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Calgary Lighting Experts Cheat Sheet: Fixtures, Bulbs, and Ratings

Do you want to upgrade your lighting, but feel overwhelmed by all of the details, specifications, and options? Read this post for a crash-course on lighting details. 

There are a variety of options for both home and retail lighting. Whether you’re selecting exterior lighting interior lighting on your own, or are simply coming up with some broad ideas to discuss with a lighting consultant, knowing some key lighting details can help.

In this post we’ll go over:

  • Types of fixtures
  • Bulb shapes/types
  • Special Ratings


Types of Fixtures: What’s Popular in Home and Retail Lighting?

Pendants are light fixtures that hang from the ceiling. They are similar to but more simplistic in design than a chandelier.

Recessed lights are also called pot, canister, or can lights because the lighting fixture is cylindrical. The fixture of the light is housed in the ceiling, making it very low-profile. There are also directional (sometimes called “eyeball” recessed lights, which can be adjusted as required.

Sconces are often attached to the wall and are normally cylindrical in shape. These lights come in a wide range of styles, from antique-inspired to sleek and modern.

Chandeliers are hanging light fixtures with several branches. Traditional chandeliers were often highly ornate and decorated with crystals, but there are now many modern and industrial designs to choose from as well.

Track lighting fixtures are often attached to ceilings in homes and businesses. This type of light includes numerous fixtures attached to a continuous track device.

Nowadays, when people talk about strip lights, they are often referring to convenient, energy-efficient LED lights. These lights are often flexible and can easily be attached to a variety of surfaces. These modern strip lights shouldn’t be confused with the strip lights used in theatre productions.  

These lighting fixtures come in a wide variety of styles and finishes. A lighting consultant can help you determine which lighting fixture type and style best suits your location.

Pendant Lights


Bulb Types: What's Popular In Home and Retail Lighting

Certain home and retail lighting fixtures can use different types of bulb shapes. Bulb types can change the way light appears, and give your fixture a whole new look. If you’d like to switch things up, take a look at our guide to light bulb types.

A-Type lamps are the “classic light bulb” frequently used in residential lighting.

B/C/CA lights are chandelier-style bulbs. They also be used in sconces, outdoor fixtures, night lights, vanities, and are omnidirectional. LED variants of these lights are now quite popular.

PAR lamps are directional and have varying beam spread. They are often used as either floodlights or spotlights and are a popular choice for track, display, and recessed lighting.

MR series lights are small and directional and are quite similar to PAR in details.

BR/R are similar to PAR but are have a softer glow. They create fewer shadows than their PAR counterparts. While they are used in track and display lights, they are most useful for directional and ambient light.

G series are globe lamps have a wide range of uses. Their shape is more rounded than A-type lights, and are popular in often in bathroom vanities.

Edison or vintage-style bulbs are usually amber, with filaments that mimic earlier generations of light bulbs. They're ideal for a retro or industrial vibe. These lights often come in LED variants.

Compact fluorescent lights aren’t necessarily limited to one bulb type, but are most recognizable as the spiral-shaped bulbs designed to replace incandescent lights. While they are still in use, these bulbs have been surpassed by LED styles in many areas.


Lamp Features and Special Ratings

Protection Against Damage

Bulbs have a different level of protection against solids, ranging from general impacts by larger objects to complete dust-proofing. You can find the level of protection listed on the bulb's IP number: 1 indicates the bulb is protected from objects larger the 50mm, while a rating of 6 indicates the light is dust-tight. 

Moisture Ratings

Dry-rated lighting fixtures are best for locations that are never exposed to water. As such, they’re best for interior residential or retail lighting.

Wet-rated rated lights are a must for Calgary exterior lighting: they can stand up to rain and snow-year round.

Damp-rated fixtures have a place in both interior and exterior lighting. These light fixtures can’t necessarily be subjected to a full-on drenching, but they are great for areas such as front porches or entryways that are not entirely sheltered yet still mostly protected from the elements. Damp-rated fixtures are also a good compromise for areas such as a bathroom or kitchen lighting near sinks and showers.

On IP ("Ingress Protection" or "International Protection") numbers, the ability of a bulb to withstand water is represented the second digit. The digit can range from 0, is not able to withstand any water, to 8, which can withstand immersion up to a depth specified by the manufacturer. 


Contact Us

To schedule a lighting consultation or installation, get in touch with our expert lighting team at 403-863-8529 or online.

We've been installing home and retail lighting in Calgary for over 25 years. We're proud to stand behind our products and always offer scheduled comprehensive maintenance options and handyman services whenever required. 

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