Socket Science


Replacing your burnt-out light bulbs has become a more confusing task of late, not just because of recent legislation that means some products will no longer be available, but because of the dizzying array of new products on store shelves. Below is a guide to help you find the right bulb for the job.

  • Watts: It may surprise some to learn that watts don’t refer to a bulb’s brightness, but to it’s energy use. The lower the watts, the less energy the bulb consumes, and the cheaper it is to use.
  • Lumens: Lumens measure the amount of light output – the higher the lumens, the brighter the bulb. Being able to compare the lumens (brightness) of bulbs of the same wattage (energy consumption) is very handle for determining which bulb is more efficient.
  • Color Temperature: Despite being measured in Kelvins (K), color temperature refers not to heat but to light appearance. At the bottom of the scale (2,700K to 3,000K) is “warm” or “soft” light, that yellowish glow we associate with traditional incandescent; in the middle of the scale (3,500K-4,100K) is “cool” or “bright” light; and closer to the top of the scale (5,000K-6,500K) is”daylight”, that bluish light that’s been a source of complaint for many CFL and LED light bulb purchasers.
  • ENERGY STAR: Light bulbs bearing the ENERGY STAR logo have met strict, third-party tested and certified standards of energy efficiency; as a result, they use 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs.

As incandescent light bulbs disappear from stores, let’s look at the three basic types of bulbs you’ll have to choose from for your indoor lighting needs:

  • Halogen: These bulbs are as close as you’ll get to traditional incandescent’s. They look the same, offer comparable light quality, are dimmer-compatible, and produce light the same way. Unlike incandescent’s, they use halogen gas (which isn’t hazardous), making them slightly more energy-efficient. Costing more and lasting longer than incandescent’s, halogens are a suitable choice for ambient, general lighting. Just don’t touch their glass and be warned that they get very hot.
  • CFL: Compact fluorescent light bulbs are a significant step up from halogens in terms of cost, energy efficiency, and lifespan. Their life is shortened by frequent on/off switching, though, so they’re  best used where they can be left on at length. Common complaints – the bluish hue, long warm-up time, and lock of dimmer-compatibility – are being addressed by manufacturers. Containing a small amount of mercury, CFLs require special cleanup and disposal methods.
  • LED: Slightly more energy-efficient and significantly more costly than CFLs, light-emitting diode bulbs are much, much longer lasting, making them far and away the most cost-effective option. Unlike halogens and CFLs, however, LEDs are unidirectional, meaning they cast light in only one direction; as such, they’re best used where bright, focused (or task) lighting is needed, While LEDs are dimmable, many bulbs are compatible only with certain dimmers.



Balancing Act

Buy before selling or sell before buying? That’s the dilemma every homeowner must eventually face. The former choice is often the more problematic one for the following reasons:

  • First and most obviously, you’ll be saddled with two mortgages to pay. Few people can afford to carry that burden for even a short period of time. Even fewer can handle it indefinitely, which leads us to the next problem….
  • The market could cool down. If there’s a downturn after you buy your next home, and you still have a property to sell, you could be on the hook for two mortgages for weeks, or even months longer than you’d bargained for.
  • Prices could drop. If they do, the property you still need to unload could sell for significantly less money than you’d anticipated or were counting on – an especially precarious position to be in when you’ve already purchased your next home.
  • Buying before selling can weaken your position as a buyer. Given a choice, sellers typically would rather not deal with a buyer whose money is tied up in another property or whose offer is conditional upon first selling their home.
  • Buying before selling can weaken your position as a seller. Unless you can afford to carry those two mortgages, you’ll nee dot sell fast; under pressure of deadline, you may need to accept an offer you otherwise wouldn’t consider,

Dealing with a home sale and a home purchase can be a difficult juggling act. For help keeping all the balls in the air, talk to us and your mortgage adviser – We’re here to discuss your options and figure out which makes the most sense for you.


Safe Summer Fun

Whether you’re outside spending quality time with the kids, or entertaining some friends, make summer fun at your house safer for your family and guests with these tips. Although they sound self explanatory, it is always great to get a quick reminder!


  • The Grill: Keep it at least three feet from anything flammable; ensure propane-tank fitting aren’t loose, rusty, or cracked, and that there’s no leak in the hose; shut the gas valve off after every use.
  • The Pool: Prevent accidental drownings by enclosing the pool with non-climbable fencing, secured by a sturdy lock; using a pool cover; and/or installing a pool alarm that detects splashes.
  • Tools: Don’t leave potentially dangerous equipment – hammers, nails, saws, rakes – laying around, and make sure tools with blades – pruning shears, lawnmowers, weed trimmers – aren’t accessible to children. Turn power tools off and unplug all electrical equipment after use.
  • Chemicals: They can help beautify your landscaping and clean the pool, but they’re poisonous if ingested, so ensure children and pets can’t access weed killers, plant and lawn fertilizers and pool chemicals, for example.
  • Decking: Check that connections are secure, especially where your decking attached to your house. Look for sagging; loose, warped, splintering, or rotting boards; railings that wiggle; sinking footings; and protruding nails.
  • Playground Equipment: Ensure that hardware isn’t loose or rusty; ropes aren’t frayed; wood isn’t rotting or splintering; legs are securely anchored; and platforms and hand guardrails are sound.

Of course it’s important to remember that none of these tips are a substitute for supervision, so get outside and enjoy the good weather, keeping these tips in mind!