Can LED lighting protect us in the fight against COVID?”

The short answer? Yes, it can! According to a recent Israeli study, COVID can be killed quickly and efficiently using ultraviolet LED lights. That’s because a light wavelength of 267 nanometres is enough to destroy more than 99.9 per cent of coronaviruses in less than half a minute, which is well within the capabilities of a UV LED light. This is what one of the researchers had to say about their findings:

“The entire world is currently looking for effective solutions to disinfect the coronavirus. The problem is that in order to disinfect a bus, train, sports hall, or plane by chemical spraying, you need physical manpower, and in order for the spraying to be effective, you have to give the chemical time to act on the surface. Disinfection systems based on LED bulbs, however, can be installed in the ventilation system and air conditioner, for example, and sterilise the air sucked in and then emitted into the room.

“We discovered that it is quite simple to kill the coronavirus using LED bulbs that radiate ultraviolet light. We killed the viruses using cheaper and more readily available LED bulbs, which consume little energy and do not contain mercury like regular bulbs. Our research has commercial and societal implications, given the possibility of using such LED bulbs in all areas of our lives, safely and quickly.”

(Source: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-12/afot-llf121420.php)

But READ ON, because there’s an important part two to this answer…

Even though ultraviolet disinfecting bulbs can sometimes be found in home appliances – like water purifiers, for example – please don’t take this as the cue to string purple lights up all over your house. It’s extremely dangerous to expose yourself directly to this kind of light.

“When it comes to ultraviolet radiation, it is important to make it clear to people that it is dangerous to try to use this method to disinfect surfaces inside homes,” the researcher – Tel Aviv University Professor Hadas Mamane – warns, “You need to know how to design these systems and how to work with them so that you are not directly exposed to the light.”

So, the good news is that COVID-beating UV LED technology should hopefully be available in the near future, but, for now, there’s still no substitute for the precautions we’re all currently undertaking – wearing face masks, sanitising hands, social distancing, and wiping down surfaces etc.

Don’t forget, though, for every other (safe) kind of LED light, simply pop into our shop, go on our website, give us a call or send us an email. If it’s LED lighting or lighting appliance-related, we’ll do our very best to source it for you as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

Here’s another question for you; have you have ever wondered how lighting can affect our pets and what we can do to make them (and us) live more comfortably? Well, in honour of National Pet Month, that’s going to be the hot topic of our very next blog, and it’s been partially inspired by a very special member of the Oliver Lamps family! Come back soon to read their story!

Until then, stay safe, everybody!

Posted on Leave a comment

How to make your in-store lighting work for you

in-store lighting

The end of the national lockdown is on the horizon. If our customers’ buzz is anything to go by, most of us are looking forward to April 12 almost as eagerly as we looked forward to Christmas! So let’s talk in-store lighting.

If you’re a retail business owner, you’re probably run off your feet getting your shop ready for the big day. We certainly know that we are!

But, while you’re dusting off the shelves and making double-sure that the layout of your premises is bright and welcoming but still COVID-safe, have you stopped to consider what an important part in-store lighting will play in making your relaunch a success?

When it comes to creating perfect interior lighting for shops, offices, schools, churches, and other public and private buildings, there’s nothing that Oliver Lamps’ expert in-house technical team doesn’t know. So, if you’re a shop owner who wants to use your in-store lighting to your best advantage, here are a few tips and tricks to think about…

Don’t be afraid to be up-front!

Your shop front is your calling card. Make sure it’s working for you 24/7. Even when your shop is closed, prospective customers will still be walking or driving past and glancing inside, so you should never miss an opportunity to turn their heads whenever possible.

For example, even though our shop at 26/28 Oak Street, Fakenham, has been closed since the lockdown started, we’re regularly taking calls from people who see a product they like in our window and want to know if they can order it online. Quick answer: Of course they can! Even if an item’s not currently in stock (or you’ve seen it somewhere else entirely), we’ll always do our very best to source it for you.

Think carefully about how your shop window is displayed.

Use track lighting, spotlights and pendants to highlight products and encourage people to come inside, and keep at least some of those lights on after you’re closed at the end of the day. LED lights are perfect for this because they’re low-energy, so they won’t run up your electricity bill, and they don’t burn hot even when they’re used over an extended period, so you can have peace of mind that your lights will stay on, but your empty shop will stay safe.

Don’t clutter up the front window, though. The temptation is to fill it up with all the best-looking products, but less is always more when it comes to shop-front design. It also helps if passers-by can see beyond the products and into the shop to get a tantalising glimpse at the other goodies you’ve got in there. In-store lighting will help you achieve that.

Get the right ambience for the right products.

When we think about ‘ambience’, we’re usually thinking about the comfortable, inviting atmosphere we want to create inside our own home. We don’t usually think of ambience when we’re walking around a shop, looking for something to buy.

But creating ambience in a retail space, especially if you’re selling products like furnishings and homeware, is extremely important. After all, you want your customers to be able to look at the items and imagine how perfectly they’d fit in their own homes. At the very least, you’ll want all your items to be visible and your shop to be a place your customers will want to spend time inside, feeling relaxed and looking around.

Think carefully about your in-store lighting temperatures and colours. Cooler colours (up to 6000K) give a sense of space and airiness. They tend to appeal to younger customers. Warmer colours (between 2700K to 3000K) are cosier and more inviting and tend to attract an older, upmarket clientele. As far as CRI (Colour Rendering Index) is concerned, white is excellent for displaying fabrics, clothing and accessories, and red (rendered very carefully) is popular with all kinds of retailers, including butchers, bakers and fashion stores. Always ensure that the lighting you choose works well with the products you want to sell.

Remember, if you want to create the illusion of ‘natural’ light (in a changing room, for example), high-quality downlights with a high CRI will let customers see the clothes’ true colours much better.

Use a lighting system that can be easily adjusted whenever you want to change your shop’s layout. Suspended track lighting is excellent for that because you can place it anywhere, and it’s simple to install.

Consider how you’re going to mix ambient lighting with accent lighting. The ambient lights should always be subtle enough to keep everything in view, whereas the accent lights should highlight the products you especially want customers to notice. This is sometimes called ‘hot lighting’ or ‘lighting hierarchy’ because it focuses your customer’s attention on the key merchandise without overwhelming their senses.

LED tape is perfect for creating integrated lighting on shelving. According to research, customers pick up twice as many items from shelves with integrated lighting than those without.

Use LED linear lighting to lead your customers around the store.

LED linear lighting is a continuous, uninterrupted strip of light that illuminates the aisles and encourages your customers to move comfortably from the front to the back of the shop without missing anything. It’s much more effective than old-fashioned fluorescent strips because fluoro tubes have to start and stop and are prone to uncomfortable buzz and flicker. LED linear lighting is much more practical and effective because it can be linked seamlessly together, suspended from the ceiling or recessed, and is effortlessly controllable. Like all LED, it is more cost-effective and has a much longer lifespan too.

If you’re a commercial business owner who’s looking for a bespoke lighting solution to make your retail or office space even more inviting for customers and visitors, don’t forget our expert design and installation team is always here to help. Just give us a call on 01328 855028 or email [email protected] to find out more. In the meantime, we wish everyone a safe and successful April 12 reopening, and we’re looking forward to seeing you all inside our own store very soon!

Posted on Leave a comment

Let’s celebrate Britain’s lighting ingenuity!

lighting innovation

Did you know that March 5 – 14 was British Science Week 2021?

On their website, www.britishscienceweek.org, British Science Week is described as ‘a ten-day celebration of the innovation that led the United Kingdom to excel in science and technology’, so we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to celebrate Britain’s achievements in home lighting! For example, the American inventor Thomas Edison usually gets all the credit for dreaming up the light bulb, but did you know that an English inventor called Joseph Swan patented his own incandescent bulb at precisely the same time as Edison and sued Edison for patent infringement? And, bringing things right up to date, have you heard the UK is leading the way in a new form of LED light bulb technology that doesn’t just make the bulbs 10% more efficient but also cheaper to manufacture and buy?

Want to find out more? Stand by to be enlightened!

The genius of Joseph Swan

Sir Joseph Wilson Swan was born in County Durham on 31 October 1828. He was only twenty-two years old when he set out to invent the very first light bulb. It took another ten years before he was able to demonstrate it and nineteen more years before he’d ironed out all the technical problems well enough to be granted a patent (how’s that for perseverance?!)

A year later, in 1880, Joseph Swan’s patented light bulbs were being installed in homes and public places across England, beginning with his own house. Soon afterwards, The Savoy Theatre in London became the first public building in the world to be lit up entirely by electricity. On the first night, the public needed so much reassurance about the new technology that Richard D’Oyly Carte, the Savoy theatre’s builder, had to smash a glowing lightbulb in front of the audience to prove how safe it was!

Swan vs Edison

In 1881, ‘The Swan Electric Light Company’ started commercial production, and soon afterwards, the Royal Navy began to install Swan’s light bulbs on board their ships. However, Swan soon realised that he had some serious competition from across the pond, in the form of US inventor Thomas Edison. Edison had patented his own light bulb in 1879, although his plans for the device were very different. Whereas Swan’s design was low-resistance with a short life span, Edison’s bulb was a high-resistance lamp with a long life that could be used as part of a larger-scale electric lighting complex. Despite these variations, Swan argued that he’d got there first and sued Edison for patent infringement, which the British courts upheld. As a penalty, Edison had to make Swan a partner in his electric company, and the ‘Edison & Swan United Electric Light Company’ (more commonly known as ‘Ediswan’) was born in 1883. It’s also interesting to note that even the US Patent Office decided Edison’s patent was invalid, not because of Swan, but because it also duplicated another American inventor’s work.

General Electric takes over

Ediswan sold two different kinds of lamps – one made with a cellulose filament (which was Swan’s invention and only available in the UK), and the other with a bamboo filament (Edison’s invention, made available outside the UK.) You could argue that was a sneaky move on Thomas Edison’s part because it meant his light bulb became internationally well known, whereas Joseph Swan’s light bulb was kept safely within Britain’s shores. And then, when Thomas Edison became one of the founders of the General Electric company in 1892, GE exploited Swan’s patent so they could legally produce light bulbs with cellulose filaments in the US and across the globe. They kept making those bulbs until 1904 when their own ‘General Electric Metallized’ filaments updated Swan’s invention and took electric lighting to the next level.

As a result, Thomas Edison’s reputation as a lighting pioneer has gone from strength to strength, whereas Joseph Swan’s contribution to light bulb history has largely been forgotten. But Swan didn’t disappear; in fact, his patent for making carbon prints revolutionised the photographic industry.

Introducing graphene: the UK’s cutting-edge light bulb technology

In 2004, two Russian scientists from The University of Manchester produced a ‘miracle material’ called graphene, which – among its many other benefits – makes LED light bulbs more energy-efficient than ever before. As a result of their ground-breaking research, the scientists went on to win the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics.

What is graphene?

Graphene is a material that’s composed of a single layer of carbon atoms. It is a million times thinner than a human hair and two hundred times stronger than steel. It can be used for a wide range of applications, including rapid charging of electric cars, improved water filtration, and as a coating on the filament of LED light bulbs that dissipates heat and makes the bulbs 10% more energy efficient. This means your light will stay just as bright but at a much lower wattage.

Physicists have known about graphene since the mid-20th century, but Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov were the first people to turn it into something that can be used in the physical world.

The UK government is so confident about graphene technology that it has invested £38m in The University of Manchester’s National Graphene Institute, and first-generation graphene bulbs are already on the market. They’re designed to last 25% longer than other LEDs, and they also run approximately 16% cooler than standard filament LED lamps. Although it is still very early days for this new technology, the UK has its sights set firmly on leading the world!

If you’re interested in finding out more about graphene bulbs, give us a call! We don’t currently have any in stock, but we’d be happy to source them for you, and we might even order some for our shop if customer demand is big enough.

And finally… an LED light that requires no energy at all

Just imagine; one day, it might be possible to run an LED light bulb for absolutely no power at all!

That’s what UK inventor Malcolm Wright thinks, and he’s found a way for LEDs to piggyback off the power supply of other appliances so they can effectively be run free-of-charge. He’s called his invention EEBL, ‘Electrical Energy By-Product Lighting’, and he’s already powering his living room lighting from his TV and his garage lighting from the pump in his garden pond.

The bad news is, according to the Intellectual Property Office website, it looks like Mr Wright’s patent ceased in January 2020, so it might be a while before we see his fantastic idea employed in everyday life. Still, it took Joseph Swan 29 years to bring his light bulb to market, so you never know what the future’s got in store!

While we’re on the subject of stores (!), even though a no-cost LED future is still a distance away, don’t forget that your friends at Oliver Lamps are here right now for all your home and business lighting needs, and much more besides. If the government’s ‘easing lockdown’ arrangements go to plan, our fabulous shop will be reopening very soon. Until then (and even afterwards!), our expert team is always here to help. Just give us a call on 01328 855028 , email [email protected], or use the contact form on our website.

Stay safe, and we’ll see you again very soon!

Posted on Leave a comment

How can better lighting help our eyesight as we get older?

eyesight and lighting

Lighting can help you protect your eyesight as you age, and we’ve got some tips to share with you.

None of us likes to think too hard about getting older, but it’s an unavoidable fact of life. One day you’re running around with all the energy in the world, spotting something you want in a shop window from the opposite end of the high street, and then the next you’re making weird noises as you get off the sofa and you can’t get in the shop because you can’t see where the door handle is.

Okay, so maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you know what we mean. Someone who’ll remain nameless patted the cat at the end of their bed this morning, but it was actually their tracksuit bottoms. We’re not saying who it was. It definitely wasn’t me.

Anyway, moving on quickly…

How our eyesight ages

After the age of 40, you may notice your eyesight beginning to deteriorate and your eyes feeling more strained. It won’t happen overnight, but you might catch yourself squinting as you try to read a text on your smartphone or focusing on objects up close will be challenging. It’s annoying but it’s usually nothing to get unduly worried about, although it’s a sensible idea to get your eyesight checked as soon as you notice the changes. This disturbance in vision is generally caused because the lens inside your eye is losing its flexibility, which decreases the amount of light entering your eye and makes it more difficult to focus. Your ability to accurately see colours may be affected too.

This process is called presbyopia, and the bad news is that it generally becomes more advanced as we continue getting older. Suppose you’re prescribed reading glasses or contact lenses. In that case, you might find the prescription changes more frequently, or you’ll need one pair of eyeglasses for ‘occupational’ tasks and another pair for day-to-day activities like housework or watching tv.

Other sight changes might include:

  • Focusing your eyes becomes harder and slower because the ciliary muscles that support the eye are gradually losing strength.
  • Less light reaches the retinas because the pupils start to shrink.
  • The light entering your eye becomes more scattered, which is caused by the thickening of the cornea.

On average, by the time we reach the age of 65, most of us will:

  • Require more light to see clearly.
  • Become more sensitive to glare.
  • Respond more slowly to lighting changes, such as stepping from a dark environment into a bright one.
  • Notice a gradual loss of peripheral vision.

How lighting can help

Increase the light levels in your home and office

Because older eyes usually need twice as much light as younger eyes, make sure that task lighting of at least 1300 lumens is available in the areas you’ll need it most (i.e. desks, worktops, under cabinets.) Increase the ambient lighting and use smart lighting or dimmer switches to easily adjust the brightness.

Avoid lighting discrepancies

Because older eyes find adjusting to light changes difficult, keep the light level as smooth and unfluctuating as possible between room to room.

Make light switches clearly accessible at all entrances and exits

This is especially important in areas of the house that older people may be using late at night (i.e. bedrooms, hallways and bathrooms.)

Keep stairs, hallways, landings, and entryways well lit

Plug-in LED night lights, LED strips, rope lights, and overhead spotlights are excellent for this and will minimise the risk of trips and falls. For obvious reasons, never use extension cords in these areas and keep extensions safely tucked out of harm’s way in other parts of the house.

Choose light bulbs with a high CRI

A light bulb’s Colour Rendering Index (CRI) tells you how accurately it displays colours, so that the colours can be perceived more easily by the human eye. Older eyes tend to have a problem distinguishing between spectrums of blue, purple, and green, so bulbs that are between eighty and one hundred on the CRI scale are more efficient for work, study, and crafting spaces, and anywhere it’s important to see different hues (i.e. when painting a room).

Unfortunately, getting older is something we can’t avoid, but making even small adjustments to your lighting will make the process of getting older a lot easier. That’s where Oliver Lamps will always be here to help because all the different types of lighting and appliances mentioned in this blog – from CRI LED’s and dimmer switches to plug-in LED night lights, worktop lighting, desk lamps and everything in between – are currently available online and (when the lockdown eventually ends) directly from our shop. If you’d like to find out more, give us a call on 01328 855028, drop us an email at [email protected], or check out the catalogue on our website. Please remember, the catalogue only features a small part of what we stock, so get in touch if you’ve got any questions. We’ll be delighted to assist you.

Stay safe, and we’ll see you again soon!

Posted on Leave a comment

Sleep and lighting: How well are you sleeping?

sleep and lighting

Sleep is so important to our wellbeing. We don’t know about you, but a lot of people seem to be having more trouble sleeping during this latest lockdown. They wake up tired, spend the day exhausted, go to bed feeling wiped out and… boom! Frustratingly, they spend most of the night lying awake.

Have you ever wondered why that happens?

Well, we decided to do a bit of research for you!

The more you worry about not getting to sleep… the worse your insomnia will become

That sounds like a ‘what came first – the chicken or the egg’ dilemma, doesn’t it? But, according to sleep experts, that’s precisely what happens.

The more you lie awake and worry about not being able to sleep, the more tense and anxious you become. How many times have you laid there thinking, “Why can’t I sleep? My body’s exhausted, but I can’t turn off my mind. What’s wrong with me?” and it feels like you watch every hour tick around on the alarm clock? That’s because sleep likes to play games with us, like that boy or girl who pretended not to like you when you were at school and then spent all their time trying to get you to chase them around the playground.

Here’s the bottom line: you’ll never get to sleep if you struggle. Accept you’re awake, stay quiet and let your body relax, and the chances are better that sleep will eventually come.

Don’t lie awake for longer than twenty minutes… get up and do something else instead

Yes, you know, that’s another ‘chicken versus the egg’ dilemma!

After all, how logical does it sound to get out of bed when getting to sleep is your real priority?

But sleep experts call this ‘stimulus control.’ Instead of lying in bed, move to another room and read a boring book or an old copy of ‘Setsquare Weekly’ (with apologies to any set-square collectors who might be reading this 😊.) Stretch gently to release tension, and only go back to bed when you feel sleepy and can barely keep your eyelids open.

How does ‘stimulus control’ work? Because it retrains our mind and body to understand that bed is where we go only when we’re ready for sleep. The big problem with lying awake for hours on end is that we start to dread going to bed and our relationship with the bedroom and sleep becomes very negative. Stimulus control teaches us to break that cycle.

Even if you’re tired during the day, don’t go to bed early

We’ve talked about our body’s circadian rhythm in previous blogs, but here’s a quick reminder in case you’ve forgotten the details…

Our circadian rhythm is our body’s internal clock. We wake up with the daylight, and we go to sleep when its dark. We generally feel more active or more lethargic during our waking hours, depending on the quality of light we’re experiencing. That’s one of the many reasons why smart LED lighting in offices and homes is such a brilliant invention, because it means we can keep our bodies in tune by giving us enough light for whatever activity we’re doing. Even if we don’t have access to natural light via a window, smart LED lighting keeps our circadian rhythm on track.

Anyway, when we haven’t slept well the night before and try to make up for it by spending a few extra hours in bed in the morning or going to bed earlier than usual at night, we’re disrupting our circadian rhythm and that only makes matters much worse. Taking ‘cat naps’ during the day can be a bad idea too, because it decreases something called ‘sleep debt’, which means we won’t need as much sleep at night.

The best solution is to maintain a regular sleep schedule by going to bed at the same time every night of the week and using an alarm to wake up at the same time every morning. Don’t look at your cellphone, watch TV or read in bed at least thirty minutes before bedtime, avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol several hours before going to sleep, and keep your bedroom quiet, dark and cool.

What are the best and worst types of light for sleep?

Of course, we couldn’t finish this blog without talking a bit about lighting!

For years, sleep experts have told us to switch off electronics and avoid looking at bright lights before bedtime. However, early research suggests that some light colours may help you sleep better – especially warmer colours, like red and pink.

That’s because colours that are close to red on the light spectrum increase melatonin, the hormone that helps control our body’s natural wake/sleep cycle. It’s all tied up in the way specific colours and brightnesses of light stimulate the photoreceptors in our eyes and how our eyes send that information back to our brain and tell it how much melatonin to release.

It’s also a lot to do with our individual make-up, because some of us have a preferred light colour that can make us fall asleep more quickly. For example, one research study found it took participants 21.2 minutes to fall asleep in white light, 21.1 minutes to fall asleep in darkness, but only 12.3 minutes to fall asleep to their preferred colour.

Babies and children are affected by light differently to adults because their melatonin production seems to be more suppressed. That’s why children’s night lights should have warmer colours, and you shouldn’t expose babies and children to blue and white lights before bedtime.

Avoiding blue light in the bedroom is something adults should do too. According to some evidence, blue light (and maybe even green light) can negatively affect our quality of sleep, which is a big reason why we shouldn’t look at electronic screens when we go to bed. There have also been studies that suggest violet light could have a similar effect on us as blue light, and exposure to green and purple light could also prevent us from falling asleep. However, a lot of research still has to be done on all those claims.

In the meantime, if you’d like to improve the quality of your sleep with some warmer coloured LED lighting, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our friendly, expert team will always be here to help and advise you, even while our physical shop is closed due to this seemingly endless lockdown! All you’ve got to do is give us a call on 01328 855028, drop us an email at [email protected], or use the contact form on our website.

We’ll be continuing the health theme in our next blog by answering another question we’re sometimes asked, ‘How does lighting affect our eyes and bodies as we get older?’

If that’s something you’ve ever wondered about too, or even if you haven’t (!), we’ll look forward to seeing you there!

Posted on Leave a comment

How to save BIG with LED!

In the words of Sir Michael Caine (who’s apparently quite fed up with people saying this because he claims he never actually said it) “Not a lot of people know that” last week was Big Energy Saving Week in the UK. Big Energy Saving Week is a national campaign dedicated to helping people cut their fuel bills and get all the financial support they’re entitled to, and why it wasn’t top of the national headlines between Jan 18-24 is anyone’s guess. It’s not like anything important has been happening, is it?! 😊

So, in belated honour of Big Energy Saving Week, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to remind you how money-saving LED can slash your bills and save you bucket-loads of money. That feels more important than ever now it’s winter, the long dark nights are creeping in earlier, and most of us are using our domestic lights more often because we’re locked down at home.

How will LED light bulbs save you money?

LED bulbs can save you a lot of money for two important reasons:

  1. They require much less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs, halogen light bulbs, or energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs.)
  2. They have a much longer lifespan than their incandescent, halogen, or CFL competition.

Let’s do the math

Unfortunately, a few people are still put off by the perceived expense of replacing their traditional, short-lived, energy-guzzling incandescent bulbs with only marginally more costly LED. But it’s not just the initial cost they should be thinking about. It doesn’t matter whether you’re replacing incandescent’s, halogen’s, or other energy-friendly bulbs like CFLs with LEDs, you’ll still make a handsome return on your initial investment. In most cases, you’ll start seeing that return immediately. If not immediately, you’ll definitely notice a significant return over the LED’s lifetime.

A 6-watt LED bulb is equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent or a 14-watt fluorescent.

Even though the older style bulbs are cheaper to buy, an incandescent will only last about 1,200 hours before it has to be replaced. The average lifespan of an LED bulb is 60,000 hours, which is approximately fifty times longer. That’s fifty incandescent bulbs you’d need to buy to match the lifetime of a single LED bulb… now that older style bulb doesn’t seem like such a good bargain, does it?

As far as your energy bills are concerned, a 60-watt incandescent is also going to use a great deal more electricity than a 6-watt LED. As a very approximate rule, if a 60-watt incandescent bulb were capable of lasting 60,000 hours (which it isn’t), it would cost you around £700 in energy. On the other hand, a 6-watt LED costs around £80 in energy. Even when you factor in the extra cost of the LED bulb (which is a lot cheaper now than it used to be), that’s still a saving of £600 or more when you switch to LED, and you won’t have the expense and inconvenience of buying the fifty incandescent bulbs required to match the single LED’s lifetime (which would easily be £50-£100, meaning the LED bulb has paid for itself!)

Or let’s look at it this way (and please remember this is just an approximate example): if you have 15 incandescent bulbs in your home and you use them over 60,000 hours, that would cost you in the region of £12,000. Using 15 comparable LED bulbs in your home over 60,000 hours would cost approximately £1,300. That’s a whopping £10,700 saving!

Something else to think about

LED lighting won’t just reduce your energy bills; it will also reduce your CO2 emissions and give you a much smaller carbon footprint.

Because recent figures indicate that 22% of the total electricity generated in the UK is used for lighting, switching to LED lighting will help to reduce both national electrical consumption and the volume of chemicals released into the atmosphere which are adding to climate change.

How many more reasons do you need to switch to LED?

If you can think of any, let us know, and we’ll do our very best to answer them!

We’re always here to help

Even though our shop is still closed due to the national lockdown, our friendly expert team are always at the end of a telephone or an email! Whatever we can help you with, whether it’s placing an order, answering questions about our products, sourcing specialist lighting products for you that we don’t currently stock, or telling you more about how Oliver Lamps’ LED lighting can help save you money, energy, and be more environmentally friendly, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01328 855028, drop us an email at [email protected], or get in touch via the contact form on our website.

Stay safe and see you again next month!

PS. Just in case you’re interested, the Big Energy Saving Week website is here: https://bigenergysavingwinter.org.uk/

Posted on Leave a comment

OLIVER LAMPS’ TOP 5 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

resolutions

Happy New Year!

Everyone at Oliver Lamps hopes you and your loved ones had a fabulous Christmas and that you’re enjoying a safe and peaceful start to 2021 (although, now the UK’s back in lockdown, it feels less like a new year and more like Groundhog Day!)

Still, even though most of us are currently stuck at home wondering which box set to binge-watch next, it hasn’t stopped a lot of people we know from coming up with a few New Year’s Resolutions. Believe it or not, some of them have even got all their New Year’s Resolutions completed already:

  1. Go to the gym every day (whoops, can’t do that, what a shame, leave it ‘til next year)
  2. Spend more time with family (whoops, can’t do that, make a note to look at it again after Easter when we’ve had our vaccinations (hopefully))
  3. Wash hands more regularly and sing Happy Birthday more often (already doing that: BIG TICK 😊)

At Oliver Lamps, we’ve made some New Year’s Resolutions too, and we think they’re a lot more useful than the three we’ve just listed.

So, here they are. Give them a read and see if you agree.

1: Save More Energy and Become More Eco-Friendly

Last summer, a study commissioned by Princes Fish revealed that a third of UK households became more eco-friendly after the first lockdown. The changes those households made weren’t big, uncomfortable-to-stick-to ones, either. They were just small changes that quickly became great habits, like:

Only filling the kettle with as much water as they really need (31%)

Turning electrical appliances off at the socket (27%)

Washing clothes at lower temperatures (22%)

And can you guess what No. 2 on the can-do list of Brits who’ve become greener was?

Turning off unused lights!

Believe it or not, the countrywide cost per annum caused by UK households leaving their lights on after they go to bed is £1.32 billion! That means, simply by flipping a switch, you could save yourself over £280 a year and significantly help to reduce the number of extra carbon dioxide emissions that are damaging our planet.

Doesn’t that sound like a New Year’s Resolution everybody should be adopting?

2: Save More Money

What’s one of the best ways to save more money?

Replace your energy-guzzling incandescent bulbs with energy-saving LEDs!

15% of the average UK household’s energy bill is spent on lighting.

If you replaced every incandescent bulb in your house with an LED bulb, you could save around £40 per year on bills and cut your energy costs by £75 over the bulb’s lifetime. Even if it cost you £100 upfront to replace all your existing bulbs with LEDs, that’s still a massive saving. Also, a traditional incandescent bulb only lasts around two years (based on three hours’ daily use) whereas an LED bulb used under similar conditions lasts for ten years or longer.

As far as New Year’s Resolutions go, that sounds like a no-brainer, doesn’t it?!

3: Save the Planet

Listing all the reasons why we should do everything we can to save the planet would make this blog longer than ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ (and with a lot fewer wizards!) so here are just two reasons to get you started:

  1. Climate change isn’t just a problem for future generations, it’s a problem we’re facing right now: key climate-stabilising systems are already beginning to fail. When they do, vast quantities of carbon dioxide and methane will be released and push global warming to the point where humans and other species on our planet won’t be able to cope.
  2. Levels of greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, nitrous oxide and water vapour) are already too high. Because greenhouse gases stop radiation from escaping into outer space, the Earth’s surface and atmosphere are gradually overheating. This will cause higher sea levels, more severe weather, and increased air pollution. Ultimately it will have a disastrous effect on all life on this planet.

So, how do you save the planet?

We’ve already listed a few ways in New Year’s Resolution No.1: Save More Energy and Become More Eco-Friendly, but there are hundreds of more things you can do including:

  • Buying LED light bulbs
  • Switching to a utility company that generates at least half its power from wind or solar energy
  • Ensuring your home is adequately insulated, and draughts are efficiently sealed off
  • Reducing water waste
  • Avoiding disposable plastics
  • Using more energy-efficient appliances

Want more ideas? https://www.earthday.org/ is a great place to start.

4: Save More Time

Sticking to this New Year’s Resolution will be as easy as falling off a log (or, to be more accurate, falling asleep on the couch while your smart tech does all the hard work for you.) Using smart home technology like video doorbells, wireless security cameras, and colour changing LED lighting you can control through an app (or Amazon’s Alexa) and even control remotely when you’re not at home won’t just save you more time, it will make life safer and more convenient too.

So, get this New Year’s Resolution started now! At Oliver Lamps, we stock a fantastic range of smart tech that will improve your world and leave you free to focus on the more important things… like watching The Queen’s Gambit again.

5: Keep Life Simple

This is the easiest New Year’s Resolution of all! For all your home lighting, business lighting, and smart tech needs, come to Oliver Lamps! Even though our shop is currently closed due to the COVID lockdown, we’re still open for orders and restricted deliveries, and if you phone us, email us, or contact us via our website or Facebook page we’re always happy to help. For those lucky people who live in or close to Fakenham, we’ve moved as much of our stock as possible into our shop window, so make sure you take a look when you’re enjoying your daily exercise along Oak Street! Otherwise, simply contact our friendly team on 01328 855028 or [email protected] and we’ll do the rest!

Stay safe, stay smiling, and see you again soon, everybody!

Posted on Leave a comment

Thank you for brightening up our year… how can we brighten up your Christmas?

christmas lights

Christmas is almost here and 2020 is almost at an end, and it’s safe to say that very few people will be sad to see it go. It’s been a challenging year for everyone.

So this is a perfect opportunity to look forwards to the future, and also give a quick glance backwards at the last twelve months.

Can you believe that we opened our gorgeous shop almost a whole year ago?

We want to say thank you to everyone who’s supported us through this difficult and sometimes anxious time; from our wonderful customers who have visited our shop or reached out to us online, to the magnificent keyworkers we’ve been proud to assist during the lockdowns and beyond, and to everyone who clicks on our social media, reads our blogs, and takes a few moments each month to make writing these little pieces worthwhile.

We’d also like to thank our friends and colleagues in the local community. Despite the terrible timing (!), our decision to open our shop in the heart of Fakenham at the beginning of the year will always be one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. We’re very proud of our little home, and we’re especially proud to be among you all.

Merry Christmas!

Now let’s talk about something seasonal!

How much do you know about Christmas lights?

When you’ve run out of games to play after Christmas dinner, and discovered Pass the Parcel doesn’t work so well when you’re doing it over Zoom (we gave it a go last week, but the parcel just bounced off the laptop screen), why not point towards all the glittery Christmas lights on the tree and amaze everybody with a bit of Christmas lighting trivia?

  • The tradition of Christmas lights is believed to have been started by the protestant reformer, Martin Luther, way back in the 16th century. The story goes that he was so enchanted by the stars shining through an evergreen forest that he took a tree home and tied candles onto its branches to cheer up his family. Martin might have been a famous reformer, but Health and Safety obviously wasn’t high on his agenda! (Even if there’s a power cut that lasts until new year, please don’t put candles on your Christmas tree at home!)
  • Thomas Edison created the first-ever Christmas light display during Christmas season, 1880. He laid eight miles of underground wire to power strings of lights around the outside of his New Jersey laboratory. The result was described by one dazzled spectator as “a fairy-land.”
  • Two years later, Mr Edison (aka ‘The Wizard of Menlo Park’) was at it again! He was the first person to decorate a Christmas tree with lights, covering the evergreen with 80 blinking red, white and blue electric lights, and sitting the tree on top of a revolving box. We don’t know about the tree, but we bet Edison felt dizzy when he received his energy bill. He should have invented LED first!
  • But, unfortunately, the world had to wait another 80 years for the LED light to arrive. It was invented by General Electric’s Nick Holonyak, Jr., in 1962.
  • LEDs convert nearly 100 per cent of the energy they use into light. An incandescent lamp only converts about 9-10 per cent.
  • LED bulbs have an average 20,000 – 25,000 hours’ lamp life. Compared to incandescent bulbs (with an average 1,000-hour lifespan) and CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps, which have an average lifespan of 10,000 hours) that’s enlightening information!
  • The largest LED Christmas light sculpture was unveiled in Moscow, Russia, on December 12, 2015. It was made up of 23,120 colour-changing LED lights.
  • LED light bulbs save you money, save energy, and help to save the planet. A LED bulb that uses only 5 watts of power does the same job as an incandescent bulb using 40 watts but would only cost £19 over its lifetime. The incandescent bulb would cost £152 over the same period. That means if you replaced 8 incandescent bulbs in your home with LED, you’d save a whopping £1227 a year! Why not bring one of your incandescent bulbs to our shop after Christmas – we’ll plug it into our ingenious LED bulb machine, and you’ll be able to see the savings for yourself!
  • The most lights on a Christmas tree was 194,672. It all happened in Malmedy, Belgium, on December 10, 2010, and the tree was hung with a total of 350 3-metre-long garlands fitted with 576 lights on each.
  • If you use exterior LED lighting, or even put a LED bulb in your porch light, it will attract fewer moths and creepy crawlies! Why? Because, unlike incandescent lamps and CFLs, LEDs don’t produce large amounts of bug-attracting ultraviolet and infrared radiation.
  • The most lights on a residential property were hung by the Gay family in LaGrangeville, New York. They took the title on November 28, 2014, with a grand total of 601,736 lights. That’s almost double their 2012 346,283 lights record!
  • If you use a LED bulb for 24 hours every day, it will last for 6 years. If you only use it 4 hours a day, you’ll get a whole 17 years of life out of it!
  • The world record for most lights on an artificial Christmas tree is 518,838. It was awarded to the fittingly named “Christmas Lights Man”, David Richards, from Canberra, Australia. David also used to hold the Guinness World Record for “the largest image made of LED lights.”
  • It costs 83 per cent more to use incandescent Christmas lights instead of energy-efficient LED. That means, if you use LED, you could save an average £10 on Christmas house light decorations and at least £3 on Christmas tree lights over the month of December.
  • Finally, here’s an electrifying statistic from our buddies in the US: if America replaced just 50 per cent of their incandescent lights with LED lights during the Christmas season, the potential energy savings would be at least $17.2 billion. With that sort of money, Santa could put a warp drive on his sleigh, and he’d have delivered our presents before we even made it to bed on Christmas Eve!

Let Oliver Lamps make your Christmas and New Year brighter!

We don’t only sell an extensive range of high-quality, competitively priced LED light bulbs in all shapes, wattages, and fittings! Why not drop into our shop (or give us a call) before Christmas and find out what else we’ve got to offer?! From stylish lamps, shades, and light-fittings, to fun and comforting nightlights that will help little ones sleep peacefully; from smart tech that will seamlessly control all the lighting in your house and even change the lighting colour to suit your mood, all without leaving the comfort of your armchair (or even having to be at home to do it!); and from security smart tech designed to keep you, your family and your home safer, to a fabulous hand-picked selection of gorgeous home furnishings and accessories… there’s much more at Oliver Lamps than you might expect! And we’re adding brilliant new items all the time!

Plus, of course, we stock one of the UK’s best ranges of high-quality, competitively priced LED light bulbs too! (Or did we already mention that?!)

Want to know more?

That’s easier than putting a carrot on a reindeer and saying, “No red nose for you this year, Rudolph. Santa’s gone vegan!” Whenever you need us, we’ll always be here to help. Just give us a call on 01328 855028, email [email protected], or visit us at 26/28 Oak Street, Fakenham; we guarantee you a very warm welcome, although please check our opening times if you’re making a special trip because our hours will be a little different over Christmas.

Stay safe, and have a very Happy Christmas. See you in the new year!

Posted on Leave a comment

Our top tips for an energy-saving Christmas

energy saving at christmas

For many of us, Christmas is the most magical time of the year. Let’s face it, after the 2020 we’ve all had, we deserve as much joy and magic as we can get! But it’s also the time of year when a lot of households use a massive amount of energy and kickstart January with a hefty electricity and heating bill. That’s the kind of ‘Happy New Year’ surprise you really don’t need!

At Oliver Lamps, we want to help you use your energy in the most efficient, money saving, and planet-friendly way possible. So, here are our top tips for reducing your energy consumption over Christmas, while still enjoying a merry and bright festive season!

Be LED smart

Home lighting – especially Christmas lighting – can be one of the biggest energy wasters at this time of year.

Although we don’t currently sell Christmas lights, we’d encourage you to shop with a reputable supplier and put LED Christmas lights at the top of your list when you’re choosing festive decorations. There are a lot of different types available – for your Christmas tree, around the house and outside your home – and LEDs use up to 90% LESS ENERGY than traditional incandescents. They also have an average lifespan of up to 50,000 hours, which is a whopping 48,000 HOURS LONGER than incandescent filament bulbs.

LED lights are much, much safer to use as well. A lot of people keep their Christmas lighting switched on throughout the day and night, which can be especially dangerous when using filament bulbs because there’s a high risk of fire. Even over short periods of use, filament bulbs can grow very hot very quickly, so imagine how hot they’ll become over several hours.

LED bulbs run a lot cooler than incandescents. Even though they do produce heat and may feel hot to the touch when used over prolonged periods, they produce light at a significantly lower temperature than other bulbs. In fact, an LED light in its hottest part is still only half the temperature of a halogen or incandescent bulb that emits the same amount of light. As a result, there’s much less chance that an LED bulb will catch fire AND they work at a lower voltage. LEDs are also far less likely to break, and they’re better at withstanding the cold and damp weather; that’s perfect if you want to use them to decorate the outside of your house.

And while we’re on the subject of outdoor lighting, please check out the great range of outdoor string lights we’ve got in store when we reopen at the beginning of December! Plus, even though we don’t stock Christmas lights, coloured LEDs can be just as delightful and eye-catching and can create a cheerful, inviting ambience in every home. Unlike Christmas lights, you can enjoy them the whole year round as well! We’ve recently put some fabulous, coloured LEDs in our shop window and they’re grabbing as much attention as the more conventional Christmas lights hung up around the town!

Why not pay us a visit or give us a call to find out everything we have to offer?

This is important

When you buy LED Christmas lights, DON’T buy them second-hand and DO make sure they carry the British Safety Kitemark or CE Safety Standard mark. ALWAYS inspect cables and bulbs for damage before using, replace them if they’re unsafe, and dispose of them responsibly. DON’T run cables under carpets because that’s a big fire risk and ALWAYS keep the lights away from flammable objects, pets, and curious tiny children.

Timing is everything

Of course, one of the many advantages of LED smart lighting is that you can control it at the touch of a finger, or simply by asking your Alexa or Siri to make the changes for you. After all, who wants to leave the comfort of their cosy armchair to dim the lights when they’re feeling sleepy after Christmas dinner? Or setting a timer to limit the amount of time your lights are on is also a great money-saving (and home safety) suggestion. That way, you won’t wake up in the middle of the night, worried that you forgot to turn the Christmas lights off.

Energy-efficient lighting controlled via a smart app or timer can also be a big bonus if you’re lighting up your garden or the exterior of your home. On average, a household that doesn’t use outdoor energy-efficient lighting over the Christmas period can easily add an extra £20-£30 to their energy bill.

More energy saving ideas

Not using it? Unplug it!

Turn off and unplug any electrical appliance you won’t be using over the Christmas period unless it has to remain on ‘sleep’ or ‘standby’ to function correctly. Items like computers, printers, TV and games consoles can drain a lot of energy.

Wash on a lower temperature

There always seems to be so much more clothes washing to do over Christmas, and a lot of people think that washing on a higher temperature will make their items cleaner. That often isn’t the case. If you wash your clothes with the right detergent at 30 degrees, you use up to 40% less energy.

Keep those Christmas presents working… planet-consciously!

A lot of Christmas gifts, especially children’s toys, require batteries. Instead of wasting money on disposable batteries, which can be extremely harmful to the environment and wildlife if they’re not disposed of properly, choose rechargeable batteries instead. Even though you’ll get slightly longer life from a disposable battery in high-drain devices like toys and torches, the battery life of disposable and rechargeable batteries is virtually the same in low-drain devices like remote controls and clocks. Much more importantly, you can use rechargeable batteries again and again, saving you money, frequent trips to the shops, and reducing the likelihood of very grumbly kids and dads on Boxing Day! Rechargeable batteries also use up to 60% less energy.

What’s cooking?

We tend to use the oven a lot more than usual over Christmas, but how many times do you switch the oven on and off to cook things separately, when putting several items in at the same time could save you both time and energy? A full oven uses the same amount of energy as a half-empty one, so why waste the heat? Also, a microwave uses less energy than an oven, so use your microwave as much as possible to heat up your food.

Keep warm but turn down the thermostat!

Wearing some warmer clothes or snuggling under the duvet to watch the Christmas blockbuster is a lot less expensive (and more environmentally conscious) than turning up the thermostat. Turning up your thermostat by just one or two degrees can result in a 40% increase in your energy bills!

Also, keeping curtains closed at night will retain heat inside rooms and prevent warm air from escaping through the windows, and always move furniture or bulky items away from radiators because they’ll trap the heat.

There you have it – our top tips for an energy-saving Christmas! In the meantime, don’t forget that our shop will be reopening as soon as lockdown’s eased at the start of December (check our Facebook page, website, or give us a call for opening times) and our friendly team are always here to take your calls and answer your email enquiries. If you’re looking for a stylish lighting-related Christmas present, or a classy home furnishing to brighten up your festive lounge or bedroom, you’ll be delighted by what we have in store. Give us a call on 01328 855028 or email [email protected] to find out more.