You might have heard of low voltage outdoor lighting, but you just aren’t sure exactly what it is or how to use it. Well, this article’s purpose is to help you become familiar with low voltage lighting and answer your most frequently asked questions on the subject.
First of all, just what is a low voltage lighting system anyway? Usually it consists of a transformer that is plugged into a wall outlet and steps the 110 volt current from the outlet down to a relatively safe 12 volts or so. The current is then passed through a low voltage cable to light fixtures that are placed along the way on the exterior of your home. These light fixtures can be used to eliminate your walkways, your landscaping, or any feature of the outside of your home that you want to direct attention to at night.
One of the big advantages of low voltage lighting systems is that they can be safely and easily installed by the homeowner themselves with no special tools. So if you’re looking to get involved in a home improvement project that will be relatively easy to do and really improve the outside appearance of your home especially at night, this is the job for you.
The second big advantage of low voltage outdoor lighting is that the lights are extremely energy efficient and therefore very low cost. Most of the lights that are used are in the 4 watt range, but they can go up from there. And all you have to do to get brighter light at night is just use a higher watt bulb in each light fixture.
Many installers of low voltage outdoor lighting systems wonder how many lights can be added to the system before it is overloaded. The answer to that is that each transformer is rated for a certain amount of total bulb wattage. So just add out the number of bulbs that you have in your system and multiply that by the bulb wattage that is being used and as long as that number is below the total bulb wattage rating of your transformer you should be fine.
Another interesting point to consider is that you can use different wattage bulbs in your outdoor lighting system as long as that total bulb wattage does not exceed your transformer’s capability. This will allow you to put brighter bulbs in certain areas to highlight those features even more at night.
If you do happen to exceed the total bulb wattage of your transformer, you can either purchase another power pack with a higher wattage rating to handle the load, or simply purchase a second one and split the load between two transformers instead.
One warning though to be observed is to never use an extension cord between the transformer and the electrical outlet. Always plug the transformer directly into the power outlet. As you can see, low voltage outdoor lighting is not all that hard to install or maintain. So why not consider installing an outdoor lighting system for your next home improvement project?