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Chandelier Winches

A chandelier winch is often viewed as an extravagant gadget when considering the installation on chandelier! However, this is not normally the case. Chandelier winches can actually be an important necessity. If for example you are fitting a chandelier in a high position over a stairway then a simple scaffold tower could not be used and bespoke scaffolding would be needed. In this case the chandelier winch would pay for itself  the first time access was needed for maintenance. Now maintenance is not just for major faults and cleaning it is also for simple bulb changes. Ordinarily,  aesthetically designed halogen candle bulbs would be used and although they do have a rated life of 1000 or 2000 hours they do suffer from intermittent failures unlike the far more reliable modern LED bulbs. For this reason with a chandelier having a large number of bulbs then the probability of an individual bulb failure is quite high. So all in all you are going to need access so a chandelier winch is the obvious solution.

Chandelier Winch Choices.

There are many chandelier winches on the market. Traditionally they used to be a big motor connected to a pulley system which is then used to raise and lower the chandelier. These worked fine for large buildings where there is sufficient space to position the winch but if you need to hide the winch in the floor void between the ceiling and upper floor then these are less than practical. Now there are compact winches available that can be fitted into a floor void. As an example you can now purchase a winch which will take loads of up to 150kg and has an 11 metre cable which is just 33cm by 33cm and just 11cm deep. This makes installation easy and they can even be installed on the ceiling and hidden by a decorative purpose built cover.
The other important aspect to cover is the sospistication of the winch. A traditional winch would need a separate electrical circuit and switch together with a connector which needs to be manually separated to disconnect the lamp wiring when the winch is lowered. Alternatively a long cable would be used which is coiled in the attic space and dropped down when the winch is lowered. All of this complexity is now solved with modern systems. Look for a winch that has a remote control operation and has an connection plate for the lamps wiring which automatically disconnects when the chandelier is lowered.
The final consideration is safety. A chandelier can be very heavy and it is most important that the winch is reliable both from a personal safety perspective and to avoid an expensive catastrophe if the chandelier crashes to the ground, For this reason pick a chandelier winch that has safety overrides fitted, stop limits on lowering and ensure that it is used within the rated loads.

Go for the easy life with a Chandelier Winch

So the chandelier winch has moved from being an item of technical interest which was historically restricted to use in large government buildings, palaces and museums to a practical and commercially viable choice for peoples homes. So if you want the easy life style and not to be forever looking up at that chandelier with a failed bulb thinking, “shall I get the builders in to change the bulb” then move with the times and have a winch installed.

Doing up a Chandelier

Doing up houses has been our obsession for a long time and got me to wonder. Why not do up a chandelier? By which I do not mean restoration that is best left to professionals, but making a tired chandelier look real good if not stunning. Following my thoughts I went to a car boot sale to look for a suitable candidate. Low and behold I have found one.

crystal chandelier before1

I have looked at it for a while to see what could be done and any visual defects. Apart of an inch thick layer of dust and one missing crystal I couldn’t see any.

detail crystal

Weighing up of the purchase cost, money I would have to spend and time needed to do all of this was interrupted by the conversation of my son with the very rude seller: “ Your mum can’t be very clever if she doesn’t think it is worse £6.” Offended I have paid up and left.

Now for the acid test – my husband’s reaction when I show him. And I wasn’t disappointed, his face dropped and without any lip movement it said: “What did you buy this for?” So before he could do any verbal expressing I have explained my plan and rolled up my sleeves.

First of all I hung it on a rail to avoid any further damage. Next I carefully removed all crystals and put all of them into a bowl of hot, reasonably soapy water to soak. I still find the simple washing up liquid method the best as many products that are specifically marketed for cleaning chandeliers leave residual film to which dust actually sticks to. I have this information straight from the horse’s mouth as I have been looking into selling Chandelier cleaning products and this is what the distributor actually told me. To ease the dirt of the crystals I use a soft brush, washing up brush is my favourite at the moment. Rinsing is very important and I use hot water with only few drops of vinegar as vinegar corrodes any metal parts it comes in contact with. 4 hours later I had what I started with, but sparkling clean. And for the transformation I used crystals I made redundant after purchasing pink crystals for my daughter’s chandelier to compliment her bedroom’s colour scheme. A simple change for larger, higher quality or different colour crystals is the easiest way to achieve a quick and effective transformation. We at Classical Chandeliers are happy to advise and supply any crystals you can see on our website. I played around with the crystals linking pieces to make different length and after a while and came up with a design I was happy with.

crystal chandelier no lights

Was this a successful ‘ doing up’? I shall let you be the judge as I very well know that beauty is only in the eye of the beholder.

crystal chandelier lights

Assembling your Chandelier

Many people ask, “How does my Chandelier come?” and ” Does it need Assembling?” . Well certainly with chandeliers from Classical Chandelier they come carefully packed with the arms and all delicate components taken off and individually wrapped. This is because a chandelier, being made of crystal and glass, is inherently fragile and consequently cannot be sent in an assembled form. This also means that the size of the packaging is minimised so as to keep delivery costs as low as possible.

When people fist open the box there keen anticipation can often turn into a mild form of panic when they see the array of delicate chandelier parts meticulously packed in the box and they wonder where to start. But do not panic. What does at first sight appear to be a most complex and intricate crystal jigsaw puzzle is actually quite achievable and is normally viewed as quite an interesting and rewarding task. But where do you start?

The first thing to do is to find the instructions which are an A4 sheet showing a diagrammatic representation of how to assemble your chandelier. This will clearly show the best process to assemble it in and most importantly which parts go where. The best thing to do then is to unwrap all the parts and lay them out, ideally on a table so you can see what you have and compare the parts with the instruction sheet.

Now you do need a strategy for the assembly and installation process.

  • If your chandelier is small , say a single tier with 5 arms, and weighing under 10kg then you can find a place to hang the top part from and build the entire chandelier at ground level. From there you can simply climb your ladder or steps and hang on the hook on the ceiling and get the electrician to connect the electrics.
  • If your chandelier is larger then unless you are a body builder who is nimble enough to climb steps with a 20kg delicate crystal chandelier then you will need another plan. The best way forward here is to hang the top part of the chandelier from the ceiling and to start assembling from there. Initially screwing the arms in place and then gradually building the chandelier and then hanging on the crystal trimmings. If the chandelier is 2 tier then you will need to assemble the top tier, get the electrician to make the intermediary connections, and then the lower tier and then get the electrician to make the final lower connections. This way you can work in harmony with the electrician to achieve a fabulous result

So now, with a little patience and care you are there. Your fabulous crystal chandelier is hanging in that perfect position just as planned and all you need to do now is to sit back and admire it.

Chandelier Energy Consumption

Have you ever thought how much energy your chandelier consumes? Well if it is quite a big one with say 18 bulbs and you are using 40watt candle bulbs then it will consume a massive 720 watts and if it has 24 bulbs you are approaching 1 kilowatt!!! That is a lot of energy which is not only expensive in electricity, this means that it will be generating a significant amount of heat. That may be fine on a cold winters night but you do not really want a massive heat lamp in the centre of your room in the mid summer. So what do you do about it?
One solution is to fit a dimmer which will allow you to regulate the electricity flow and not only reduce the brightness of the chandlelier but also reduce the energy consumption to an acceptable level. However, a word of warning, make sure that you fit one that will take the total wattage of your chandelier when fully lit otherwise you will burn the dimmer out and it will stop working.
Another solution is to wire the chandelier on two separate circuits with say half the bulbs of one circuit and the other half on another. This can often be easily achieved with a two tier chandelier where you can wire the top tier on one circuit and the bottom tier on another. Then by using a two gang switch you can have three different illumination levels, by switching one or the other of the circuits on or the two together. Now clearly you will need the the additional wiring in the room to accommodate for this, so if you have a new build or you are undertaking a renovation why not get the extra circuitry installed.
Both of the above solutions solve the problem but do not addres the root cause, that is, that the bulbs consumer too much electricity. To significantly reduce your consumption the best solution if to fit energy saving bulbs. Now you can select halogens which save approximately 30%, or compact fluorescent lamps which save approximately 80% but the best solution is to fit LED bulbs which will save you around 90% in electricity consumption. An example is to use an LED candle bulb which will only consume 3W and give a power output of around 25watts. Now your 24 bulb chandelier will only consume 72 watts. Problem solved.

The Pink Chandelier

Owning a pink crystal chandeliers is definitely a bold feminine statement or conversely a gay one and for all the right reasons. A pink chandelier will always turn an eye and it doesn’t matter how much you spruce up your flat or room a pink chandelier will always top it all taking pride of place and proudly taking peoples wild attention. But choose wisely and don’t just buy the first one you see on impulse because initially it might look good but when you look closer is it really a statement of refined beauty and class. You can get a Chinese imported pink chandelier at a very low price but for certain it won’t pass the test of a discerning admirer and all your efforts will be wasted.

Now when you are choosing there are different ways to get the design effect and the ambiance you are looking for. For instance you could go for a very classy colour line crystal glass pink chandelier which undoubtedly will take pride of place in your dining room or be elegantly tucked away in your private bedroom. Alternatively you might wish to emphasise the effect by using a pink chandelier with bunches of grapes to symbolise the Romans being pampered fed grapes in grandiose surroundings. The other choice would be to go for one with fine crystal trimming like this pink chandelier but don’t forget to select the Rosaline colour trimmings from the drop down.

So you are spoilt for choice but before you indulge you might want to go for the maximum effect and pick furnishing to match. Those pink or ruby red curtains will certainly complement and maybe even some silk bed covers, but don’t go too far as you should not steal the show from the sparking crystal pick chandelier.

Now when you have selected that pink chandelier and placed it in the ideal position you can either just sit back and admire it yourself of alternatively get some visitors around or have a Pink Chandelier Party to celebrate your new acquisition.

Chandeliers for bathrooms, cloakrooms and small spaces

Lets say you have an elegant house with fabulous lighting schemes in the main living areas but the bathrooms and on-suites just look positively bland! You may think that bathroom lights need to be specialist fittings which have the correct rating for those areas but so long as you adhere to the building regulation specifications then things are no that constricting. There are certain regions near the bath an basin where specialist lighting is needed but above a certain height or a certain distance from the bath and basin then the restrictions are lifted. Just check the electrical regulations on the web or ask your electrician and you will be pleasantly surprised.

So now you have some scope so why not go for a small chandelier which has a touch of elegance or crystal wall lights to bring some crystal glamour into the space. This way you can transform that hidden away bathroom or on-suite into a place that has style and beauty which can be acknowledged by family and friend as a space the has exquisite crystal lighting accessories.

Now as a next step why not introduce some colour in the crystals to complement the tiles and bathroom suite as this can give a really striking effect. The choice of a black chandelier with sparkling black crystal trimmings will certainly create a great effect when positioned with some striking black and white tiles. If you choose tiles and your suite colour wisely then the black chandelier will fit marvelously with the colour scheme and provide a central focus of illumination. This way your main bathroom can be transformed into one on the most desirable places in the house.

Choosing light bulbs for your Chandelier

You have invested in a beautiful chandelier with quality crystal and made by traditional craftsmanship so don’t ruin it by using ugly light bulbs. A crystal chandelier deserves elegant bulbs but you also need to keep an eye on the environment. A chandelier with say 24 bulbs could typically consume 500 watts in power which not only is expensive in electrical costs but also results in a large amount of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere in the creation of that electricity.

Now there are a few options. Firstly you could just put in some cheap and cheerful incandescent filament bulbs, potentially with a flame shape design and they will certainly do the job and if you chose wisely then they can look elegant. But the down-side is the electricity consumption and at some stage in the future these bulbs will included in the incandescent light bulb ban. The opaque 100watt bulbs are already banned and progressively over the next few years filament incandescent bulbs will be phased out starting at the higher wattage.

Arguably the best solution here is to go for Halogen bulbs, which look identical to the filament bulbs but consume 30% less energy and by selecting flame shaped bulbs these look very elegant. In addition as these energy saving halogen bulbs are dimmable you have control over the level of illumination which is very important with chandeliers with high numbers of bulbs.

Now you may say that this is still too inefficient and if this is the case then you can select a Compact Fluorescent (CFL) technology energy saving light bulb which means that you can get the equivalent of a 40watt output from a 7 watt bulb. These energy saving bulbs using the compact fluorescent (CFL) technology give a tremendous energy saving. The downside is the aesthetics because the bulbs are more bulky and do not have the slim elegent lines of the halogen flame shape bulbs.

So if you want to be right up with the latest technology then the type to go for is LED light bulbs . This means that from a 3 watt LED bulb you can get the equivalent wattage of around 25 watts from a traditional incandescent bulb. This is a tremendous energy saving and the aesthetics are quite good also.

So these days there realy are some good alternatives for you to choose from to get the right balance between aesthetics, the environment and commercials when chosing your crystal chandelier light bulbs.

How to hang a chandelier from the ceiling.

It is clearly important that your Chandelier is fitted properly to the ceiling securely both for reasons of personal safety and also as it would normally be destroyed if it fell to the ground leaving a pile of broken crystal!!  If you are in any doubt then get a competent tradesman but there are a few guidelines here that may be of use.  In simple terms the chandelier just needs a hook to hang from but this needs to be of sufficient strength to hold the chandelier without bending and must not come loose from its mounting. So firstly select a good plate hook, which clearly will need to be larger for heavy chandeliers and if in doubt get one that is over designed so it won’t break or pull out. You can purchase lighting plate hooks from us or alternatively from an alternative  reputable  source. Do check that the hook is load rated and ideally tested!

If a hook already exists in the ceiling it will need to be checked that it is appropriate for your chandelier because invariably chandeliers are much heavier than traditional light fitments due to the mass of the crystal.

The next step is to select where you want your chandelier to hang and then find a strong fitment point which is in the correct location. The majority of ceilings are either plaster board or lath and plaster for old buildings which is suspended from wooded ceiling joists. So you will need to locate a joist of sufficient strength to screw your hook into.
Make sure that you use a lighting plate hook that is load rated and strong enough for the job. If you are in any doubt fit one that is too big as you do not want your precious chandelier to fall and be a pile of broken crystal! If you can get to above the mounting point, say in the loft or by lifting a floorboard, then this is the best way to locate the joists. Alternatively you can start with an electronic joist detector, purchased from a merchant or DIY store,  to find the joists and then mark both sides. It is generally then good practise to put in a very small drill, say 1 or 1.5mm, to check that you have accurately found the joists.

Once located then take your hook and drill  pilot holes of the correct diameter for the hook  screws in to the correct depth near the centre of the joist. Then route the electrical cable down the side of the joist at a angle so it comes out close to the hook and you are ready to go. You often can get plate hooks where you can route the wiring straight through the base which may be preferable for your installation.

Now sometimes it is not that simple because you need to hang your chandelier in a position between two joists to get the correct positioning in the room. In this case then it is necessary to fit a piece of bracing timber between the two joists from above in order to have a strong mounting  point for your hook. To put this in you will invariably need access from above and ensure that you securely attach the bracing timber at both ends.

So that’s all,  but before you hang your chandelier then check that the hook is strong often done by hanging from it or applying a force much higher than the chandelier weight.

Classical Chandeliers have launched their Blog

The popularity of chandeliers is on an ever increasing trend. People are now viewing a chandelier as an item of luxury which through retailers like Classical Chandeliers are now being made available to a much wider sector of the population. Chandeliers, which traditionally were reserved to grand old properties and Victorian residences are now being seen as a statement of class in modern buildings. Chosen carefully they certainly can bring some sparkling splendour to what might otherwise have been a standard modern house and  this is important because as more and more houses are build the proportion of old properties will naturally reduce.

Crystal comes in many different qualities so be sure to check the lead content and the quality of the crystal glass. In addition you need to be assured of good traditional workmanship has been uses to make the chandelier to differentiate it from the multitude of imitations that are now on the market. So choose well and check that the size is right for the room you are considering and this way you can be assured of a fine centrepiece chandelier that will be with you for life and passed on to future generations.

If you have that modern property then be sure to check the interior design forums or ask the retailers because there are important considerations like ceiling height. Often  the ceiling height in a modern property will not be high enough to take a  chandelier with a chain but this can be resolved if you contact the retailer. The solution invariably is to redesign the chandelier fitment to mount directly to the ceiling and through this you can reduce the drop and accordingly get the headroom that you need.

So research wisely, enquire and through this your interior lighting scheme can be richly rewarded with the right  chandelier.

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