Home Appliance + Lighting Blog

Honest insights, opinions and resources about buying home appliances, lighting and plumbing

Don't Wine: Why Choose SubZero Wine Refrigerators

by Steve Sheinkopf

Lets talk about wine for a post. Wine is a living, evolving beverage unlike Coke, Sprite or Gatorade. Being a live grape versus a chemical concoction, it allows for a certain amount of spoilage. I once attended a class at the BCAE in Boston and the instructor said 3% of all wine sold in restaurants is "corked" or in layman's terms, spoiled. Under the best conditions, wine is perishable.

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Topics: Sub-Zero, LED Lighting, Refrigerators, Wine Coolers, Low Voltage Lighting

LED Vs Incandescent

by Steve Sheinkopf

We have bulbs with similar characteristics. One bulb is $50. The other is $5. Which would would you choose?

Before you answer, the $5 bulb uses $1.46 per month and the $50 uses only $.20 Further, the $5 bulb needs to be replaced every 7 months versus 20 years for the $50.
Also, the $5 heats to 300 degrees versus 0 for the $ 50, so there is some impact to your HVAC system.

We are really comparing the 7 watt LED versus the 50 watt low voltage MR16. At a $23 yearly savings in energy and replacement, The LED becomes a better value in less than two and a half years.

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Topics: LED Lighting, Low Voltage Lighting

Owens Renovation Part 2

by Steve Sheinkopf

We delivered GE Cafe appliances to Owen in yesterdays post. Today, lets look at his lighting issues. Lighting is more challenging, because there are tons of options. We also have to consider his sense of style and blend that with his new decor.

Issue 1: Glass cabinet

His glass cabinet did not leave much room for traditional strips or undercounter lighting, so we used LED tape...Nice effect (terrible pic).

Issue 2: How to light a big painting.

He had existing old recessed, but replacing with wall washers would have been inadequate. We used stainless Tech track with customized black glass heads.

Issue 3: How to light ambiguous art object.

Two ways really (for now)...Low voltage track or recessed...Owen chose the track.

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Topics: Washers, LED Lighting, Lighting, GE Cafe, Recessed Lighting, GE, Tech Lighting, Track Lighting, Low Voltage Lighting


by Steve Sheinkopf

I have been writing about LED lighting since we started the ole blog over 2 years ago. For review, LED, is 5 to 7 times more efficient than incandescent, lasts 20 years and does not emit heat, which saves HVAC costs.

Now the problems:

Problem 1: They cannot seem to manufacture LED so the color is white.

That issue has been rectified, but only by a few brands, most notably Cree, Juno and Jesco.

Problem 2: For many of the undercabinet systems, you need a "driver" or transformer. You still actually need this in many low voltage applications, but electricians hate the extra wiring.

Have a look at this:

The new Juno undercabinet...white and driverless. Available middle of February 2009.

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Topics: Cree, LED Lighting, Lighting, Recessed Lighting, Low Voltage Lighting

Inexpensive, Not Cheap

by Steve Sheinkopf

According to most blog experts, I have to connect to readers with short bursts of compelling info. In the last 2 months, I have shorten the narratives to be more hard hitting. The old stuff, in my opinion, is better for people who are looking for the nuts and bolts on renovating, etc, especially the very first blogs up to early 2007.

Shifting gears, there seems to be more housing inventory on the market lately. Unlike years previously, there are, however, tons of ways to distinguish your home inexpensively....

Let's spend less than 2600:

Complete Frigidaire Gallery kitchen with 2 colored Tech Pendants.

GE Profile Range and wine cooler.

For about $2800, how about an induction cooktop, 5 LED replacement trims and 2 low voltage french optic pendants.

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Topics: Induction Cooktops, Frigidaire, LED Lighting, GE Profile, Ranges, GE, Wine Coolers, Tech Lighting, Cooktops, Low Voltage Lighting

The Future is Almost Now

by Steve Sheinkopf

Unbelievably, I have been blogging for 2 years. I have watched LED for almost three. We have ventured to lighting shows waiting and eventually leaving disappointed.

LED is truly compelling technology. Light emitting diodes are 7 times more efficient than incandescent, last 20 times longer and do not emit heat into the room (incandescent heats to 300 degrees.)

As I have written previously, there are no standards to the lumen output of LED, so most bulbs render blue. The only white rendering recessed is LRF....

Until now LED has been almost absent in decorative...Until now...Lets look at some new products almost available....

Notice the equivalent to a 50 watt low voltage is now a 5.8 LED

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Topics: LED Lighting, Lighting, Recessed Lighting, Tech Lighting, Low Voltage Lighting

Lighting Effects......Ginger Part 2

by Steve Sheinkopf

Ah Black Friday....The next 3 plus weeks will determine the fate of half the retailers. Happily, the appliance business is fairly consistent throughout the year. Most manufacturers have some pretty interesting rebates, but I do not see a Black Friday rush to buy appliances and/or lighting. Then again, consumers may show a more practical side

About 2 weeks ago, I had a request for different bulbs and their effects especially in recessed lighting. Lighting effects are determined by the Kelvin scale. The lower number, around 2000 degrees, is decent, warm lighting. The higher end, 5000 degrees, is considered unflattering light. Commercial fluorescents and actually sunlight fit this category.

So lets look.


Although the bulb should be outlawed for its inefficiency, the bulb renders especially well casting a warm, yellow glow.


Great question would be to ask which type. Color rendering fluorescents are actually pretty good at around 2800-3500 degrees Kelvin and are 4 times more efficient than incandescent.


State of the art in all ways. It renders similar to an incandescent or low voltage bulb and is 6 times more efficient with 20 times the lamp life. Of course not all LED renders the same. Read some of our more recent posts about this lighting technology

Low Voltage

Low voltage is currently the standard for upscale homes. It is actually whiter or higher on the Kelvin scale than incandescent, but by only 200 degrees. This whiter temperature actually shows granites and cabinets better than incandescent.

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Topics: LED Lighting, Lighting, Compact Fluorescent, Rebates, Recessed Lighting, Tech Lighting, Low Voltage Lighting

The Culprits...Part 1

by Steve Sheinkopf

17% of all energy is consumed in your home, which ironically is the same energy expended by every motor vehicle in this country. We could save a fortune as consumers by eliminating the 3 main offenders. With electricity increasing, better technologies will save more money in a shorter period.

Culprit Number 1: The Incandescent Bulb

It is amazing to me this product still exists. The technology is from 1803 and was first mass produced in 1876. 90% of its consumed energy is heat, while only 10% is actual light, so you are also paying for additional HVAC in the summer. Also, incandescent lasts only 7 months, so keep the ladder handy. Incandescent in all its forms, which includes low voltage and halogen, is wasting tons of energy and costing you money.

Heck, I would love to say buy the LED. LED emits zero heat, has a 20 year lamp life, and is 7-8 times more powerful than incandescent. Other than some isolated fixtures, LED is still expensive with a long payback on the bulb side.

Color rendering fluorescent is a great replacement. It is much cooler and lasts 10 times longer than an incandescent. It is 70% efficient as opposed to 10%, so its payback is probably less than a year.

We will look at appliances on Monday.

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Topics: LED Lighting, Compact Fluorescent, Low Voltage Lighting

LED Vs Low Voltage Recessed Lighting

by Steve Sheinkopf

Low voltage recessed is the standard for mid to upscale residential task lighting. Low voltage is aptly named, because there is a transformer in the fixture. This transformer converts the 120 volt household current to 12 volt. The 12 volt 50 watt bulb casts a whiter light than a regular incandescent light, and thus illuminates the counters, tile and cabinets in a better shade of light.

Low Voltage

Led Recessed

How does a new LED compare? This is a direct comparason between a LED can and a low voltage(not as LED with a Low voltage can)

Energy Efficiency: No-brainer here...After all, low voltage is still incandescent. At 11 watts, the LED will emit more light than a 50 watt low voltage bulb. Also, LED is a cool bulb and the low voltage bulb will heat to 300 degrees.

Color: Interestingly enough, LED is better color at 2700 degrees versus 3500 for low voltage.

Style: LED is new and limited whereas low voltage has every design option imaginable. Of course most people still prefer white, which is featured for both.

Lamp Life: 20 years for LED, 7 months for low voltage.

Price: The reason for this post...LED is actually cheaper by about $30 per fixture
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Topics: LED Lighting, Lighting, Recessed Lighting, Low Voltage Lighting

The Rest Room

by Steve Sheinkopf

Lets look at the bathroom at Yale.


Its a little over the top with granite and marble. Consumers at least subconsciously associate clean bathrooms with competence and dirty bathrooms as a sign of an impending issue. Our bathroom features some really interesting Green products...Look again.

The wall sconce employs 3 13 watt compact fluorescent bulbs. Fluorescent is great with white shades especially with a color rendering bulb. The lumen difference is 39 fluorescent watts versus 180 incandescent


The recessed use a 6 watt LED 12 volt bulb. Great color and 6 watts are very similar to a 35-40 watt low voltage bulb. Thus, the lumen difference is 160 low voltage to 24 watt LED. At $50 a piece, they are a tad expensive. With a 20 year lamp life, I will not be changing them anytime soon.


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Topics: LED Lighting, Compact Fluorescent, Recessed Lighting, Low Voltage Lighting

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A note about pricing

Pricing on this blog is for reference only and may include time sensitive rebates. We make every attempt to provide accurate pricing at time of publishing.

Please call the store for most accurate price.