Monday, April 16, 2012

Let there be light, part 3

In addition to the problem with the living room lights, we had a problem with our kitchen lights, as I mentioned in the last post. In California, Title 24 mandates that a certain percentage of your lighting be fluorescents. As a result, most of the lights in our kitchen are fluorescents. The choices for nice-looking modern fluorescent fixtures are limited. We also wanted dimmable lights, and dimmable fixtures that would work with our GrafikEye system. There were only a few possibilities that fit the bill, and we had selected the Artemide Ventanas.

Within a year, we had some problems with a couple of the fixtures in the kitchen. The lights started to flicker in the way that fluorescents do when they're burning out. The problem turned out to be bad Lutron ballasts. I contacted Lutron, and they sent me replacements which I was able to install myself. This worked for a while, but last year, another light started flickering. Replacing the bulb did no good. So we simply programmed the lights out of the lighting system. This was inconvenient, as the other lights we had in the kitchen simply didn't provide enough light. (Yes, they were supposed to be functional as well as pretty!)

We got our electrician to come out, and he determined that the central GrafikEye dimming module that drives these fixtures was bad. He gave us a number of choices, of which, the easiest was to simply convert the fixtures to non-dimmable fixtures, and swap out the dimming module. I'll settle for reliability every day! Today he came to replace the remaining part, and within an hour, our kitchen lights were working, good as new! It's nice to have a well-lit house again!

Postscript: Last week one of our under-counter fluorescent bulbs burned out (after four years). Once we replace that lamp, all lights will be fully operational! Hopefully they will stay that way for a while.

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