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Low Voltage Landscape Lighting

A lot of people work late and can't enjoy their landscape when they come home at night. What good is landscaping if you can't see it?

Low Voltage Landscape Lighting

One solution to this predicament is a relatively new product known as low-voltage lighting. Low-voltage lighting systems use 12-volt current, similar to that used for most electric-train sets. Outdoor lighting is great for security, and it can add charm and magic to a walkway, patio or garden. The right lighting can bring your landscape to life at night as well as help your guests see where they're going.

These systems are safe and easy to install. Most homeowners can set up a low-voltage lighting system without help from an electrician. Another low-voltage advantage is that new lights can be installed while the power is on. This is especially helpful when you're positioning lights at night.

At the heart of a low-voltage system is the transformer, which reduces household current and controls the times that the lights are on. Most transformers feature a timer that can be set for 4, 6 or 8 hours. Some models include a photocell that can be used to turn the lights on at night and off in the daytime.

Most lights are easy to assemble. Simply insert the light bulb (figure A), and attach the cover (figure B). Although some lights have separate wires that clamp to the power cable, other lights are clamped directly to the cable (figure C). Metal teeth in the clamp pierce the insulation on the cable and tap into the wiring. After you've connected the light, attach the stake (figure D), and route the power lines through channels inside the stake (figure E).

Lights are usually available in kits that include a transformer, various lights and at least 50' of cable. If you wish, you can add more lights, more cable or a larger transformer.

For those who prefer not to deal with cable, solar-powered lights are available. These lights are more expensive, however, and usually require an average of 8 hours of direct sunlight per day to function properly.

Exterior light fixtures come in a wide range of designs to suit different areas and create different lighting effects. Most fixture types are available in either 12-volt or 120-volt versions. For the homeowner, 12-volt, or low-voltage landscape lighting (please click here to see our Low Voltage Lighting products for your landscape) systems have several advantages. Most important, low-voltage landscape lighting equipment is easier to install. Except for the transformer that's connected to a 120-volt circuit, the entire system runs on harmless 12-volt current. Low-voltage wiring is lightweight and can be laid on the ground or buried just below the surface. We even have lights that look like Rocks in your garden.

In contrast, a 120-volt system runs on the same power that supplies your home and requires the same precautions and expertise that normal house wiring does. Outdoor 120-volt lighting will need to be installed according to code and may require buried conduit. Once installed, 120-volt systems are relatively permanent, while outdoor landscape low-voltage lighting fixtures can easily be relocated if you wish to change your lighting scheme. One disadvantage with low voltage wiring is that that the wires are not buried deeply and are more prone to being damaged.

Another advantage of low-voltage lighting equipment is that it can be relatively inexpensive. And, when you do the job yourself, the bottom line for outdoor low-voltage lighting looks even better. Not only can the capital outlay for a standard high-voltage system be greater, but you may need to hire a professional for part or all of the installation.

One shortcoming of low-voltage lighting generally means less lighting power. For example, if you want a brightly lit parking area for security purposes, you may require the muscle of 120 volts. Most grounds and garden situations, however, don't need this much light and can actually look better with tastefully placed low-powered lamps. For extra beef, bright 12-volt halogen lamps can be very effective when used to flood an area with light.

The low-voltage lighting transformer (click here to see our Low Voltage Transformer products) that powers your system must be sized to match the combined wattage of your lamps. If you buy a system that comes with six fixtures, for example, adding new lamps may mean upgrading the low-voltage lighting transformer or adding a second one. And, because voltage drop over long distances is more pronounced in a low-voltage lighting system, using wire that's too light can affect the output at the lamps.

In addition to 12 - and 120-volt systems, some light fixtures use the energy in sunlight to provide electric light in the evening. These solar lamps have a photoelectric panel that charges a battery while the sun shines. When the sun goes down, a light sensor activates the lamp.

Low Voltage Equipment Types:

low voltage lighting Outdoor low-voltage lighting fixture designs vary to suit a range of lighting situations. For example, path lighting usually sheds light on the ground or shrubs while in-ground fixtures throw light up and out to highlight a garden structure or wall. Other examples include moonlighting tree-hung fixtures, spotlights, and deck lighting that's built into posts or steps to create a visual effect and add an extra measure of safety.

For automatic control, some low-voltage lighting transformers have a light-sensing mechanism that turns the lights on at dusk and off at dawn, while others have a timer that controls on and off cycles. You can also buy a motion sensor to switch on the lights when a moving heat source is detected.

Low-voltage lighting is available in kits or as individual fixtures. The advantage of a kit is that you get the proper transformer, wire and one or two fixture styles all in one box. Individual components, on the other hand, let you customize your lighting system, although you'll have to determine wire gauge size and transformer capacity to match your plan.

Working With the Best:

Our ability to design with low voltage lighting system to paint an infinite palette of mood begins with full knowledge of how light works within a given space. As leading designers we know this elusive science. We also know our tools-the world's best low voltage lighting products-and how to effectively harness them.

By consulting with architects, builders and interior designers in specifying original equipment, including house wiring, consistent high quality is always assured. Existing residences with their structural limitations may produce low voltage lighting design challenges that are creatively resolved every day with stunning results. Much of our success is due to its long-standing familiarity with custom low voltage design practices for your residential or landscape needs.

It Doesn’t Stop with Installation:

Installation of low voltage lighting systems by our electricians follows as a sensible corollary to design. These tandem procedures by a single source provide continuity and emphasize the responsibility to provide owners with a system that works trouble-free from day one.

Our electricians, all of them licensed and well qualified, each with extensive experience, are familiar with the high-quality, high-performance equipment they install. As caretakers of the low voltage lighting systems, we can tailor bulb replacements and other service and maintenance needs without delay via an extensive maintenance fleet.

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