Choosing lights for the interior & exterior of your home isn’t as simple as you think. With a wide variety of options, how do you choose? Laura Bognar of award-winning, highly rated
CLI Electric – the company was voted Best Electrical Contractor in the GTA by Top Choice Magazine in 2011 – enlightens us on why LED lights may overtake halogen.
Bognar also shares her tips for finding the right electrical contractor for your renovation.
About CLI Electric
For over 10 years, CLI has been providing electrical services to residential and commercial customers. The founder, Steve Bognar, comes from a long line of dedicated electricians; his father was an electrician, as was his grandfather. Steve started working for his father’s company, learning the trade at the young age of 14. Steve ran a successful electrical business in Hungary prior to moving to Canada, and continues to provide top quality electrical services across the GTA, says Bognar, who works behind the scenes of the business.
Bognar says CLI Electric actively works in custom homes, renovations and additions, providing full-service electrical work for homeowners.
“We prefer that one-on-one relationship, and many times, clients stick with us for their next renovation or build because we have built that relationship. There’s a foundation there,” she says. “We have been approached several times to do huge subdivisions by developers, but we prefer a smaller, one-on-one boutique approach with a focus on customization. It’s exciting and very satisfying seeing a project that has taken up to a year sometimes come to completion.”
Another reason Bognar’s team would rather focus on individual custom builds and renovations are because of quality control. We are perfectionist, it has to be perfect, we only want the best for our clients, that’s why we only use the best materials.
Speaking of materials…
Why LED lights are gaining popularity
While lighting is a necessity as opposed to a luxury, that doesn’t mean homeowners should forego trying to save money in the process.
“Especially with the rising cost of electricity, people’s pocketbooks are being squeezed,” says Bognar. “Any savings help in the long-term.”
That’s why she recommends homeowners consider having LED pot lights installed in their homes as opposed to halogen lights.
“They’re more energy-efficient and there is a reduced cost in the electricity bill,” she says.
Bognar herself has had pot lights installed both inside and outside her house and will be keeping a close eye on her bill to see how much of a percentage in savings she’ll see over time.
More and more homeowners are opting for LEDs as opposed to the less expensive counterpart – halogen.
“When we get requests for quotes from homeowners to install pot lights, we used to ask if they wanted LED or halogen,” Bognar explains. “We don’t have to ask; it’s just an automatic assumption they’re going to want LEDs. The times change quickly.”
LED lights aren’t just for the interior of your home. In fact, they can be used outdoors as well.
“They can be used for uplighting, highlighting a garden, walkways, and deck stairs,” she says. “There are small puck lights that can be installed in the stairs to highlight them. It’s a nice safety feature and it looks amazing.”
It gives homeowners an opportunity to create both a safe and beautiful ambience with proper lighting.
Why LEDs are preferred
LED lights can offer a wide variety of benefits to a homeowner, which result in cost savings on energy bills. Here’s why:
- They don’t burn out as quickly as halogen;
- They generate less heat;
- They’re energy-efficient because they consume less power.
What’s the cost?
LED lights are more costly compared to halogen lights.
“They can be as much as $50 per pot light,” says Bognar, adding the pricing has come down a bit over the past few years.
To have an LED pot light installed in a home including both labour and material is roughly $90 to $100 per pot light, says Bognar, adding that’s a very fair price for both the homeowner and the contractor. “You know you’re getting a top-quality light installed properly by a professional.”
Bognar says pot lights on the second floor and outside soffit have to be IC-rated and do cost a bit more.
“Also, an ESA permit and inspection is mandatory. If a contractor says you don’t need one, walk away.”
If you’re talking with a company that advises they can install the pot lights for under $80, Bognar says to be weary.
“Run,” she says. “There’s just no way for a licensed, reputable electrical contractor that pays a skilled qualified electrician to install a good quality product for that cheap of a price. “Unfortunately, you can go on sites like Kijiji and Craigslist and find ‘handymen’ and ‘unqualified individuals’ advertising cheap pot light installs as low as $50,” she says. “You’re not going to get a good quality product installed by someone that knows what they’re doing.”
Bognar recalls a situation that occurred earlier this year.
“We had to re-install over 20 pot lights for a customer because they had hired someone off Kijiji, and all the lights used were garbage and had burned out, not to mention they weren’t IC-rated for second floor installations, which posed a fire hazard.”
Hiring an electrical contractor? Watch out for this
Bognar has some other advice to offer homeowners when hiring an electrical contractor:
- Are they licensed by the ESA? Any reputable electrical company will have a license number issued by the ESA. CLI Electric is fully licensed and is also an ACP contractor.
- Do they have proper paperwork? Bognar recommends homeowners ask an electrical contractor for their WSIB Clearance Certificate, as well as a certificate of insurance and ESA license number.
- Read online reviews. “I did this myself when I was looking for a landscape company to do resodding. I checked online reviews,” she says. “Many consumers are basing their decision on who they’re going to hire with online reviews. They’re doing their due diligence.”
- Ask for references. “If it takes them a long while to get back to you with 2 or 3 references, then I would keep looking.” Bognar said an electrical company should have a long list of customers who are happy to provide a reference.
- Do they have a website or a social media presence? Nowadays if you want to find a contractor, most people turn to the internet to see if they’re active. Companies that don’t want to be noticed will not make an appearance. Reputable contractors will make the effort to have an online presence as way to promote their business and make themselves known.
- Lastly, remember these 3 words: Good, fast and cheap. Now pick 2. Word to the wise, remember the following:
- Good and fast isn’t cheap.
- Cheap and fast isn’t good.
- Good and cheap isn’t fast.
- If the price is just too good (cheap) to be true, something isn’t right. Keep looking. Don’t shop for price. Shop for the contractor.