The Difference Between LED Lights and Regular Light Bulbs

lightsIf you are considering replacing your current lighting system with new residential LED lights, then you are probably reviewing all of the information about this technology and what such a change requires. However, if you aren’t knowledgeable about the differences between the two, you may be hesitant to pay the upfront costs that come with installing residential LED lights.

First, you will want to make sure you know what they are and how they work. This type of light gets its name from the fact that it is based off a light emitting diode. In fact, these little plastic pieces are not bulbs at all but rather are very small semiconductors that have been cordoned off and separated by a plastic dome. This dome helps to protect the light that is being emitted as well as focuses it on a specific area.



LED Boat Lighting: LED Anchor Lights and Skimping on Safety

One of the more nerve wracking issues many boaters face is being able to safely anchor for extended periods when on long cruises. Some of the worst stories you’ll hear involve folks who found what they thought was a safe anchorage well away from regular traffic, only to wake in the middle of the night to find another vessel bearing down on them in the darkness. Unfortunately, this is just as often the fault of the boat owner as it is the owner of the underway vessels’. Too many boaters assume because they are well removed from the lanes of normal traffic and in what appears to be a fairly acceptable position, that they are thus safe from potential collisions, and so think nothing of saving a few amps of power by not running a dedicated anchor light. Even worse, some boaters tend to utilize anchor lights which are woefully inadequate or improperly placed, making its use really a moot point. If you doubt the reality of all this, simply take the time to note at sunset how many vessels are anchored nearby the next time you are out, and then how many all around anchor lights you see illuminated once darkness falls. Chances are you’ll be more than a little surprised.

It really is unfortunate that many boaters fail to give enough attention to their anchor lighting. Although it is true that an anchor light producing the standard minimum visibility as outlined in Inland Navigational rules can create a substantial drain on battery reserves over the course of a night, the potential consequences of not running one, and the energy efficient options available, really take away any justification for not running one. It simply is not worth the risk of collision, or the fines and citations that come with being out of compliance, just to reduce the drain on your power reserves. There are safer ways to save power and still maintain compliance, and all it takes is a little knowledge and willingness to try something new. images

The full text of Navigational Rules can be found online at the USCG’s website, and they outline what you as a boater need to know in order to maintain safe and compliant lighting operation. Rule 30 in particular references anchored and aground vessels, and we’ll include it here for convenience.

“Rule 30 – Anchored Vessels and Vessels Aground”
(a) A vessel at anchor shall exhibit where it can best be seen: (i) in the fore part, an all-round white light or one ball;
(ii) at or near the stern and at a lower level than the light prescribed in subparagraph (i), an all-round white light.
(b) A vessel of less than 50 meters in length may exhibit an all-round white light where it can best be seen instead of the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule.
(c) A vessel at anchor may, and a vessel of 100 meters and more in length shall, also use the available working or equivalent lights to illuminate her decks.
(d) A vessel aground shall exhibit the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) or (b) of this Rule and in addition, if practicable, [Inld] where they can best be seen; (i) two all-round red lights in a vertical line;
(ii) three balls in a vertical line.
(e) A vessel of less than 7 meters in length, when at anchor not in or near a narrow channel, fairway or where other vessels normally navigate, shall not be required to exhibit the shape prescribed in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this Rule.
(f) A vessel of less than 12 meters in length, when aground, shall not be required to exhibit the lights or shapes prescribed in subparagraphs (d)(i) and (ii) of this Rule.
(g) A vessel of less than 20 meters in length, when at anchor in a special anchorage area designated by the Secretary, shall not be required to exhibit the anchor lights and shapes required by this Rule.



Home Inspection Tools: What You’ll Need For Your Home Inspection Business

images (2)So you’ve completed home inspection training and finished all your certifications. Now it’s time to go shopping. There’s always been a debate over what you should or should not inspect and what kinds of tools you should use or not use in the field. This guide isn’t meant to tell you what you should or should not inspect, but rather give you a list of the most common tools that home inspectors use and let you decide for yourself. Here is a general list of home inspection tools that many inspectors own:

Tool belt and carry bag: A large carry bag will carry all your bigger items and accessories. A tool belt is usually used to carry a flash light and smaller items such as electrical testers and screwdrivers.

Flashlights: Most inspectors have at least two or three flashlights. A very handy light is a head light that is used hands free for attics and crawl spaces. You’ll also need a large spot light type in case there are areas you can’t get to. A small pocket light is also convenient to carry in your front pocket for quick access.

Screw drivers: Screw drivers are used for various tasks. You never want to be without a variety of them.

Shoe covers: Keeping a fresh supply of shoe covers will keep home owners and realtors happy. The cheap thin plastic blue ones work just fine and will keep you from tracking dirt and mud all over the house. These can be purchased in bulk from most tool supply companies.

Inspection Mirror: A telescoping inspection mirror will help you inspect those hard to reach areas. Typical sizes are 1 ½” round mirrors and 2″ x 3″ rectangular.

Measuring tape: Tape measures are used for different measurements such as room size and window height. Many times the home buyer will need one to measure for furniture so it’s always nice to lend them yours if they don’t have one.

Electrical GFCI outlet tester: A GFCI tester is used to test the proper function of GFCI outlets and will also detect non grounded outlets, switched wires, and a few other things. The cost of an inexpensive model is around $12-$20. You can also purchase the more expensive digital testers that have more features and capabilities. These can cost up to a few hundred dollars.

Ladders: Most inspectors carry at least one extendable ladder and one step ladder. The little giant series makes a great product but make sure to get the non-conductive type. Aluminum ladders don’t go well with power lines. There is also a ladder called Xtend and Climb which seems to be fairly popular.

Binoculars: Some inspectors walk on the roof and some don’t, it’s a personal choice. If you do decide to walk on the roof there may still be times when it’s unsafe to climb on the roof. It’s always nice to have a good set of binoculars in case you need to inspect from your ladder.

Digital camera: A good digital camera is a must have these days. Clients expect to see color photos of any discrepancies that you find. A decent quality camera will make it much easier to focus in low light areas and get you a clear shot the first time around. You can find good quality used cameras on eBay for around $100-$200.

Combustible Gas Detector and carbon monoxide tester: These are used for checking gas leaks and carbon monoxide. You can purchase these separately or buy an all in one tool that will check both.

Voltage Detector: A good voltage tester can save your life. Instead of using the back of your hand to test for voltage, pick up a voltage detector for panel covers and rogue wires.

Probe (a sharpened Phillips screwdriver works well): A probe is a good tool to use to check for termite damage and dry rot.

Thermometer: A good thermometer will help you check the outside temperature and also test the AC system. There are several different options available, including infrared versions that can test temperatures from several feet away.