How To Install Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting

Do you want to boost your curb appeal? How To Install Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting

You can do that by installing low voltage outdoor lighting. Your home will look bigger from the inside when it gets dark outside, How To Install Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting but you’ll also have a high-end appearance to your home from anyone looking from the outside. Lighting changes everything, and outdoor lighting is a visual extension of your indoor space.

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The first step involved with installing low voltage outdoor lighting is planning the layout of the lighting. Using a diagram lets you lay the remaining wire out on your ground in advance of actual installation so you can be sure of two things. First, you want to ensure the proper lengths. Second, you want to be sure each light is placed correctly.

You’ll face decisions here about the distance from your subject the light will be. Subjects can be walls, fences, plants, or other features of your yard. Putting lights farther away will widen the beam. However, the light will be dimmer. Bright lights for dramatic effect should be closer and pointed upward.

You’ll need various supplies to do a low voltage outdoor lighting installation. You can get them online, or you can visit a home improvement or hardware store in your local community. If you don’t already have them, get a wire cutter and wire stripper. You’ll also need waterproof wire connectors, landscape lighting wire, and landscape lights with stakes. A transformer or power pack is also necessary.

Landscape lighting wire comes in various gauges, and which one you need is based on how far you’ll get from the transformer at the furthest point. The 16 gauge works up to 50 feet, but you need 14 gauge for an endpoint between 50 and 75 feet. If your terminus is 75 to 150 feet, switch to 12 gauge. Choose 10 gauge for anything between 150 and 250 feet, and get 8 gauge for anything ranging from 250 feet up to 300 feet.

Start with placing your transformer where you want or need it to be. Then, put the light fixtures where you would like them. However much slack you think they should have is actually less than they need. Once you hook all the cables up, you’re going to need excess. Lay the main line out passing by each spot where you want to connect a light.

There are different ways you can connect lights to the main line. Crimping on quick connectors is one option. However, you’d be better off with wire connectors that are waterproof and filled with silicone.

Cut your main feed cable anywhere you have a landscape light. Pull apart the ends to 6 inches and then strip 0.5 inches off of those ends. Twist these with the copper wire together in the same direction, usually clockwise, and then twist lightly onto the connector. You’ll see some silicone leakage, but that’s there for weather protection. Repeat with the other wires on a different connector.

Hammer your stakes just where you want the outdoor lighting to be. Plastic stakes can be hammered in with a piece of scrap wood to prevent the stakes from cracking. Just remember that how deep you pound in your stakes will impact the height of your lights once installed.

Make trenches to bury every inch of your cable. If there is mulch or rock, then you need to run the cable underneath it so there’s no exposure to the elements. You also want to avoid tripping hazards. If you’re putting the cable in soil, then use a shovel with a square edge to dig a trench 3 inches deep. Put the wire at the bottom of that trench before covering it up.

Make sure the voltage on your transformer is right for your lighting installation before you buy it or while you can still return it. A good transformer has its own instructions on how to install and operate it, and they do vary with each unit.

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