Buying Guides – Recycling & Product Disposal

When your products have reached the end of their useable life, ensuring that you either recycle or dispose of them responsibly is something we feel very strongly about. A surprisingly large amount of refuse can be recycled – up to 60% of rubbish that currently ends up in a dustbin could have been recycled. At a time when conserving as much energy as possible is more important, environmentally and economically, than ever – it costs more money to make products from raw materials than recycled ones, meaning prices will have to go up – it is as good a time as any to start recycling.

Effects on the Environment

Whilst not recycling means that we waste a valuable potential energy source, disposing of products incorrectly can have an actively detrimental effect on the environment. Harmful greenhouse gases and chemicals are emitted from waste in landfill sites. Add this to the fact that disposing of certain rubbish without due care can be hazardous to your own health and you have an exhaustive list of reasons to recycle and dispose of waste appropriately.

So, what can you do?

Here at Lyco, we have provided an in-depth series of guides into helping you make the most out of our products after they have served their purpose, and ensure that they don’t do any damage to the environment. Read through the various methods by which you can recycle and dispose of light bulbs, appliances, chemicals and plastics, and play your part in helping to make our world a wonderful place to be in the future.

Old Light Bulbs

You can easily recycle old light bulbs by taking them to waste disposal sites – usually run by the local council – which have allocated areas for light bulbs. They pose a problem for home recycling because they are made up of both glass and metal. Ikea can also recycle household light bulbs.

Energy Saving Lighting

Lighting is often one of the biggest issues when it comes to energy wastage. With homes, offices and factories up and down the country using lights at various times throughout the day, energy consumption can soon add up. In some industries lighting is essential throughout the day for health and safety reasons, however even where light fittings are in constant use, there is always room to make savings.

Creative Recyling

If your light bulb has burned out but is still intact, there are a number of arts & crafts ways to recycle it. You can remove the bottom and insides and place it in a spring metal eggcup to use as a vase, or you could create an original decorative display by painting and stringing up a series of bulbs. There are plenty more ideas online. Try visiting here for instructions on how to make a faux birdhouse or create Christmas-themed light bulbs. Think up your own ideas too!

Energy-Saving Bulbs

There has been recent focus on the dangers of disposing of energy-saving bulbs. Because they contain small amounts of mercury, disposing of them in a normal waste bin could be problematic for the environment later down the line. Instead, it is best to take them either back to the retailer – provided they are members of the Distributor Takeback Scheme – if the bulb is intact, or to a local waste disposal site if broken.

Extra Tips

If you place the used light bulb in a sealable bag before disposing of it with other refuse, it won’t cut open the bin liner if it breaks up during transport. Always use rubber gloves too, and try to avoid inhaling the dust from broken light bulbs.

Worn Out Appliances

There are a number of beneficial things you can do with old appliances rather than simply throwing them away. There is so much emphasis on recycling plastics, paper, aluminium, glass and general waste that worn out appliances often get neglected, leaving people unsure what to do with them.

Recycling Prospects

Most dealers are now obliged to accept your old appliance upon delivery of the new one. If not, they should be able to advise you on where best to take it. Ensure that they are a part of a recycling programme though or you could find it just ends up in a landfill site anyway. All importers, rebranders and manufacturers of electrical goods are now required to comply with WEEE (Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment) regulations. WEEE is a directive dedicated to reducing the amount of electrical and electronic equipment produced, and encouraging everybody to recycle and reuse it. If returning a product isn’t possible, you can take the appliance to a waste & recycling centre; your local council will usually run one of these. Staff there can advise you on how best to dispose of or recycle your particular appliance.


If you are simply replacing the appliance and it is not defunct, why not try seeing if anybody else will take it off your hands? If there is nobody locally or on the Internet that will claim it, you can try relevant charities and organisations.

Environmental Benefits

Recycling your appliances keeps harmful chemicals out of landfill sites and consequently the atmosphere. Also, useful resources can be recovered that would otherwise had to have been harvested from raw materials, saving energy and money.

Buying Guides – Energy Saving Advice

With environmental issues becoming a greater global concern, governments and individuals everywhere are increasingly looking for ways to increase their awareness and decrease their carbon footprint. Coupled with spiraling energy prices, both ethical practices and budgetary restrictions are making people everywhere take more notice of consumption and the ways in which it can be reduced.

Cut Costs & Help the Environment

Here at Lyco we purposely source a wide range of products offering the best available energy ratings and we also try to ensure our customers are suitably informed about the items that offer the best comparative savings. This section is dedicated to giving you a more detailed insight into the ways in which you, your family and even your company can help lower your energy consumption and cut costs.

Energy Saving Products

From electric appliances to the choice of lightbulbs used in your light fittings, everything can contribute towards your overall energy usage. Our range of guides are designed to help customers drive down those energy bills and subsequently decrease your environmental impact; effectively killing two birds with one stone, and all without having any significant outlay of time or cash. So if youre looking for a little inspiration on how to go green and cut costs look no further than right here at Lyco.

Reducing Energy Bills

Many homes and businesses have been hit by the hikes in energy bills over the past few years, leading some to seek ways in which to reduce their consumption and therefore limit the impact of these rises in costs. Fortunately alternatives are available in abundance these days; whether its as simple as replacing standard incandescent bulbs with energy-saving options, or something a little more complex, such as creating alternative electricity sources, such as wind powered turbines or solar panels, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Energy Saving Lighting

Lighting is often one of the biggest issues when it comes to energy wastage. With homes, offices and factories up and down the country using lights at various times throughout the day, energy consumption can soon add up. In some industries lighting is essential throughout the day for health and safety reasons, however even where light fittings are in constant use, there is always room to make savings.

Efficient, Long-lasting LEDs

The first, and possibly most obvious change is to the light bulbs themselves. There are low-energy alternatives to a wide variety of conventional, and even some more specialist light bulbs and lamps available. LED bulbs are one such example; providing effective and long-lasting lighting, this hugely efficient solution has become a popular alternative for a number of normal light fittings such as spotlights and GU10 downlights. Requiring only a couple of watts to function fully and lasting up to 50,000 hours, LEDs are a modern lighting solution that could help you make savings both now and in the future.

Versatile Low Energy Light Bulbs

CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light) bulbs have been available for a good number of years. The modern incarnations are becoming even more energy efficient and providing an extended life-span, to help further boost your own overall efficiency. Designed as a like-for-like replacement for incandescent light bulbs, they are designed for Bayonet and Screw fittings, offer varying light colour levels and come in a selection of styles and sizes to fit most areas.

Always check energy ratings on any light bulbs you purchase. At Lyco we always include this rating information to better help your decision. In essence it is a rolling scale of efficiency based around a simple colour-coordinated lettering system running from dark green A (the most efficient) through to Red G (the least efficient).

Most CFL, LED and other purposely energy-saving light bulbs fall into the A category; which effectively means that they can be anywhere up to 90% more efficient than an incandescent bulb. Not only do these bulbs save money on your bills now, theyll also reduce maintenance costs in the future thanks to their elongated lifespan; so they really do provide an accessible and extremely viable alternative to traditional bulbs.

Maintain a Comfortable Temperature for Less

Another major cause of excess energy usage is often heating. Buildings, particularly larger offices, shops and factories, use a great deal of energy, be it gas or electricity, maintaining a comfortable working temperature. Due to various legislations and of course employee satisfaction, many businesses have to ensure that the temperature remains at a decent level throughout the year, which can either mean pumping in warm air during the winter and air conditioned cool air in summer.

Obviously where rules and regulations dictate, and where employees health and well-being are concerned, you cant cut corners in heating; therefore other avenues need to be explored in order to reduce bills. As with homes, insufficient insulation is often a cause of heat-loss, so this is something to be considered. Obviously, its not viable for many places to start overhauling large parts of the building in order to install insulation; but this can provide a long-term solution to energy bill woes, despite initial cost and upheaval.

Eradicating Drafts from Doors & Windows

Windows are another culprit in energy wastage. Most modern buildings have incorporated UPVC double or triple glazing, which provides excellent heat retention; however where older windows are still in place and sealant has been worn out, a new installation could well provide an effective solution.

Drafty doors can also be a nuisance. Where they are being left open constantly you might consider internal or external door closers. These relatively cheap additions automatically close the door at a pace that is adjustable after a person enters or leaves the room, ensuring only a minimal amount of warmth escapes.

Energy Saving Heaters

Where you are perhaps only using a few rooms, or a limited space at any one time, you may not require heat or cooling throughout the entire building area. In these instances you may simply require a standalone electric heater. There are dozens of heaters, dehumidifiers and air conditioners available, each one serving a different purpose and ideally suited for a range of situations. From the standard convector heater that emits constant, adjustable warmth to a powerful workshop heater that provides high temperature pulses to warm up cold airy spaces.

Where individual rooms and areas cant control their climate individually, a heater can really help drive down energy costs. Relatively low operating costs and the flexibility to be moved around and used only when necessary, make them an invaluable resource for many homes and businesses throughout the country. Here at Lyco we offer a full selection of heaters for every purpose, so to start cutting down your energy bills now, check out our extensive range.

Long Life & Low Energy

When you’re using lights almost constantly, replacement bulbs and energy usage can really start to put a hole in your budget. Some businesses require round the clock lighting; this is particularly prevalent in hotels and other public buildings that have 24 hour occupation. In this type of environment it is of greater importance to ensure that each lamp lasts as long as possible and can run to optimal efficiency, without of course undermining lighting standards.

Save Time, Money & the Environment

Purchasing a long life bulb or lamp may initially set you back a little more than if you were to go for the standard filament based incandescent alternative, however this will usually more than pay for itself over the course of its lifetime. In maintenance alone, the extra long life of a fluorescent or LED lamp will help reduce costs and time wastage as they wont have to be replaced for years. Whilst in a home environment this may not be the biggest overriding factor, in the workplace where lighting can be in awkward places and there could be literally hundreds of bulbs to service, it reduces the maintenance workload significantly.

Low Energy Lighting Solutions

Combining longevity with low energy consumption provides the perfect balance for any ecologically minded individual or company. Requiring only a fraction of the energy of a traditional filament bulb, you can really enjoy some significant savings. CFL bulbs and other fluorescents can function using up to 80% less power, which equates to a big boost for both your finances and green credentials. The diversity of the modern energy saving bulbs has helped to drive down costs; established companies like GE and Sylvania are competing with new light bulb manufacturers, all of whom produce fantastic quality bulbs that will last year after year.

There are a few select situations where low energy bulbs cant replicate the colour accuracy of its traditional alternative; however these really are few and far between these days. With an increased drive to be environmentally aware and cut down our impact on the earth and its resources, light bulbs are one of the easiest and cheapest ways to make a difference.

Improving your Green Credentials

In the age of off-setting and huge companies such as BT, Kingfisher and Philips vying for recognition as global leaders in the push for carbon neutral status, businesses and homes across the country and throughout the world are exploring every available avenue for reducing energy wastage. Financially and ecologically long life and low energy lamps are a giant leap forwards and doubtless the already fantastic technology will continue to improve, both in terms of efficiency and in variety.

Low Voltage Lighting Alternatives

With energy prices soaring and environmental issues becoming of increasing importance to individuals and companies around the world, many of us are looking at ways in which we can reduce our consumption. Lighting is an integral part of daily life; whether its in the workplace or at home we need to maintain constant levels to ensure safety. To avoid stumbling around in the darkness and causing endless damage, we have to find viable lighting alternatives that provide exceptional coverage whilst using only a fraction of their outmoded predecessors.

Choosing Fluorescent Bulbs over Filaments

Manufacturers have been working tirelessly to find the perfect balance between energy consumption and optimum lighting levels. As the technology has developed, prices have continued to lower and the variety of low energy alternatives has steadily increased. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) paved the way for energy saving lighting in the work place and home, providing a viable alternative to traditional incandescent filament bulbs. Featuring a longer life and up to 80% greater efficiency they really helped to kick start the low energy lighting revolution.

The technology for CFL bulbs is certainly nothing new, with the modern incarnation being developed in the 1970s; although even this model actually drew inspiration from a photographic aid developed by Peter Cooper Hewitt way back in the 1890s. In the decades that have since past, the designs have become increasingly streamlined, the cost has dipped vastly and the range of alternatives is unceasing.

Increasing Diversity of Fluorescent Lamps

Fluorescent remains one of the most popular energy saving lighting solutions, with bulbs found in offices, factories and homes throughout the world. Developments in their manufacturing processes has allowed for a far greater range of colouration, including a reduction in the crisp white lighting that they became known for, to better reflect a more traditional softer shades of an incandescent bulb. The shapes, sizes and fitting types have also been broadened to incorporate a full spectrum of everyday lighting sources and even some specialist products. With the lowering costs of low energy fluorescent lights and the numerous environmental and financial benefits that are associated with their use, excuses to remain with inferior and inefficient alternatives are few and far between.

Long Life & Low Energy LED Lights

However fluorescent lighting isnt the only source of low energy luminescence. LEDs are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to many traditional lamps and bulbs. With uses as diverse as Christmas lights and car headlights, these powerful little bulbs have revolutionised the low energy lighting options. These long lasting bulbs have been incorporated into a range of domestic and commercial lights, providing a like-for-like replacement for a variety of fittings including halogen GU10 fittings and other spotlights. Requiring as little as 1watt of power and lasting anything up to 50,000 hours, operational costs are extremely low and energy efficiency is unparalleled.

LED Lighting V Halogen

Halogen and LED lights have become two of the leading alternatives to conventional incandescent filament-based bulbs. Featuring a fantastic bright glow, often generated using far less energy than traditional alternatives, they have both become a key part of modern home and commercial lighting solutions. But what is it that differentiates them and, more importantly, which one’s right for you?

High Powered Halogen Lighting

Halogen bulbs are an extremely versatile and potentially highly powerful lighting source. Whether used in car headlights or shop downlights, they are powerful enough to illuminate an area with a crisp, clear light, far brighter than any conventional alternative. Halogen lights are commonly used in displays as they are able to provide fantastic colour reproduction. Using a range of reflectors, including the most widely-used dichroic version, halogen bulbs are able to create various effects and produce different levels of lighting strength.

Long-lasting Low Voltage LEDs

LED lights are often used as an alternative to halogen bulbs. Using the same type of reflector technology to spread or concentrate the beams of light, particularly in spotlights, they are a highly effective at producing exceptional lighting solutions. Better still, LEDs have a mind-boggling lifespan, which makes them ideally suited for long-term installations or areas where lights are continually flicked on and off. To back up their longevity, they’re also extremely economical both in terms of energy usage and financial outlay; making them a very good environmentally friendly option.

As LEDs are very small – both in stature and luminance – their output individually isn’t fantastic, certainly not enough to light a room. Therefore in order to create sufficient light for a viable bulb most utilise a number of individual LEDs strategically clumped together, often with reflectors to boost or concentrate the lights beam.

Versatile Multi-functional Lights

Due to the versatility, longevity and beam strength of both LED and halogen lamps, they tend to each have a variety of specialist uses in order to make full use these qualities. Halogens have become particularly popular as the lighting choice for the lights on modern vehicles, including cars and bikes. They are also an increasingly regular sight on film sets, with high power beams providing perfect floodlighting for outdoor shoots and bright studios. Professionals, including dentists and doctors have also used the fantastic strength in procedures where increased visibility is a blessing.

As alluded to earlier, LED technology is becoming an increasingly popular lighting choice in all manner of environments, mostly due to their excellent lifespan and low running costs. Commercial buildings, including offices, factories and hotels have been quick to snaffle up the economical light bulbs to replace existing fittings. As the diversity of the bulbs increases, so do the range of applications. But regardless of whether being used as a decorative light or a functional candle, they have helped millions save money on energy bills as well as reducing their environmental impact.

Positive Contemporary Lighting Alternatives

So for a low voltage versatile bulb with excellent economy, an LED is hard to beat. They are used in spotlights, candle bulbs and a whole host of other decorative and functional ways, just as halogens are. However halogen lamps tend to be able to offer a far superior direct beam of light, possibly too harsh for a homely environment, but where safety and direct lighting are required it is certainly a highly viable alternative.

In the Office

Low energy lighting can be a benefit anywhere. Whilst the office workspace can utilise it in different ways to the home, it still has the same advantages of reduced energy bills for the company, and a lessened carbon footprint. There are many permanent and semi-permanent solutions. You can install low voltage track or recessed lighting, or you can use low voltage surface mounts, button lights or light bars. In a world ever more conscious of energy-saving, and amidst financial crisis, businesses that can embrace energy-efficient lighting solutions will help to maximise their profits and make their business look better.

Low Voltage Halogen Lamps

Low voltage lamps are the optimum easy-to-achieve low energy lighting solution for your office workspace. Halogen task lamps are specifically designed for your desktop. A lot of low energy lighting systems work by making the lighting lower and less bright; this won’t work as well in an office workspace where good lighting is essential. Halogen task lamps are energy-efficient and easily maneuverable, and they illuminate your work in a very strong way. These lamps are available in a large range of sizes, colours and styles, so there’ll always be something that suits your office.

Button Lights

Button lights are ideal for the office workspace environment because they can be surface mounted or recessed and are an excellent light source when a small powerful light is needed – such as an office would require. They are low voltage and can be used in conjunction with a dimming system, giving you a wide range of lighting choices when working.

Revolutionary LED Technology

As with compact fluorescent bulbs, LED lighting can provide an outstanding low energy lighting alternative for your office workspace. Since it is likely that you will spend a lot of extended periods of time in your office, it is worth noting that the LED lifespan can reach 50,000 hours continuous use. Being 80% energy efficient in comparison to incandescent bulbs’ 10% energy efficiency, the benefits of using LED technology start to add up. They are also very bright, which is necessary for a working environment. Whilst still a developing area in the market, LED technology is being embraced by businesses that are sure to save massively in the future.

In the Home

Low energy lighting can benefit your home in many ways. Not only does it reduce the cost of your energy bills, but it is good for the environment too. Additional advantages are that it is relatively easy to install and actually better suited to a lot of home lighting tasks than regular energy alternatives. There are many ways you can achieve low energy lighting in and around your home.

Landscaping Application

Low energy lighting systems used around the home are ideal for illuminating paths, porches and gardens. The soft, low lighting not only saves you money on your energy bills, but creates an inviting atmosphere too. This means you can enjoy various outdoor activities in the evening without having to worry about the energy consumption of your lights. To achieve this, it is as simple as fitting a low voltage transformer to an already existing outdoor outlet.

Track Lighting & Trim Lighting

Track & trim lighting systems are ideal ways of introducing your home to low energy lighting. Track lighting can accentuate certain architectural areas of your home, as well as giving it an ambient, warm feeling in the evenings. Trim lighting in the kitchen is effective in similar ways. Indoor lighting in this fashion can be fitted by an electrician, who can wire a low voltage transformer into your electrical supply.

Fluorescent Lighting

Fluorescent lighting is far more energy efficient than regular lighting. The average fluorescent tube light can be up to 60% energy efficient. These require that your home is equipped with the ability to house them though. Compact fluorescent bulbs are the easiest way to create low voltage lighting in your home. They save much more energy than incandescent bulbs, are long-lasting and very easy to come by too. Nothing new needs to be installed, and no professionals need to be consulted – you simply purchase the bulbs and fit them as you would any other, then watch your energy bills drop.

Buying Guides – Industrial & Commercial Lighting

Lighting is a key component in the design of any industrial and commercial building; helping to achieve the desired effect and function. Whether it’s in the restaurant or a shop, appropriate lighting products will encourage customers to relax and linger a while.

Functional Light Fittings

In office and on the factory floors lighting is an important consideration when helping to create a pleasant and productive atmosphere. Obviously depending on the specific environment, function and design aspects differ greatly.

Decorative Commercial Lighting

In a hotel for example, decorative lighting is an important feature of interior design, underscoring the desired mood and shaping the hotel’s identity. Similar considerations also apply to buildings designed to perform a public service, such as a library or a hospital. A suitable lighting design will work in harmony with the form and function of the building.

Public buildings and Health & Safety

Buildings occupied by public authorities and institutions providing public services to a large number of people involve a wide range of lighting requirements. There are also significant Health & Safety issues to consider. Designing the right lighting system should take into account how the illumination can affect both the identity and mood of a building as well as its primary function.

Lighting Public Buildings

The size, style and function of public buildings vary enormously – each fulfilling its own particular requirement. The use of lighting in these buildings is primarily driven by the needs of the people who occupy them. A successful lighting solution will satisfy both the demands of the task being undertaken and address the ambience of the building, thus resulting in an environment that is illuminated appropriately for all those within its confines.

Health & Safety

There are a number of issues to consider relating to the well-being of the staff and visitors that occupy public buildings. As far as visitors are concerned, it is primarily a matter of balancing safety with openness. For staff, it is necessary to provide appropriate illumination for the task being accomplished while taking into consideration such things as colour rendering and flicker.

Office Lighting

Office lighting design must be integrated with the architectural design to ensure an optimum working environment that is both comfortable and productive. The most commonly installed types of office lighting are recessed direct lights and ceiling or furniture mounted indirect lights.

Recessed Direct Lighting

Recessed direct lighting is an attractive solution because firstly, fixtures are easy to install and secondly they are relatively inexpensive. They also come in a great variety of sizes suitable for numerous different ceiling conditions.

The downside of recessed direct lighting is the glare on computer screens which can be caused even when shielded by lenses or louvers. However, it should be noted that this is much less of a problem than it used to be as screen technology has dramatically improved in recent years.

Ceiling-Mounted Indirect Lighting

Indirect lighting systems typically conceal unattractive light sources. Sometime, this method of lighting an office can create a slightly disorienting feeling, so an indirect solution that provides a minimal sense of the light’s origin at the very least is preferable. On many fixtures, this effect is produced using diffusers, lenses or perforated metal panels.

Furniture-Mounted Indirect Lighting

When fixtures are attached to a wall or partition systems at a height of 150cm for example, a reasonable light distribution is produced without creating ‘hot spots’. In addition, this solution provides the ultimate in flexibility, allowing each individual user to arrange their own lighting set up. The potential difficulty with furniture-mounted lighting is that safety regulations typically require such fixtures to be hard-wired, thus limiting their flexibility.

Retail Display Lighting

Lighting plays a crucial part in extremely competitive modern retail industry. In addition, retailers are recognising the significant operating cost of lighting and are looking for effective ways to reduce their expenditure.

Lighting for Diverse Outlets

The bottom line of retail lighting is that it is designed to attract customers and encourage them to browse the merchandise around the store before finally make a purchase. Generally speaking, there are three types of retail environment, each with a different lighting arrangement to suit a particular requirement.

  • Basic Retail Environments including discount stores that usually require simple ambient lighting systems to deliver high illumination levels for a high customer throughput
  • High-end Establishments including exclusive boutiques that rely on low ambient lighting with additional accent lighting to provide a tasteful, calm atmosphere
  • Intermediate Category The majority of stores fall into this group which requires a combination of ambient, task and accent lighting approaches

Grocery Store Lighting

A typical retail environment from the wide ranging ‘intermediate’ category is the large grocery store or supermarket. Such retailers are increasingly aiming to bring the lighting closer to the merchandise.

Decorative T5 or T8 fluorescent fixtures can be placed above produce bins and linear fluorescents can be located close to the shelving to create a pleasant wash of light over the products.

Industrial & Factory Lighting

Like all workplaces, industrial buildings require well-designed lighting systems to satisfy the needs of the various activities taking place inside. As well as the quantity of the lighting, its quality is also important. High quality lighting supports the well-being and productivity of the personnel and improves their safety, especially where moving machinery is concerned. In particular, glare, brightness and flicker (strobe effect) must be a prime concern to ensure safety and security in any industrial workplace.

Contrast Reflection

Contrast in lighting is what allows people to see detail. If the contrast is too low, details will blend in with the background and make it difficult to see what you are doing. If the contrast is too high, workers may experience discomfort when moving their eyes from a bright surface to a dark surface.

Brightness & Glare Control

When brightness goes beyond maximum recommended levels, disturbing or debilitating glare can occur. There are a range of efforts which can be made to minimise glare:

  • Use larger numbers of low wattage fixtures rather than fewer high wattage ones
  • Locate control panels and PC monitors away from windows or bright fixtures.
  • Elevate high wattage fixtures above the normal field of view and aim some light toward the ceiling to disperse any glare.

Educational Establishments

Creating a pleasantly illuminated environment in which staff and students can work comfortably can be difficult in a large school or college. Even buildings that make the maximum use of daylight require suitable electric lighting to compensate for inclement weather, dark winter mornings and afternoons and classes held in the evenings.

Different Lighting Requirements

Recent approaches to education recognise the individual ways that students learn. This has led to an architectural flexibility in classroom design which has in turn seen a growth in highly versatile lighting arrangements. In addition to the classrooms, an educational establishment will typically include locker rooms, sports areas, staff rooms, offices, event rooms and hallways and each location will have its own distinct set of lighting demands.

24 Hour Lighting

Many areas of schools and colleges are increasingly being used beyond the typical school day, thus making the running costs even more crucial. Consequently, triphosphor fluorescent tubes are becoming a popular choice throughout educational establishments. Triphosphors offer 20% more light than conventional tubes, longer life (in the order of 20,000 hours) and excellent light quality (95% light output maintained throughout tube life compared to a typical 30% light loss over the lifetime of a conventional tubes).

The latest generation T5 tubes are only 16mm in diameter and have the highest luminous efficacy of any fluorescent tube offering 30% energy saving compared to conventional tubes when used with electronic control gear.

Hotel Leisure

Arranging the right type of lighting to cater for the needs of customers that want to be simultaneously comfortable, safe and entertained can be a daunting task. However, there is an extensive range of innovative lighting solutions available to bring any environment to life.

Atmospheric LED Lighting

Recent LED lighting products have set new standards when it comes to creating a mood for a venue. With products ranging from basic downlighters to rope lights, from wall washers to LED nets; LED lights can transform a room into an attractive venue in minutes and at a reasonable cost.

Disco Lights

Sophisticated dancefloor lighting is available off the shelf, starting with basic effects such as small scanners, barrels and moonflower lights that operate in time to the music. For that authentic John Travolta effect, illuminated dance floors are now available using the very latest in LED technology.

Health & Safety Lighting

Wherever you require a lighting system from hotels to nightclubs, you need to take into account Health & Safety as well as the purely aesthetic aspect of the lights. As an example: any venue containing a number of people must be able to rapidly switch from ‘entertaining’ lights to ’emergency’ lights should the need arise.


The hospitality industry involves many different environments, each requiring its own lighting arrangement restaurants, bars, guestrooms, hallways, receptions and backhouse spaces (from kitchens to storage to office space).

Cost-Effective Lighting

Due to the changing needs of both business and consumer energy efficient compact fluorescent lighting is now a hugely popular choice of fitting. CFLs are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes for practically every possible use. Therefore, careful planning is required when choosing the most suitable fixtures and fittings.

Creating an Atmosphere

A well-planned lighting arrangement can give a hotel its distinct identity. Effective lighting will combine with the architecture and decor to create a suitable atmosphere; welcoming guests and providing a feeling of calm and security. Guestrooms, on the other hand, need lighting that is both functional and aesthetically pleasurable in order to provide guests with a relaxing atmosphere in their personal space.

Highlighting Effects

Dramatic spotlighting effects, such as those often found in lobbies, restaurants and lounges, can be created using halogen light sources – particularly MR16 and MR11 bulbs. Large scale highlighting effects – such as floodlighting – can be created through the use of compact fluorescent flood fixtures.

Health Authorities

A hospital incorporates a broad range of functional elements in an environment that is more like a complex and dynamic community than a workplace. Therefore, the lighting needs to meet the needs of numerous individuals, and often conflicting, needs of staff, patients and visitors. Many areas of a hospital are in use 24 hours a day, seven days a week, thus making the use of electric lighting to extend the working day a great deal more common than in normal commercial and industrial premises.

Healthcare-Friendly Dimmers

Abrupt changes in lighting levels can be disturbing to patients and staff alike. The use of dimmer switches is becoming more popular as it gives the user control over their own light.

The light output of fluorescent tubes compared to its power consumption is almost linear. That is, dimming the lighting will reduce electricity costs. Filament bulbs, on the other hand, lose a lot of light output with just a small decrease in power, thus making dimming less cost-effective. You should also take into account that basic resistive dimmers transfer power consumption from the lamp to the dimmer itself, not saving any energy at all.

Triphosphor Fluorescents

Triphosphor fluorescent tubes have many advantages over conventional tubes. They offer 20% more light, have a longer life (around 20,000 hours) and provide exceptional light quality throughout the life of the tube.

With a diameter of just 16mm, T5 tubes boast the highest luminous efficacy of any fluorescent illumination. When used with electronic control gear, T5 tubes offer energy savings of 30% compared to traditional fluorescent tubes.

Why not take a look at our range of commercial light fittings.

You will find all your lamp requirements within our Commercial and Industrial Bulbs section.

Buying Guides – Indoor Lighting

Most of us are familiar with the term ‘interior design’, and an essential element of successful interior design is lighting design. Choosing the right lighting fixtures for your home can make a huge difference to how your home functions and feels.

Interior Lighting

At its most basic level, if all you have is direct light from a central ceiling fixture, you will create areas of the room that are dark and gloomy. Utilising different levels of light makes it possible to highlight the main features of an interior and cater for any specific illumination requirements.

Practical Illuminations

The first step is to determine each room’s function and composition. This will help you decide which types of fixtures and bulbs are best suited for each task. It is then a matter of incorporating a combination of light sources to add contrast and create visual intrigue without producing unwanted glare.

Kitchen Lights

Kitchen lighting needs to balance the needs of what is often the busiest room in the house. Primarily, this interior requires a high level of clean and bright light, allowing tasks to be performed easily.

Fluorescent & Track Lighting

A single fluorescent fixture is generally sufficient for a suitable level of ambient kitchen lighting. On the other hand, track lighting has a single fixture containing a number of light sources that can be directed to suit the particular needs of each area.

Recessed lighting is more versatile still and can be located in specific settings. Spotlights located beneath cupboards will spread bright light downwards, creating a well lit work surface.

Low Voltage Solutions

Low voltage lighting is flexible, compact and provides a high level of white light, especially when using halogen bulbs. It also has the advantage of increasing safety and reducing energy usage.

Pendant Lamps

If your kitchen doubles as a dining room and you require somewhat more atmospheric lighting for special occasions, installing a retractable pendant light above the table is an ideal way of creating an intimate setting – especially with the lighting dimmed. Ideally, the pendant should contain a halogen bulb for enhanced colour rendering.

Bathroom Lighting

The bathroom is a very practical room, though it is also essential to establish a relaxing atmosphere when considering a new lighting system.

Mirror Lights

As far as lighting is concerned the key area of the bathroom is the mirror. Lighting located in the centre of the ceiling will put the face in shade, whereas lighting at either side of the mirror will provide an even illumination across the face.

Recessed Lights

Recessed downlights are inconspicuous, but will usually produce shadows under the eyes, nose and chin unless located near the mirror. Carefully positioned over a light-coloured surface, recessed downlights will reflect light back upwards, thus avoiding any shadows. In addition, recessed fixtures are ideal for illuminating alcoves, cupboards and baths.

Safety Lighting

Due to the presence of water, installing bathroom lighting requires a sound knowledge of IP ratings. The IP rating is an international classification system used to indicate how well protected electrical equipment is from the environment. The IP rating utilises two digits following the ‘IP’ to classify the degree of protection.

Below is a general guide to the IP ratings of bathroom lights. For a more detailed explanation of the IP system, check out our ‘IP Ratings’ Definitive Guide.

  • Within bath & shower area – all fittings must be rated IPx7
  • Above the bath to a height of 2.25m – minimum rating of IPx4
  • Area reaching up to 0.6m outside the bath and above the bath if over 2.25m, plus the area around wash basins – IP rating of at least IPx4
  • Areas where no water jet is likely to be used do not require an IP rating.

It is important to ensure that all fixtures and fittings in the bathroom must only be controlled by pull cords and all switches that control lighting fixtures should be located outside the bathroom.

Living Areas

The focal point for most homes, the living room requires flexible lighting solutions to accommodate all the needs of each member of the family: watching TV, socialising, reading or just relaxing are all tasks which need different levels of light.

Layers of Light

The living room is not as task-focused as the bathroom or the kitchen, so creating lighting layers in the living room will give you the flexibility to provide for most activities that take place there. In addition, lighting intended for any specific purposes can also be incorporated. A diffused and decorative light can be used as a central fixture, a chandelier or a glass uplighter for instance. Dimmer switches are useful for this.

Floor standards or track lighting minimise glare while watching TV and also offer more intimate levels of lighting. Table lamps or pendants by chairs offer individual illumination ideal for reading, but without disturbing others. Pictures and photographs on the walls can be highlighted by single spotlights or spotlights on tracks, as can music systems and plants, etc.

Cabinet Lighting

Cabinet lighting can also be incorporated into your lighting scheme. Halogen lights can illuminate special ornaments or trophies as well as providing a subtle amount of background lighting.

Bedroom Lighting

The bedroom provides a sanctuary in which to escape the stresses and strains of the world. Therefore, bedroom lighting requirements are quite different to other parts of the house. The use of more than one lighting source in this room is essential to ensure balance and flexibility, as well as providing different levels of light depending on what you are doing and how you are feeling.

Central Light

A central lighting fixture with a dimmer switch will enable the provision of low-level ambient light as well as suitably bright light when choosing clothes, dressing and grooming. This can be backed up using track lighting to aim light directly into a wardrobe for example.

Table Lamps

Table lamps are required on bedside tables to aid reading. Adding table lamps with individual switches and opaque shades will allow you to read without disturbing your partner. For comfort, the lower edge of the shade should ideally be below the level of your head when lying flat.

Additional Features

Lighting surrounding a dressing table mirror along with wall fixtures on either side will ensure that no shadows are cast on your face whilst grooming in front of the mirror. For effortless control over your bedroom lighting, separate fixtures can be controlled using switches and pull cords arranged to be used without leaving your bed.

Hallways & Public Areas

First impressions count so it’s important that the lighting chosen for these parts of a building are calm, welcoming and attractive.

Hall Lighting

For a soft, warm and cosy feel, the main source of hall lighting should be ambient; delivering an even balance of illumination throughout the hallway. As an example; this could be achieved, using a central fixture with a glass diffuser.

Individual or track spotlights can be used to illuminate pictures and coat hooks and accent lighting provides a focus for people proceeding along the hall. As lighting in this part of the home is often left switched on for long periods of time, it would be wise to replace traditional bulbs with energy saving bulbs to make a significant difference to your energy costs.

Stairway Lighting

Stairs should be well lit as casting shadows on the treads could be very dangerous. This can be successfully achieved by illuminating the stairs in several places, possibly using wall washers controlled by switches at both the top and bottom of the stairs. A light source at the top of the stairs offers the added benefit of illuminating the area that you are heading towards.

Dining Room Lights

Used as a place to eat and entertain guests, lighting in the dining room plays a crucial role in creating the right atmosphere. The centre-piece of the dining room is typically the dining table and any lighting scheme is typically based around this focal point.

Table Lighting

A chandelier located 70-90cm above the dining table will create plenty of quality illumination for dining (hang it too low and it will be in the way, forcing dinner guests to peer around it). Clear bulbs in crystal or glass chandeliers will enhance their sparkle. If the table surface is glass, a diffuser may be necessary to reduce any uncomfortable glare or reflection. The use of a dimmer switch will provide the flexibility of low-level lighting for dining and brighter lighting for other tasks, such as reading or homework.

Additional Lighting Effects

The modern dining room can be a multi-function environment used for work and social gatherings, as well as casual and special dining occasions. For the optimum balance and maximum flexibility, layers of light can be created throughout the dining room with particular areas (such as display cabinets) illuminated using halogen bulbs to create white light that will emphasise the contents to their best effect.

Take a look at our full range of Indoor Lighting

For more advice, inspiration and news take a look at our Lighting Advice section.

Buying Guides – Light Fitting Types – Fluorescent Fittings

When it comes to general lighting, fluorescent lamps have been popular since the 1950s. Nowadays, fluorescent tubes are commonplace in factories, schools, workshops, garages and in some parts of the home.

Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)

A relatively modern fluorescent fitting that is becoming increasingly widespread is the compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL). With many compact fluorescent lamps, the auxiliary electronics are integrated into the base of the lamp, which means they can be used in standard light bulb socket.

Fluorescent Tubes

Fluorescent light bulbs come in many shapes and sizes. They are identified by a standardised coding system that reveals valuable information about operating characteristics and physical dimensions. One key factor is a tube’s diameter, and this is given by the number following a ‘T’ (which denotes ‘tubular’). The figure refers to the tube’s diameter in 1/8ths of an inch, so, for example, a T8 tube would have a diameter of 1 inch.

T5 Fluorescent Tubes

The light output of T5 fluorescent lamps per unit length is almost identical to the larger T8 lamps. T5 lamps cannot be used as replacements for T8 lamps as they are slightly shorter. However, some luminaires can be adapted to accept either T5 or T8 lamps by changing the sockets and ballasts. The T5 is a versatile and effective source of illumination that is ideal for factories, schools, offices, supermarkets, underground railways etc.

Colour Characteristics

By using rare-earth phosphors, T5 fluorescent lamps achieve improved colour rendering and high efficacy. The correlated colour temperature (CCT) and colour rendering index (CRI) of the lamps is determined by the phosphors used in the manufacturing process. The CRI of T5 lamps can be specified from 70 to the mid-90s. For good quality lighting it is advisable to specify a CRI of at least 80.

T5 Ballasts

T5 lamps require special ballasts. These allow T5 lamps to operate at frequencies greater than 20 kilohertz and offer such features as instant start, rapid start and programmed start. In most cases, the T5 ballasts will not work with T12 or T8 lamps.

T5 HO lamps

‘HO’ stands for high output. T5 HO lamps produce more light than standard T5 lamps and are obtainable in higher wattages. HO lamps are available in the same diameter and length as standard T5 lamps.

T8 Fluorescent Tubes

The 32W T8 fluorescent lamp is becoming the standard for new construction and a replacement for 40W T12 fluorescent lamps. T8 lamps are easily available in a selection of straight and U-shaped designs. Compared to T12 fluorescent lamps, T8 lamps have the same 20,000 hour life expectancy and 32% lower typical energy usage, making them an ideal choice for offices, task lighting, schools, conference rooms, halls and retail outlets.

Colour Characteristics

T8 fluorescent lamps achieve both improved colour rendering and high efficacy by employing rare-earth phosphors. The correlated colour temperature (CCT) and colour rendering index (CRI) of the lamps is determined by the phosphors used in the manufacturing process. As with T12 lamps, T8 lamps are obtainable in a range of colour temperatures, including:

  • Warm (3000 K)
  • Neutral (3500 K)
  • Cool (4100 K)
  • Very Cool (5000 K)

‘Full Spectrum’ lamps are usually 5000K or more, and emit 10 to 20% of their output as UV light. The CRI of T8 lamps can range from 70 to as high as the mid-90s. For great lighting quality it is advisable to specify a CRI of at least 80.

T8 Ballasts

T8 fluorescent lamps require an electronic ballast that are designed specifically to operate lamps at a lower current than T12 lamps. When T12 lamps are replaced with T8 lamps, therefore, the ballast must also be replaced. The advantage of electronic ballasts is that they don’t flicker or hum and they use less energy than conventional ballasts.

T12 Fluorescent Tubes

T12 fluorescent lamps have traditionally been the most commonly used fluorescent tubes and have been installed in millions of homes, offices, retail outlets and schools. Although it was considered energy efficient in the 1970s, the T12’s reduced life expectancy, poor colour rendering and low light output often meant that more lamps and fixtures were usually needed, which generally offset the energy savings. At present, existing 40W T12 fluorescent lamps tend to be replaced by the more effective and more efficient 32W T8 fluorescent lamps.

Wide Range of T12s

The length of T12 bulbs varies from 15 inches all the way to 12 feet. They are available in two basic types: the standard and the high-output. Standard T12 bulbs have two pins on each end of the bulb. They provide a normal fluorescent light level for general applications. They should not be used in very cold areas, as they may fail to light up when temperatures get below 32. High Output T12 bulbs have one rectangular black plastic piece on each end of the bulb. The provide a higher level of light output than Standard T12 bulbs and use more wattage to do so. They are used in cold temperature locations, such as garages, outdoor signs, and freezers.

Please note – T12 tubes have now ceased production worldwide. We strongly advise stocking up on T12 tubes if you are not looking to change your light source in the short term..

2-Pin & 4-Pin

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are miniature versions of full-sized fluorescents that give off light that is similar to common incandescent bulbs rather than the fluorescent tunes used factories and schools. Current UK building regulations require a proportion of light fittings in newly built houses to be designed with 2- or 4-pin sockets, instead of the usual bayonet or screw fittings, so that they will only accept CFLs.

Bases & Sockets

The base of the CFL is the part that plugs into the electrical socket. Bases for CFLs are available in three forms: screw-in, 2-pin, and 4-pin.

  • Screw-in base – Identical to those used for incandescent bulbs, making them ideal for replacing screw-fit incandescent bulbs.
  • 2-pin base – Found on CFLs with pre-heat starting. Each 2-pin lamp has an integral starter and requires a separate ballast.
  • 4-pin base – Used on CFLs with rapid or instant start. 4-pin lamps require a separate control gear and starting device.

Pin-base CFL lamps are obtainable in a wide selection of outputs and sizes, making them an attractive option for both end-users and specifiers. Bear in mind that CFLs should not be used with the standard domestic wall-mounted dimmer switch. It is possible, though, to dim 4-pin lamps with specialist control gear and a compatible dimming controller.

Buying Guides – Low Energy Light Bulbs

Low energy light bulbs have come on leaps and bounds since they were first introduced some years ago. What initially was a quite limited range has expanded to cover every possible lamp and fitting type, including standard bayonet, screw, GLS, candle and golf ball; meaning that whatever light fitting you have, there is almost certainly going to be a low energy version light bulb to fit it.

Improved Looks

Looks have also improved, with some low energy bulbs virtually indistinguishable from their standard counterparts. This means you can have stylish light bulbs to match your fittings.

Energy Efficient Lighting

The obvious reason to choose low energy light bulbs is because of the amount of power they consume, in order to produce an equally effective illumination. Low power consumption means lower energy bills, which saves you money, and a reduction in environmental impact.

Although initially more expensive, you could recoup your costs in as little as a year. An added benefit is an improvement in lamp life, sometimes by as much as ten times. This also means you don’t need to dispose of as many lamps, another factor in climate change.

Better Colours & Control

It used to be the case that the colour output was generally colder than normal incandescent light bulbs, which some people didn’t find appealing for home use. Nowadays, the lamp coatings are sophisticated and much improved with the invention of ‘soft tone’ technology – meaning you retain your atmospheric lighting effects without losing light levels. You can even buy dimmable low energy lamps for complete control.

Special Low Energy Pin Fittings

There are also a number of luminaires available which have the special low energy pin fittings built in. Unlike standard low energy replacement bulbs, the low energy pin lamps don’t have a ballast – this is contained within the fitting – but it means you can only use low energy light bulbs, so you’ll always be making the sensible choice for the environment, and saving money at the same time.

Low Energy Light Bulbs

  • Energy Ratings
  • Low Energy Pin Types
  • Low Energy Standard Repalcements

Recently, labels with energy efficiency ratings have been legal requirements for light bulbs and most white goods. These EU Energy labels tell you just how effective the item is at being energy efficient.

How Energy Efficiency Labels Work

The energy efficiency rating is a sliding scale of labelling with both colours and lettering to denote greater or lesser energy efficiency. At the most efficient end of the scale is category A in dark green, followed by B in a medium green. The scale then descends through the rainbow and alphabet: C in light green, D in yellow, E in amber, F in orange and G – the least energy efficient – in red. Products with higher ratings will use the least energy and give the best performance – as well as saving you money – as they consume less power.

Other Energy-Saving Information

With light bulbs, as well as the EU Energy label, other information is provided to help you buy the right product for your needs. The packaging will also give you an idea of the relative brightness, by stating the luminous flux in lumens, as well as average lamp life and power consumption in watts.

Why Do I Need To Know About Saving Energy?

With the need to reduce our energy and power consumption globally, there is every need to be well informed about the products we buy and use in our workplaces and homes. We think of lighting as using a small amount of power relative to other appliances, but it still can make a huge difference.

For example, according to the Energy Saving Trust, if one energy saving lightbulb was installed by every household in the UK, the amount of Carbon Dioxide saved would be the same as filling the Royal Albert Hall 1,980 times. Or, the amount of electricity saved in one year would be enough to light the Illuminations in Blackpool for 900 years.

Switching To Low Energy Lighting

Here at Lyco, we’ve made it easy for you to be energy efficient by clearly labelling and displaying the relevant ratings right by the products. We stock a wide range of dedicated low energy lighting products, and if you’re unsure whether your light fittings can handle low energy light bulbs, be sure to check our Low Energy Buyer’s Guide or simply pick up the phone and give us a call.

Low Energy Pin Types

The original kind of low energy lamps, or Compact Fluorescent lamp (CFL) were first introduced in the early 1980s, with special pin fittings. They were only really suitable for industrial and commercial applications. Now, with significant improvements in lighting technology, electronic ballasts mean flicker-free operation, and a much wider choice of fittings and lamps to suit both commercial and domestic use.

How they work

With Low Energy Pin Type lamps, the control gear is held within the light fitting, rather than the lamp. In 2-pin fittings, the ballast is magnetic or wirewound, an older technology, and requires a starter in addition, just like linear fluorescent tubes. With 4-pin fittings, the ballast is electronic and no additional starter is required. You also get the benefit of flicker-free starting from electronic control gear. Lamp changes are a simple operation as both two and four pin fittings push fit into their lamp holders.

Replace like for like

Because the light fittings are rated at a certain wattage, you should always replace lamps like for like, or they will not work properly. The control gear can only power the lamp that it was designed for. Be sure to check the wattage you need, as there is a wide range available under the same type of fitting.

Manufacturers’ Naming Conventions

Different manufacturers call their ranges of CFL lamps by different sub-brand names, for example a 2-pin S lamp is known as GE Biax S, Osram Dulux S, Philips PL-S and Sylvania Lynx S. The important information to look for is the number of pins – 2 or 4 – and the number of turns in the glass tube: single (S), double (D or C in Philips) or triple (T). There is also ‘L’ for long.

Lamp Bases

The lamp bases found in these lamps is as follows:

S – G23SE or 4 pin D – 2G7
D – G24dDE or 4 pin D – G24q
T – Gx24dTE or 4 pin T – Gx24q
L – 2G11

Lamp Colours

Like fluorescent tubes, you can choose different colours for your low energy pin fittings. Cool white, white and warm white are some of the colours available; all of which offer a different lighting effect and ambience, making them suitable for a variety of functions and purposes.

New House Builds

Current building regulations state that at least some of the light fittings in new houses should only take low energy lamps. As well as luminaires, pendants containing ultra compact control gear are also available to future-proof your ability to be energy efficient and reduce carbon emissions.

Low Energy Standard Replacements

The pressure is on for us all to begin changing to using low energy lighting in our homes, as well as our businesses. The government has made plans to begin phasing out traditional incandescent light bulbs by 2011, to increase energy efficiency, since they waste up to 95% of their energy as heat.

Low Energy Alternatives

The great news is that there are lots of low energy replacement lamps available that fit right into your existing light fittings. They require no extra control gear as it is all contained within the lamp itself; and the new technology that has been developed means flicker-free operation, plus colours and coatings every bit as attractive and welcoming as incandescent light, so there’s no reason not to switch.

Great Looks

When choosing your low energy lamps, you probably want to swap to one that looks most like the lamp you are replacing. In fact, some low energy light bulbs are so like their standard counterparts, you’d have trouble telling the difference. For example, GLS, globe, candle and golf ball low energy lamps all have the familiar glass shape, and come in a choice of bayonet, screw or small screw. There are also spiral type lamps, which don’t resemble any incandescent lamp, but which do an excellent job in GLS shape or candle shape enclosed fittings. We even stock coloured low energy fluorescent lamps.

Dimmable Versions

Love the lighting control you get with dimmers? Don’t worry, some special low energy lamps also have a dimming facility. This new technology enables you to retain the flexibility you had with your incandescent lighting completely.

Buying Guides – Safety & Installation

Electric lighting raises important safety concerns in two areas. Firstly, the installation of the lights inevitably involves dealing with electricity. The number of deaths and injuries caused by faulty electrical wiring – much of it installed by unqualified DIY enthusiasts – should act as a reminder to everyone of the importance of safety during all electrical lighting work.

Important Safety Regulations

In addition, the potential danger of electric lighting demands a basic knowledge of fire extinguishers, particularly those suited to electrical fires. It’s also important to remember that the light itself can pose a number of hazards. It may be too dim or poorly positioned so as not to illuminate essential areas sufficiently. This may cause discomfort due to glare, brightness or shadows.

Correctly installed lighting not only minimises the risk of harmful repercussions, but actively enhances the environment in which it is located.

Consulting a Qualified Electrician

The number of deaths and injuries caused by faulty electrical wiring (the majority of it installed by unqualified DIY enthusiasts) is reason enough to hire an experienced electrician, but not the only one.

Since 1st January 2005 any electrical work carried out in the home has to follow the strict rules set out in the Building Regulations ‘Approved Document P’.

Part P Building Regulations

Part P, as it is commonly referred to, gives you two choices when undertaking an electrical project in the home.

  • Employ a Part P qualified electrician to carry out the work and provide a signed record that it is all in accordance with the regulations.
  • Carry out the work yourself and ensure it is thoroughly inspected and subsequently approved by your local authority building inspector

What is Included in Part P?

Significant electrical work, such as rewiring a house or making additions to existing circuits in kitchens, bathrooms or outside the house will fall under Part P of the regulations. If you have any doubt over exactly what is included in the regulations, be sure to consult your local authority.

Qualified Electricians

When employing a qualified electrical contractor to do the work, your best protection against being let down by a ‘cowboy’ contractor is word-of-mouth recommendation.

As well as verifying their Part P status, look for an electrician that has completed projects successfully, on schedule and within the budget. Similarly, don’t be afraid to ask an electrician for references from past projects. If they are at all reluctant to give you the full details of a previous job then you would be well advised to look elsewhere.

Common Fitting Problems

A lamp’s light output diminishes over the time due to the effects of dust and general wear and tear. To ensure the desired level of luminance is maintained, a routine of maintenance and regular lamp replacement is necessary. In addition, there are other factors which affect the light quality emitted from lighting fixtures – some of which raise important health and safety concerns.


When brightness goes beyond maximum recommended levels, disturbing or debilitating glare can occur. There are a range of things that can be done to minimise this glare:

  • Use larger numbers of low wattage fixtures rather than fewer high wattage ones
  • Locate control panels and PC monitors away from windows or bright fixtures
  • Elevate high wattage fixtures above the normal field of view and aim some light toward the ceiling to disperse any glare.


Shadows cast over any area where people require light can be overcome by using larger luminaires or simply increasing the number of light sources used.

Stroboscopic Effect

The stroboscopic effect (caused by the flicker of fluorescent lighting) creates the illusion of motion or non-motion; especially where moving machinery is concerned. Modern fluorescent tube design has largely overcome this potentially dangerous problem by significantly minimising flicker.

Colour Effect

An object that is blue for example will only appear this colour if the light falling upon it contains blue in its spectrum. Therefore it is important to bear in mind that colours can appear different under various types of lighting. For instance: a red object will appear brown under a sodium street light. With this in mind the choice of lamp is crucial if colour is important in the appearance or function of the room being illuminated.

Fire Extinguisher Types & Placement

Fire extinguishers are classed according to the different types of fire that each is designed to tackle.

  • Class A: Solids (paper, wood, plastic, etc)
  • Class B: Flammable Liquids (paraffin, petrol, oil, etc)
  • Class C: Flammable Gases (propane, butane, methane, etc)
  • Class D: Metals (aluminium, magnesium, titanium, etc)
  • Class E: Electrical Apparatus (electric heaters, industrial control equipment, etc)
  • Class F: Cooking Substances (oil, fat, etc)

The main body of each fire extinguisher is red and features more specific colour coding related to the class of each extinguisher.

Water Fire Extinguishers

  • Class A fires
  • Colour coding: Red
  • Cheapest & most widely used
  • Do not use on fires involving liquids or electricity

Foam Fire Extinguishers

  • Class A & B fires
  • Colour coding: Cream
  • An expensive, but more versatile alternative to water
  • Not recommended for electrical fires, but a safer option than water if inadvertently sprayed onto live electrical apparatus

Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers

  • Class A, B & C fires (most suited to running liquid fires – Class B)
  • Colour coding: Blue
  • The ‘multi-purpose’ extinguisher
  • Isolate the gas supply before extinguishing such a fire
  • Warning: when used indoors, powder can obscure vision and cause damage to goods and machinery

CO2 Fire Extinguishers

  • Class E fires
  • Colour coding: Black
  • Can also be used to extinguish class B liquid fires
  • Warning: with liquid fires, the CO2 extinguisher has no post fire security and the fire could re-ignite

Wet Chemical

  • Class F fires
  • Colour coding: Bright Yellow

Metal Fires

  • Class D fires
  • Colour coding: Blue
  • Specialist extinguisher for metal fires such as sodium, lithium, manganese and aluminium when in the form of swarf or turnings

Buying Guides – Light Fitting Types

The choice of light fittings available to us now is wider than ever. Broadly speaking, they fit into three distinct types of fitting or cap, and this generally dictates the look of the lamp and light output you get.

Traditional Light Bulbs

These are what one might call traditional lamps, as we are all familiar with their appearance, having a light bulb or candle type shape in most cases. They are usually mains voltage and easy to change. They give a warm light and are mostly used in domestic lighting.

Find out about Traditional Light bulbs

Browse our range Traditional Light bulbs

Halogen Fittings

Over the last forty years, halogen fittings, in both mains and low voltage, have become extremely popular. Although mostly used in domestic situations, they are also used in display and security lighting. Their bright, crisp yet warm light makes it an ideal lighting source for many applications.

Find out about Halogen light bulb fittings

Browse our range of Halogen Bulbs

Fluorescent Fittings

Most commonly seen as long, linear tubes, fluorescent lighting is everywhere you look in shops, offices, factories and commercial premises. Fittings can be made up of single, twin or whole banks of tubes. The cool light output from these tubes floods large areas of bright light uniformly and cheaply.

Find out about Fluorescent Fittings

Browse our range of Fluorescent Tubes