Dim bulbs. Flickering fixtures. High electric bills. Uncomfortable light.

It’s time to replace the lights in your business. But these days, it’s not as simple as just running down to the home improvement store, buying some new bulbs and a ladder, and swapping things out yourself. There are too many new technologies to sort through, too many factors that need to be considered. The lights need to fit their environment, they need to provide comfortable illumination, they need to be efficient. On top of that, what kinds of rebates and incentives might you be able to take advantage of?

It starts getting complicated pretty quickly. Unfortunately, you simply don’t have the time necessary to research every last detail of all the options in front of you. You’ve got a business to run, staff to take care of, and customers to serve.

But don’t worry. There are a few simple things you can check into that will help you make the best decision about the new lights for your business. If you take the following five factors into account, you’ll be in a much better position to make the right choice. You’ll be your own lighting expert, without even trying!

What temperature do I need?

Essentially, a light’s temperature is its color. The higher the temp, the brighter and bluer the color. Lower temps, on the other hand, tend to offer light that is more yellow. The good news here is that there’s no “right” temperature for a business setting. Instead, different temperatures have different applications.

Low-temp lights are good for intimate settings, such as restaurants, while high-temp fixtures fit better in conference rooms. When you’re replacing your old lights, take their temperature. Is it good for their setting? If not, think about getting lights better suited for the type of business (or room) they’ll be working in.

What is the optimal lumens rating?

Lumens = brightness. The more lumens that a light is rated for, the brighter its output will be. This is a key factor to consider when lighting any room in your business. You don’t want to buy new lights whose lumen output is radically different from the lights they’re replacing. You might accidentally send your showroom back to the dark ages, or else cause customers to stagger around as they search for their sunglasses.

Find out the lumen rating for your current lights before you make any purchasing decisions for their replacements. If the current light output is good for the setting, be sure you get replacement lamps that offer a broadly similar lumen level.

How should the lights be controlled?

Not all lights are created equal, and the little electrical switches inside the lights that turn them on and off are no different. This could cause problems for your business depending on what you want your lights to do.

In order to find out whether the dimmers, sensors, or control systems you want to use on your lights are compatible with the fixtures themselves, you’ll probably need to consult a lighting expert that does this for a living. But they’ll be impressed with your knowledge when you raise this question.

Do the lights and fixtures have a warranty?

Just as lights are not created equal, neither are their warranties. Some last only three years, some may cover as many as ten years. Double-check the warranty info on any new lights you buy, and especially ask about the warranty offered by any lighting contractor you might employ to install your new system.

Since LED lamps are designed to last for years, long warranties–what they cover and what they don’t–are more important now than ever. Some LED lamps have separate warranties from lighting fixtures. Ask the question before you make the purchase.

What rebates are available if I upgrade to LED?

Energy-efficient lights are here to stay. That’s good for the planet, but it’s great for your bottom line. But did you know that efficient lights don’t just save you money on your electric bill? Depending on the lights you buy, you might also qualify for all sorts of rebates and incentives, both from the manufacturer and from your utility company.

This is another item you’ll probably want to discuss with a lighting contractor. They’ll be able to tell you what rebates are available and how you can best take advantage of them. Once again, the contractor will be very impressed with your knowledge and thoroughness.

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