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Everything You Need to Know About Home Lighting: An Interview with Mike Sanfilippo of CreativElectric

By Mike Sanfilippo

Tell us a little bit about your experience, company history and the services you offer.

I've been working in older homes since the late 80's doing renovation and repair. Within the last 15 years I've been a licensed electrician, specializing in residential remodeling. As a company we provide almost all aspects of electrical service, from replacing the meter and main panel to fixing a broken switch.

What are some of the most common lighting services that homeowners are requesting?

The most common requests are for recessed lighting in the kitchen or undercabinet lighting in the kitchen. The next most common requests are for security lighting out doors.

Is there something that most people don't know about the electrical work involved with indoor/outdoor lighting that they should know?

Most people don't realize that in order to install new lighting indoors often times the sheet rock or plaster needs to be cut. They don't realize that a piece of wire needs to go from where the switch is to where the light will be and sometimes it's not possible to do that without cutting a hole. They also don't realize that a hole can be patched and it's not the end of the world.

What are the best options for indoor lighting in areas that people want to be brightly lit?

There are a lot of new LED lights available that can illuminate a difficult area. Lighting is very subjective. Some people want a warm yellow candle like glow while others want the brightness of the sun. There is no right or wrong, it just what you want,what you expect to see when the switcher is flipped.

What is the basic process from start to finish of installing new lighting, and how long does it typically take?

I'll answer a question with a question. "What color is a dog?" Every house is different. Every lighting project is different. Most projects can be completed within a day or two. It very much depends on the scope of the project and how the house was built.

As far as the sequence of events, first we identify the need, do you want operating room lighting, or warm romantic mood lighting or something in between? Next, what kind of lighting will achieve the desired effect. Recessed lights light a room differently than a central fixture. Sconces do a different thing than table lamps.

Finally, install the lighting!

What changes would you recommend for outdoor house lighting that would improve people's safety and security?

Motion activated lights can be wonderful. But they have their limitations. A motion light installed on a second or third story eave is simply not going to perform well. It will either activate too often or not enough.

There are a multitude of ways to control outdoor light fixtures. Of course there are motion sensors, there are dawn to dusk sensors, there are remote controls, and there are timer switches. Each one performs a different function and is dependent on what the homeowners requirements are.

What's the best way for people to reach you and your company?

Telephone text or email are the best ways to reach us. You can call or text us at 919-698-9485 or email us at

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